At What Age Should Sex Education Be Introduced at Schools?
Sex education has vital importance for preventing teen pregnancy and sex-related risks, and providing kids with the knowledge of the proper sexual behavior. While sex education should be introduced in schools, it is also critical that parents educate their children about sex before school even begins. Therefore, sex education should be introduced to children at the earliest age, providing children with information which corresponds to their needs at a certain age. In addition, sex education at schools should be introduced as early as possible, ensuring children’s healthy sexual development.
Sex is a sensitive topic that, as a rule, is not usually discussed by parents with their children. Parents may often feel uncomfortable when asked by their children about how children are conceived and born and other related topics. It is essential to communicate with children regarding sex and name things as they are from an early age, making them understand what may not be appropriate when interacting with other children (“When Is the Right Age to Teach a Child Sex Education”). This should be done as soon as a child goes to kindergarten and is exposed to communication with other boys and girls.
While parents should start educating their children as early as possible, there are debates regarding the age at which sex education should be introduced at school. Some parent groups consider that sex education should not start until grade 5 or 6. At the same time, others believe that this should start earlier. Namely, grades 3 and 4 should be suitable for giving students more knowledge about sex and their bodies (Walsh). This would decrease the chances of facing negative effects of the lack of knowledge about the topic for children.
There are numerous reasons why sex education is relevant from an early age. First, it helps children understand their bodies and not be surprised when their bodies start changing during puberty. Second, children will not be ashamed of discussing sex-related topics and not make rude jokes in their groups (Walsh). Third, students will be aware of the risks and negative effects that can arise in the case of improper sexual behavior. Lastly, they will be introduced to safety measures and ways to avoid damaging situations that can harm psychological health of children which can also affect their adult life. Therefore, children will possess sufficient knowledge about the required behavior and will become competent in understanding their bodies and sexuality.
Sex education is also critical considering the exposure of children to media where messages related to sex may not be clear to them. In this way, without necessary knowledge, they can misinterpret the messages of a sexual nature presented in the media and develop incorrect ideas about their bodies. This is especially relevant when it comes to images shown in media representing the bodies of men and women, which are often believed to be role models for children, especially girls, which can later result in eating disorders and low self-esteem.
Finally, sex education should begin in early childhood, with parents giving children an understanding of their bodies and sexuality. Sex education at schools should begin as early as possible, starting in grade 3 or 4, introducing the primary concepts of sexual development. In this way, sex education can help children be more confident in their sexual development and apply safety measures to avoid risks and negative effects of early sexual activity.
“When Is the Right Age to Teach a Child Sex Education.” Punch Newspapers, Punch Newspapers, 4 Feb. 2017, https://punchng.com/right-age-teach-child-sex-education/. Accessed 23 Jan 2019.
Walsh, Jenny. “Sex Education Needs to Begin Earlier.” Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, Mar. 2013, https://www.afao.org.au/article/sex-education-needs-begin-earlier/. Accessed 23 Jan 2019.
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