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Why does society treat sex as something that is unnatural and impure, when the general population doesn’t wait until marriage to have sex. In fact, most Americans will be sexually active before marriage. The negative connotation sex has, makes it hard to teach sex education in schools. From an adult perspective, it’s the not wanting to persuade teens to get involved sexually, and form the teenage perspective, it’s being comfortable enough to ask questions and retain information. Although, there hasn’t been a solution to the problem, society knows that some form of sex education is needed. The process of implementing an effective way to teach sex education has been on an ongoing issue, but an app that allows students to express questions they have and find information on sex can improve mental health, decrease early pregnancy rates, and decrease the risk of sexually transmitted diseases is the solution.
To start with background on sex education, it can be defined as “the provision of information about bodily development, sex, sexuality, and relationships, along with skills-building to help young people communicate about and make informed decisions regarding sex and their sexual health.” Schools have been held responsible for educating students about sex for many decades now. The type of program that should be taught is an argument that people can’t seem to agree on. As a whole we can agree that sex is something that has to be addressed, but in the way it is, is what is debated.
The three main sex education programs are abstinence-only, abstinence-preferred, and comprehensive. Each is different in its own way, but they are all implemented to give answers to curious teenagers. Abstinence-only programs are focus on waiting until marriage to have sex, people usually approve of this program because it doesn’t go into extreme detail about sex, and they believe is delays sexual intercourse among teens. The acceptance that this program delays sex is false, “No abstinence-only-until-marriage program has been shown to help teens delay the initiation of sex or to protect themselves when they do initiate sex.” Therefore, this program doesn’t do anything to benefit teens besides give them little information how to accurately approach sexual intercourse. This leaves them uneducated or more likely to make the mistakes that adults are afraid of. The abstinence-preferred programs are along the same line of the abstinence-only program, but the information is touched a little bit more thoroughly. The information isn’t as vague, but whenever it’s being presented things like the only 100% effective way to not get pregnant is through abstinence. Which is not an issue, but when the lack of information teens are given in this program is hindering the right they have to be fully informed in order to protect themselves. Abstinence-preferred programs are as detrimental to society as abstinence-only programs are, if the program doesn’t offer everything that is needed to know than it’s an injustice to the students.
Comprehensive sex programs are the most extensive programs, they teach age appropriate material on broad subjects, this includes topics about contraceptives and condoms. The issue with this program is some parents are not comfortable with their children learning about sex because of the fear that it will increase the rate of sexual initiation. In fact, according to Grunseit, Aggleton, & Kippax (1997) there have been reports of students delaying sexual initiation due to the fear of pregnancy and sexual transmitted diseases and infections. Also, the government will not fund comprehensive sex programs due to the prohibition of teaching adolescences about the benefit of contraceptives and condoms, making school reluctant to teaching this method of sex education. This especially applies to school in low poverty areas that need government finding, because they do not have the funds to operate on their own. Since they don’t have donors or sponsors. The combination of low GPA and high-levels of school poverty was especially detrimental for students’ sexual health knowledge, inadequate sex education is even worse for students in low poverty.
Pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates are high in poverty ridden areas due to the lack of education. When a child is born in poverty they are likely to stay in that social class throughout their life. This continues the cycle of familial poverty. Also, most kids that go to schools in low-income neighborhoods are black and Hispanic kids. Hispanic teens have the highest pregnancy rate and then black teens follow, even with the decrease of pregnancy these two groups are still the highest among all other racial groups. Sex education informs teens on how to approach sex and handle it in a safe manner. When doing research, the main concerns for adults not wanting sex education was pregnancy, sexual transmitted diseases and infections, and early sex initiation, all of which, either improve or aren’t affected by an effective sex education program. The more educated students are about sex the less likely they are to make the mistakes adults are worried about. Condoms and contraceptives fight pregnancy and std’s/sti’s rates, and studies haves showed that sex education either doesn’t effect of delay sexual initiation. Furthermore, effective sex education can also improve mental health.
Teenagers who identify with the LGBTQ+ community often don’t learn sex education that applies to them. This can cause them to feel like outcast even more and leave them ignorant is an area that they will part take in too. Programs that apply to this community will help them be more prepared and allow outsiders to have a better understanding of them instead of clinging to stereotypes and assumptions. The more that students outside of the LGBTQ+ community understand, the less these students will be subjected to bullying based on misconceptions.
