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Parents want schools to manage dangers of pornography, says NAHT survey

More than four in five parents want schools to include issues surrounding the dangers of pornography as part of sex education.

In a survey carried out by independent market research organisation Research Now, on behalf of NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers), the vast majority of parents (88 per cent) said sex education and lessons on adult and peer relationships should be mandatory in schools. 

Meanwhile 83 per cent had sufficient confidence in schools’ ability to help their children understand the dangers specifically associated with pornography that they believed teachers were as important as parents in handling the issue. Just 13 per cent thought it should be left to parents alone to educate children about pornography while four per cent would rather schools take sole charge.

One of the most controversial aspects of delivering messages on sensitive topics such as pornography is when it is appropriate to start. While more than half (51 per cent) believed that lessons on the dangers of pornography should not be introduced to children until they’d reached their teens, 42 per cent felt that even children as young as five or six needed guidance as soon as they were old enough to access the internet. Just seven per cent thought it was never appropriate to raise issues of pornography in schools.

Although parents were mostly confident of protecting their children from the dangers of viewing explicit images of violence or sex online (80 per cent said they were confident or very confident), 90 per cent believe all equipment that offers internet access should have a default block on pornographic websites. Users should be required to ‘opt in’ to view such material.

The NAHT survey is part of the association’s commitment to working closely with parents on matters of joint concern to teachers and pupils’ families.

The issue of pornography is becoming increasingly troubling to teachers as they attempt to manage the impact of readily-accessible explicit material on pupils’ self-image and perceptions of sexuality. 

Concerns about the issue have already been expressed by the teaching profession and a range of agencies, such as the Sex Education Forum. Ofsted also recently called for sex and relationships education to be tackled more effectively in schools.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT, said: “NAHT has been working with a number of agencies for some time to address concerns raised by our members on how they can help pupils deal with the modern phenomenon of easy access to graphic images and content.

“NAHT has repeatedly said that young people must be protected from pornography and children should receive appropriate guidance as part of relationship and sex education. We would also like to see improved advice for schools to help them manage these issues most effectively.

 “There is no place for explicit materials in the classroom or school, even in the course of teaching about their dangers, but many young people are exposed to such materials on the internet and phones. In the face of this young people need to know how to cope with and avoid these distorted views of relationships.

“It is reassuring to see that parents accept that schools are an essential part of the support network for their children. In a fast-paced communications environment that can present pupils with confusing messages, few parents believe there is an option to pretend it isn’t happening.

“The most effective way to manage any issue affecting children is to get those people closest to them to work together. NAHT believes this survey is both an endorsement of parents’ faith in schools and an indication that they agree with the profession that we must act now to protect our children.”

Ends

 

1.      The survey data is attached below.

2.      The survey was fielded in the week beginning 15 April 2013. In total, 1009 responses were recorded from parents of children aged between five and 16 years in a randomly selected sample across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

3.      The research project was managed by Paul Botje, from the ibd Business Advice Group Ltd. The fieldwork side of the study was done by Research Now, a leading global online sampling and data collection company which is part of e-Rewards Inc. Email:  Paul.Botje@ibd-uk.com Web: www.ibd-uk.com

Survey data on parents’ views on the teaching of issues surrounding pornography in schools 2013

 

Q1 How worried are you about your children seeing explicit materials of a violent or sexual nature on the web?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Very worried

214

21 %

 

2

Worried

396

39 %

 

3

Not worried because I do not let my children access the internet unattended or have installed internet blockers for certain sites

300

30 %

 

4

Not worried because children need to know about the realities of life and it is up to parents to discuss such issues as they arise.

99

10 %

 

 

 

Q2 How confident do you feel in protecting your children online?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Very confident

137

14 %

 

2

Confident

663

66 %

 

3

Not at all confident

209

21 %

 

 

 

Q3 Should all equipment that offers internet access come with a default block on pornographic websites that requires users to 'opt in' to view?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Yes

906

90 %

 

2

No

103

10 %

 

 

 

Q4 How confident do you feel about talking to your child about sex and relationships?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Confident

797

79 %

 

2

Not Confident

212

21 %

 

 

 

Q5 Should sex education and lessons in adult and/or peer to peer relationships be mandatory in schools?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Yes

889

88 %

 

2

No

120

12 %

 

 

 

Q6 Should schools teach about the dangers of online pornography or is it the parents' job?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Schools should do it

39

4 %

 

2

It's the parents' job

136

13 %

 

3

Parents and schools should take joint responsibility

834

83 %

 

 

 

Q7 At what age is it appropriate for schools to begin teaching about the dangers of pornography?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Not before pupils reach their teens

519

51 %

 

2

As soon as children are old enough to access the internet even if that is as young as five or six

423

42 %

 

3

It is never appropriate to raise issues of pornography in a school setting

67

7 %

 

 

 

Q8 Should dealing with issues surrounding pornography form part of sex education?

 

 

Counts

 

1009

100 %

 

1

Yes

837

83 %

 

2

No

172

17 %

 

 

 

 

Page Published: 14/05/2013