Issue 6
Tuesday, 06 August 2019
Charles Darwin University
CDU Provost Professor Sue Carthew congratulates top essayist Jacob Fajzullin
CDU Provost Professor Sue Carthew congratulates top essayist Jacob Fajzullin

Essay winner fires warning shot

By Patrick Nelson

A paper that warns schools of the risks to young people of online sexual activity (OSA) has won the Charles Darwin University Essay Award at the NT Literary Awards this year.

Written by educator Jacob Fajzullin, the essay draws from several studies to discuss the prevalence, risks, theories and impact that cybersex, sexting and image-based abuse are having on the development of adolescents.

He wrote that boys participated in OSA at a greater rate than girls, but that the risk to girls was greater. 

“While OSA can sometimes be a relatively harmless exploration of sexuality, it is more likely to have harmful impacts on the development of young people with research demonstrating that [those] who partake in OSA have a higher risk of substance abuse, sexual risk taking, mental illness and being victims of sexual coercion,” he said.

“It is important that Northern Territory schools are informed of strategies and interventions based in positive youth development principles rather than … punitive measures and shaming.”

CDU Provost Professor Sue Carthew said the entries short-listed for the essay award featured all the qualities that reflected an exciting and scholarly contemplation of their topics.

“In an era where we are witness to a shift in emphasis from carefully crafted sentences to sharp digital messages, events such as this assume great importance. I’m reliably informed that the standard this year is as strong, if not stronger, than ever.

“Congratulations to the finalists, winners and indeed everyone who was brave enough to submit their work.”

Roland Bull won the CDU Creative Non-Fiction Award with “Still Flossing”, a story of personal discovery and self-identity.