Thursday, May 23, 2024
Teach sex ed at home and in schools.

Teach sex ed at home and in schools.

Sex Education: A Combination of Home and School

A health education lecturer at the University of Canterbury emphasizes the importance of teaching sex education both at home and in schools. This viewpoint comes in response to statements made by members of the National Party, including deputy leader Nicola Willis and party leader Christopher Luxon, who argued that sex education should be solely addressed within the family.

The Need for Comprehensive Education

Tracy Clelland, the health education lecturer, conducted research that revealed both teenagers and parents believe sex education should be a combined effort involving both the home and school environments. According to Clelland, teenagers want to hear their parents’ values while also benefiting from the perspectives shared by other adults in a school setting. She highlights the fact that sexuality education is crucial because young people are exposed to sexual messages through various media sources and need accurate information to navigate relationships.

Avoiding Misinformation

Clelland emphasizes that many young people do not receive sex education from their parents, leading them to seek information from unreliable sources such as pornography or friends who may provide incorrect information. As a response to this issue, the University of Canterbury has released an app called “Te Puāwaitanga: Beyond the Birds and Bees.” This app offers a safe and reliable space that provides comprehensive information on sex and sexuality for parents, children, and teachers.

Open Conversations

Clelland acknowledges that discussing sex education can be uncomfortable for many parents, and some may lack the necessary knowledge to address the topic. However, her research indicates that what young people primarily want is open communication with their parents. Clelland points out that conversations on gender stereotypes and self-acceptance should start from an early age to support healthy development and prevent feelings of shame or discomfort surrounding bodies.

Distinguishing Sex Education from Sexuality and Relationship Education

Clelland clarifies the difference between sex education and sexuality and relationship education. While sex education focuses on physical aspects and sexual development, young people are more interested in understanding how to navigate relationships in a digital world. Providing holistic education that addresses their concerns is crucial, as relying on online sources may lead to uncertain or inaccurate answers.

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