Ol’ Blighty is famous for its young parents – tweens, teens and young adults have all had kids of their owns, with some generational gaps spanning as little as fifteen years between them. In January a pair of Welsh schoolkids, aged fourteen, made the tabloids when they had a baby.
Now, there is been growing concern over shortcomings in England’s sex education, as children are viewing pornography and engaging in sex acts long before they are given any adequate sex education that would warn them against the potential dangers of sex, such as STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
The BBC reports teachers’ worries concerning the way pornography and a general hyper-sexual pop culture are impacting young teens. The suggestion is that teachers ought to be given additional training in handling sex education amongst younger pupils. There have been concerns not only about when sex is discussed in the classroom, but also what areas discussions cover. Too much focus on one area of sex – the mechanical aspect, for example – can leave others (such as healthy attitudes towards sex in relationships) under-examined.
One of the worries of sex education not meeting the needs of schoolchildren is that lack of awareness could leave children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. There is also the concern that children who have not been taught responsible attitudes towards sex and sexual partners might engage in destructive and antisocial behaviour.
One potential destructive outcome of inadequate sex education is sexual coercion. The idea of sexual consent needs to be emphasized so that teenagers are less likely to pressure their peers into sexual situations they do not want to be in. With the ever-increasing accessibility of porn on mobiles and PCs, educators have also expressed their concerns over the impact of pornography. Recent studies have found that children as young as nine have been watching porn, and have been phoning help-lines in shock as a result. It doesn’t help that sex aids are widely available at High Street stores and brands like Victoria Secrets are targeting barely-there tweens with their latest product lines.
The Department of Education has weighed in on the shortcomings in the current approach to sex education, and has committed itself to improving the curriculum while also making sure that teachers are properly trained to handle the particular demands of a subject that remains delicate and tricky to navigate.
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