US Elections Editor

Children should be taught about the dangers of pornography as soon as they are old enough to access the internet, say the majority of teachers

YouGov’s latest TeacherTrack survey, which tracks the opinions of teachers from a representative sample of UK schools, reveals that teachers are overwhelmingly in favour of mandatory sex education that includes dealing with issues surrounding pornography.

More than eight in 10 (83%) teachers say that sex education and lessons in adult relationships should be mandatory in schools, and 76% say this should include lessons dealing with pornography.

Teachers are more divided as to what is the appropriate age for schools to begin teaching about the dangers of pornography, but a slim majority (52%) say it should start as soon as children are old enough to access the internet (whatever age this may be). Meanwhile, 39% of teachers believe schools should wait until students reach their teens to discuss pornography, and 9% say it is never appropriate to raise the issue of pornography in a school setting.

It is secondary school teachers who are working with teenagers that are clearer in their view that children should be taught about the dangers of pornography before they reach their teens. Six out of ten (62%) secondary school teachers think it is appropriate to teach children about the dangers of pornography as soon as children are old enough to access the internet.

There has been on-going debate about sex education in recent weeks. The NSPCC recently said there was a “worrying link” between the extreme pornography that convicted child killer Mark Bridger accessed online before murdering fiver-year-old April Jones.

Recently, a Labour amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which would (among other things) have prevented parents from withdrawing their children from sex education after the age of 15, was defeated in the House of Commons by 303 votes to 219. The government has said that it is not necessary to introduce new legislation.

Meanwhile, a recent YouGov poll conducted for the End Violence Against Women campaign found that a majority of parents are in favour of mandatory sex education in secondary schools.

See the full poll results

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