Do you remember being shown a VCR tape of how reproduction works in school, and the teachers calling that sex education? Because I do. And that tape was clearly from the 70’s. My teacher, literally blew dust off it before she put it in the TV.
So with sexual culture changing rapidly, especially in the last few decades, is a VCR tape from the 70’s really teaching kids everything they need to know?
There’s so much more to sex education than just ‘how to make a baby’. There’s STIs, consent, LGBT relationships, porn, transgender… the list of topics that people need educating on is endless. But the debate is whether it’s ‘appropriate’, and at what age do you introduce these?
In year five or six, you’re taught about puberty and reproduction. And then in secondary school, you may have extra sex education. A little about contraception, something about STIs – but that’s generally it.
In order to make sex less taboo to talk about, we need to talk about it! Kids these days are learning everything they know from the internet, and most of it is wrong. Sex doesn’t happen the way it does in porn. Relationships are supposed to happy, loving and safe. ‘Pulling out’ is not an effective method of contraception. Gay sex is not ‘gross’. Transgender people are not ‘confused’. In order for these topics to become normal, and for equality to flourish even more so than it already has, we need to teach them to kids. How old, is another debate…
Debbie Wynes, a secondary school teacher of 16 years says that they start teaching sex education in year 10 at her school. “I think it’s the responsibility of the parents to teach their kids about sex. We are not babysitters!”
Mrs Wynes also thinks that there’s already enough taught to kids about LGBT, and being “different”. She worries that with so much influence on that, it could be making “heterosexuality a minority.”
However, this opinion seems to be a minority. In a twitter poll, UOGlos Live asked if our followers thought the curriculum needed updating, and an astounding 86% of voters said yes.
El Douglas is a 22 year old primary school teacher, who was hired into her job immediately after university says “We teach the correct terms for things from an earlier age, around year 3, which leads to less embarrassment. I’ve discussed certain LGBT terms with some of my pupils who have asked, and had the conversation why things aren’t “gay”.
“Mine are year 4 so it’s not the ‘proper’ sex ed, but it all leads towards. A lot of being different and loving other people is generally spoke about more now rather than just in sex ed lessons because it might lend itself to other lessons. Or children are curious because it’s a lot more prevalent in society now, I suppose.”
But it’s not all about LGBT either.
With sexual abuse scandals riddling the press at the moment, it seems we need to install the idea of consent into the minds of everyone as much as we can. No means no, and that’s that. Relationships seem to also be a topic that’s skipped over. Children tend to learn relationships from their environment, and some are extremely unhealthy. We need to be teaching children what the signs of an unhealthy, or even abuse relationship are.
Shannon Brown, a victim of an abusive partner, has told us that she could have gotten out sooner if she had been taught to spot the signs.
“Healthy relationships and consent need to be talked about in school, as well as bringing up how men can be raped and abused, as it’s still too taboo for them to talk about without getting made fun of.”
Perhaps through creating normality within LGBT issues, talking about consent, and helping young people to understand what makes a healthy relationship, we can start to solve some of society’s biggest issues.