Put Porn on School Syllabus, Says UK Sex Education Report

Pupils should be taught of dangers of pornography, says report.Reuters

Children should be taught that pornography does not represent sex realistically, and that "sexting" can leave them vulnerable to exploitation and even abuse, according to new guidelines for sex education in the UK.

According to the report, which was drawn up by two children's charities and a group representing teachers, children should be taught that pornography contains actors with "perfect bodies and demonstrating exaggerated sexual prowess".

It also warns that sending sexually explicit pictures by text message or email, or "sexting", can leave a person open to bullying.

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Simon Blake of Brook, a charity that helped draw up the guidelines, said: "Young people have been telling us for years that SRE (sex and relationships education) is not relevant to their lives and they want better.

"We think they deserve better, and in 2011 we asked them what 21st Century SRE should look like."

The report warns that pornography use can be compulsive, and advises teachers to take a non-judgmental attitude to encourage pupils to discuss the problem with them.

It argues that pornography is not necessarily "all bad", and that open discussion of the distorted pictures of sex pornography contains should be encouraged over blanket condemnation.

"You can't stop people driving fast, so you teach children to cross the road with the Green Croos Code in mind," Gill Francis, of Brooks, told the Times Educational Supplement.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered relationships should also be included in class case studies, say the authors, to encourage understanding of diverse relationships, in the first new set of sex education guidelines to be produced in 14 years.

It follows a report from Ofsted last year, that said sex education was taught badly in a third to half of schools, and teachers needed to address the influence of pornography on the sexual development of young people.

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In a poll conducted by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in February, school staff said that increasing numbers of pupils were watching pornographic material on their phones during break time, using sexually explicit language, and "sexting".

Some teachers claimed that this was leading to more sexual bullying and increased promiscuity.

Most thought that pupils should be taught about pornography in sex education classes.

The advice is not legally binding, and was welcomed by Schools Minister Lord Nash.

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