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The Update
December 5, 2019
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Countering misinformation about Sexual Risk Avoidance education

In the debate about sex education, the facts should guide decision-making, not agenda-laden sound-bites. That’s why Ascend puts such a high priority on making sure more people understand that Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education is so important in addressing many of today’s social concerns.

We work to raise awareness for the healthiest messages for our youth. In national media. In Congress. In statehouses across the nation. With parents. And in the cultural conversation about teens and sex.

You play a significant part in this conversation. This new resource from Ascend breaks down the key differences between SRA and Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) education to help equip you with the facts so that you can correct misinformation about SRA. 

For more detailed information about research demonstrating that SRA education improves outcomes for youth, see Ascend's publication Sexual Risk Avoidance Works.

SRAS Training
Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist (SRAS) certified educators distinguish themselves in their field, increase their credibility, and demonstrate a professional commitment to enhancing their teaching expertise. 

For more information on Ascend’s SRAS certification program, click here
Upcoming SRAS Training Dates and Locations

SRAS Certification Training & Communication Practicum
Conyers, Georgia
December 17-19, 2019
Note: The certification portion of this program is approved by The Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work (Approval # 111719) for 10.5 continuing education core hours. 

Coming in 2020...

SRAS Certification Training

February 12-13, 2020 ( location TBD)

SRAS Certification Training
Minot, North Dakota
March 10-11, 2020

More 2019/2020 dates and locations to be added soon.

Has Your SRAS Credential Expired?

Stay current by completing our new online SRAS Recertification program.

If you were SRAS certified in 2017 or renewed your certification in 2017, your SRA credential expires this year!   

Not sure when your certification expires? Contact us and we'll be happy to check for you!
International News
England: Controversial new curriculum instructs children as young as six on masturbation

As part of a new curriculum being rolled out across 241 primaries by Warwickshire County Council, children as young as six are being taught about touching or ‘stimulating’ their own genitals The All About Me curriculum could be adopted by other local authorities next year as part of the government’s overhaul of Relationship and Sex Education (RSE).

The guidance on touching is repeated in lesson plans for Years Four and Five, involving pupils aged eight to ten.

From next September, parents will not be able to withdraw children from these lessons.

Canada: Parents can now opt their children out of sex ed

Parents and guardians who disagree with content found in the current sex ed curriculum can now apply annually to exempt their children.

The Trillium Lakelands District School Board approved a new exemption process that outlines the board’s direction to respect parents’ wishes while adhering with provincial expectations.

Parents/guardians may choose one of three exemption options for their child: being released to the parent/guardian, remaining in the classroom without taking part in instruction and complete unrelated work or activities assigned by the teacher; or spend the instructional time, under supervision, elsewhere in the school.

Johannesburg, South Africa: Parents can opt their children out of sex ed; provide alternative curriculum

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga stated parents have the choice to opt out of the sexuality ­curriculum by not permitting their children to attend the program, provided parents could produce an alternative curriculum that met the required competencies. 

Motshekga revealed this in a written response to a parliamentary question by DA MP Nomsa Marchesi, who asked if parents could reject the curriculum being offered to their children.


Fact: most kids are just a swipe away from free, hardcore porn

Researchers estimate that – whether intentionally or accidentally — the average age of first viewing of porn is 12 years of age, and anecdotal evidence suggests as young as 8. Much of online porn is free and unfiltered, and is often violent, degrading, and extreme.

Facts About Kids and the Porn Crisis

  • 39% of 14-year-olds report having seen porn, with about one-third of young people saying they had seen it for the first time at age 12 or younger
  • Minors who view pornography and other sexualized media are more accepting of sexual violence, and more likely to believe “rape myths” (such as the myth that “women enjoy being raped”)
  • Increased use of online porn decreases boys’ academic performance six months later
  • For teens, a significant relationship exists between frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness and major depression
  • A study of 14- to 19-year-olds found that females who consumed pornographic videos were at a significantly greater risk of being victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault
  • In a study of young teens, 66 percent of boys reported porn consumption in the past year; this early porn exposure was correlated with perpetration of sexual harassment two years later

Substance use and sexual risk behaviors among youth

Studies conducted among adolescents have identified an association between substance use and sexual risk behaviors. Researchers have found that as the frequency of substance use increases, the likelihood of sex and the number of sex partners also increases.

In addition, studies show that sexual risk behaviors increase in adolescents who use alcohol, and are highest among students who use marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs (such as sedatives, opioids, and stimulants), and other illicit drugs.

Adolescents who reported no substance use are the least likely to engage in sexual risk-taking.

How to recognize video game addiction in your teen

Pathological video game use (also called internet gaming disorder) has been recognized the World Health Organization as serious behavior worthy of future study.

Most individuals who play video games are just fine–only around 10% of gamers will develop a pathological problem.

There are nine main criteria that families should consider when deciding whether a child or spouse has a true problem with video games (see table below). A total of five of these must be met within a 12-month period. 

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