Who doesn’t remember playing kiss chase as a kid? But now a debate has been ignited about whether the childhood game should be banned from schools.
The controversy first sparked after an parent described her daughter being “pinned to the ground” by another child during a particularly rough session of the game.
“My six-year-old daughter recently had an issue with kiss chase at her school,” Australian journalist wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Although she told them that she didn’t want to play, a group of boys from her class chased her anyway. When they caught her they pinned her to the ground, kissed her and tickled her.”
She went on to say that both the teacher on duty that day and her own initial response was to laugh the incident off because kiss chase was “just a game.”
“The more I thought it over, the more I realised how disturbing it was that the teacher and I had both automatically trivialised her experience just because kiss chase is such a familiar game.”
“Why are we teaching kids that it’s totally fine to pin someone down against his or her will? That they should just accept it when someone hurts them?” she writes.
Rodie went on to make a comparison between her daughter’s story and issues regarding the meaning and understanding of consent in later life. She referenced a recent report by the Women and Equalities Committee which found that a third of 16 to 18-year-old girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school.
But mum-of-two Jane Hunt takes a different view on playing kiss chase in schools and believes the childhood game could be used as a positive opportunity to kickstart conversations about consent.
“I get sick of things being banned when they can be used to start such positive conversations, like that of consent,” she told Mamamia after listening to the parenting podcast ‘This Glorious Mess‘ which was discussing the subject.
Talking about her own daughter Hunt said: “I really want Peggy to grow up understanding in no uncertain terms that no means no, no matter who is saying it.”
She cited the example of a wrestling game Peggy plays with her father:
“The rule has always been, if anyone ever says ‘stop’, you stop. Even though most of the time when she says ‘stop’, she is giggling madly and doesn’t really want the game to stop, we stop. Two seconds later she will say ‘GO!’ and it’s game on again.”
Hunt believes the lesson learnt by the game is pretty basic. “We want our girl to grow up with the understanding that if she says stop and the other party doesn’t, there is a problem.”
She went on to explain that the game offered a great opportunity for children to start learning about personal boundaries and consent.
Rodie agrees that the game could be used as a vessel to start some important conversations surrounding the issue of consent, but only if everyone is keen to join in.
“Let’s stop trivialising our kids’ schoolyard experiences,” she wrote. “Kiss chase is great – as long as everyone wants to play. Kiss chase can be fun – as long as everyone consents.”
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