The claim: The World Health Organization recommends that children between the ages of 9 and 12 have their first sexual experience
A Facebook video from April 27 (direct link, archive link) shows a woman in a US flag hat and an orange safety vest speaking to the camera, warning of an alleged action by a major international agency.
“The World Health Organization keeps pushing their agenda — check this out,” she says at the start of the video. “The World Health Organization recommends that children between the ages of 9 and 12 have (sic) their first sexual intercourse experience. Nine and twelve, when they are children.”
She also claims that the organization encourages children to learn how to view online pornography and supports masturbation from ages 0 to 4.
The video was shared more than 5,500 times on Facebook.
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Our assessment: False
A 2010 publication from the WHO’s European office said that children in this age group should be given information about sexual experiences. It also said they needed to develop the skills to make conscious decisions about sexual activity and that the guidelines were not intended as an implementation guide.
2010 WHO publication recommends that children receive information about sexual experiences
At one point in the Facebook video, a screenshot of an article appears on the screen. The headline echoes the woman’s statements and was published by a website called 100% Fed Up, which describes itself as a “conservative news site dedicated to the memory of Andrew Breitbart.” heart failure in 2012.
The claim stems from the World Health Organization’s 2010 Regional Office for Europe publication on “Sex Education Standards”. It contains charts showing age-appropriate sex education recommendations at different stages of a child’s development, with the content broken down into information children should be given, skills they should learn, and attitudes they should develop .
It does not recommend that children between the ages of 9 and 12 have their first sexual experiences, as the Facebook video claims. Rather, it recommends that adults educate children in this age group on topics such as first sexual experiences and gender orientation. Children that age should be able to “make a conscious decision about whether or not to have sexual experiences” and promote “acceptance, respect and understanding of diversity in sexuality and sexual orientation,” the document said.
Recommendations for children between 0 and 4 include providing information about body parts, including genitals, as well as the “pleasure and pleasure of touching one’s own body”. The WHO also says that children in this age cohort should develop the ability to express their own wants , needs and boundaries and cultivate a positive attitude towards their bodies.
The foreword to the document says it is intended to encourage countries to introduce sex education or expand existing programs, but it says the document “is not intended as an implementation guide.
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Daniel Epstein, a spokesperson for the WHO, said the claim that the organization recommends that children have sexual experiences by the age of 9 is false.
“The WHO does not recommend sexual activity below the national minimum age for sexual activity,” Epstein said. “On these or other issues, the WHO does not call for the violation of national laws.”
Ages of consent vary in the United States. Most states set the age at 16, others at 17 or 18. In Denmark, where the WHO Regional Office for Europe is located, the age of consent is 15 years.
Epstein referred to studies touting the benefits of sex education for children. Medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have reported that comprehensive sex education delays the onset of sexual activity and reduces risky sexual behaviors, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman.
Lead Stories also debunked the claim.
USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.
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