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Withholding sexual education from children would be unfair if based on the notion that they are supposed to be innocent and free from sexual notions. By equipping children with the right knowledge, not only can they make informed decisions

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Introduction

'The twin concepts of innocence and ignorance are vehicles for adult double standards: a child is ignorant if she doesn't know what adults want her to know, but innocent if she doesn't know what adults don't want her to know' Kitzinger (1997). In the light of this statement discuss how societies define innocence and to what extent such concepts of innocence at times are more harmful than beneficial for the children in relation to sexuality. The meaning of innocence is continuously being constructed and has a wide range of interpretations. Age, ethnicity, gender and classes have often further complicated its meaning. Adults may perceive children as innocent when they lack the knowledge that adults do not want them to possess. On the contrary, children are deemed as ignorant when they do not know what they should know. In reality when innocence is related to sexuality, it is considered as a form of purity and a virtue, in particular, sexual purity (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003). In the first part of this essay, we will see how most societies define sexual innocence and ignorance. Further discussion will be focused on why children are often uninformed about the various sexual issues behind the concept of innocence. ...read more.

Middle

Most parents avoid the topic of sexuality with their children. Children's sexual behaviors are controlled through laws. There are laws prohibiting sexual activity before a certain age while other laws impose restrictions on the media to prevent the premature exposure of children to sex. Films and advertisements with provocative sexual content are subject to censorship. Internet engines have also been designed to block texts or images with sexual content unsuitable for children. At the same time, while parents wish that their children remain as innocent as they are expected to be, their children also desire to satisfy their own curiosity about the unspeakable domain of sex. Associating childhood innocence with expectations of sexual ignorance is impossible, as the body structure is innately sexual, marked by puberty. It is impossible for children, especially for those who have reached puberty to be oblivious to the sexual development occurring within them. Adults are found consciously withholding information and knowledge about sexuality from their children as they find their children innocent. In other cases, parents or schools find it difficult to mention the subject of sexuality. In such circumstances, when the parents perceived their children as innocent, children may look for alternative sources from the internet, magazines or even friends for information. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is no doubt that the term 'innocence' is socially constructed in some way. It is evidenced that children should be given sex education and teachings on relationship issues. Such an education will help and support young people through their physical, emotional and moral development. Young people will learn to respect themselves and others and grow up with confidence from childhood through adolescence into adulthood. It enables young people to understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. It builds up knowledge and skills which are particularly important today because of the many different and conflicting pressures on young people. Withholding sexual education from children would be unfair if based on the notion that they are supposed to be innocent and free from sexual notions. By equipping children with the right knowledge, not only can they make informed decisions about their sexual intentions, they will also learn how to respect themselves and others. Thus if we decided to adopt the 'ostrich' approach where one would be reluctant to address such a pressing issue while choosing to be continually obsessed with the thought that children should stave off the issue of sexuality, even more so for homosexuality, then we are definitely bringing enormous harms to children, no matter how much it would be to our disbelief. ...read more.

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