woman at radio station (Photo: Jeroen van Loon)

What do Dutch children in the age bracket nine to twelve think about sex?

Although Dutch children aged 9-12 are often occupied with various topics relating to sexuality, such as falling in love, relationships and puberty, too many children indicate not to be taught about these matters in school. This is demonstrated by a survey done by Rutgers in cooperation with the Children’s News programme at Dutch TV.

Dutch primary school classThe survey examines the way that Dutch children aged nine to twelve think about falling in love, puberty and sexuality, but also how much parents actually know about their children in this regard. Furthermore, sexuality and sexual diversity have been among the core objectives of primary education in the Netherlands since 2012. Schools are therefore obliged to devote attention to these issues, while they retain the freedom to decide how they actually do so. Only 25% of children say they have been taught about sexual boundaries at school and 27% say that they have been taught about sexual diversity.

If parents fail to discuss such matters with their children, then school remains the most important source in this regard. We therefore appeal to Dutch schools and parents to tackle the issue together. Schools are capable of supporting parents in providing sexual education, for example by organising parents’ evenings. This survey confirms that such efforts remain crucial.

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