Understanding the Facts

Below are some facts about sexual health education. These facts highlight why this information is so important for your child’s overall health and development.

  • In 2005, a national survey showed that approximately 29% of teens age 15-17 and 65% of teens age 18-19 had intercourse at least once1.
  • Programs that gave children the correct information at the right age showed that they had sexual intercourse later and used condoms more2.
  • Programs that taught abstinence-only didn’t delay intercourse, prevent pregnancy and prevent STIs2.
  • Many parents support broad, school-based sexual health programs. They saw schools as having the knowledge and correct sources of information for their children and partners when it came to sharing important information3.
  • Most parents would like to play a role within their child’s sexual health education. Some parents said that they wanted to give their children what they wished their parents had given them1.
  • Parents report that school-based sexual health education makes it easier for them to talk with their children. They felt it created natural openings for them to talk and to share information at home4.
  • Research shows that parent-child communication about sexual health can have a positive effect on teen sexual behaviour5.
  • Recent studies show that most parents feel they should be talking with their children as a way of protecting them from outcomes, such as STIs and pregnancy6,7.
  • Teens would rather get their sexual health information from their parents. Many saw their parents as reliable sources of information and felt that their parents had their best interest in mind8.
  • Teens report that they don’t trust the Internet to give them correct information. They said they use it to confirm what their parents, teachers or peers9 have told them.
  1. Rotermann, M. (2008). Trends in teen sexual behaviour and condom use. Health Reports, 19(3).
  2. Sex Information and Education Council of Canada [SIECCAN], 2009. Sexual health education in the schools: Questions & answers (3rd edition). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 18(1-2), 47-60.
  3. Frappier, J., Kaufman, M., Baltzer, F., Elliott, A., Lane, M., Pinzon, J., 7 McDuff, P. (2008). Sex and sexual health: A survey of Canadian youth and mothers. Paediatrics and Child Health, 13(1), 25-30.
  4. Weaver, A.D., Byers, E.S., Sears, H.A., Cohen, J.N., & Randall, H.E.S. (2002). Sexual health education at school and at home: Attitudes and experiences of New Brunswick parents. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 11(1), 19-31.
  5. Short, M.B., & Rosenthal, S.L. (2003). Helping teenaged girls make wise sexual decisions. Contemporary OB/GYN, 48(5), 84-95.
  6. Byers, E.S., Sears, H.A., & Weaver, A.D. (2008). Parents’ reports of sexual communication with children in kindergarten to grade 8. Journal of Marriage and Family, 10(February), 86-96.
  7. Wilson, E.K., Dalberth, B.T., Koo, H.P., & Gard, J.C. (2010). Parents’ perspectives on talking to preteen age children about sex. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 42(1), 56-63
  8. Canadian Journal of Public Health (Jan-Feb, 2001). Completing the Picture: Adolescents Talk About What’s Missing in Sexual Health Services.
  9. Weaver, A.D., Byers, E.S., Sears, H.A., Cohen, J.N., & Randall, H.E.S. (2002). Sexual health education at school and at home: Attitudes and experiences of New Brunswick parents. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 11(1), 19-31.

 
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