A Queensland Parliamentary Committee is inquiring into how to improve respectful relationships and sex education relevant to the use of technology in Queensland state schools. The committee has invited
written submissions by 14 August 2017.
Committee Chair and Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart MP, said the committee would look at the extent students use technology to create, send or view sexualised content, and how improved
education could reduce the risks to students.
Access to the internet, particularly by smartphone, creates easy access to sexual material. Pornography might be accessed intentionally or accidently. Many young people receive and send sexual texts and
pictures created by them or others.
A survey of year 10 to 12 Australian students in 2013 reported that more than half of the students had received a sexually explicit text message, and 42% had received a sexually explicit photo. Sharing images (‘sexting’) with consent appears be common in young people’s relationships. Sharing those images without consent is a form of image-based abuse.
The committee wants to hear from the community about how respectful relationships education and sex education can be improved to equip students to make safe decisions and develop healthy relationships in the digital age.
Mr Stewart said:
‘State school students need the skills to respond appropriately to sexual images online and to develop relationships based on respect and consent.’
‘Students need the skills to respond to peer pressure to look at pornography or share images without consent.’
‘Importantly, respectful relationships and sex education should help students to protect their wellbeing and develop healthy relationships.’
‘We want to hear how respectful relationships and sex education can be improved, and the potential benefits of better information for students.’
Mr Stewart encouraged individuals, organisations, educators, students and parents to make written submissions based on the inquiry’s terms of reference. Written submissions close at 4:00pm, Monday
14 August 2017.
The terms of reference can be found on the Committee’s inquiry webpage. A background paper that describes the scope of the inquiry to assist in making a submission is available here.