Age-Inappropriate Sex Ed App Should Be Withdrawn

MEDIA RELEASE: Age-Inappropriate Sex Ed App Should Be Withdrawn


12 November 2023

Family First is calling for a phone app developed by Canterbury University with explicit content and advice on fingering, hand jobs, anal sex, chest binding and sex toys, to be withdrawn. The app has received terrible reviews from parents on both the App Store and Google Play with an average score of 1.3 out of 5.

The app is called Te Puāwaitanga: Beyond the Birds and Bees, and was developed by Canterbury University with financial support from a number of other government funded groups including Kiwi Innovation Network which comes under Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Pegasus – a Canterbury health group which receives some funding from Te Whatu Ora, and Lottery Health Research.

Most concerning is that the Classification Office (which is a crown agency) has provided advice. This is highly problematic because the app is ‘recommended’ for 12+, but there is no restriction to young children accessing the material. When the app was first published, there was a pop-up warning that it was ‘restricted’ to 12+ but that children younger should “have a korero with their parents first” before using the app. This is no longer present. Or a period of time, the Google Play restriction was 3-plus! It is now 12+.

Under “The First Time”, there are sections on fingering, handjobs, oral sex, anal sex (yes – apparently 12 year olds need the government to educate them on how to do this) and PIV sex.

Hot tips include telling 12 year olds (and younger children who are freely able to look at the website) about keeping sex toys clean.

There are also sections on pronouns; bisexual and pansexuality; asexuality, aromantic and demisexuality; transitioning; medical transitioning, with subsections on binders, vocal therapy and surgeries; a link to a NZ site with advice on binders and tape; and genital reconstruction surgery.

This is for children as young as 12, and in fact, younger children will access the content, and the promoters and funders appear to be okay with that. And so is the Classification Office who are supposed to be the watchdogs of age-inappropriate material.

But as we are finding out as we travel around the country talking to parent groups, the content is highly offensive to parents, it’s definitely not what they want their children to be exposed to, and it’s well “beyond the birds and the bees”.

Reviews from Google (38 reviews with an average score of 1.2 / 5):

“Bloody disgusting is the only way I describe this app. Seriously, I hope you lose your funding and any future development contract prospects. This is nothing short of another method of grooming children courtesy of the sick minds who are pushing a gender agenda.”

“I’m disappointed that the New Zealand government has provided funding for this, that it is available without age restriction, and that it appears to be overt sexualisation of minors. No stars awarded, but have to give minimum one or else cannot post this review.”

“Absolutely disgusting even though it has now been rated 12 plus. How dare the government use tax payers money to encourage children to have all these types of sex with well detailed descriptions on what to do. The basic birds and bees were fine the rest should be left until much much later on.”

Family First is calling for the app to be withdrawn immediately.

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