Online Sexual Health Education Faces Censorship in Asia-Pacific

Sexual health and well-being are taboo topics in many parts of Asia and the Asia-Pacific area, and there isn’t much formal education on the subject. There are more and more online sexual health educators and content makers trying to fill this gap, but social media platforms are censoring them more and more, which makes their work harder. What’s going on is this:

Asia doesn’t teach enough about sexual health

Many Asian countries don’t have formal education about these, so young people don’t know much about safe sex, relationships, or gender. As a result, digital artists and teachers have turned to social media to share important information. This called “digital sexuality education.”

Online sexual health trainers say that content restrictions, post deletions, and not being able to put ads on their educational posts are becoming more common. The makers say that social media sites crack down on content in random and inconsistent ways, which makes people self-censor.

Problems with Making Content Stand Out

Some content creators, including Leeza Mangaldas, say that social media sites have a hard time telling the difference between art, educational, and sexual material. It’s hard for teachers to talk about things like the safe use of sex toys or female orgasms without getting in trouble.

Pressure to Watch Yourself

Educators have had to self-censor by removing posts that include sexual content and staying away from mentions to them. People don’t want to talk about important this issues because they’re afraid of having their posts taken down or limited.

Calls for Better Monitoring of Content about Sexual Health

Online teachers of sexual health are asking social media sites to be more open and clear about their content rules. They think that explicit content and teaching content should kept separate so that they can keep doing their important work.

World Effects on Non-Profits

Censorship also harms not-for-profit groups that focus on sexual health. Authorities have banned or taken down pages offering guidance on self-managed abortions or safe sex.

The Problem of Making an Appeal

It’s not always easy to get content taken down because content creators don’t get many human replies to their requests. Because automated solutions don’t let educators change material, they have to delete it.

Why people need to know Sexual Health

Part of the problem with material being misclassified is that content moderators aren’t always aware of it. A 2020 UNESCO paper discussed the increasing difficulties online sexual health education faces in Asia and the Asia-Pacific area due to escalating censorship on social media sites.

In the paper, it pointed out that moderators, due to lack of knowledge, often mistakenly classify training programmes as pornography, adding to the confusion. To make sure that young people can get correct and important sexual health information, there needs to be better content moderation and a clear separation between explicit content and educational material.