Sex education not on agenda

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Sex education not on agenda

Thursday, 15 November 2018 | Team Viva

Sex education not on agenda

Only one-third of parents with older kids (15-17 years) claimed to be talking to them about it. By Team Viva

Children’s Day may well be celebrated every year on November 14 to commemorate Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s birth anniversary and increase awareness of rights, care and education of children. But a survey this year shows that we may have well fallen short when it comes to parenting and schooling them about a subject that is sensitive and the knowledge of which would prepare them to face a world of predatory exploitation, that of sex.

A study was conducted across various demographics to understand digital media and its behavioural impact on children recorded some interesting insights. It was found that six out of 10 parents do not talk about sex education with their children. A mere one-third of parents with older kids (15-17 years) claimed to be talking to their kids about sex education, according to a research by a market research and analysis company, Velocity MR. Only one-third of the kids’ parents say are exposed to sex education at school.

Seven in every 10 kids across age groups play online games with friends around the world and nine in 10 parents of kids in the age group 6-10 years unanimously agree that the pop-ups expose their child/children to unwanted content. Approximately, one in every two children spends two-three hours daily on the internet.  Six in every 10 parents agree that online games have a negative impact on their child’s behaviour.

But there are more number of parents who believe that the internet helps in education of the child. As many as nine in every 10 parents believe that. “With the growing presence and usage of digital media, our younger generation has been adopting digital media exponentially. Even though social media may not be a safe place for kids, there is peer pressure for children to have an online identity,” said Jasal Shah, managing director of the company. “It’s shocking to see that most parents do not talk about sex education with their children. In India, according to our data, 53 per cent of children between the ages of five and 12 have been subjected to some form of sexual abuse. There are numerous misconceptions surrounding sex education in India,” he added.

Gone are the days when children loved to indulge in outdoor activities. The influence of technology in the field of gaming continues to grow at a rapid pace. As computer and video games have increased exponentially in popularity over time, they have also caused drastic behavioural changes among the current generation of children. A recent online game called Blue Whale which was causing suicide among children is an example of the adverse effects of online gaming. All these shows that parents must play an active role in monitoring their children online activity.

With access to the internet through multiple points, children are learning to use the internet at a younger age. Close to 55 per cent parents say, their kids started using the internet between six and10 years of age and three in every five kids having access to an internet-based TV. But not all parents see the access to be detrimental. Eight of 10 parents of children aged six to 10 years  are positive about TV viewing.

Mobile phones have become the primary interface to access the internet and with that comes access to unwanted content that can not be always monitored. Even though three fourth of the parents say that they have never caught their kids watching unwanted content, two third of them use measures to restrict their internet access.

Parents of young kids (six-10 years) tend to monitor their usage of the internet the most; followed by 11-14 years (nine in every 10) and 15-17 year (eight in every 10).

Access to social media has also become prolific with more than eight in every 10 kids having access and using it for maximum of about 3 hours daily. Eight in every 10 parents discuss the usage and dangers of social media with their kids and nine in every 10 of the parents with minor kids with access to social media monitor their social media usage.

The research was conducted on a sample size of 2,268 covering prominent Indian metros including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune.

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