Thousands of school children are being given the ability to access sexually explicit websites in Scottish schools, according to the Scottish Daily Mail.
However, critics have slammed the controversial scheme warning that it undermines parental authority.
School children in the NHS Lanarkshire health board area are able to access the health board’s own sexual health web pages from school computers after teachers lifted internet safety filters.
However, the health board’s website contains graphic descriptions of unconventional sex acts, and advises that sexually transmitted infections are “as common as the cold”.
Norman Wells, Director of the Family Education Trust, blasted the scheme, saying: “School children don’t need to visit sexual health websites.
“The more public money has been invested in programmes to make it easier for young people to access contraception, the higher the rates of sexually transmitted infections have risen.”
And Eileen McCloy, of the parents’ rights group Not With My Child, said: “A lot of parents will be very concerned about this. They want to know what their children are doing on the internet.
“Parental blocks exist to stop access to sites like these.”
Dave Craig, education officer with North Lanarkshire Council, defended the scheme: “This is a well managed and highly informative website which can be used by pupils and teachers in their own time, to find out more information on these matters.”
The scheme, which is due to be expanded into Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran, is an attempt to meet official NHS sexual health guidelines.
NHS Forth Valley’s website includes graphic descriptions of sex acts, and NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s site advises browsers where they can get free condoms, the morning-after pill and how to get an abortion.
While the websites are not expected to be utilised in sex education lessons, school children will be able to access them in the library and during free time in their schools’ computer room.
A spokesman for the Scottish Executive said: “Any decision on whether to participate in this would be a matter for schools and local authorities.”
In April it was disclosed that Scottish children as young as eleven were receiving sex education from 14-year-olds in a bid to cut teenage pregnancies.
The Health Buddies pilot project, which was taking place in Dundee, involved pupils as young as 14 teaching younger children about issues such as contraception and puberty.
The so-called ‘health buddies’ were also expected to direct youngsters to where they can get advice on homosexual issues.
But critics warned that the scheme was “flawed”.