By PHILIP VICTOR, ABC News London
A U.K. charity has published a new sex education comic book directed specifically at 6- to 7-year-olds, which has angered parenting groups who say it’s up to families to speak to their children about sex.
The FPA, formerly the Family Planning Association, has released a new 12-page booklet titled “Let's Grow With Nisha and Joe” in which the two main characters and their dog introduce kids to the physical and emotional elements of sexual development.
FPA Press Campaign Manager Rebecca Findlay says that sex education for children is “massively important,” and that the publication was developed in response to children’s curiosity. The group says that the target age was chosen to coincide with the English and writing development of 6- and 7-year olds.
Findlay says that “children are asking these normal questions” and that the pamphlet was developed after sending out test comics to schoolteachers and their pupils.
But some parenting organizations disagree.
The Family and Youth Concern is among the groups outraged by the comic. Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust for the organization, believes that the FPA has purposely moved to overshadow the role of the parent.
“The FPA does not respect parents,” Wells told ABCNews.com. “They want to bypass parents, starting with age 4.”
With the British government currently reviewing sex education in its schools, the Family and Youth Concern released a statement saying “There is no doubt the publication is intended to put pressure on the government”
The interactive pamphlet includes coloring and cartoons, and it is written in a comic book style to engage its young audience. The work also features a section in which children are asked to label the parts of the body, including sexual organs -- a main factor in the outcry.
Responding to objections, including from parents who say that they should be the ones talking with their children about the topic of sex, Findlay says “We agree with that and want parents to be involved and use the guide as a resource in educating their children.”
Wells, however, said he believed that these issues “could be dealt with in the context of everyday family life.”
So far only test copies of the pamphlets have been sent out, but the FPA is taking preorders from schools at £15 for every 50 copies, and it plans to continue selling them despite the public opposition.