On 19 December 2017, the Government issued a consultation on changes needed in the teaching of Sex and Relationship Education as well as PSHE. We are already equipped and excited to help schools and parents respond to this call.
This important and long overdue consultation calls for Parents, Carers, Educators and Community Organisations to comment and influence the future of SRE and PSHE teaching in schools. The call to action will ultimately shape our children’s and young people’s view of sex and relationships for years to come.
Now more than ever it’s important that we take this opportunity and speak into the cacophony of ‘untrustworthy sources’ on Social Media and digital platforms.
Between what our children’s and young people’s friends say, what they scroll passed on Instagram, and what they see posted on snapchat, our young people are instantly connecting with their peers, the news, and strangers alike. All of which offer opinions and display angles of reality that can skew their perspective.
Under this new consultation, it will be mandatory for all schools to provide curriculum for SRE and PSHE (for Secondary schools it will be Sex and Relationship Education; Primary schools Relationship Education).
In an ‘increasingly complex and digital world’ the challenges on what to cover within this curriculum are numerous. But we want to highlight 3 of our concerns and 3 key ways we will be responding:
#1 What we see
We want to emphasise the amount of pornographic content that our children and your people are (potentially) seeing. For example:
YouGov reported in 2012 that 81% teens look at porn at home with 1 in 3 first seeing sexual images before the age of 10.
ONE porn website alone reported that they received:
28.5 billion hits in 2017
3.4 million visits per hour
56,000 visits per second
Pornography and sexualised images are being consumed at a rapid rate, and are readily available uncensored on any device or laptop at any time of day.
#2 What we share
Growing numbers of children and Young People have multiple personal devices with access to instant messaging and multimedia services. Most of which do not have parental controls on them.
The ability to share outweighs the awareness and information about the potential pitfalls. We need to respond to this and help change the ‘accepted norms’.
For example, sexting is directly referenced within the consultation’s call, and is of growing concern as 1 in every 5 people share sexts that they receive.
Not only does it expose explicit images to younger children, but it also leaves them vulnerable to embarrassment and police involvement. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-teenage-boy-sexting-details-legal-challenge-greater-manchester-high-court-penis-photo-a8048741.html)
‘What you share’ is a response we are highlighting, and an area where we are already equipping people to make better and safer choices.
#3 What we build
What we see and share has been proven to have an impact on the relationships we and our young people build with others now, and in the future.
For example, an association of lawyers reported that 56% of their divorce cases involved one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.
For Young People to be equipped to build healthy, respectful relationships with others, they need to know what healthy relationships look like and don’t look like.
This consultation provides the perfect opportunity for you to speak up and give your opinion about how Young People should be educated in order to live healthy safe lives in today’s ever advancing world.
We encourage you to engage and use your voice and experience to shape it.
We will be responding directly to the consultation. Yet we’re already going into schools to educate, equip and empower young people to know the dangers, benefits and potential of this digital age.
If you would like to find out more about our education workshops check out: www.ntruth.education