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Misinformation Campaign Claims Sex Ed Teaches Toddlers to Masturbate

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Sex education is a vital part of schooling for many students, as they grapple with various developmental changes and try to understand how their choices may impact their health and well-being. But some extremist groups are promoting a false, outlandish narrative that sex ed is a nefarious and abusive government agenda.

In Ireland, a letter campaign fueled by misinformation has seen over 200 letters sent to the Department of Education, decrying a possible change of curriculum according to the news site JOE.  The letters claim that a government-fueled effort will “sexualize children and generate conflict in accepting their own family values, culture, and gender.” It comes as a part of a larger smear campaign, based on falsehoods claiming that changes that have recently been implemented to sex ed courses will ensure that masturbation will be the “very first thing that will be taught to the children at the ages of 0-4.” Even teachers have begun to spread the fearmongering.

But it’s all lies.

According to JOE, there have been no decisions made by the Irish government on changes to sex education in schools. Instead, the Department of Education has only asked for a review of the standards. An initial review, done by the country’s Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCAA), said that the current standards were “too little, too late, and too biological.”This is likely because parts of the existing curriculum have not been updated since 1997 and rely on outsourcing from private “anti-abortion, anti-LGBT” groups according to JOE. 

But these were ultimately drafts, and no official movement or change has been made.

To compose the drafts, the NCAA created a research paper which sources multiple documents, reports and proposals. In one, from the World Health Organization, advice is offered that different countries could adopt education on “early childhood masturbation” to children between the ages of 0-4. According to JOE, the Irish government has privately been critical of its inclusion, and there is zero chance of them supporting a similar proposal. But someone took it and ran.

Though no one has claimed credit for it, a campaign that has gone viral on Whatsapp claims that this proposal is being put into action. These texts have been turned into letters by an unnamed group, but contains similar claims to those made by the group A Parent’s Right in the past. They have denied involvement with the letters.

““Will young boys and girls between 12-15 years come under peer pressure to become sexually active and use contraception?” the letters read. “WILL THIS INCREASE THE RISK OF ACCUSATIONS OF STATUTORY RAPE?” No, in short, it won’t, as this was never going to be implemented in the first place. But also because well-considered, comprehensive sexual education (as it seems Ireland hopes to move towards) has been proven to help equip teens to better understand and deal with their sexuality in safer, more well-informed ways.

RELATED | School Sex Ed Is Awful — That Disproportionately Harms LGBTQ Youth

Tags: News, Parenting

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