Introduction to Sex Ed in the Digital Age
By Carolyn Cooperman, MA, MSW
Sex Ed in the Digital Age was two years in the making. The initial impetus for this project began with an observation that will not come as a surprise to those of us who work in the field of sex education—-teenagers are as interested in technology as they are in sex. By linking the two, it then becomes possible to tap into an integral part of the adolescent experience. The opportunity to work with young people and explore subject matter that reaches into the core of their development is an exciting prospect for educators.
Today’s adolescents have unprecedented access to sexual information. This is a profound change for this generation of teenagers. On their own, without having to wait for parents to purchase books or schools to offer programs, they are bringing their sex-related questions, concerns, interests, and hormone-driven needs into the technological arena. Modern technology has undone centuries of secrecy surrounding sex. Now it is up to the parents and educators who care about fostering healthy sexual development to bring clarity and purpose to the technological advancements.
Sex Ed in the Digital Age includes structured lesson plans designed to equip educators and parents with skills that are necessary for meeting the challenges of the digital age. The principle objectives of the lesson plans are to help teens become more discriminating about electronic use; to know how to locate accurate information; and to better understand the impact that electronic communications have on self and others.
We are most grateful to sex educators from around the country who wrote lesson plans for these volumes. Working in middle schools, high schools, colleges and community-based programs, they have a handle on what teenagers are learning about sex from the countless hours they spend texting and browsing. Our common goal has been to help adolescents evaluate the appropriateness of their own electronic use.
Bill Taverner, MA, Executive Director of the Center For Family Life Education, played a crucial role in bringing these volumes to fruition. He believed in this project from the outset, contributed original lesson plans, and set the administrative wheels in motion to make it happen. The editor, Sue Milstein, Ph.D, significantly enhanced the substance and form of this work. Her attention to detail, background in sex education, and experience in the classroom is truly valued.