Sex education is failing, says teen book author
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PSHE teacher turned author James Dawson has spent time talking to teenagers about sex, as part of the research for his newly released non-fiction book Being A Boy. Here he discusses his findings, and why current sex education is failing, with TNS. The question I’m most asked about Being A Boy is “Why did you decide to write it now?” The reason is very simple: The current young adults are the first to have always had the internet – meaning their parents are the last to not understand the unique challenges and pressures that go hand-in-hand with that. I carried out a survey of young people aged 14-24, capturing the generation that grew up online and the results were disappointingly predictable. Although nearly all of the sample had received SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) at school, 91% reported getting most of their information about sex from elsewhere, with the vast majority stating they learned the most from pornography, the internet and television. More than half rated their school-based Sex Ed as ‘unsatisfactory’. As a former PSHE teacher, I think it’s vital to examine why the curriculum isn’t doing enough. Is it the traditional stiff-upper-lip and innate ‘Britishness’ preventing teachers from delivering full and frank lessons on sex or is it that pornography can go to the dark recesses of the mind where no teacher would dare step? Only 4% of the sample even discussed the effects of porn at school.
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