Mar
06

2012

Porn Education In Schools?

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Porn Education In Schools?

One of the most common questions I get asked as a Sexologist is, when should I be talking to my kids about sex? My answer – now and it’s still probably too late.  Say this to a parent of a child under a certain age and they challenge it or look at you like you’ve just spoken another language. The truth is, we should be talking about sex from the very beginning. Before you raise your arms in disgust at me, hear me out.

 

When children are very young, we fear that they will not understand anything about sex due to their age, so we don’t talk to them about it. When they are in their early teens, many people are too embarrassed to talk to kids about sex. When they are young adults, many parents assume they already know everything. So when do we actually talk to them about the birds and the bees and all in between?

 

I’m not suggesting that we should be telling an 8 year old about blowjobs and gang bangs (unless they have already heard about it) but what we need to be doing is giving them age appropriate information and build on it as the years go on. Sex education also needs to be broadened. We should not just be discussing how a baby is made. Sexuality is a never-ending subject and there is so much to discuss. Let’s take body parts for example. If you tell a child to call their genitals a ‘wee wee’ or find yourself calling them ‘naughty bits’ or some other number of bizarre terms, you are giving them the message that it is wrong, shameful, hidden and does not have the right to an actual name.  Let’s call a spade a spade or a penis a penis from the beginning. Something so simple as this can do so much damage. Many people still get confused about the difference between a vulva and a vagina.

 

One of the biggest things you can do for children in order to educate them is open up the channels of communication. Trying to decide what to tell them and when can be difficult. We also need to take into consideration that children are being exposed to sexual imagery that can be confusing and misleading at a very young age. You need to make sure that your kids feel comfortable enough talking to you about what they might have seen or heard.

 

Recent research has found that 92 % of boys and 61 % of girls aged between 13 and 16 have been exposed to pornography online. If you know what goes on in those movies, would you talk to your children about those particular sexual acts before the age of 16? I would think probably not, but if this is what’s going on then maybe we just need to. (If you are uncomfortable talking to your kids about the basics of sex, I can’t image what this would be like).

 

For 84 % of boys and 60 % of girls, exposure to pornography was accidental, the result of web pop-ups, a misspelled word in a search engine or even innocent searches for information about games and animals. This goes to show how easy it is these days for children to come across this information and how we really have left them in the dark. I will always push for more education about sexuality and this is one of the reasons why. We can’t stop children accidentally accessing porn or sexual imagery or even being exposed to it, but what we can do is give them the education so they know how to deal with it and also allow them to talk to us about anything sexual. They should not fear the sight of porn and think that they will be punished for accidentally viewing it, as seems to be the message in many households. They should be able to tell their parents what they have seen and ask the relevant questions.

 

This is why youth authorities have called for students to receive porn education at school, following research showing most kids have viewed explicit content online by the age of 11.

 

We can be naïve about this one or be real about what is going on.

 

Do we take our fight out on porn and try and stop everything sexual that could possibly be damaging to young minds, or fight this fight with adequate education? Do we kill more flies with honey or vinegar? (In this situation honey is the education).

 

We want to give our kids the best chance in life, so why withhold something that’s detrimental to their development. (I’m sure you can handle some embarrassing conversations).

 

Happy Educating,

 

Dr NikkiG

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