Media Release 20 Feb 2015
Family First NZ is rejecting a call by an Australian sexologist for sex education to be targeted at children as young as five, and says that resources should be targeted at parents to help them educate their own children.
“Parents should be horrified at the prospect of programmes targeted at children as young as five undermining the role and values of parents, and resources which fail to take into account the emotional and physical development of each child and the values of that particular family,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“There is definitely a need for young people to be aware of the harms of pornography, rape and teen pregnancy, and issues around consent, but parents know their children the best and should determine the best timing and most appropriate way to tackle these sensitive topics. A valueless ‘one size fits all’ approach is far too simplistic and can even be harmful.”
“Studies show that the biggest protective factors for coping with puberty and sexual involvement are married parents, family values, parental supervision, and parental expectations for behaviour. What happens at home is the greatest determinant of the outcomes for the young person.”
Family First acknowledges that the Youth Wellbeing Project has excellent resources for parents, and this is where the emphasis should be.
A recent international study found that by the age of ten years old, most children will have already had their first ‘facts of life’ talk with their parents. The online survey of 5,420 parents and 2,569 children aged 5-10 years old was undertaken during 2014 in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. The AVG Technology survey found that most parents plan to have the chat about adult topics including pornography, sex and puberty by the time their kids are 10-years-old, and that 76% believe that the Internet has encouraged the conversation on adult themes with children at an increasingly early age.
“This is a great result and shows that parents are now looking to pre-empt the unacceptable messages being pushed in the media, on the internet, and by groups abusing the sex education curriculum which pollute their young children’s minds and innocence. Parents are the best moral gatekeepers for their children,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“We should be resourcing parents to be empowered to have these talks with their own children.”
A recent review of sex education resources recommended to adolescents in NZ found that they are seriously flawed with both sins of commission and sins of omission, and that critical life and death information is distorted or ignored.