There is a lack of sex education given to young students, so most have no proper knowledge about what to do and how to do it safely. Since there is no proper teaching, young students are reaching out to other sources (such as the internet) because they feel they do not have a safe place to discuss it at school.
In an article I annotated, Melissa Malley (the author) states that one of the main problems with delaying sex education is that it “poses both safety and health issues.” Malley discusses that there are certain myths that are floating around the internet, and because young students are not exposed to proper education at their schools or they don’t feel comfortable enough to openly talk about it, they go to the internet to find the answers themselves. This leads to exposure to false and dangerous myths. And because the students don’t know better, they believe them. For example, one common misconception is the Mountain Dew myth. This “suggests that the soda serves as birth control by lowering a man’s sperm count.” Although this may sound crazy to most people, others believe this is true because they have not had any better education about forms of birth control.
Malley highlights possible solutions to this problem. One solution is simply to empower “young people with a healthy approach to sexual behavior and relationships,” which is a step to set the students up for future success. Another solution, which is more specific, is having the a “near-peer model” in the classrooms. This is where students are more willing to ask questions and have an open conversation with other young students because of relatability. When students can relate to others, they are more comfortable having these conversations than they would be talking about it with an adult.
However, this peer model has it downsides. One of the peer leaders explained that they “didn’t always feel completely qualified answering some of the questions students had.” This is an important thing to consider, because if the young leaders don’t have the answers that they young learner’s need, then they are back to where they started. Malley says, “students need to learn proper behavior related to sex in order to develop healthy relationships” and most times, this means having qualified adults be the leaders of the conversations.
Although the solution that Malley presents has its shortcomings, I think the solution could be feasible. It is understandable that young students feel more comfortable to talk about sex with others that are closer to them in age rather than discussing it with adults. In schools, it could be an option to have certain times that students are able to talk to other young people that are more knowledgable in this field. The first step to any solution, however, is to realize that there is a lack of sex education and how important it is that young students receive the proper education in early stages of life. So, if it is hard to find other young educators than we must find adults that are willing to educate the students in the right way so they feel comfortable enough to talk about it in the classroom rather than going to the internet to find the answers.Tags: Judge Memorial Catholic High School