It’s never too early to teach kids about their own body, what inappropriate touching is, and how to protect themselves from it.
Some argue that teaching children about sex too young will allow curiosity to get the best of them and they will want to start having sex immediately; however, it’s very clear that teaching children about sex will help them make informed decisions later on when they decide to start having sex.
Many of our school systems teach abstinence-only based sex education, which means not teaching children what safe sex is but how to avoid sex in general. This is not only unrealistic but dangerous.
Easy access to the internet and social media combined with natural curiosity creates a portal for K-12 students to learn about sex from people other than their parents. These elements mixed with images from movies, television, music and media have the ability to immensely impact what a child thinks about sex.
Environmental science student Marisa Gleason thinks both parents and kids would benefit from having a healthy discussion at an early age.
“I don’t think you’re ever too young to learn about sexual education but I think there’s a boundary of what you talk about with your kid,” Gleason said. “As a parent I think you should slowly start out what you discuss, and then you can gradually and work your way up… that way your child is educated at an early age.”
Sex education should be more comprehensive because not everyone has the “sex talk” with their parents or guardians. Many students said their parents never actually discussed sex with them and they were forced to figure these things out on their own with only the help of sex education at school.
Potential topics that could be discussed at an early age are which body parts are considered private, what is inappropriate touching and how to alert someone when you are being touched without consent. Topics like these not only teach children consent but can help prevent a potentially dangerous situation.
Jasmen Rogers is a community organizer and a Gender Justice Coordinator at the Miami Workers Center that is currently working on a campaign to bring comprehensive sex education to Miami-Dade schools. The Florida State University alumnae insists that by educating kids before they reach high school, rape and sexual assault can be prevented.
“So we advocate for comprehensive sex education to start as early as possible,” Rogers said. “Now, what that means is not necessarily that you are teaching a two-year old about vaginal penetration but it means that you’ll be teaching that two-year old autonomy over their body, maybe what their different body parts are in age appropriate terms, who is allowed to or not allowed to touch their body and how they can say if someone comes into their space.”
Like any program in school, sex education should be appropriate, relevant and leave kids feeling empowered with knowledge. Comprehensive sex education is an option that shows it is never too early to teach a child how to make an informed decision.