What do children and teenagers need from parents and teachers when it comes to education about sex, relationships and decision making?
Never before have young people had so much information about sex at their fingertips. They 'know' more than ever – but can they safely manage that information in the real world?
Physical maturity often outstrips cognitive, emotional and psychological immaturity. Young people are vulnerable to powerful media messages and social expectations which devalue the human body and encourage unsafe experimentation at younger and younger ages.
The reach and influence of violent Internet pornography is the fastest growing issue of our time, threatening the wellbeing of our children and young people – and, in the long run, relationships, marriages and families.
The sexualisation of children in the media is changing the way young people look at themselves and their bodies and increasing their vulnerability to a range of physical and psychological problems including eating disorders, early sexual experimentation, infection from STIs and anxiety about body image.
Children and teenagers have always needed guidance, boundaries and the promotion of values which best protect them during their developmental years. Sex education for children and teenagers must support them to value themselves as a total person – body, mind, spirit - and delay being sexually active in the interest of their health and wellbeing.
Such 'best health' values are counter cultural but never more necessary than now.
Read more about these issues:
Values, Sex Education & the Adolescent
"The issue of values in sex education is a priority. There cannot be decision-making without some reference to 'what is good' and 'what is not good' in relation to this social act."
Preach or teach? - What is value-based sex education?
"Value-neutral sexuality education, which in practice is not neutral at all, conveys hidden values about expected sexual behaviour and attitudes and so feeds the adolescent's fears about being abnormal."
Harm minimisation: a strategy or a goal?
"The historical context from which the harm minimisation strategy developed, the limitations and the target group, all have some bearing on the usefulness and appropriateness of this strategy in the educational setting."