Should schools increase sex education and at what age?

Introduction

The day-to-day cases of sex issues cropping up in young boys and girls has led to the introduction of sex education in schools. For instance, a case was reported of a 10-year-old girl who was impregnated by a 10-year-old boy. The parents of both kids sought ways of handling the matter secretly.

However, one question stood out. As the incidence depicts the degree of moral decadence among the youngsters, a case that once neglected would blur their future, there was the need to know the criterion that people could employ to curb the matter before it worsened.

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This marked the dawn of sex education that sought to capture the attention of kids from the aged 10 years. Sex education, alternatively referred to as sexuality education, aims at reducing potential risks especially to young people associated with unbecoming sexual behaviors.

According to Sex Information and Education Council of the US, as revealed by Kippax Grunseit, sexuality education is “a lifelong process of building a strong foundation for sexual health through acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs and values about identity, relationships and intimacy” (421). Sexuality education takes place in not only schools, but also homes, media and faith-based educational institutions such as churches and mosques amongst others.

Additionally, sex education, particularly in the US, should “entail a long-term change in the way discourses on the sexuality of youth are framed in the USA” (Gresle-Favier 413). Therefore, based on the sensitivity of the subject as the paper unveils, schools need to increase sex education endeavors as early as ten years of age in an attempt to reduce the number of pregnancies among youngsters.

The appropriate age for sex education

Is it necessary to start sex education at an early age? It sounds rather crazy to introducing a boy of five to subject of sex. An unsound-minded person might argue that, the earlier the boy knows the subject, the earlier he applies the knowledge gained in class to the real-life situation. Is this not a crazy view? However, this is not the case. The US has received the issues surrounding the necessity of increasing sex education in schools at an early age with multifold responses.

While appreciating the view that it might lead to many youngsters engaging in sexual activities experimentations, the benefits arising from sex education out power this argument. In this regard, the US education needs to advocate for a “vision of abstinence as the expected norm for youth and of the ‘promiscuous’ teen as a threat to the social, economic and moral fabric of the nation” (Gresle-Favier 416).

Any additional knowledge about sexuality goes into building more knowledge on top of the existing one. Conducting sex education to young people as early as age ten, or even earlier, has the capacity to ensure inculcation of a strong belief against indulging in behaviors that may lead to early pregnancies.

Precise age at which sex education should commence depends on a number of factors. Such factors include the level of education of the youngsters in question, the contents of sex education and the characteristics of people charged with the task of providing education.

The context in which people provide the education also goes far into determining the age at which they ought to initiate sexual education during the development process of the young person. In fact, Amy Bleakley, Michael Hennessy, and Martin Fishbein reveal the US’s young people of age 15-24 years receiving the education as the most active and prone to STDs (1151). This encompasses one of the factors that may determine the age at which sex education should start.

Endeavors to initiate sex education at an early age in schools encounters some challenges. One of the impediments is the argument that such an attempt would encourage youngsters to conduct sex experimentations. However, according to Johnson Avert, “in a review of 48 studies of comprehensive sex and STD/HIV education programs in the US schools, there stood a strong evidence that such programs did not increase sexual activity” (Para.7).

In fact, some of the programs incredibly reduced sexual activities among the adolescents besides having hiked the rate of use of condoms and other various contraceptives. Since young people can store information, which they can later retrieve and if sex education can result to increased use of condoms and contraceptives among the young people, arguably, the problem of unwanted pregnancies can immensely go down with increasing sex education in schools.

Parents and guardians have critical roles in providing sex education to their children. Nevertheless, at what age should they start doing this? As Johnson Avert says, “Sometimes it can be difficult for adults to know when to raise issues…the essential thing is to maintain an open relationship with children, which provides them with opportunities to ask questions when they have them” (Para.9).

However, children may not stand an excellent chance to open up the discussions. Therefore, parents and guardians have a noble role to initiate such debates especially when they note certain behaviors that show the likelihood of their children involvement in sexual relationships. According to Arthur Bandura, depending on psychological and cognitive development, different children start sexual relationships at different ages (23).

Consequently, the age at which parents should start engaging their children in sexuality, sex and relationship discussions, is merely dependent on parents’ observations of the likelihood of the onset of such a stage in the development process of their youngsters. Unfortunately, people have unnecessary cultural beliefs concerning the issue of parents conducting sex education. Increasing sex education in schools, consequently, stands out as the most pragmatic way of ensuring the realization of the aims of sexual education.

Increasing sex education in the United States’ schools is of grand significance based on its contribution towards the achievement of the goals of sex education, especially for the young people.

