The Education Department is planning to update and improve its sex education materials for schoolchildren. That should neither be shocking nor controversial. No one doubts children need protection against sex offenders, just as they need protection against violence or disturbing television material. In an environment in which sex is all-pervasive, the ability to distinguish between the threatening and the benign is an increasingly important part of a child's defences. However, controversy arises over the age at which sex education should begin. The Education Department is not confining itself to secondary schools, nor even to the primary sector, where children are, if not mature, at least sufficiently proficient in language and concepts and interested enough in their own bodies to cope with the information. Instead, education planners intend to introduce the subject to kindergarten children, some as young as two. They will be taught nursery rhymes on child sex abuse, be warned about sex offenders and told the kinds of adult touch that are good and those that are bad. This may be going too far. No doubt the department will try to be sensitive and careful, but it is unlikely to be able to find the right approach for every very young child. Many will find these lessons disturbing and will not be equipped to understand what is being taught. It is one thing warning children about trolls and goblins in story books, it is quite another to make them fearful and distrustful of real people when they are too young to understand why. Responsible parents and carers will already be teaching their children to be careful of strangers. Better still, they will ensure the children are not left alone with strangers in the first place. But there is no need to scare the wits out of them.