In Virginia, the Fairfax County School Board has approved a plan to expand the curriculum taught in the Family Life Education program (commonly referred to sex ed classes) to account for the rapid growth and influence that technology and social media plays in our lives and relationships.
Notably, there will be a much bigger focus on “sexting” — something that was previously part of the program taught to eighth graders.
Now, the topic of “sexting” will be addressed with sixth graders, and reinforced when they’re in 7th and 9th grades as well.
The increased focus on technology also recognizes the influence of social media on relationships, with the instruction geared toward helping students differentiate between the more positive uses and the ways it can be used inappropriately.
Ninth graders will also begin focusing more on consequences — including the emotional ones — that so much explicit content consumed digitally can have.
For instance, the updated program will delve into pornography and how it can impact healthy relationships. But the lessons will also impress on students the short and long term consequences that come with recording, possessing, sharing and distributing sexually explicit media through texting and social media.
The instruction will touch on the emotional impact, as well as the legal implications that come with sharing content among friends and classmates.
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