Safety of children in schools has been compromised, and the increasing incidents of sexual harassment on premises have pushed parents into a discomfort zone - having a discussion on sex and 'good touch, bad touch' with their kids before the latter are misinformed from other sources.

ECA president Swati Popat Vats addresses parents at Witty International School. Pic/Falguni Agrawal
ECA president Swati Popat Vats addresses parents at Witty International School. Pic/Falguni Agrawal

To that end, the Early Childhood Association (ECA) conducted a six-month survey to find out from where children are learning about sex, and this led to a round-table discussion with a group of concerned parents, giving birth to The Parenting Café, an initiative started by the ECA in collaboration with First Moms Club and Kids' Club.

Yesterday, 50-odd parents (mostly mothers) attended its fifth session at Witty International School in Malad, to discuss 'Sex, Lies, and Parenting'.

Also read: 9-year-old girl sexually assaulted in Panipat School; parents protest

'Don't beat around the bush'
Spearheading the discussion was ECA president Swati Popat Vats, 51. "It all starts from the time children ask their parents where babies come from - most of us start lying about it and beat around the bush," she said. "But it is important to educate them in the right manner; just how we teach them about good touch and bad touch, we must also teach them about good sex and bad sex, and not treat sex like a taboo subject."

"For our generation, we had very little exposure to sex, but today's children, if not educated properly, can learn things from other sources - the Internet, smartphones, and their friends… and not all of it would be correct," she added.

'Don't shy away…'
According to her, a parent's job is not to "love" their children, but instead "care" for them. "Porn is the bad side of sex. Our children need to understand that it is artificial sex and not healthy. Because so many people don't understand this, they face problems on their wedding night and can't live out this magical moment with their newlywed. Sex becomes a very dark secret, and nothing spreads as fast as secrets."

Also read: School principal held for 'molesting' girl student in campus

Vats' advice to the room full of concerned parents was: "Don't wait for knee-jerk reactions; sex is something children will experiment with, and they'll experiment more if you (parents) shy away from it."

Survey results
44% kids learn about sex by watching porn videos, 29% from friends and 27% from parents
59% find out how a child is conceived before they turn 12
52% are guided on menstruation by friends, 32% through school sex education, and only 16% by mothers
32% surveyed had not been taught about good touch and bad touch
62% start watching porn before they turn 13
52% kids watch porn on their phones

Also view - Ryan International School boy's death: Details of the gruesome murder
Ryan International School boy's death: Details of the gruesome murder