Further to Lauredhel’s post about a UK judge’s strange views on the sexual precocity of a 10 year old girl, which became a discussion on young people and sexuality (and the negatives of viewing adolescent sexual experimentation through a lens of adult sexuality), I’ve just become aware of this terrific website from the UK, from sexual health charity Brook. As parent to two kids in their tween-to-teen years, such websites are of great interest to me, and I suspect to many other parents.
Brook Advisory Centres – commonly known just as Brook – is the only national voluntary sector provider of free and confidential sexual health advice and services specifically for young people under 25. Brook is a registered charity, and has 40 years’ experience of providing professional advice through specially trained doctors, nurses, counsellors, and outreach and information workers to over 200,000 young people each year.
They have an excellent set of information pages (based on leaflets they supply to young people around the UK): Contraception, Emergency Contraception, Pregnancy, Sexually transmitted infections, Abortion, Your Body. They also have a comprehensive section on the rights of young people regarding sexual matters.
I really like the way they’ve laid out the information so clearly and simply. In Australia accurate information is a little more complicated because of different State laws regarding various aspects of sexuality and reproduction: Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia coordinates policy statements for the State Family Planning organisations linked to on their homepage, and each State organisation has Factsheets/Brochures explaining how various State laws affect sexual health matters as well as the basics of sexual health education.
In the USA there is Scarleteen, which in some ways I find oddly try-hard in the hipness department compared to Brook and the various Australian family planning sites, although I’m sure that their advice regarding various State legal issues is spot-on. Their exceptionally frank approach to some of the common questions about sexual practises is certainly refreshing.
Simon Blake, the chief executive of Brook, has a blog called Talking of Sex. I personally prefer his straightforward style without the distracting hipster graphics favoured by Scarleteen.
Still, just as older people vary in the style of communication and layout they prefer, so do young people. Each of the offered websites would appeal to a substantial fraction of their demographic, but knowing that there are other sites out there which lay out accurate information differently might be useful to people who find one site’s style unappealing.
How do other parents view online sexual education sites?