Monday, March 16, 2015

Think of the children: what will happen if they learn sex exists?


Photo courtesy cbc.ca

News item: Ontario sex ed: Protesters disrupt school meeting

Protesters turned out in force at a Scarborough school Thursday night, disrupting efforts by two local MPPs to discuss Ontario's new sex ed curriculum. 
The information session at Agincourt Collegiate Institute was cut short when demonstrators moved inside — chanting "We say no" at MPPs Soo Wong and Bas Balkissoon. 

The new curriculum has drawn criticism from some parents and religious groups who say it is too explicit for young children. 

A group of loud parents protested against the new Ontario health and physical education curriculum at a public meeting in Toronto this past week. They carried signs that bore phrases like:
“Too early, too soon”  
“Our children, our choice”

The ruckus drew media attention, of course. One of the protesting parents asked: "Can you justify to me why a Grade Six needs to know about masturbation? Can you answer that?"

Today on a newsstand near you

Some of the cover headlines on the current edition of Cosmopolitan:

63 Secrets to Better Orgams—Get Over the Edge!I Like High-End Sex Parties—and I’m Not a Weirdo.

Last issue: 

Cover lines: 
How I solved our sex issueHow to touch a naked man: 16 Naughty Strokes That Will Send Him Over the Edge.

Apparently, an orgasm is like falling off a cliff at Cosmopolitan.

From the current issue of Women’s Health magazine: 

“The positions men prefer most”—a how-to guide.

Unlike porn magazines, which are, at least where I live, out of reach and sight of children, these magazines are all the most popular, biggest-selling women’s magazines. Most are regularly displayed in racks beside the check-outs of grocery and drugstores.

Kids see them all the time, and whether or not they ask Mom “What’s an orgasm?” they’re going to wonder.

And they’re going to get the information somewhere.

The connected generation

Kids today get most of their information today not from parents or school, but from the Internet, and they’re accessing it through mobile devices.

Cover line: "The best hour for
amazing sex"
In other words, when they have questions, they go for answers to the Internet first. And they probably won’t look up Cosmo or Women’s Health. They’re more likely to get misinformation from irresponsible like soft porn sites or, worse, the Centre for Canadian Values.

It’s the same argument that led to sex ed in schools in the 70s: kids are getting bad information about sex from uninformed sources—the “kids in the schoolyard” argument. That’s why it’s important to give children correct information based on facts before they hear misinformation and outright lies.

The big lie succeeds

The Big Lie technique is simple: if you want a large number of people to believe something that’s not true, make it as big, as ridiculous as you can, and keep repeating it. Political opponents of the Ontario government are using it in the pointless sex-ed debate have floated the phrase that under the new Health and Physical Education curriculum, Grade 6 students will the “taught masturbation.”

That’s the phrase used by a former reporter from the defunct Sun News TV channel on an online rant against the curriculum. “Taught masturbation.” Not “taught about masturbation” or “taught the definition of masturbation.”

Phrasing it this way is clearly meant to evoke the idea of a teacher showing students how to masturbate. But the curriculum says that among the physical and health education concepts Grade 6 students will learn, is:
“Things like wet dreams or vaginal lubrication are normal and happen as a result of physical changes with puberty. Exploring one’s body by touching or masturbating is something that many people do and find pleasurable. It is common and is not harmful and is one way of learning about your body.”
Why should a Grade 6 student learn that?

News item:

Woman, 33, watching 50 Shades of Grey arrested for masturbating at movie theater in Mexico during S&M-filled drama

Because the word comes up in mass media, in social media and in the schoolyard. Because in a year, that 12-year-old will be 13 and masturbation will move from a word on a screen to reality.
Cover line: "Is Everyone Sexting
Without Me?

If schools cannot teach facts that children will need in their life, then where will they learn it?

(Mis)Information is everywhere

A lot of parents, understandably, want to control the information their children get. The trouble is, that's a futile effort. Kids are getting more information than ever before, all the time. The only thing we as parents can do is make sure that we give them correct information about the most important things in their lives.

What do you think about this? What do you think about teaching children about sex—not how to do it, but that it exists. 

And I would be interested to hear from those who oppose the sex education parts of the health and physical education curriculum: what do you think will happen if a young child learns about sex?

5 comments:

  1. Do I think children should be exposed to explicit material too early in life...no. I don't think anyone feels that's appropriate. But what most ultra and moderate conservative family think is the right time is entirely too late to help children be prepared for what they will see and hear at schools. Children are sexually curious...that is human nature. To think that keeping the information out of the hands of an adult (qualified) teacher's hands will keep kids from being "taught" sex-ed is crazy. Kid will learn about sex and the schoolroom is a much better place to learn than the schoolyard.

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  2. Parents who espouse the beliefs that these do are the best argument for teaching sex education in the schools. Their children would grow up to be as ignorant, frightened, and biased as they are, otherwise. These people can't articulate well-balanced views on sex or anything else. They have a right to express their views, but I don't think they have a right to impose them on the rest of the world. Let them be heard and judged on the merits of their arguments. The 'big lie' is still a lie, and most people can see that.

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  3. Kids have been learning about sex since, well forever. My concern is that children are being sexualized at an early age and not just from school programs. As for the protestors and the lies, that is the result of an issue being politicized. Both sides do it.

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  4. I totally agree with you Scott. I don't know what the protestors are thinking... that some clandestine existence for their child is possible, perhaps? Or that they can patrol everything they see, maybe... but this is ridiculous. I don't know that the schools need to have masturbation in the curriculum, but these things should be covered by safe and trusted sources, and not by main stream media or older kids in the school yard (which is really the case now).
    Great post!

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  5. Thought provoking, challenging post. Education is important in this area, in a safe, trusted, responsible way.

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