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June 28, 2013

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Importance of parents role in sex education for teenagers stressed

DESPITE all the advancement in lifestyle, conversation on sex remains a taboo.

A recent survey claims that about 90 percent of Shanghai parents never discuss sex with their children. And not surprisingly, over 80 percent of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 learn about sex from the Internet.

Sex education is very important for middle school students and a family's role in it is of paramount importance, officials from a hotline that deals with children's sex education told a group of parents yesterday.

The survey was also carried out by the hotline 65876866, which offers consultation and medical support to girls and young women who have to deal with unexpected sex.

Among those who addressed the parents were doctors, judges of juvenile court, policemen and social workers.

"Instead of looking for schools to give sex lectures previously, we now receive inquiry from over 10 middle and vocational schools every month," said Zhu Weijie, an official with the hotline.

"Our lectures are booked until September. Many school officials who ignored sex education come to us after discovering that students were having premarital sex and even indulging in illegal practice like selling sex."

Lectures by doctors are more professional and accurate, but parents should still be involved in giving proper guidance and care at home, said Yan Jing, vice president of Zhongshan High School.

Since being launched eight years ago, the hotline - the city's first - has received over 40,000 calls for help and consultation and helped over 4,500 girls and young women who were dealing with unexpected pregnancy. The hotline surveyed 682 callers last year to study where they got their sex information and knowledge.

Parents' poor awareness of sex education and their focus solely on their child's school performances are among the reasons for teenagers' unexpected pregnancy. Many callers said their parents never talked about protecting themselves, so they turned to the Internet and friends while encountering with problems, officials said.

"Sex education is a long and a step-by-step process that teaches children how to protect their body in childhood, knowledge about puberty and safe sex for teenagers," said Dr Cheng Xiaomei from No.411 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army, which offers medical support to the hotline. "Both parents and school authorities should generate enough awareness on the issue and give the children necessary and proper education."

She also said that summer vocation is usually the peak season when students end up getting pregnant.


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