image

City Weekend

Young Hongkongers turn to social media, porn and peers for sex education — because it’s bad in schools

Local dating agency founder says young people would not voluntarily consult parents or teachers for information about sex for fear of disapproval or over-reaction

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 9:01am

Young people are turning to social media, porn and their peers for advice on sex because they are not getting adequate sex education at school or at home, a dating expert has claimed.

Carolyn Chan, founder of local dating agency So Klose, said young people would not voluntarily consult their parents or teachers for information about sex for fear of “disapproval, over-reaction and suspicious monitoring of their behaviour after the consultation.”

Why are Hong Kong’s schools failing so badly at sex?

She said this was potentially problematic because young people might end up becoming misinformed about sex.

“Young people will instead discuss with their similarly uninformed peers or obtain sex education from online discussion forums, or will consider viewing sexually explicit material online as a way of learning sex,” she said.

“Nowadays, internet and social media platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp, WeChat and Instagram are part of children’s everyday life. They’re not just for talking with friends. Young people are also using social media to express themselves and find information.”

Chan made the comments after the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong published its latest survey on youth sexuality, which showed an increasing number of children had viewed porn.

The survey revealed 59 per cent of boys and 33 per cent of girls in secondary schools had viewed explicit material, up about 5 percentage points from the last study in 2011. It also revealed a decline in their sexual knowledge.

Gay activist condemns ‘outrageous’ treatment of LGBT issues in Hong Kong schools

Chan said pornography was widely accessible for children, even if they were not looking for it.

“They will visit pornographic websites more easily now, deliberately and accidentally, through pop-up window ads, mobile phone ad banners on their mobile phones, iPads or computers,” she said. “Due to lack of sex education and sexual curiosity, boys are more likely to search and are more frequent consumers of those pornographic websites. And all ages of internet users may find it is easy to have unwanted encounters with sexually explicit material online.

“Some young people who feel a lack of parental warmth, love or caring are more likely to have sexual risk behaviour if they have early exposure to porn and don’t understand the potential dangers of risky sexual behaviour.”

A spokesman for the Education Bureau said it was continuing to work with schools to improve sex education lessons.