Teenage sex sparks worry over values

Over 50 percent of teenagers aged between 12 and 18 have had sex and more than 35 percent had sex before the legal age of 16, a local social organization found.

Those findings came in a Hong Kong Children and Youth Services survey of 300 teenagers aged between 12 and 18 from June to September.

In the survey, only 11 percent of the respondents had considered their legal responsibilities before they had sex.

The group said teenagers often subscribe to false impressions or values that they have been exposed to through online platforms.

It cited concerns that teenagers might have little access to correct information and channels in which they can seek help.

On the topic of having sex for the first time, 33 percent agreed that they should protect themselves and should not have casual sex.

Nineteen percent were worried that they would be thought of as promiscuous.

Of the 11 percent who said they had considered legal responsibilities when having sex for the first time, 69 percent were female.

All respondents said they tended to lean toward a conservative mindset in regard to sex.

Additionally, both genders agreed that "love and care" are essential factors in relationships.

The 22 percent who had sex with non-dating partners also stressed that "love and care" are essential elements in a good relationship.

"Existing sex education only stresses the physical aspect yet other aspects such as the psychological and social are neglected," social services coordinator Eugene Chau Yui-chi said.

She added: "Sex education should be more up-to-date in order to instill the right concepts about sex, gender relationships and so on."

Chau noted that a cross-platform collaboration can encourage teenagers to reach out and grasp the correct concepts, adding that sex education for different age groups should have different approaches.

She said that love conception, gender relations as well as individual critical thinking can be introduced so that the young will be shielded from harmful misconceptions.

Social worker Chong Yim-ping said teenagers can be curious about gender relations, adding that due to the lack of channels for them to openly discuss sex, teenagers are likely to reach out in online forums or mobile dating apps.

"They are accessing a colossal amount of information in this digital era such as dramas or reality shows revolving around sex, but are also perceiving false values and conceptions at the same time," Chong said.

Chong pointed out that teachers might be clueless in the realm of sex education, an issue that is rooted in insufficient training.

The group concluded that a new and improved sex-education curriculum was necessary, especially in this age of information.