SEX education has always been a controversial subject in African homes. In fact, it is taboo for African parents to talk about sex with their children.
Many may recall watching a movie with their parents, while talking and laughing, and all of a sudden a sex scene comes on which seems to drag on forever. The awkward silence would be palpable as everyone tried to find the remote control, ashamed to be witnessing such a scene.
Sex is natural and will always exist. Today's generation is a sexually-charged generation and we are in a society where sex is at the forefront of everything that sells.
Sex is the universal act which triggers a common feeling among human beings, whether you are in the mountains of Chipinge or in metropolitan cities like Cape Town. So why are some of our African parents avoiding teaching their kids this very important thing as they are growing up? Why is it considered taboo for Africans to mention sex in a sex-saturated world? How do they learn without being taught?
If you do not teach your kids about sex, social media and the internet will teach them for you. It is important for African parents to have open and age-appropriate discussions with their children about sex and related topics. While it is true that social media and the internet can provide access to a wide range of information, not all of it is accurate or suitable for your children. By proactively discussing sex education with children, parents can ensure that they receive reliable information and guidance from a trusted source.
There are a few reasons why it is important for parents to teach their children about sex instead of letting them rely on social media and the internet to do it for them.
Accuracy and reliability
The internet is filled with a mix of accurate and inaccurate information about sex. By providing accurate information themselves, parents can help their children develop a solid foundation of knowledge and critical thinking skills to navigate the vast amount of information available online.
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Parents can tailor their discussions about sex to the developmental stage of their children, ensuring that the information provided is appropriate for their age and comprehension level. On the internet, children may come across explicit or disturbing content that they are not ready to handle emotionally or mentally.
Values and ethics
Parents have the opportunity to instil their own values and ethics regarding sex, relationships and consent. Discussing these topics directly with their children allows parents to provide guidance and support, helping them develop a healthy and responsible attitude towards sexuality.
Communication and trust Open and ongoing conversations about sex between parents and children foster trust and communication. Children who feel comfortable talking to their parents about sex are more likely to seek their guidance and support when they encounter confusing or challenging situations online.
While the internet can be a valuable source of information, it should not replace the role of parents in educating their children about sex. Parents are in a unique position to provide accurate, age-appropriate and value-based guidance that can help children develop a healthy understanding of sexuality and make informed choices.
Communication is key in any relationship and to have a better relationship and trust, parents need to speak to their children about sex before anyone else does. Talking about it with your children might not deter them from having sex, but it might forestall a lot of headaches and irredeemable situations. Cultural survival and continuity can still exist if we educate our children in line with the society we live in.
An adult must be equipped to have a conversation about sex with their child and parenting classes might be a good idea for parents. Schools, community centres and social clubs should be starting points to prepare our present-day sexually-charged generation. Social media and the internet is not the answer; you are the answer to your child's questions and curiosity. So play your part as a parent.
Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi is a technology enthusiast and a very big dreamer. He is the chief executive officer at Hansole Investments.