Media release 24 May 2013

Good quality sex and relationships education can help protect children from porn


In response to the Office for the Children's Commissioner's publication of "Basically... porn is everywhere" - A Rapid Evidence Assessment on the Effects that Access and Exposure to Pornography has on Children and Young People.

Lucy Emmerson, co-ordinator of the Sex Education Forum, hosted by leading children's charity the National Children's Bureau, said:

"We welcome the report from the Office of the Children's Commissioner which urges government to send a clear message to schools that they must teach sex and relationships education that is relevant to young people's lives as this will help build their resilience.  This would include teaching about internet safety and potential exposure to pornography."

"Good quality sex and relationships education takes place when the subject is given enough time in the timetable, is included in every year of schooling and is taught by trained teachers. It is then possible to introduce children to key themes such as consent, gender, body image, relationships and sexual behaviour. This is vital to support safeguarding and healthy relationships.  These themes can be introduced in an age-appropriate way and then built on year by year. Examples of how this can be done are shown in our e-magazine , for example a primary level lesson on body image which looks at how bodies are represented in magazines compared to real life.  It is also vital that schools teach pupils about internet safety."  

"Good SRE promotes core values of respect, non-violence and care for each other and this should extend to any topic, for example a discussion in secondary school about issues to do with pornography or sexting. Teachers should make it absolutely clear what is illegal and that young people understand what consent is. Good teaching will help protect pupils from finding pornography by accident and turning to it as a source of 'sex education'."

"There also needs to be adequate support for parents as many want to take more of a role in talking to their children about growing up, sex and relationships at home. The Sex Education Forum has recently published 'Let's work together; a practical guide for schools to involve parents and carers in sex and relationships education'

(/schools/partnership-with-parents-and-carers.aspx)."

"Teaching about pornography and related issues requires well trained teachers and careful choices of resources. Pornography itself would never be shown to pupils and neither would teachers need to look at it to prepare for the lesson."


Media release 24 May 2013

References

Horvath, M and others (2013) 'Basically... porn is everywhere; A Rapid Evidence Assessment on the Effects that Access and Exposure to Pornography has on Children and Young People, Middlesex University London for the Office of the Children's Commissioner http://www.mdx.ac.uk/Assets/BasicallyporniseverywhereReport.pdf