During the week I was fortunate to be asked (along with Fiona O’Loughlin and Nikki Goldstein) to appear on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show with Kylie Gillies and Larry Emdur.
The debate was sex education for kids. A very important issue in Australian society and one most people don’t want to tackle.
There is ample evidence that kids are getting accidentally exposed to porn and sexual imagery through their use of the internet and access to devices such as iPhones.
The average age of accidental exposure to porn used to be about 11. It’s coming down. Kids at the ages of eight or nine are accidentally seeing porn online and they’re getting a very jaundiced, exploitative view of sex as a result.
Porn is having an impact on all of us. Technology is having an impact on human sexuality.
It’s not just accidental viewing of porn that is a concern.
I have a two-year-old nephew. The other week he was singing, “I have passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it.”
Kids are getting exposed to sex – or sexual themes – from a very early age through music, television, film, advertising and especially the internet.
My daughter and her friends come home from school talking about “sexing”. And I wonder what she’s really being told in the playground because her teachers are not teaching her anything about sex at school and my daughter is too embarrassed to tell me what “sexing” means.
I rang my daughter’s school and they told me they outsource sex education and only for years 5 and 6. An hour a week for four weeks a year. In my view that’s not sufficient. Kids are hitting puberty earlier and starting to get curious about sex earlier than years 5 and 6. It’s more like year 4, at least.
And it begs the question: Why is sex education being outsourced? Is it because teachers don’t think they’re qualified to teach our kids about sex or because they’re too afraid?
In my view, sex education is a responsibility of parents and teachers. It’s one of the most important things a kid will ever learn. The viewers of The Morning Show seemed to agree.
Maths is okay but sex is not? Right.
I want my daughter to be able to come to me or her mother and ask me what she needs to know and to be reassured about what respectful, healthy sex involves rather than running the risk of her being misled or upset by what she sees or reads on the internet.
I want her teachers, people she has grown up with and knows and trusts – not a group of outsourced educators she will never see again – to also be a part of that educative process.
If we can give our kids the right information earlier, all the better.
I think if you can demythologise sex early for your child, you’re being a responsible parent. Talking about sex with your kid shouldn’t be such an uncomfortable grey area.