Online Sex Education in Indonesia: Are We Ready?
Sun, 31 Mar 2019 || By Rachmadita K

Majority of people in Indonesia still think that sex education is taboo and should not be discussed in public. Meanwhile, sex education is obviously not only about sexual intercourse. The objective of sex education is to provide individuals with sex-related information, motivation, and behavioral skills that will enable them to avoid sex-related problems and to achieve sexual well-being[1]. Typically, sex education is about biological aspects of sexuality and the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, Sexual Transmitted Disease (STD), sexual exploitation, sexual assault, and may also focus on interpersonal relationships such as sexual orientation and sexual functions.

Unfortunately, Indonesians tend to judge sex-related topic as a black and white. For instance, sex is only permitted to discuss when someone is already married, while sex outside marriage is considered as a sinful thing and a huge mistake human could ever make. This point of view came from their belief on religious values and moralities. Hence, this view then automatically eradicate the other important perspectives: medical, psychology, and social behavior, which also needs to be taken into considerations.

Current Condition on Indonesia: Low Sexual Literacy

Sex education is still have not yet considered as an important thing for a student to learn comprehensively in Indonesia. Sexual education has never put into the school's curriculum. There is a report from CNN Indonesia tried to compare the sex education benchmark between India, Malaysia, Netherland, and England. The situations are as below[2]:

India

Malaysia

Netherland

England

Teenagers and Young Adult (age 12-20) are obligated to learn about sex education by the school curriculum.

  • Integrating Sex Education into some subjects such as Islamic Studies and Natural Science (Biology)
  • Established a Malaysian Board for Children Welfare (DKA) which aimed to design a better sex education curriculum particularly focused on the health of reproduction organ for kids and teenagers.
  • Implementing sex education at every level of school. Starting from preschool (age >4)
  • The lessons are mainly about raising awareness to honor their own body and respect their friends.
  • Further levels also learn the usage of contraception tools and knowledge of Sexual Transmitted Disease (STD).
  • The result of this policy is positively proven by the meager rate of young age pregnancy in The Netherland.  

Kids and teenagers on school are obligated to participate in lessons called PSHE (Personal Social Health and Economics) where include Sex Education on it.

 

Those countries are already leaping compared to Indonesia's current condition in terms of sex education. The Indonesian government especially the Ministry of Education is still trying to formulate the best curriculum in which the sex education can be adopted..

The other concerns may point on how many parents have not realized the importance of sex education. It results to the young generation who eventually try to answer their curiousity about such thing. The worst case is that they construct the meaning of ‘sex education’ by themselves and they, without any guidance, explore anything in their mind that is related to ‘sex education’. The things are, unfortunately merely about sexual intercourse. Therefore, when school as their primary source of education is not providing anything about it, while their parents have not yet been aware of sexual education, the students then seek the information by themselves. Unfortunately, most of the time they do not get themselves the right information.

The Presence of Several Account Concerning on Sexual Education in Social Media

The Internet has become the main media of information source nowadays. The Internet has become the alternative way for individuals to look for knowledge answering to a big question mark relating to sex education[3].

One of the main features on the internet is social media. It enables people to interact with other people and allow their users to exchange ideas, share news, and interests. Social media has become a media where users will look for advice on particular issues by looking at what others are sharing on social media. Kinds of social media vary, but in this case, I would particularly bring up the use of Instagram as the media of sharing information related to sex education. Instagram is a social media based on visual content or a photo-sharing application where people can also interact by following each other and also give likes and comments[4].

Several accounts on Instagram appeared to claim themselves as a sexual education accounts who facilitates the sharing of information, one of them is  @tabu.id. This account extraordinarily emerge against the barrier of lousy stigma on a sex-related discussion in Indonesia. Surprisingly, they receive a positive engagement from Indonesian netizens. This fact can be seen from their likes rate, comments section, and interactions. Their main issues are the usage of contraception tools, the suggestion for a routine check of the threats on Sexual Transmitted Disease (STD), Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) to prevent HIV, Screening, and Pap smear as early prevention of cervix cancer.

The anonymity, availability, affordability, acceptability, and aloneness that is affix on the Instagram accounts are relevant to sex education interventions, as sexuality is an area in which privacy is paramount[5]. Those characteristics are critical to aimed sexual problem prevention and sexual well-being outcomes.

Recommendations for Future Approach of Sex Education in Indonesia

Seemingly, this kind of approach—sex education via the internet—is supported by the particular strength of the internet as a vibrant, interactive, individualized pedagogical tool to provide adequate education method to a large number of audiences/users in a very cost-effective fashion. The internet’s unique capabilities allowing learning activity to become efficient, effective, individualized, and of uniformly high quality over time[6]. Specifically, the internet capabilities that increase the scope and impact of sex education interventions and that are entirely different from conventional curriculum methods are as follows: (1) Interactivity; (2) Individualized programs; (3) Multimedia communication; (4) Hypertextuality and hyperconnectivity; (5) Privacy, portability, uniformity of quality; and (6) Data collection[7].

Therefore, this kind of approach could be the alternative way of answering the challenge of limited capabilities on formal educational institutions in Indonesia. The United States has done this way before by initializing some websites focusing on sex educations for teenagers such as sexetc.org and iwannaknow.org[8].

As a recommendation for future development, there is still a room for developing an internet-based sex education platform specialized for Indonesian users. To adjust to the Indonesian context, the platform might include parental participation and involvement. This can be accomplished by creating child and parent modules which require children and parents to interact.

Sex education is needed to be taken into our consideration if we want to build a healthy society consists of responsible human being that at least are aware of their power over their own body.

Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani

Read another article written by Rachmadita K.

 

[1] Gordon, P.;2011. Sexuality education and the prevention of sexual violence. Protecting children from sexual violence. A comprehensive approach. Council of Europe, Strasbourg, pp.175-185.

[2] Juniman, Puput Tripeni. 2018. Mengintip Upaya Pendidikan Seks dari Berbagai Negara. [online] available at: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/gaya-hidup/20180904211236-284-327711/mengintip-upaya-pendidikan-seks-dari-berbagai-negara [Accessed 9 March 2019]

[3] Smith, M., Gertz, E., Alvarez, S. and Lurie, P., 2000. The content and accessibility of sex education information on the Internet. Health Education & Behavior, 27(6), pp.684-694.

[4] Instagram Help Center – Privacy and Safety Center. [online]  Available at: https://help.instagram.com/424737657584573. [Accessed 10 March 2019]

[5] Cooper, A., McLoughlin, I.P. and Campbell, K.M., 2000. Sexuality in cyberspace: Update for the 21st century. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(4), pp.521-536.

[6] Barak, A. and Fisher, W.A., 2001. Toward an Internet-driven, theoretically‐based, innovative approach to sex education. Journal of Sex Research, 38(4), pp.324-332

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.