Young prefer to read all about it

1st March 1996 at 00:00
Mark Whitehead reports on the publication of a teachers' resource book on homosexuality. Young people prefer to find out about sex, drugs and puberty from magazines rather than their parents or teachers, a new survey has found, writes Mark Whitehead.

The report, part of a study of attitudes among 9,000 youngsters aged four to 16, found that more than three-quarters of girls and nearly two-thirds of boys prefer to find out about such matters from printed sources rather than from adults, classmates or television.

The survey by the Children's Literature Research Centre at the Roehampton Institute, attached to Surrey University, follows concern over explicit sexual information in some girls' magazines.

Home Office minister Tom Sackville met magazine publishers and retailers this week and told them that some material in teenage magazines was "too explicit for under-16s".

The industry representatives agreed to consider drawing up guidelines to deal with the issue and to provide information about the age ranges of magazine readers.

Earlier this month Peter Luff, Conservative MP for Worcester, led moves to clamp down on magazines. His unsuccessful private member's bill sought to require publishers to print minimum readership ages on front covers.

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