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Internet in China: Students look to the Web for sex education

More than half of high school students consider the Internet the best way to learn about sex, a survey conducted by a Shanghai family planning body and the city’s accidental pregnancy hotline has found, Xinmin Evening News reported recently. The survey, covering 1,684 middle school students, revealed that 68 percent of high school boys and 46 percent of high school girls learn about sex from Websites, the newspaper said […]

More than half of high school students consider the Internet the best way to learn about sex, a survey conducted by a Shanghai family planning body and the city’s accidental pregnancy hotline has found, Xinmin Evening News reported recently.

The survey, covering 1,684 middle school students, revealed that 68 percent of high school boys and 46 percent of high school girls learn about sex from Websites, the newspaper said.

Forty percent of boys and 41 percent of girls considered books the best way to learn about sex education, the report said.

However, up to 79 percent of boys and 87 percent of girls said they still hope schools can teach provide more sex education classes, the report added.

The survey also found that 31 percent of parents of high school boys turn a blind eye to their child’s relationships with the opposite sex while 19 percent of girls’ parents said they didn’t care, the report added.

The 6587-6866 accidental pregnancy hotline, which offers free services, has received more than 30,000 phone calls, mostly from teenagers or young adults, since it opened three years ago.

It so far has helped about 2,000 pregnant youngsters, according to a previous story.

Dr Zhang Zhengrong, the hotline operator, said young women are becoming pregnant due to a lack of sexual education and awareness about contraceptives.

Abortions among pregnant teenagers usually peak during the May Day holiday, which in past years was a seven-day vacation, although the other golden weeks also see a spike in abortions, according to an earlier report.

Some obstetric hospitals were fully booked for teenage abortions during holidays. Girls usually have abortions without notifying parents and have no maternity leave to allow them to make a full recovery. They may suffer from malnutrition and lack of rest after the procedure, the report said.

Hotline operators revealed that more high school students between the ages of 16 and 18, rather than young women in college, became pregnant last year.

The hotline said it receives almost 5,000 calls from teenagers every year, of which 20 to 30 percent are seeking advice regarding abortion.

Teen girls with gynecological diseases also increased 20 fold in the past 10 years in Shanghai.

By Itamar Medeiros

Originally from Brazil, Itamar Medeiros currently lives in Germany, where he works as Lead Product Design Strategist at SAP and promotes User Experience Design as visiting lecturer at Köln International School of Design. Working in the Information Technology industry since 1998, Itamar Medeiros has helped truly global companies in several countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, United Arab Emirates, United States) create great user experience through advocating Design and Innovation principles. During his 7 years in China, he championed the User Experience Design discipline as User Experience Manager at Autodesk and Local Coordinator of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in Shanghai

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