Moving To Online Sex & Relationship Education???

Young people are talking more about sex than ever before. The pressure to have sex is increasing and we are still fumbling around when providing children and young people with the facts and emotional content of sex and relationship education (SRE) within schools. Even David Cameron has admitted sex education needs to be updated! However, all this leads to young people finding out about sex and relationships for themselves – HOW? Yes, you have guessed it … The Internet.

Hysteria is often caused when thinking of young people using the internet to learn and sex and relationships, mainly due to the viewing of porn.

FACT: 81% of 14-16 year olds have look at porn on the Internet (Psychologies Magazine, 2010).

FACT: 87% of young men and 31% of young women agree that viewing porn is acceptable (Journal of Adolescent Research, 2008).

Due to the statistics and what we know to be true already is it not better that instead of resisting the Internet and all that comes with it that we start teaching children and young people to use the Internet in an intelligent way? We need to point out that porn is a heightened form of sex and that it is not equivalent to real life. Sex via porn resembles as much too real sex as an action movie does to real life. So my question is … how can we divert away from porn and give children and young people the information they need so they don’t use pornographic material as a form of sex education?

ANSWER

It is simple … Provide young people with the effective SRE that they need and want. If we don’t they will just continue to use the Internet the way they are doing already. There has never been a better time for change – Parents need to talk to their children about sexual matters, and the government need to up there game and ensure good sex education is given in all schools, with the involvement of parents. Experts in sex education talk about this all the time, but when are we going to make the changes? The top and bottom of it is that children and young people are not going to stop using the Internet to learn, so we need to get with the program and give them the information they need and want. We need to make sure all the information is out there so they don’t feel that porn is the way to learn about sex. There are a lot of good websites that give young people the correct information about SRE and we should monopolise upon this instead of crushing the Internet for the great learning resource that is it.

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Parents, puberty & sex education in schools – Part 2

Part 2 – How do we move forward?

Last month's article on ‘Parents, puberty and sex education in schools: Part 1 – Where do we start?’ looked at the challenges of sex education within schools, often provided by teachers. This month, we will take it a step further by looking at what more needs to be done to include, and support parents in the sex education that is given to their children.

There is no denying that some schools pride themselves in providing effective sex education. However, we need to acknowledge that this is not consistent across all schools as each school has a different approach for providing sex education to its pupils based on their own sex education policy. It is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to truly assess what children and young people are learning and understanding on a consistent basis when it comes to sex and relationships.

As we know sex education happens on a progressive level and it is easy for parents to talk to their young children about how to take care of their bodies (e.g. hygiene), differences between boys and girls, friendships, keeping themselves safe and aim on increasing their self-esteem. However, the problem arises as their children go to secondary school whereby more in-depth sex education is provided that covers aspects of puberty, pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, sexual feelings and behaviours.

Parents are often criticised for not talking and/or adding to the sex and relationships that their children receive as they go through adolescence. Although this is sometimes down to their lack of knowledge, the problem is amplified if they don’t know the sex education that is given to their children. If parents were informed as to way sex education was provided, and when, then this would allow them to prepare for conversations that are likely to take place with their children.

Parents are their child’s most prevailing, if not influential educators, so it is ridiculous to say that they don’t teach their children about sex and relationships. However, parents need to feel empowered when teaching their children and a way forward is for 1) to know the sex education that is given to their children, and 2) give parents the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach their children.

Peer-reviewed research has found that if parent’s knowledge of sexual matters is increased, then this in turn gives them the confidence and skills to talk more openly with their children about sex and relationships. A communication model has been developed that addresses the difficulties that parents face when talking to their children, but it is important to overcome some of these barriers and give parents the support they need.

It is time to stop criticising parents for their role in educating their children about sex and relationship education and aim to ensure schools and parents work together so children and young people have the knowledge and skills to make informed choices over their personal relationships and sexual behaviour as they develop into becoming young adults.

Here at Parent-Zone we aim to do just this. Parents can visit our Book Shop as a starting point to become more knowledgeable and gain the support and advice they need to educate their own children about all aspects associated with sex and relationships. Also claim your free e-book on ‘The ten things your kids want to know, but daren’t ask’ ~ a good read that allows parents to be prepared for the things their children want to know more about.

Read Part 1 of this article here

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