Netflix’s recently-released series Sex Education is a refreshing new take on the teen show genre that finally offers a progressive representation of a diversity of characters and narratives. It makes sense that it soared to such extreme popularity so quickly – it’s excellent.
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) January 15, 2019
Unfortunately, while the show brings into the spotlight the desire among teens for clarity on topics of sex and puberty, it’s also making it harder to access real sex education content online.
The show’s title, Sex Education, is a play on the unofficial sex therapy service that the main character offers his fellow students. Clever. Cute. Likely seemed like a very harmless choice.
But now in the world of the wide web, the term ‘sex education’ signifies Netflix’s TV show first, and the actual resources that people in need of actual sex education seek out, second.
When you Google ‘sex education’, the entire first page of results is dedicated to the show, and it continues to dominate most results for the first three pages and permeates even further.
The results are similar when sex education is searched on YouTube.
Google and YouTube are the two main search platforms that people use to seek out the answers to sex ed-related questions, and it’s unfortunate that a byproduct of the show’s popularity is burying that information.
With the dogmatic resistance to improve inadequate sex education programmes in schools, the obstacles between young people and sufficient resources are already taking their toll.
Whether this outcome is something that Netflix considered with this show is impossible to say, but it definitely signals the need for more accessible sex ed beyond the self-driven internet search.
People have a lot of questions, and if the answers are being buried beneath pop culture content with great SEO (search engine optimisation) then we need to be proactive with solutions.
There should be places people know they can have their sex ed questions answered, because Google and YouTube results are a muddied mess.