WHY SEXUAL HEALTH MATTERS
The Big Problem
If you’re raising, educating or working with children today, you know there is a big problem with the lack of sexual health education provided to our children. At Power Up Education, we recognize that there’s a lot of apathy within our communities around acknowledging and responding to the current realities of what it’s like to be a young person growing up today.
Times have changed. In the digital age we live in, there is an onslaught of readily available pornography and hyper-sexualized content (even just through accessing social media) that is exposing our children to content that is far beyond what they are able to comprehend - both emotionally and intellectually. This is a growing problem, and there is truly no way for us to monitor and intercept every one of these experiences as parents and caregivers.
The stats today tell us that 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys, will experience unwanted sexual touch before the age of 18. Pornography in particular is being used as a grooming tool for sexual exploitation, not to mention the strong impressions of sex and sexuality that are transmitted to our youth through such exposure. In fact, the largest group of viewers of internet porn are young people, aged 12-17. And a staggering 25% of our children under age 12 have already accessed pornography, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Exposure to pornography is shown to be a significant factor in the increase of child-on-child sexual harm. We know that schools and parents are currently ill-equipped to respond to what our children are facing and the harm they may endure. And… we are here to help.
The largest group of viewers of internet porn are young people, aged 12-17.
Why Sexual Health Matters
First, let’s define what we mean by sexual health. At Power Up Education, we believe “sexual health” includes the social, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of sexuality and relationships.
Curiosity is king, and we know that young people have a strong interest and natural inclination to develop their understanding and seek information about sex and sexual health. We believe that we should choose to feed and foster this curiosity in an intentional way to balance and address what children may experience through their online access and social interactions.
Today, schools continue to be the main source of sexual health information for children and adolescents. In fact, over 85% of Canadian parents, and 92% of high school youth, agree that sexual health education should be provided in schools - and we totally agree.
That said, this doesn’t take the importance of parents out of the picture. Only 63% of Canadian teenagers say that parents are a major source of information regarding sexual health. Yet, when parents, teachers, mentors and caregivers talk openly and honestly about sexuality, children and teenagers have the comfort, knowledge and support they need to achieve healthy sexual lives, free of abuse and exploitation.
This is our vision at Power Up Education: to create a world where sexual health education is as natural and habitual as brushing your teeth and combing your hair. We are here to positively impact families and educators, leaving each and every one of you feeling knowledgeable, empowered, and inspired.