Children are learning about sex from pornography as schools fail to provide proper sex education, MPs warn

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Children are turning to pornography and social media to learn about sexual health as schools are failing to provide proper sex education, MPs have warned.

The unconventional sources are exposing pupils to an ‘unacceptable risk of harm’ at a time when rates of sexually transmitted diseases are soaring, the cross-party women and equalities committee added.

The committee blamed the trends on the ‘absence of authoritative advice’ and called for relationships and sex education (RSE) to be taught up to the age of 18.

Moreover, the benefits of condom use ‘must be a key part of the curriculum’ to curb the spread of disease as their use is falling, the MPs said.

The committee’s latest report, published today, said: ‘In schools, there is compelling evidence that relationships and sex education (RSE) is failing young people.’

Children are turning to pornography and social media to learn about sexual health as schools are failing to provide proper sex education, MPs have warned (stock image)

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes (pictured), who leads the women and equalities committee, said: 'Sexual health services are at breaking point. The 2022 data on STIs is a red flag and should encourage everyone to do better'

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes (pictured), who leads the women and equalities committee, said: ‘Sexual health services are at breaking point. The 2022 data on STIs is a red flag and should encourage everyone to do better’

‘In the absence of authoritative advice, young people are learning about sex and sexual health from online sources, social media and pornography. This exposes children to an unacceptable risk of harm.’

The committee criticised the Government for ‘failing to heed warnings’ over funding cuts to sexual health services.

It said that funding has reduced year-on-year, while infection rates have increased.

The latest figures on STIs in England – described as ‘deeply concerning’ and a ‘red flag’ by the committee – show there were 392,453 new diagnoses in England in 2022, which is equivalent to more than 1,000 every day and an increase of 23.8 per cent compared with 2021.

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, who leads the women and equalities committee, said: ‘Sexual health services are at breaking point.

‘The 2022 data on STIs is a red flag and should encourage everyone to do better.’

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