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Why schoolchildren will be taught about consent, masturbation & porn earlier

Children as young as 12 are being exposed to pornography. Dr Eve explains why the Education Department has added masturbation and pornography to its Life Orientation curriculum.

FILE: Backpacks outside a classroom. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN – From pornography to masturbation, some parents have questioned why their children will be exposed to these topics at school as part of their curriculum.

702’s Bongani Bingwa interviewed sex therapist Dr Eve about a decision by education officials to include masturbation and sexual consent, among other topics, in the Life Orientation curriculum for pupils from grades 4-12.

Dr Eve formed part of a team that reviewed the curriculum.

She explained: “The department looked at the biggest problems faced by children and society. They found that violence and sexuality were the biggest problems, because of intimate partner violence and violence against women, and because there was so much unsafe sex and an increase in HIV. This means there’s a lot of ignorance and risky behaviour.”

She said the new curriculum would not only focus on masturbation.

“It’s about how do we humanise our children. When we talk about sexual education it’s not about what is masturbation or what is sex. It’s based on values and how we instill certain values in people that will expand into their lives.”

Dr Eve also explained why they’ve included pornography into the curriculum.

“We want to be teaching them about pornography, which is in the curriculum, ahead of time before they’re exposed to it. Masturbation is often associated with pornography and we don’t want that happening right? So, we have to have these important conversations, that masturbation is something children do. It’s been included into the curriculum because they don’t know what it's about and they think that it's what healthy sexuality looks like.
We as parents have to talk to them and explain that pornography is an act of entertainment.”

Listen to the audio for more.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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