Monday, December 31, 2007

Start Sex Education Earlier

Start  Sex Education Earlier

Children should be getting sex education lessons when they start school, according to a leading medical figure.

The call comes amid fears that many teenagers are exposing themselves to risk because the safe sex message is being left too late.

Dr Charles Saunders, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish consultants' committee, also says secondary schools should hand out condoms and other forms of contraception to older children.

Saunders, a consultant in public health medicine at NHS Fife, told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper: "It needs to start at quite an early age, because if you leave it until they are 12 it is too late because some are already experimenting.

"It probably needs to be started off when children start school. You need to start laying the groundwork to help them and empower them to make decisions and turn things down."

Scotland's sexual health record is one of the poorest in the western world. Teenage pregnancies are on the rise with 9,040 in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, compared with 8,891 in 2004. Cases of sexually-transmitted diseases are also rising.

Dr Saunders said that lessons could start off with "simple concepts" in the same way as other subjects, adding: "It could start off with how babies are made and progress from there. Basically sex education needs to be a whole lot better."

As well as the dangers of infection, lessons should also cover the pros and cons of having sex or waiting.

Dr Saunders added that particularly in rural areas, schools may well be the only way that pupils can access contraception. "It may well be that as time goes on it would make sense to have emergency contraception in schools," he said.

The Scottish Government allows local authorities and head teachers to set their own sex education policies, but most children do not learn about sex until Primary Six or Seven, when they are 10 or 11.

39 comments:

natashas said...

I have a big problem with adults teaching five and six year old sex education. I understand his reasoning and I have to admit I agree with everything else. Maybe the problem is the way sex education is being taught. I remember sexual education for girls being a video of Annie getting her period. No Lie. The boys were taught about condoms. Not everyone receives the proper education. Today children are having sex at ten and eleven. Start education there with currant information.

mesodude said...

"I have a big problem with adults teaching five and six year old sex education."

--How do you feel about other five and six year olds "teaching" them about sex education? Isn't it better to have an adult teaching them in a responsible way before another child or an adult sex predator confronts them with the issue?

"Today children are having sex at ten and eleven. Start education there with currant information."

--With all due respect, this is naive. No two children are alike. Even within genders, they can and do mature physically and emotionally at different rates. Most people can remember when they had a romantic or sexual interest in another person and they'll tell you that it was a LOT sooner than "ten and eleven." Give children the information in a responsible way well before they need it--or foolishly gamble that someone else won't do it irresponsibly. It's your choice.

PaganGodess said...

Interesting perspective mesodude. I remember being interested in boys as early as the 3rd grade, however, in retrospect, I'm not sure that a sexual education was necessary at that age. I know I was interested in where babies came from but not necessarily HOW they were made at that age. It's a toss up. Parents should use discretion and become involved in the sexual education of their children rather than depend on the school system to do the job for them. They know (or should know) their children and where they are in their development better than anyone.

BTW, "currant" is a berry. I believe the word natashas wanted was current.

mesodude said...

We mostly agree. I think children should receive education appropriate for their age, maturity and curiosity level. What's "necessary" for them to know is a tricky area. IMO, unless you can keep a child in a hermetically sealed environment, you can't control what *other* people will confront them with. So, it seems to me that it's important for children to know things *before* they're necessary.

For some reason people who have *no* idea whatsoever what a sex education curriculum or class involves insist on tapping into their wildest imaginations. Some classes teach about anatomy only. Some curriculum go further into reproduction. Some go even further and discuss sexuality, contraception and sexual orientation. If the parent knows what the schools are teaching their kids, I see nothing wrong with schools being involved in the learning process either instead of or in conjunction with parents.

natashas said...

mesodude, sorry for responding late.

I completely respect your ideas. However I am sticking to my statement. Children are taught as early as preschool about predators and what is not appropriate behavior.

