Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sex Ed Online?


New York magazine's provocative cover story, "Porn and Junior-High Culture" highlights the technologically enhanced exposure of young kids to online pornography. MTV's new series Skins is raising eyebrows about its depiction of underage and teenage actors baring bodies. So I began to wonder about the availability of quality sex education for kids, teens and young adults online.

According to a 16 year old quoted in the New York magazine article:
"You can learn a lot of things about sex. You don't have to use, like your parents sitting down with you and telling you. The Internet's where kids learn it from, most of the time."
So how good is the information out there on the web? I wondered if anyone had ever looked to see what kind of information is available? Along comes a 2010 article in the Journal of Adolescent Health which reviews 177 sexual health websites for quality and accuracy.

Each site was judged based on 15 quality criteria including authors' credentials and affiliations, sources and references, clear dating, disclosure of ownership, clear editorial policies, copyright notices, and internal search engines. Websites were further reviewed for false and inaccurate information.  Surprisingly, only 17% of sites had one or more inaccuracies but site quality was not correlated with accuracy. And domain extensions (.com, .gov, .edu, .org) did not seem to affect either the quality of the website or the level of inaccuracies. However, "web sites containing the most technically complex information (contraception, sexually transmitted infections) and controversial topics (abortion, penis size, emergency contraception) contained the most inaccuracies." In other words a site can look legit but have inaccuracies and errors.

The authors pose the question "...what can we do to aid young people in finding quality OSHI (online sexual health information)?" Like all other issues related to nearly infinite web resources, parents, teachers, health care workers and those who care about our kids need to step in and begin to figure out how to endorse and then disseminate quality, accurate, readable and age-appropriate information that is "sexy" enough that kids will get their learning from trusted sources rather than the entertainment industry. Anyone up for creating one with me?

18 comments:

  1. I really like the idea of sex education online. It's very convenient and it's effective in some ways.

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  2. Sex is one of the best experience that one have in their life.Its the ultimate pleasure which is considered to link a man to God.However there is no proper guidance about it.Sex education can be really helpful in reducing all the misconception of man.

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  3. Young people need to be informed on the right choices.

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  4. I guess sex education should be introduced to students as early as a six grader before they get involved in premarital sex.

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  5. It is really alarming when teenagers say that they are learning things about sex on the internet. We all know that there are countless of websites that promote unsafe sex.

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  6. I also agree in introducing sex education on schools. However, the authorities should examine the program before implementing it.

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  8. "health care workers and those who care about our kids need to step in and begin to figure out" The simple truth is that more mature persons who have real life experience about sex should be the ones to teach youths about the BALANCE reality about sex. The internet and phono materials has made many youth lost track of realities

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  9. parents and even teachers are important part and also best resources those can give enough sexual knowledge to the childrens..
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