A Chinese mother’s discovery of an unwrapped condom in her teenage son’s schoolbag sparked a viral online discussion about the importance of sex education in China.
Identified by the surname Xu, the mother expressed her shock to local media after coming across the condom as she was checking her son’s schoolwork.
Xu, who is from the Chinese province of Zhejiang, said she and her son felt embarrassed after her discovery.
According to Xu, her son never held secrets from her and noted that “he felt too shy to speak about” such topics.
The son claimed the condom ended up in his bag after two boys brought a pack of condoms to class, blew them up like balloons and started throwing them around the room, causing one to accidentally fall into his schoolbag.
The incident made Xu realize that it was necessary to talk to her son about sex education.
“I told my son that a condom is not something that should necessarily make you feel shy,” she told the Qianjiang Evening News. “The wrong part of this is that these two students should not play with it in the classroom.”
After talking to her son about how condoms are used, the boy reportedly overcame his shyness and became more curious. Xu gave her son a book on physical health so he can explore the topic better.
On Weibo, Xu’s story drew over 330 million views and thousands of comments.
“Nowadays, many children aged 11 to 12 know everything,” one user wrote. “I think it’s better to educate girls about sex early; otherwise, they will be taken advantage of. For boys, they usually learn it without a teacher.”
“If it were a girl, her parents would be anxious, furious, worried, and frightened, if they found a used condom in her schoolbag,” another commented.
Efforts to include sex education in Chinese middle schools’ curriculums have been pushed in recent years amid the rise of sexual harassment cases related to minors.
In 2020, China amended its law on protection of minors to emphasize the responsibility of schools in educating minors about sexual issues. The changes were supposed to take effect in June 2021.
Last year, health official and 13th National People’s Congress Deputy Ma Xiuzhen also proposed to include sex education in middle schools’ curricula, reported Global Times.
“Due to the restraint of Chinese traditional thoughts, parents tend to be ashamed of talking about sex in front of their children,” Ma was quoted as saying. “However, with the popularity of social media among minors, the content, including sexual violence and sexual abuse is presented in front of our children without supervision.”
“There is some content about reproductive functions taught in class in some provinces in China, but most textbooks and teaching methods are not systematic enough for students,” said Ma, pointing out that “it’s not suitable for them and it’s not what they need.”
Featured Image via The Hour