You are right when you stated that there are different teachings of sexual education in the classroom. I encourage adults to teach children safety. I still do not think it is appropriate for adults to teach sexual behavior to children.

Endoscopy said...

This is totally unacceptable to me. Children of this age should not be having this type of information at this age. They don't think about these things yet.

I also have a problem with the concept of "safe sex". There is no such thing. It is risk reduction but the risk remains.

Condoms according to Consumer Reports fail at a 1 in 15 rate with normal usage. Some STD's are small enough to go right through the condom so it is no protection for those diseases. And people still use the term safe sex.

Dionys said...

No STDs go through condoms. You must be getting your information from an abstinence only site. 1 in 15 fail rate? With uneducated usage, yes. So actually you're arguing for education, even if you don't know it.

You're absolutely right about it being safer sex, not safe sex. However, wouldn't you prefer your child be safer should they go down that path?

Teaching young children about the natural aspects of creation at this age is fine. They don't talk about penetration or do it graphically at such a young age. What they do is introduce the knowledge that it is a natural part of life and that it is important to talk about. Much better than making it a yucky mystery they learn more about from mysterious rumors.

Grow up.

crghss said...

Why do people want to take parenting away from parents. Isn't it the right of parents to decide when to teach their childern anything? It's like people want couples to conceive the childern then send them to the government to be programed and conformed. Sorry but no thanks.

tchef said...

The biggest reason this is taught in school is that many parents aren't doing their jobs as parents and teaching their children themselves.

Sex education should be taught by parents and all of the children's piers from the start. It starts by simply teaching responsibility for your actions. If children grow up learning right away that there are consequences for their actions and that they must take responsibility for those consequences, they will be better prepared.

Children are being exposed to sexual messages at an earlier age and we as parents need to take the time to explain to them how to react to what they see and hear.

mesodude said...

"Why do people want to take parenting away from parents."

--The better question is Why do right wingers insist on trying to dictate to women what they can and can't do with their reproductive organs? Ponder that...

slate said...

(((The better question is Why do right wingers insist on trying to dictate to women what they can and can't do with their reproductive organs? Ponder that..))))

AH yes let's ponder a topic that has nothing to do with what 's in this article. Hey while you're at it ponder why it's ok to teach these children about sex at an age that they don't even ponder sex, yet let's not mention God. Ponder why it's ok to teach the students that Republincans and religions are evil, yet nothing is said about the teachers Indoctrination of their students to take the path to being a Deomcrat?

Teach the you things that they need to know, such as don't talk to strangers, report anyone that touches you in an inapprpriate way.

slate said...

An analogy about safe sex with condoms,,,,,,, You meet a hot lady or guy that you find attractive,,,, one thing leads to another and you find yourself at their place with a small pile of clothes on the floor,,,,

�;· Before you start,,,, the other person says, I have AIDs, Herpies and/or a host of other.STDs, but here's a condom. What will you do?

�;· What would you do if they confessed this to you 'after' you were done and said hey I didn't feel the need to tell you, afterall you were wearing a condom weren't you?

slate said...

Kids look to authority figures to learn the lesson of life. When the authority figures in school push sex at their children, give them condoms, teach them that all 'golden' and should be experimented with they say hey I don't know what this sex thing is because I'm 6 but the teacher says it's a good thing,,,,, I'll meet you out behind the playground for some extra credit homework.

mesodude said...

Here we have a perfect example of someone painting all sex education with one broad brush (as if 5 year olds and teens would be taught the same information--how moronic, huh?) and allowing their bizarre imagination to just run wild. I guess that's more self-entertaining than actually educating themselves as to what goes on in the schools.

mesodude said...

"AH yes let's ponder a topic that has nothing to do with what 's in this article."

--The article has nothing to do with taking away parental rights, either but I didn't see a post from you accusing crghss of straying from the subject. Biased much?

"Hey while you're at it ponder why it's ok to teach these children about sex at an age that they don't even ponder sex, yet let's not mention God."

