Government turns to teen magazines for advice

A group of teenage magazine editors are proposing to have closer involvement in the classroom in a bid to help improve sex education for teenagers.

The editors of Bliss, J17, Mizz, Cosmo GIRL! and Sugar held talks with Education Secretary Charles Clarke in March and were asked to come up with suggestions on how to help the government improve its understanding of teenage sex and relationships. Between them the magazines reach around 93 per cent of teenagers in the UK aged between 10 and 16. One of the proposals likely to be put forward at the next meeting is for the magazines to have closer involvement with lessons via a possible video link up in the classroom. Mizz editor Sharon Christal stressed the proposals were still at an early stage but told Press Gazette: “One of the ideas is to work with teachers on how lesson plans are drawn up. We had a look at some of the lesson plans and the language used was just embarrassing. It wasn’t in teen talk. They need to speak to teenagers in the way that magazines do.”

“If it was written in a language teenagers understand, that doesn’t patronise them and treats them like adults,” she added.

The idea involved the magazine’s agony aunts going live online so they could offer advice and information direct to pupils in schools. “We have got lots of ideas, it’s a good first positive move but there is a long way to go with this,” Christal said.

By Ruth Addicott

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