Replace the Media with Actual Sex Education

© Lew Robertson/Corbis

From easily accessible porn which just pops up when you’re on a gardening website, to music videos that are ripe with scantily clad gyrating dancers; children are inundated with sexual images.

So does sexual innocence truly exist any more? Do parents still feel the need to protect it?

Despite many thinking the opposite, the World Health Organisation’s study of 35 sexual health programmes around the world discovered that sexual education does not encourage sexual activity.

We cannot ignore the fact that people are becoming sexually active at a younger age. By prohibiting access to more information, parents are making their children vulnerable to disease, pregnancy and all the other things that come along with becoming sexually active.

Children are naturally inquisitive, so will turn to other alternatives for guidance – no matter what you say. If young people are only exposed to what they see on TV or in magazines, their understanding of sexual health and politics will be completely distorted (and undoubtedly misogynistic). In my opinion, the media is not a replacement for sex education.

I am not saying “let’s show a four year old pictures of a woman and a man engaging in sexual intercourse” or “let’s tell them about abortions.” I am saying that children should learn about the social and emotional side of sex: “this is what a good relationship looks like” or “if you feel uncomfortable then avoid that person.”

Sex education needn’t be explicit but should focus on explaining what acceptable behaviour is. We owe it to children to protect them. Knowledge is power.