The Ministry of Education's plan to release revised guidelines for sex education in schools to better reflect changing social climates is a logical response to rapid changes in social interaction - namely the rise of social media.
The Ministry of Education says the revised guidelines will provide greater clarity for teachers on issues to tackle on the subject, including consent, coercion and sexual violence.
The guidelines take account of "changing social climates" and follow an 18-month inquiry, which found sex education in schools was "fragmented and uneven".
As reported in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, principals say they also need to cover the influence of social media.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
They agree the social environment for young people is changing thanks to the prevalence of social media, and educators spoken to expressed fears about the influence of the internet - including online pornography - in determining teen sexual attitudes and behaviour.
Otumoetai College principal Dave Randell says research shows 50 per cent of young people experience sex while still at school, and teen attitudes to sex are being formed by explicit material they are being exposed to on social media and music channels.
He notes that parents cannot leave it to schools to talk to teens about sex-related issues. He also believes parents should monitor what their child is doing online.
Ideally, parents would take on this responsibility but this does not always happen so it is good to know the Ministry of Education is taking a proactive approach.
As other commentators have noted, there is likely to be a backlash from a minority who believe sex education has no place in schools but you only have to look at the Roast Busters case to see the importance of countering online influences.