A generational divide exists between parents’ understanding of what their children know about sex and relationships and what their children have experienced online and ‘in real life’.1 Ironically, although we live in a hypersexualised world, parents often do not realise that they are their children’s sex educators and can be unaware of the consequences of relinquishing that role and responsibility to other influences. Children and young people (CYP) learn not only in the classroom, in the playground and from their surrounding culture, but also from what they find or are shown online (Livingstone et al, 2017). From an increasingly young age, children are exposed to sex and relationships topics through the media, social media, the internet, sexting and pornography. However, their moral compass will still be their parents’ values and perspectives. In talking openly at home parents can improve their children’s mental health, reinforce safeguarding and strengthen the parent– child connection. Parental engagement is the crucial missing link in sex education.
Outspoken Sex Ed – a social enterprise focused on giving parents the language, skills, knowledge and confidence to talk openly with their children about sex, bodies, consent and relationships – was founded on the conviction that CYP have a right to accurate information about sex and relationships that addresses their curiosity, desire and need to understand the bigger sex-education picture. In encouraging parents to look back at their own formative sex education and reflect on their current attitudes, it aims to help them take inspiration from their hopes for their children’s positive sex and relationships experiences.
How can we support children’s and young people’s mental wellbeing in a digital age?
Through a series of informative and thought-provoking case studies, this book explores how to enable children and young people to stay safe, happy and mentally healthy at a time when so much of their lives are spent online. Featuring contributions from across research and practice, with the voice of the child at its heart, the book offers simple, practical guidance for improving wellbeing based on real-world evidence. It will be essential reading for parents, carers and professionals working with children across a range of school and community settings.
05 Oct 2021
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