Bringing sex ed to the 21st century

There’s been a lot of talk lately about sex education and how badly it’s in need of an update.

In the UK, The Telegraph has launched a full scale campaign to raise awareness of the issue, and has gotten the support of the National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Headteachers, and finally… Prime Minister David Cameron.

This is a huge step because of the controversy that often surrounds what should get taught, who should teach it, and when it should be taught.

With the rapidly changing ways in which kids access information, view relationships, privacy and decision making, a curriculum that is 13 years old is no longer effective… but knowing what is acceptable to talk about in school isn’t always so cut and dry.

There are some really solid points in this article…

Teachers ‘don’t feel empowered to stray from current sex education guidelines’ – Telegraph.

“These lessons must be about more than biology. Relationships take priority over sex and it is in the context of relationships that sexual activity can either be healthy or destructive. We really need to talk to young people about consent and respect; we need to talk about privacy and discretion; we need to talk about self-respect and self-awareness, about doing what’s right for you, not what the crowd says or what you think everyone else is doing.”

These lessons must indeed be about more than biology, and we need to look at the influence of the Internet as the new “sex educator” of our youth.

Decision making, communication, self-awareness… these should be the focus of any effective Health curriculum, but with a content area as controversial as sex ed, teachers need support.

Having some guideposts in place can help schools as they work in partnership with parents to educate students… not just on the mechanics of sex, but on the lasting impact it can have on their social and emotional development as well.

 

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