|Mezzo: For Young People by Young People (IPPF, 1997, 52 p.)|
All over the world, we look different, we live in different places - some of us in the cities, some of us in rural areas - we feel different, we wear different clothes, we have different beliefs, we speak different languages and do different things. We live in different ways. Some of us still live at home, while others can hardly find shelter and have to sleep in the street. Being young means something different in different parts of the world.
In Pakistan you might be working for 12 hours a day when you are 14, whilst in Australia you might be still at school when you are 20. A girl in Sweden might have her first serious relationship when she is 22, whilst a young woman of the same age in India may have been married for eight years. She might have already started a family of her own.
There are more than 1.5 billion young people in the world between the age of 10 and 24. That's one-third of the population. In some countries, more than half the population is under 18.
So are we unique? Despite all the differences we have quite a lot in common.
We all go through the same physical changes. For many of us this is also a time of emotional changes; we may feel different from before, no longer a child, but not quite an adult.
Think the people who need to be educated are parents and
teachers. They should discard their old beliefs and start informing their kids
about sex and its complexities. To talk to your kid about sex doesn't mean that
you are encouraging them to have sex. Instead it helps then sieve through the
information they get from friends, allowing them to decide what is wrong and
what is right."
22, M, Cameroon
"I think all the sex education that's going on right now,
like STD and contraceptives education, is a good idea, but I think we should be
taught something else also. Sex is net a game, ifs something special. They
should teach how it's different for each individual."
18. F, USA
The period of being young can be a time of having fun and enjoying life, a period of trying to be like adults. taking risks and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Sex can be a part of that.
Sex is an important issue for many of us. Most young people in the world many later than their parents did and many have sex before marriage.
Some people think that these days young people start to have sex at younger age than they did - this is not really true. Many young people are not sexually active at all before they are married.
Sex, relationships, love and friendship are issues that are never far from our thoughts. It is said that guys think or sex and relationships every nine minutes (and girls probably do the same).
! There is no universally accepted definition of young people: the United Nations refers only to childhood (up to 18 years) when they talk about young people; the World Health Organization refers to the age span of 10-24 years when they mention young people: in western societies they like to use the world adolescence - early adolescence is from 10-14 year; and late adolescence from 16-19.
Despite run differences, we all face similar problems when we are young such as choosing a partner or deciding whether to start a sexual relationship...
We should have forums where young people come together, where
people talk openly, without an adult, and share their ideas. But there has to be
knowledgeable people around, to correct the misconceptions."
19, F, Japan
"Sex education should not be treated like some kind of
fashion, here today, gone tomorrow. People should realize that a lot of people
need to be made aware of what sex is all about. The good and the bad things it
brings. Adults should change their attitudes towards the subject and teach their
offspring from a young age because it is their children's lives at
21, M, Lesotho
"Sex education should be made interesting so that young
people like as who talk about sex with oar friends will be Interested. We should
be given good enough reasons to keep away from sex until the right
16, F, Sri Lanka
! There are over 1.5 billion people between the age of 10 and 24, By 2025, there are expected to be almost 2 billion people in this age group.
! Eight out of 10 young people below the age of 20 are sexually experienced in sub-Saharan Africa, as are 7 out of 10 teenagers in many developed countries and at least half of all teens in Latin America.
! One in every 10 births worldwide each year is to teenage mothers.
! Puberty occurs earlier and the average age at marriage is rising. This means that young people today face a longer period of time during which they are sexually mature and may be sexually active but pregnancy may be neither desired nor socially acceptable.