Let's Talk About Education, Shall We?
How comfortable are our kids watching our actors dive into full-fledged frenchies these days? A lot, maybe. At least the ones in the age group of 7-8 are. Even when we don’t take them out for such movies, “Aa Re Pritam Pyare” are all over their television screens, the car radios, and their phones. Also, not to mention our 4-year-olds are capable of handling a smartphone better than the generation who started using them in the first place.
What is the point of all of this? The children are getting smarter by the hour, reproducing by the minute, and are exposed to all kinds of negativity every second. They know there’s a triple murder case being discussed on the news, candle marches for sexual assaults, and rallies for and against homosexuality. And yes, reproducing by the minute, because there’s been an alarming increase in the number of girls in the ages of 15-19 getting pregnant in our country. In 2010, there were 76 adolescent births per 1000 women, and not even close to the worldwide average of 50. The doctors are shocked by the number of teenagers contracted with various STDs. It has risen from one to 4.9 percent in teenagers and 2 percent in pediatric groups.
What have we done wrong?
We have switched off channels every time there was gore on screen, we’ve told them not to watch certain shows and videos, we avoid using slangs in front of them as much as we can, but the society is catching up faster than we’d like. They’re more curious than ever, about subjects we’ve shunned them to talk about, without realizing that curiosity needs a solution. We all have climbed on a ladder sometime in our childhood to discover what our mother hid in the top shelf of the kitchen. Would the kids today not do the same about sex education?
In our country, most schools don’t have proper sex education classes, and the ones who do, don’t have them until they’re about to graduate. They’re already moving towards the end of their teenage years by then and the possibility of them knowing more about the subject than we do, is slightly higher. The plausibility of them having the most wrong of information about the same isn’t low either.
And yet, we don’t want to talk about it until it’s the “right age”. What is the “right age”, anyway? When Sunny Leone made her Bollywood debut, every single newspaper hailed her being a porn star and even the kids who don’t know what the word means, know that she was/is one.
The Netherlands has comprehensive sex education programs starting at the kindergarten level for children as young as 4 and it is considered one of the most pro-sex countries in the world. They have one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in the world and has close to no cases of teenage STDs. Because comprehensive sex education not only teaches the children about "how to do it" in the safest manner but also about their bodies, and how to handle them. What's right and what's wrong, and that's important.
The right age happens the same day your child comes up with a question even remotely related to sex. However, it’s the responsibility of a parent to make them understand things according to their age. Telling them to shut up and never bring up stuff like that again, could lead them to that ladder which reaches the top shelf. And we don’t want that, do we?
Times are changing, so it’s only fair that we do too. If we can’t accept their questions, there’d be someone out there ready with the answers that won’t do them any good.
A remarkable step in this direction has been taken up by the YouTube channel, YFilms in the form of their show, “Sex Chat with Pappu & Papa’’. Their first episode is about masturbation, and the way the child’s father has handled this query of his 7-year-old is worthy of an applause.