Hong Kong parents must also help with sex education for teenagers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2017, 10:18pm

In a Confucian society like Hong Kong, it is by no means surprising that sex education remains a highly taboo subject in families strongly bound by antiquated values.

A considerable number of parents lack the knowledge, attitude, skills and audacity needed to speak openly to kids about such concepts as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the menstrual cycle and safe sex.

The mere mention of the word sex over dinner may raise eyebrows, make parents blush and earn children an earful. Therefore, some parents may pass the responsibility altogether to schools.

Indeed, the curriculum framework for moral and civic education suggested by the Education Bureau gives schools an inkling of the topics suitable for sex education lessons, which usually come in the form of life education classes.

During these lessons, teachers, with the assistance of outside bodies such as nurses from the Hospital Authority and NGOs, engage kids in small-group discussions or workshops to rectify teenagers’ misconceptions about sex and quash urban myths.

However, schools can only do so much to empower kids to make informed and responsible decisions about sexuality.

Once an adolescent reaches home, they can easily access the abundance of pornographic material on the internet.

Excessive viewing of such obscene and promiscuous videos could lead to sex addiction, sexual aggression and perverted sexual behaviour.

The Sex Education Show, a British TV programme broadcast from 2008 to 2011 on Channel 4, revealed alarming facts about sex-related problems among British youngsters, including teen pregnancy, contraction of STDs and obsession with sex. If left untreated, these problems can morph into much more serious issues, such as sex-related crime and sexual abuse in adulthood.

Perhaps we should heed the warnings on this TV programme and work together on the provision of sex education.

At school, teachers can put their heads together and see what adjustments are needed to fine-tune the course content and teaching methodology of their existing school-based sex education curriculum.

At home, parents should educate themselves about sex and take the first step to discuss the topic with their children. Avoiding the responsibility to teach kids about sex is simply a non-starter.

The media should also exercise caution and professionalism when reporting stories about offences of indecent assault, so that indecency is not mistakenly portrayed as acceptable or convey the idea that the victim is to blame.

Jason Tang, Tin Shui Wai