Protecting children from internet pornography

A call for better sex education:

A report released on Thursday by the commissioner’s office found that children who watch pornography are more likely to develop sexually risky behaviour and become sexually active at a younger age.

It called for urgent action to “develop children’s resilience to pornography” after discovering that a significant number have access to sexually explicit images. It also called on the Department for Education to ensure all schools delivered effective relationship and sex education, including how to use the internet safely.

I’m really pleased to see this. I naively thought when I first came to the UK that students here would have far superior sex ed to what students in the US have. Years of conversations with my students have shown me otherwise. None of them have been taught such basic things as that sex should be enjoyable for everyone involved, and that you should make sure that the person you’re having sex with is happy about it. (My favourite student anecdote was about one school where the girls were taken into a room to watch a film about menstruation while the boys watched a film about cars.) Thanks, Mr J!

5 thoughts on “Protecting children from internet pornography

  1. It does vary hugely, my son had a topic where x agreed to go to the school dance with y but when there got off with z. They talked about how all the people would feel, and the fact x had a perfect right to kiss who she wanted (they were 12) I was really impressed.They have also covered advertising, how pics are photoshopped, body image, as well as the how to lessons covering condoms and the mechanics of sex. However it does need to be in the national curriculum, as it is clearly down to each school right now.

  2. I was at an all-girls school. We were taking into a room and shown a film about the reproductive habits of marine worms which are a) 40′ long and b) hermaphrodite. I have yet to work out what it was supposed to be teaching us. I think it was the least sexual film they could find that had the words ‘sexual reproduction’ in the title.

  3. Ah yes, the joys of British sex education. Mine was appalling and came far too late. There was never any discussion of sexual assault and very limited discussion about homosexuality and LGBT issues. Also, I can’t understand why people think that boys should be taught absolutely nothing about periods. Great blog, thank you.

  4. Regarding the US/UK divide, my guess is that there’s much more variation in education in the US. I suspect we’re far less standardized. Many folks in the US greatly resent anything like a national education program. Even common national educational standards (the Common Core State Standards) only began with the time of the George W. Bush Administration. As a result, my guess is that the worst US schools (“worst” here probably means “most influenced by religious conservatives”) have a far worse sex education program than anything in the UK and the best US schools have a far better program than anything in the UK.

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