Teachers are backing a new approach to sex education that includes dealing with issues such as consent, coercion and sexual diversity.
The Ministry of Education yesterday released a new version of its sexuality education guide, updated for the first time in more than a decade.
It said the changes would help encourage problem-solving and decision-making for students in relation to sexual activity, as well as assertiveness skills and the ability to identify pressure from others.
Post Primary Teachers Association president Angela Roberts said the new guidelines bring sex education into the social-media-dominant era.
"They reflect the skills, the understanding and knowledge our kids need to be able to be healthy citizens as they grow up," she said.
"We have some really vulnerable children in our schools and these guidelines will help us to support them."
Sexual Abuse Prevention Network coordinator Fiona McNamara said education in schools was key in stopping abuse among young people.
"Yes, there is increased attention towards sexual violence but education is one of the best ways to address these issues."
Lobby group Family First said the guidelines were extreme and that resources should be targeted at parents to help them educate their own children.