--Hell no. Wrong again. Ponder why it is you think *you* know exactly what's going on in every child's mind at any given age. That's insane. You don't have that kind of power and it's stunningly arrogant of people like you to think and behave as if you do. YOU DON'T KNOW JACK.

mesodude said...

"Children of this age should not be having this type of information at this age. They don't think about these things yet."

--Better to get "this type of information" from a child molester or another kid, huh?

slate said...

News Flash!

In an unprecedented move, the embryo sex-ed law was signed into law today.

Simply put, the mothers of all yet unborn will receive sex education CDs and be mandated by law to wear the special headphones on their tummies and pipe in the class.

Though proponents of this law agree that it is necessary, they still don't agree at what trimester the fetus is 'viable' enough to warrant an education.

Sorry I can't help it, I'm a monkey and find some of these arguments just wrong and had the need to show absurdity by being absurd.

Let Mom and Dad tell their children about predators,,, I can assure you parents do just that. Let children be children as long as possible, we want them to grow up by three. There is no need to have formal sex education at such a young age.

mesodude said...

"Let Mom and Dad tell their children about predators,,, I can assure you parents do just that. Let children be children as long as possible, we want them to grow up by three. There is no need to have formal sex education at such a young age."

--Um, slate? We have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Western world. Do you think this is a testament to the good parenting skills of Americans? I'm sorry but what *you* can assure me of means squat. I believe in observing logical, reasonable, measurable criteria--not some stranger's gut feeling which is based on nothing but their personal beliefs.

ETproductions said...

Endoscopy wrote: "Children of this age should not be having this type of information at this age. They don't think about these things yet."

I can't answer for all, but I can tell you that I thought about it a lot. I can't remember a time when I didn't have an interest. I thought about and wondered about it for years before I even learned the words to attach to the subject. Even though my mother was a teacher, she taught me NOTHING. She was deeply prudish and couldn't bear to broach such a subject or even answer my direct questions. All I knew, I learned for other kids.

The result was an unwanted pregnancy before I got out of high school. By then, I knew what made babies, but had been told and believed that Norforms were effective birth control.

mesodude said...

"I can't answer for all..."

--I find this hard to believe. Aren't all people mentally, emotionally and physiologically identical and don't they all develop at the same pace? I thought everyone knew this. ;-P

ETproductions said...

That does seem to be a widely held opinion, particularly among those who wish to turn their religious convictions into the law of the land.

Wolfie2007 said...

Actually, I'd like to see some real information and research regarding just how sex education relates to the current problems.

Someone on this thread mentioned "would you rather have five and six year olds teaching other five or six year olds about sex." I think if this were happening you should check out who is education those kids.

Dionys said...

Try looking into the *adult* statistics in say.. Africa.. Where the Bush administration funded *only* abstinence-only programs to fight AIDS.

Guess how that worked out.

Grancher said...

It is a bit of a stretch to blame the US president for for the scope of the AID problem in Africa. For one thing the countries in Africa are not US territory, it is not the US's job to take care of their problems for them, that is why they are sovereign countries.

omerazam said...

This too early in there age.They should learn with time.

mesodude said...

Why not teach them *age appropriate* information over time?

TheOysta said...

I don't know about teaching sex education at 5 or 6 years of age, but I agree it should be taught earlier. Why wait until kids start going through puberty to teach this? Furthermore, I also agree that what is being taught today needs to be improved. I remember going through most of elementary school knowing part of the story but not what was most important.

BronxBomber said...

Don't children get enough of a sex education from they're peers in the schoolyard?

KYRed said...

Oh, hell. Just start showing them porno movies and get it over with.

chas said...

Teaching of children should be the responsibility of their parents. Parents should monitor what is being taught to their children with the option to allow/disallow all teachings. We always read lesson plans prior them being implemented. It is time consuming but you will know what your child is being taught. By doing this teachers have an idea what you expect of them. As far as the abstinence only program goes - abstinence always works. Pregnancy will not occur if the abstinence only program is followed. The problem is folk do not follow the guidelines.

