Sex under 16 OK, say students in survey

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 February, 2009, 12:00am

Fourteen per cent of junior secondary students surveyed in a poll said it was acceptable to have sex under the age of 16, while 16 per cent approved of having more than one sex partner at a time.

Most students still held traditional values on love and sex, said Maggie Cheung Yin-lei, service officer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong, which conducted the survey of seven schools in Tseung Kwan O.

'But there are some who hold less conservative views, especially those who started dating early,' she said.

A total of 1,214 Form Two and Form Three students - between 13 and 15 years old - were polled in November and December.

More than 16 per cent of them said it was acceptable to have sex with someone who was not their boyfriend or girlfriend, and about 7 per cent said it was acceptable to exchange sex for money.

About 27 per cent said they had dating experience. Of those, 74 per cent said the relationship lasted less than five months and 28 per cent said they had been romantically involved with more than three people in the past year.

Ms Cheung said media influence might have led to the more open attitude towards love and sex, and warned that dating too early might cause emotional scars that could affect future marriages.

More than 55 per cent of those polled said cyber love was acceptable, and 27 per cent who had dated before said they met their partners online - a fact Ms Cheung said parents ought to be aware of. 'Teenagers may not know how to protect themselves properly in an online environment. They may easily be cheated.'

Kwan Kit-ling, the mother of a 19-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son, said she was worried when she learned her daughter had started dating. She asked to meet her boyfriend to 'talk it over', cautioning him not to affect her daughter's studies.

The boy promised to help her daughter in studying, Ms Kwan said.

'My daughter's academic performance eventually improved. It proves that communication is more important that blindly forbidding your children to date,' she said.