Their report was based on a "rigorous review" of sex-ed literature, "drawing upon 87 studies from around the world," said Mark Richmond, director of UNESCO's Division for the Coordination of U.N. Priorities in Education, in an e-mailed statement.
Richmond defended teaching about masturbation as "age-appropriate" because even in early childhood, "children are known to be curious about their bodies." Their lessons, he added, would hopefully help kids "develop a more complex understanding of sexual behaviour" as they grow into adults.
But Michelle Turner, of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, said that such roles should be left up to parents, and worried that children were being exposed to too much information too soon.
"Why can't kids be kids anymore?" she said.
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