Concern after teen sex revelations

The Press 26 May 2009

Half of 16-year-old Kiwis say they have been in love and more than a third have already had sex, a new study reveals. Results from the New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) longitudinal study of 500 young people have led to calls for better sex education in schools and more parenting programmes. The new study also reveals 84 per cent of 16-year-olds had drunk alcohol in the previous year and 51 per cent had done something they regretted while drunk.

“Sixteen is still young,” Family Planning Association chief executive Jackie Edmond said. “This shows how important it is for parents to talk to their children around sexual health and sexuality.” Family Planning had “huge concerns” about sexual education in New Zealand schools and homes. “The reality is that sexuality education and sexual health education in New Zealand is incredibly inconsistently applied across schools,” Edmond said. “We feel strongly that young people need the information so that they can make the decisions and there is no research that supports that telling young people more means that they will have sex earlier; in fact, it does seem to be the opposite.” The new results from the NZCER study, which started following the 500 young people from the greater Wellington region in 1993, also showed a fifth of the study’s participants had got into trouble with the police.