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Schools to teach pupils about sexting and porn in new SRE curriculum

The news that sex and relationships education (SRE) will soon become a compulsory teaching requirement for all UK schools has been welcomed by the majority of teaching staff and parents.

The updated sex and relationships education curriculum is set to include topics such as online safety, sexting and consent. The issues surrounding pornography will also be taught, alongside topics such as sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

Sexting is prevalent amongst UK teenagers. Research carried out by the NSPCC found that 55 per cent of those involved with sexting were under the age of 16. Worryingly, the same research found that two thirds of young people who felt forced to send images to another person were, in most cases, sending photos of themselves to someone over the age of 18.

There has been an increase in the number of online harassment reports in recent years, and with many young people confessing that they would not feel comfortable talking to an adult about their negative online experiences, the updated sex and relationships curriculum can only be beneficial. The ability to educate young people about the various forms of online dangers before they become exposed them personally, and generating an environment in which students feel comfortable disclosing concerns to teaching staff aims to prevent the number of reports from increasing at such a rapid pace.

The current SRE curriculum, which was last updated in 2002, has been criticised for its lack of information about the risks the internet poses to young people. The majority of parents in a recent study felt that their children should receive age-appropriate education on matters such as porn and sexting.

If you would like to build your knowledge of online risks such as grooming, porn and sexting, we have a variety of e-Safety Online Training courses for both parents and staff working in the education sector. Find out more information here.