Sex education like other topics can and should start early and escalate as subject matter is absorbed. Parents know or should know when their children understand what is being taught to them.

Teachers are great!! But parents need to know what they are feeding our children's minds.

moxxxxxxxxxx said...

Oh come on Chas. Teachers are not the evil doers. They are trained professionals. If today's parents respected teachers like their parents and grandparents did teachers could actually do the work they were trained to do instead of wasting their time pacifying scared parents. The problems aren't caused by schools or teachers it has been created by a society that uses sex for entertainment, to sell products and dramatize the news. Parents cannot blindfold their children to the world around them. Sex education at young ages is needed to protect children from the misinformation that is all around them. Expecting parents to take full responsibility for their child's sex education is impossible.

mesodude said...

"We always read lesson plans prior them being implemented. It is time consuming but you will know what your child is being taught."

--Apparently this common sense approach hasn't occurred to radical right wing fear mongerers who have been taught like trained seals to be mistrustful of everything related to government (unless it's REPUBLICAN government, that is.)

chas said...

mox

As I stated teachers are great!! But a parent still needs to know what is being taught to their children by anyone.

One example: daughter in 6th grade - teacher is going to show the movie Philadelphia to educate the children about aids.

A PG-13 or R rated movie shown to 6th graders is unacceptable in my book. Our daughters were not blindfolded nor were they subjected to things we considered age inappropriate if we could help it. As a substitute teacher I did not expose the children to inappropriate material. The difficult can be attained with work. The impossible takes a little longer..

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

Bill7777 said...

Yes we need more sex education because there are still a few kids that aren't doing it. Why not start at 2 or 3. When I was in school, there wasn't any sex education and very few were doing it or even knew about it. The more sex education there is, the more kids do it. I think these adults that want to teach sex to younger and younger must be pedophiles. It would be a lot better if they had never started so called sex education. These people that keep pushing for younger and younger sex education don't know what they are talking about and they are full of anal excrement.

Grancher said...

@Bill7777

heh, I was thinking about writing something similar the that first bit. It is clearly a conspiracy to make children more accessible to child molesters.

cowboygrandpa said...

Bill7777:

LOL, HA HA HA HA. Sex education when I was in school was the other kids-your friends-who had it wrong. But looking back on it, it sure beat the hell out of what is going on now.

My 11 year old granddaughter is walking around singing the "I like big butts" song and dancing to it. I'd have been slapped and had my mouth washed out for that. So would her mother for that matter. I was a pretty strict dad, told my daughters there was time for sex when they grew up. Get you education and figure out what you want first. I was the one who educated my daughters. Didn't let them take the classs in school. Took a lot of flak for it but they turned out all right.

mesodude said...

"I think these adults that want to teach sex to younger and younger must be pedophiles."

They are. And they are also the other children they associate with on a daily basis. That's why sex education is so important. If a five year-old doesn't know what to call his or her body parts or to say no to unwanted advances from strangers, then their child molesting relative or the creepy old guy down the block will "educate" them first. It's your choice.

Grancher said...

Seriously I think the source of the many of the problems that the article lists as reasons for more sex education can be found in the idea that sex is a necessary part of love. A lot of modern movies, and TV shows tend to glorify sex to a ridiculous extent. While movies that try to focus on love rarely offer any explanation, or show any development of a relationship, other then sex. So if you want someone to love you, you should have sex with them and that is really going to be great because sex is the greatest thing there is. That seems to be a pretty common message in movies these days. Perhaps movies are not all to blame, but they are an obvious example. Sex education will not counter messages that make love and sex inseparable, and teaching children about how sex works at ever younger ages will only lower the age at which children attempt to make that connection.

slate said...

I don't think love was ever talked about during my sex-ed classes,,,, I wonder if that is true today?