Charity teaches young people to ‘train their brains’ for healthy relationships
18 February 2015
In light of yesterday’s call from The Children’s Commissioner to make Sex Education compulsory in schools, relationship charity OnePlusOne launches website to teach teenagers about self-confidence, consent and emotional intelligence.
February marks the start of the charity’s Relationship Education campaign, during which they will launch their latest site LoveSmart, designed in partnership with The Student Room and YouthNet, to tackle the misconception that love and commitment are not a priority for young adults.
“The site covers matters such as “What kind of relationship am I in?”, “Do I have to have sex?” and “Can I be friends with my ex?” said OnePlusOne Director Penny Mansfield. “Our hope is that we can answer the questions of young adults while showing them how to improve the quality of their relationships. We know from research by the National Union of Students and the Institute for Public Policy Research that young people want more and better relationship education in schools. Until that happens, we hope our guide can help to plug this very real gap.”
LoveSmart uses relationship science and interactive animations to encourage users to set boundaries, communicate effectively and understand their emotions. The site looks at sex and intimacy within the broader context of dating and forming relationships.
“It’s a myth to assume that the only thing young people are interested in is sex,” continued Mansfield. “They care very much about their relationships as we discovered recently at an event we attended held by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).”
This view was echoed by one of OnePlusOne’s digital partners, The Student Room, whose website is visited by over six million young adults every month. “Findings from NUS mirror the thousands of comments we hear from young people every day: the UK’s sex and relationships programmes are patchy at best,” said Student Room Director of Community Jack Wallington.
“Students regularly report a general lack of practical advice, and worryingly, inadequate or incorrect information about sexuality, contraception and STIs – leaving a black hole of questions filled by friends and websites.
“So as we know young people do access information online, we very much welcome this initiative from our partners OnePlusOne to give young people honest, high-quality information about relationships.”
Helen Williams, Head of Engagement and Communities for YouthNet, the charity behind TheSite.org – online guide to life for young people, said, “TheSite.org users tell us that current Sex Education doesn’t prepare them for the realities they’re facing. They feel ill-prepared to deal with pressures around sex and relationships, and that the focus on heterosexual sex leaves young people who are questioning their sexuality feeling isolated and confused.
“Crucially, Sex Education has not caught up with the digital age – online platforms such as TheSite.org and LoveSmart offer young people the opportunity to better discuss personal relationship issues and get ongoing practical and emotional support.”
Notes to Editors
- OnePlusOne is a UK charity, which aims to strengthen relationships; helping couples and parents through a range of online resources.
- It also provides online training for frontline family workers to equip them with the skills to offer timely relationship support in a face-to-face setting.
- Based on latest research evidence, it promotes early action to equip couples to deal with relationship issues before they become entrenched.
- It was recently commissioned by the Department for Education to lead a high-profile campaign to encourage couples to see seeking support as normal in strengthening their relationship. The charity will be working with expert partners, such as Working Families, Contact a Family, DAD.info, Netmums, The Student Room and YouthNet, to create online spaces where couples can find tools to help them. * For more information, visit the website www.oneplusone.org.uk