Some Christian parents are voicing their disapproval after the U.K. government mandated that sex and relationships be taught in all English schools. They argue that they should be the ones taking the lead on such an important issue and protecting their children from things like pornography.
"Parents will be absolutely powerless to protect their children from presentations of sexual activity, which we know is part of many sex education teaching resources for primary school children," Antonia Tully, national co-ordinator of the Safe at School campaign at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told BBC.
"The state simply cannot safeguard children in the same way that parents can. This proposal is sending a huge message to parents that they are unfit to teach their own children about sex."
Tully also stressed that parents should be "taking the lead in guiding and protecting their own children from pornography and other online content which is unsuitable," according to Premier.
Education Secretary Justine Greening announced on Wednesday that all children from the age of four will be taught about "safe and healthy relationships," though parents will still be allowed the option to withdraw their children from such classes.
Tully said that the decision was a "bleak day for parents" and accused the government of undermining the role of parents.
As BBC pointed out, sex education had so far been mandatory only in council-run schools.
"At the moment, many schools teach sex and relationships education," Greening told BBC.
"But it's not mandatory, and, therefore, for many children, they are not coming out of our schools really being equipped to deal with the modern world or indeed be safe and protected from some of the very modern challenges that young people face on cyberbullying and sexting."
Officials, such as Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association, welcomed the change, and said that delaying teaching children about such subjects creates a "ticking sexual health time bomb."
"We believe that making SRE compulsory in all secondary schools, not just council-maintained ones, could make a real difference in reversing this trend, by preparing pupils for adulthood and enabling them to better take care of themselves and future partners," Seccombe commented.
Some Christians backed the government's decision, such as Christian relationships and sex education charity Acet U.K., arguing that educating pupils on the subject in schools can result in "better provision for young people."
"We know that the majority of teachers want relationships and sex education in school but they're under increasingly pressure — for a variety of reasons — which mean they struggle to make enough time for it," Acet's Gareth Cheeseman said.
Cheeseman pointed out that in some situations parents do not feel able to talk about such topics with their children, and that is why schools have to step up.
Others, however, such as the conservative Christian Concern organization, argued that children's innocence needs to be safeguarded.
"We need to be protecting them from things, working with parents to ensure that what they might need to know — which will be different for every child child, different in every context across the country — is properly looked at," Christian Concern's chief executive, Andrea Williams, told BBC.
"But this is something that should be individualized, not something that the state can deliver wholesale."