'Children as young as 4 need to be taught about pornography', says sex education group

'Children as young as 4 need to be taught about pornography', says sex education group

Sex education guidelines are to be updated (Stock image)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

As soon as children start accessing the internet they need to know what's not suitable, and this applies to pornography, according to a sex education group. 

The Government is asking students, parents and teachers to give their views on what should be in the sex education curriculum, so it reflects the modern world.

The consultation is also seeking views on education about LGBT issues, mental health and online safety. The current guidance was last updated in 2000.

Lynnette Smith, the founder of BigTalk Education, which provides age-appropriate sex and relationship education, told Mike Graham and Rachel Johnson: "As soon as children go on the internet that’s when they need to know about things that aren’t suitable.

"We actually introduce education keeping children safe from pornography from the age of 4 [and teach sex education] at age 8, which is year 4.

"We find if we leave [sex education] until [age 10 or 11] children already know about it, but they’ve learnt about it in a crude or rude way. The average 11-year-old boy has already accessed pornography.

"The guidance in the year 2000 is good guidance but it nowhere near addresses the needs of children and young people these days with our technological society."

Hannah Kibirige, the head of policy at LGBT charity Stonewall, joined the debate and said: "Some schools are doing really, really well and making sure [LGBT education] is included, but the vast majority aren’t.

"It's not deliberate, but LGBT young people are excluded when talking about relationships and sex". 

Often "it will just be about straight relationships and no acknowledgement that people might be in same-sex relationships, or that trans people exist."

Kibirige added: "There’s no evidence to show that educating young people about how to stay safe and healthy sexualises them. It's actually quite the opposite - it helps them feel happy and safe and able to take care of their wellbeing​."

Listen to the full interview above