Ian Smith, the new face of Australian sex education. Ian Smith

Sex education is arguably one of the most important things to teach in schools. With so many people having unprotected sex without understanding the health benefits of using condoms, it is clear that more needs to be done to improve sexual knowledge around the globe.

However, one organisation has enlisted a rather unorthodox supporter in their quest to tackle this issue: none other than Ian Smith, the actor famous for playing Harold Bishop in the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours. The thespian has teamed up with La Trobe Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) to produce a new DVD and teaching kit called 'Ask Grandad'.

In this short film, Mr Smith is shown playing the titular grandad who teaches teenagers about safe sex, including the proper way to put on a condom. While this may seem like an odd casting choice, as many people would feel awkward getting sexual advice from Harold Bishop, feedback has been "overwhelmingly positive".

"This is such a great way to stimulate discussion about safe sex, not just between teachers and their students but also between parents and their kids," said Pamela Blackman, a researcher with the ARCSHS.

"Because so many of us find sex a very personal thing, teachers, students and parents often find discussing condoms awkward. However, the humour in the Ask Grandad resource alleviates much of the embarrassment."

This video came off the back of a worrying study that found only 59 per cent of Australian teenagers used a condom in their last sexual encounter. However, when they had a condom available 89 per cent of the survey's participants used it.

This suggests that the teenagers are underestimating how important condoms are and not making sure they have one with them at all times. Hopefully, the presence of Harold Bishop in the Ask Grandad film will make a difference and improve the general level of sexual knowledge in Australia.


Source: La Trobe