Teaching young people about sex is too important to get wrong

Author : herreralena50
Publish Date : 2021-04-28 19:00:59
Teaching young people about sex is too important to get wrong

Two videos were removed this week from the Australian government’s recently released sexuality education resource for schools.

 


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Two videos were removed this week from the Australian government’s recently released sexuality education resource for schools.

The government released the Good Society resource in mid April, which consists of more than 350 materials including videos, digital stories and podcasts to teach respectful relationships in schools. The two videos that were removed had been widely criticised by politicians, sexuality educators, and sexual assault support groups for missing the mark on sex education.

One clip, showing a couple on a film set that looks like a retro diner, aims to teach about consent through the metaphor of a milkshake. After a young man rejects a young woman’s milkshake, she smears milkshake in his face, saying sentence “Drink it all!”.

The scene is followed by somewhat confusing diagrams of a football field with a voiceover explaining ideas about shared decision making.
I’m a visual culture researcher interested in how information about sexuality and relationships can effectively be communicated to young people. I have compiled several examples of sexual education videos that better meet the needs of young people.

The milkshake metaphor in the Good Society video is confusing because it is meant to teach about sexual consent, but doesn’t ever mention sex. Nor does it explain what the metaphor stands for.

Young people already see a explicit and distorted representation of sex in pornography. Generally, boys start watching around the age of 13 and girls around 16. So, it seems antiquated to produce sexuality education resources that don’t speak directly about sex.

Research shows straightforward language is best when teaching young people about sexuality and relationships.
The Good Society resource attempts to use humour to engage the audience. Research shows humour can be an effective strategy in public health campaigns. However, sustained behaviour change relies on easily understood messages, a feeling the information is personally relevant to the targeted audience, and a sense of self-efficacy (the individual knowing how to act on the information they see).
Because the Good Society resource was confusing, the humour was confusing as well. And the video failed to create a clear sense of personal relevance and self-efficacy.

Here are videos that work better.
The Practical Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships was developed by expert sexuality education researchers at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University.

The resource includes a series of humorous but straightforward animated videos dealing with sex, pornography, relationships, consent and gender.

One video for students in years 9 and 10, illustrates sexual desire and consent by using a couple of astronauts and then a couple of pirates.

Though these depictions may sound as confusing as the milkshake metaphor, the metaphors in these videos are clearly explained. And the use of colloquial language provides a sense of relevance. The narrators of the videos talk directly to young people:

“You’re 14, 15, 16 … there’s a lot of shit going on,” says a female narrator.

“That looks like electricity”, a male narrator says when lightning bolts are drawn coming towards the head of a boy.

“It’s a metaphor for all the shit going on,” the female narrator responds.



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