This is vital especially by considering that the cases of unwanted pregnancies are on the rise in America despite the availability of contraceptives and condoms (Henshaw 4). Comparing home settings and school settings, the interactions between young people and of those who provide sex education take different forms. In school, sex education is organized lesson taking the form of blocks.

At home, no such blocks exist. One might argue out then that the lesson-organized approach of educating pupils about sexuality is ineffective because of the provision of such knowledge from an impartial point. Nevertheless, its increment is vital since an effective and efficient sex education calls for “acknowledging the different contributions each setting can make” (Grunseit 451).

Increasing sex education in schools, combined with attempts to come up with participatory programs that involve parents, can incredibly increase the probabilities of initiating and making home-based sex education more effective. Such a program would embrace making notifications to parents on what teachers present in schools.

This provides the starting point for the home-based sex education. As Johnson Avert says, “There is evidence that positive parent-child communication about sexual matters can lead to pronounced condom use among young men followed by a lower rate of teenage conception among young women” (Para.13).

Increasing the awareness for the use of condoms and contraceptive helps to reduce the instances of unwanted and early pregnancies. Furthermore, encouraging the parent-teacher combined effort to provide sex education substantiates the grounds on which people can debate about sex education concerns in media.

Conducting sex education in schools constitutes one of the ways that turn out as effective in fostering rigid embracement of positive behaviors, knowledge and or attitudes toward the manner in which young people approach their sexuality. Johnson Avert claims that, “There is widespread agreement that formal education should include sex education…” (Para.17). Increasing not only the amount of sex education, but also the effectiveness of school-based sex education programs has a myriad of significances.

Scholarly research indicates that effective sex education programs have the capacity to make the young people shun away from indulging in risky sexual behaviors, which may expose them to various undesirable consequences including early pregnancies. Increasing sex education in schools also increases reinforcement of messages about the necessity to shun away from undue sexual behaviors, which in turn reduces the risks associated with such behaviors.

Additionally, according to Johnson Avert, increasing the effectiveness and the amount of sex education in schools aids in “Providing accurate information about the risks associated with sexual activity, as well as contraception and birth control and methods of avoiding or deferring intercourse” (Para.17).

Increasing sex education in school has the capacity to improve communication amongst peers. Poor communication amongst peers may act to aggravate the probability of young people to engage in risky sexual behaviors.

Fortunately, increasing sex education in schools has the possibility of enhancing communication, assertion, and negotiation skills in matters of sex. Any school-based sex education program engineered to be at a point of meeting the aims of sex education in the US ought to “promoted abstinence as the best means of preventing teen pregnancies” (Gresle-Favier 420).

The sphere of possible risks that can touch young people when they engage in irresponsible sexual behaviors includes unwanted pregnancies amid the likelihoods on contracting HIV and AIDS. Increasing school based education hence would mean increasing the time and amount of information given to pupils about such risks.

Conclusion

Sex education aims at reducing risky sexual behaviors that may lead to various consequences among them incidences of occurrence of early pregnancies. The paper recognizes the importance of instituting sex education at early ages, specifically as early as ten years, in an effort to counter such repercussions from happening. Parents have crucial duties to accomplish in ensuring the success of the school-based sex education programs.

However, the paper argues that increasing sex education is equally significant since youngsters spend most of their time in school. In order to curtail incidences of involvement in risky sexual behaviors, which lead to the occurrence of incidences of early pregnancies, effective communication is vital. In this end, the paper argues how students develop assertiveness and negotiation skills in school. Therefore, increasing sex education in schools has the repercussions of reducing the incidences of early pregnancies among youngsters.

Works Cited

Avert, Johnson. Sex Education That Works, 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2011. .

Bandura, Arthur. Self-efficacy mechanism in psychobiologic functioning. In Schwarzer’ (Ed.), Self-efficacy: Thought control of action (pp. 355-394). Washington, D.C: Hemisphere, 1992. Print.

Bleakley, Amy, Hennessy, Michael, and Fishbein, Martin. Public Opinion on Sex Education on US Schools. American Medical Association 160.1(2006): 1151-1156.

Gresle-Favier, Claire. The Legacy of Abstinence-Only Discourses and the Place of Pleasure in US Discourses on Teenage Sexuality. Sex Education 10.4(2010): 413-422.

Grunseit, Kippax. Sexuality education and young people’s sexual behavior: A review of studies. Journal of Adolescent Research 12.3(1997): 421-453.

Henshaw, Kost. U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity, 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2011.

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