Children ‘need to be warned about porn’

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SCHOOLS should give lessons on pornography to teach pupils that it shows a “distorted image” of sex and relationships, according to new guidance.

Youngsters need to learn that pornography does not reflect real life, often showing “perfect bodies and exaggerated sexual prowess”, it says.

The document also calls for students to be told about the dangers of “sexting” – sending explicit text messages – and sharing sexual photos and images.

The new guidance has been drawn up by sexual health charity Brook, the PSHE Association and the Sex Education Forum in a bid to give schools advice on how to teach pupils about the topic.

It comes in the wake of a number of reports warning that sex and relationships education is not up to scratch in many schools and growing fears that children are increasingly exposed to pornography, sexual images and sexual bullying, which could leave them open to exploitation and inappropriate behaviour.

A report published by Ofsted last year found that sex and relationships education needs to be improved in more than a third of schools and called for secondary school pupils to learn more about issues such as porn, relationships, sexuality and staying safe.

Teachers have also spoken out about the issue, with one survey suggesting that schoolchildren are increasingly having sexually explicit conversations with each other after being exposed to pornography. The poll had also found that some teachers report an increase in sexual bullying at their school or college.

The new advice, which has been welcomed by Ministers, says schools should teach about the impact of pornography, arguing that there is widespread support from parents for this.

“Teaching should emphasise that pornography is not the best way to learn about sex because it does not reflect real life, and can therefore be worrying, confusing and frightening for young people,” it says.