By Stephanie Brenneisen Photo Editor, Online Editor
No matter the standards, religious or not, high school students should be given the right to health education, which is something that public high schools in Utah continue to teach at a sub-par level.
State Law requires sex-ed in public high schools, but it comes with some ridiculous restrictions. Whether or not someone chooses to engage in sexual activity, teenagers deserve the right to the knowledge that is kept from them so they can make informed and safe decisions.
Abstinence is obviously something that is highly encouraged and respected in the state of Utah, but not everyone can be expected to follow that, which is why the state’s policy on sex-ed does more harm than good.
A few things that cannot be taught in Utah public high schools are the advocacy for homosexuality, sexual activity outside of marriage, and the encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices.
The fact that defending homosexuality is banned in the health curriculum in Utah may be why people of the LGBTQ community are so widely disrespected and rejected in this state. It makes it harder for homosexuals to come out and be who they are. Stereotypes are left to fester and homophobia continues.
Teenagers with comprehensive sex education are 50% less likely to become pregnant while abstinence-only programs show no progress according to the Advocates for Youth, but the ban on teaching contraception remains. This ban also leads to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), which infect 1 in 4 teenage girls.
Each year, there are 20 million new cases of STDs with 50% of these cases from people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Safety should be the number one concern, not the pressure on teenagers to remain abstinent. That pressure can lead to rebellion and not everyone can be expected to have the same standards anyway.
The ban on teaching about things like condoms, birth control pills, and the patch can also cause infections. Health class is supposed to teach kids how to be healthy, but depriving kids of the knowledge that can keep them from contracting an infection is just sickly.
STDs can often lead to infertility and even death. Even if someone doesn’t plan on engaging in sexual activity, they should be taught about it for the sake of their own safety, just in case.
Teenage pregnancy is also a concern because of the lack of education. Utah ranks at 13th in the nation for the rate of teenage births with 20.6 births out of every 1,000 teenager, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
When a person reaches the age of fifteen, they should be given the right to this type of education if they give consent to learning about it. If they do not feel comfortable learning about it, then it should not be forced upon them, but they do deserve that right to learn so they can make informed decisions for their own safety and well-being.
In the world we live in today, it’s so hard to just talk to somebody in person, but is incredibly easy to hide who you are all because of social media.
Just about everything is online these days: businesses, dating, and our entire lives. It’s great and it’s fun, but when it comes to things like staying “in touch” with another person and building a relationship, the only thing that comes out of it is a psychological comfort and in affect, we lose connection with the people who are physically there because of the way we are glued to our touch screens.
Along with the comfort comes the insecurity. Teenagers and young adults often look at their feed, see a photo and think, “Why can’t that be me?” or “Why is everybody hanging out without me?”
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of an adult today is at eight seconds, one second less than that of a goldfish. We get distracted by things like a cell phone vibration or a notification. We get distracted by the hope if it.
People today are addicted to social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and focus on the hundreds of selfies of the same people who feel the need to constantly brag about themselves. Instead, these people should be focusing on themselves and on the people are actually there for them.
According to expert opinion from guardianlv.com, social media and selfies cause narcissism, depression, low self esteem, and an addiction harder to quit than drugs or alcohol.
Social networks are often used to fall in love, but love comes naturally and cannot be forced, which is exactly what sites like match.com and tinder try to do.
Having an honest relationship online is almost impossible. People can fabricate themselves in any way they want and people often get catfished – hooked into an online relationship from a false identity. Just ask Manti Te’o.
When people constantly post, tweet, and check their feed, they enter in a competition of who can get the most likes and followers, but happiness will never come from this endless game with no real winner.