Gender identity is something a lot of people do not understand, it’s when someone feels like they fit in the opposite gender more than their biological sex, or they do not want to identify with a specific gender at all. People who identify as transgender often face a lot of harassment due to people not comprehending their choice. We are told that there are only two genders when, 1.7% of the population is born intersex meaning they have both male and female sex organs. Although, 1.7% percent does not seem like a lot, that about 1.24 million people within the population. There are students in classrooms who are under the intersex criteria and the government should limit sex education, when they are people who don’t fit into social normative. Also, sexual orientation is a factor in sex education because sex isn’t just female and male. Regardless of beliefs the LGBTQ+ community is abundant, and they should be addressed as well. Although, pregnancy isn’t an issue in this situation, sexually transmitted diseases and infections are. They deserve to be educated enough to protect themselves from diseases too. As of 2014, “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men accounted for 83% of primary and secondary syphilis cases where sex of sex partner was known in the United States,” this number could decrease if all communities were educated enough about sex to understand the risk of and practice it safely.
Teenagers outside of the LGBTQ+ community mental health can also benefit from an adequate sex education programs. Many teens feel as they can talk to their parents about sex, or their parents refuse to communicate to them about it. This causes teens to look to peers and the media for the questions that have, which is the gateway for them to receive inaccurate information that could hurt them later. An app geared towards sex education will allow teens to find accurate information when they feel like can’t talk to their parents. One of the first things that come to mind when speaking about teenagers and sex is pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy rates have been dropping each year, although, researchers are not sure way, they believe it’s due to teen abstaining from sex longer or from teens using more contraceptive methods. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2017) in 2010, teen pregnancy made up about 9.4 billion of tax payers’ money due to increased health care and foster care. If children of teen parents end up in foster care it only continuous the cycle of teen pregnancy, girls who are in the foster care system are twice as likely to become pregnant than girls who are not. Ending the cycle has to begin with proper education, without it the country is just repeating the same mistakes repeatedly.
The advancements in technology has not gone unnoticed, schools are beginning to use technology more and more as the years progress. Electronics such as computers, cellphones, and tablets are growing in abundance among high school campuses. Teachers use technology, such as, interactive apps to make the class more enjoyable for the students, or review for test. An app that mimics an interactive game can be proven effective to help teach sex education. The app will consist a teacher having a code that gives access to her students, so they can enter a private discussion board. On this discussion board there will be categories that are in the sex education curriculum, each category will consist of facts that students want to know, or the teacher wants them to know. Also, within this discussion board there will be an anonymous message box that goes to the teacher, this will allow the students to ask any questions that have without the pressure and embarrassment and allow the teacher to prepare lesson plans based on the them, while choosing which questions are appropriate to answer. On the teacher’s side there will also be a teacher’s guide that has all the facts on each category, so they can answer any questions and be accurately informed. Outside of a school setting this app can stand alone, and act as a information source for teens. Often, when looking for information, the ability to find information on a topic one must search multiple sources. This app will centralize the information, therefore, making it convenient to teens. The app will give the statistics, but also include summarization due to the fact teenagers think of things relatively and statistics don’t emphasize things the way its suppose to them. For example, when teens are presented with statistics like 1 in 12 teens get pregnant from unprotected sex, they don’t consider 1 in 12 to be a lot, therefore, ignoring the warning.
One of the problems people see with sex education is not wanting to expose their children to sex to early. The app will require kids to put their date of birth in, in order to give them age appropriate information. This will eliminate the fear that parents have of their children over learning. Teens who look to peers and media for advice will no longer have to do so and risk receiving wrong information. Sex education can be a tricky thing due to what people perceive to be appropriate or not, but regardless of how individuals feel sex education is needed. Without it, std rates and pregnancy rates will increase because of the lack of education. Everyone knows that education is powerful and that with it comes insight, the same applies to the topic of sex. It is no different because of things like religion and morality. Sex deserves an amount of attention that will benefit the youth not disable them. Parents are worried about early sex initiation but fail to realize teens are going to have sex eventually, whether their safe and protected is up to how we choose to go about this problem. An app that focuses on educating sex will add to the declining trend of pregnancy and STD rates. Teens will be able to learn about sex outside of school, meaning when schools don’t offer comprehensive sex programs there is an alternate that doesn’t give unreliable information. Parents should find comfort in that fact that their children’s peers and media will influence their sexual knowledge less. This app ensures a future with better pregnancy rates, sexual transmitted disease rates, and better mental health among teens.
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