Primary pupils are ‘sexting’

Many 13-year-olds have sent photographs of themselves naked or performing sex acts by text to classmates, according to a classroom survey, and Ofsted wants PHSE to cover more ‘controversial issues’.

The survey reveals that 10 year-olds are routinely having sex and sending explicit pictures of themselves to classmates The Telegraph reports. The study also showed the average child is first exposed to pornography at the age of 11. One teacher said that some pupils are so pressured to send sexual photos they trawl the internet looking at child porn to find suitable images they can send.

Michelle Barry, who works with thousands of children aged seven upwards as part of a preventative education project, said: “I was gobsmacked when I asked a class of 13 year-olds if they had ever sent naked pictures of themselves and not a single hand did not go up. What is most worrying is the fact young people do not identify this as a problem. For them it is part and parcel of school life.”

A new report from Ofsted into PHSE found that lessons were poorly presented in half of secondary schools and a failure to tackle areas such as healthy sexual relationships, consent and the influence of porn could leave pupils open to exploitation as they grow up.

In primary schools, the Inspectors say, too much emphasis is placed on friendships and relationships when teaching sex and relationships education and this can leave pupils ill-prepared for the physical and emotional changes of puberty. In secondary schools, too much emphasis is placed on the ‘mechanics’ of reproduction rather than on the importance of healthy sexual relationships.

Last week guidance from The Sex Education Forum, a coalition of more than 90 organisations including  the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, encouraged teachers to introduce pornography into the classroom, using sex education lessons to explain that porn is ‘not all bad’ and ‘hugely diverse’. Critics of the guidance said that parents would be ‘horrified’ by the possible introduction of pornography into classroom lessons.

Are you shocked by the survey’s findings? And do you agree with Ofsted’s views on PHSE education?


3 thoughts on “Primary pupils are ‘sexting’

  1. Yes, I think it is terrible that children who have just arrived at the aduslts world exercize in such experiences. If you happen to spend some time with them, I am not an elementary teacher, you realize they are very little things coming to life and they should serously be proctected against the risks that the “uncontrolled use” of the internet implies. First of all parents should help them with more attention about what their children are going to face, but many are very busy with themselves and there is little time left for commitment; schools, anyway, should care about what their job is, not every thing should be left to the decision of single teacher but discussed and given application after general discussions, having in mind what comes first for the health and wellness of the boy or girl. Maria, from Italy

  2. How sad for parents if they cannot protect their innocent children from being exposed to sexual imagery and activity at such an early age.
    I think emphasising on how special they all are and how important it is to keep themselves pure until they are old enough to deal with the emotional issues attached sex. Setting a standard for them to achieve and letting them know they do matter and not to sell themselves short.

  3. Parents need to be in control of their childrens internet access and also need to spend some time explaining how healthy relationships are conducted. It is not the sole responsibility of the education system, in fact schools should have a less important role than parent in this.

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