BEIJING, Oct. 6(Xinhuanet)-- Though Chinese children reach puberty at a younger age, their understanding of sex and their emotional readiness to deal with it, is developing slower than it did 15 years ago, according to a recent survey.
"We focus on the psychological and psychological situation of children from one-child families to learn how their feelings toward sex and their understanding of sex change with time," Yang Xiong, one of the survey conductors with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted by Shanghai Daily as saying.
Yang attributed these children's emotional unreadiness for puberty to overly protective parents, many of whom are afraid to talk to their children about sex and puberty, and the poor qualityof sex education in schools.
"Present parents never received proper sex education, so their knowledge comes from life experience. Many are unable to answer their children's questions," Yang told Shanghai Daily.
He said sex is still a taboo in China, and parents feel embarrassed to discuss or talk about sex with their offspring.
Every five years since 1989, researchers from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences have surveyed 3,000 teenagers from China's five cities scattered around the country, namely Shanghai,Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Wuhan.
The survey found girls had their first period at the average age of 13.38 in 1989, and the age dropped to 12.7 in 2004. The survey also found that 19.8 percent of girls said they were scaredof their first period, compared with just 11.77 percent in 1989.
Though over 70 percent of schools in the five cities provide sex education courses, the teaching quality and information provided are lacking
China's largest cities have been offering sex education to younger teenagers since 2004, as healthier diets push children toward earlier puberty.
Shanghai, Beijing and the western city of Chongqing were testing new sex education for middle school girls, who are generally 12 to 14 years old, in a program set up by the State Education Commission and Procter& Gamble's China branch.
While physical maturity keeps advancing, girls, as a vulnerablegroup, are still immature psychologically, Huang Hong from the Shanghai No. 2 Medical University said.
He cited the case of a 15-year-old girl who delivered a baby boy and then accidentally killed him while trying to keep her pregnancy a secret. Enditem