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Hands-off sex education (2)

(Global Times)

09:24, May 27, 2013

Besides stories like this, Chen points to larger trends that also necessitate earlier sex-ed curriculums.

"Given that students these days reach puberty earlier than before, having access to sex education in primary school is becoming even more crucial than in elementary or high school," Chen said.

Indeed, a recent survey conducted by the Beijing government shows that the average age girls start to develop breasts is 9.5. The same sexual maturation trend was seen among boys as well. The average age of puberty in Chinese students has changed from 12 years old to 10 years old, according to a December 2012 report in the People's Daily.

Aside from changing puberty patterns, the Internet also creates a need for earlier sex education because children can be exposed to explicit material at a much earlier age.

"People think that children know nothing about sex, but actually they can access the Internet for this kind of information," said Ma Xiaonian, director of the sexual medicine department at the China Sexology Association. Ma added that waiting until children hit puberty is too late to start sex-ed instruction, even if many schools and parents don't want to tell children about sex.

Because TV and the Internet make children "no longer as innocent," a mother surnamed Li started teaching her 15-year-old daughter about sex early on.

"I don't believe that school could teach her about this nor do I have any expectations for their teaching," she said. She does not trust schools to teach her daughter sex ed because she recalls her own teachers skipping the sex section in her health class.

Another mother surnamed Pi said that she often sits with her 10-year-old son to answer his questions about sex.

"It's not too early to talk about this now since he has the curiosity, which is why he wanted to ask me about it," she said. "I tell him about the process of sexual intercourse or giving birth with no emotion involved," Pi said that her son hasn't asked her about sex since she explained it to him.

Pi said that although the school has sex education class she thinks the parents should take over the responsibility.

"I trust that the class is approved by education authorities and therefore should be fine for children," she said. Nevertheless, Pi said that she would like the school or educational authorities to ask their opinion first before launching the class.

Back in the classroom, Chen finds that as much as the media may report on the state of her occupation, nothing changes for her. She continues to lead her students, dividing them into groups to debate moral dilemmas they may face in life.

"Children these days have the need to know about sex," she said. "As a teacher, you've got to be ready for any questions from them."

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

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