More children in Scotland now get most of their information about sex from school rather than from their friends or family, a new survey has found.
The Edinburgh University study, funded by NHS Health Scotland, found nearly a half of 15-year-old boys, at 49 percent, and 34 percent of girls, said they got their information from school compared to 29 percent and 23 percent in 2002.
Another 28 percent of boys, and 32 percent of girls said they got their information from friends, and just 9 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls found out about sex from parents.
The survey also found young people who report school as their main source of information were less likely to have had sex than those who say they get their information from their parents or friends.
Just 18 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls who report getting their information from school have had sex, compared to 41 percent of boys and 43 percent of girls having sex, who had got their information from friends.
Researchers also said 76 percent of girls found it easiest to discuss sex with a friend compared to 71 percent of boys.
In contrast, just 13 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls said parents were the easiest person to talk about sex with.
And only 3 percent of boys and 1 percent of girls found a teacher was best to discuss such matters with.
"This paper highlights the impact of the increasing prevalence of information provided about sexual matters to young people at school," the Scotsman quoted researcher Jo Kirby, of the University of Edinburgh's Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit, as saying.
"Improving teacher-pupil communication about sexual matters may further increase the benefits associated with sex education in schools," Kirby stated.
However, critics warned it would be too much for children of such a young age to cope with.
"The Scottish Government values the provision of good quality sex and relationships education in schools," a Scottish Government spokeswoman said.
"As this report shows, schools can and do make a difference in educating our young people about relationships, sexual health and parenthood but they cannot do it on their own," she added.
The survey was carried out in 300 schools across Scotland and questioned more than 2,000 pupils aged 15.
The research is part of a wider Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, an international survey by the World Health Organisation involving more than 40 countries in Europe and North America.