If the average age when a child might encounter inappropriate content online is 11, then it’s time to talk to your child about pornography sooner rather than later.
In the internet age, this can be very jarring as porn shows a diluted sense of intimacy in return for instant satisfaction.
Although you may want to put off having a talk with your kids; it’s best to talk to your child about pornography, with the understanding that it will likely be awkward.
It’s better to have an awkward talk that helps them understand sexuality in a healthy way, rather than not talk at all.
Remember that this is not a one-time talk, but an ongoing dialogue. Have a conversation whenever there is an opportunity to discuss the larger issues of sexuality (including pornography) with your children.
The Dangers Of Internet Pornography For Teens
Pornography scenes do not depict a realistic representation of a healthy sexual relationship.
The material focuses on the most physically stimulating and visually exciting aspects of sexual encounters.
Often there is little or no context or storyline, usually involving a relationship between strangers with no emotional connection.
This adult material can sometimes include violence and degradation with a genre for almost every fetish or perversion imaginable.
A young person’s early exposure to porn via the internet can affect how he/she perceives sexuality in the long run.
Unfortunately, teens exposed to pornographic material may think that’s how sex is supposed to be.
Exposure to porn might change expectations of what is normal in a sexual relationship.
Our young men should realize that acting out some of the things depicted in porn can lead to sexual assault and rape charges.
Young women should be aware that they don’t need to comply with sexual requests that make them feel uncomfortable.
They have the right to feel comfortable and safe in their sexual encounters.
Unfortunately, teens that view pornography are often at a greater risk of developing sexually permissive attitudes and preoccupation with sex.
So it becomes more likely that when they are adults, they’ll be unfaithful to their spouse.
More than half (56%) of divorce cases involve one party who is obsessively interested in online pornography.
The implications on your teen’s relationships today and in their future are severe.
So you must talk to your teen about pornography before being exposed to it online (or assume that they already have been).
How To Talk To Your Teen About Porn
You don’t need to panic if you discover that your child has viewed Internet pornography.
The key in this situation is to be their ally and help them collaborate with you to be safe.
1. It’s important to stay calm
If you find out that your teen has been watching porn, then confront them in a calm and non-judgemental way.
Explain that it’s normal and natural to be curious about sex.
Explain to them that searching the web for porn sites will take them to places they don’t want to go.
2. Be direct and upfront – do not shame or punish
Start your conversations directly and to the point.
Please don’t lie to them or try to get them to confess to having watched porn.
If you try to shame or punish them then they’re less likely to talk to you about it in the future.
Try to avoid a one-time monologue, lecturing is off-putting to teens.
Rather bring up the subject casually over time and keep your takeaways brief and to the point.
Give your teen permission to ask you questions about sex or porn.
If you don’t know the answer then be honest with them and admit “I don’t know but I can find out for you”.
3. Explain the dangers
In summary, the dangers are:
- Online porn is made to create sexual excitement but can have the effect of leaving you wanting more and more.
- Porn is not a realistic representation of a sexual relationship and might lead to unrealistic expectations. If acted upon, this can even lead to sexual assault or rape charges.
- Some sites include material that is violent and degrading. This material can make you feel bad or ashamed about yourself due to its deviant nature.
- Watching too much of this material can affect your relationships in the future and lead to unwanted emotional hurt and distress.
- Teens are targeted by sexual predators who look for young people online. Predators “groom” kids by sharing “secrets” about sex, romance, and taking risks. They hide their real identities and pretend to be your friend so that you trust them. They later abuse this trust to manipulate and use you.
Explain that just like in the real world, some places are dangerous.
Some are especially dangerous because they pull you in and can make it hard to stop going there.
Remember the rule that “No Secrets = No Predators”.
Make sure that your teen knows that when they’re confronted by a confusing or even dangerous situation online that they always have a trusted adult that they can turn to – you.
- With the wide use of the internet the average age when children will have their first access to pornography is 11.
- The conversation we have with our kids is always going to be awkward but it’s important that we don’t put this off as our children need us before it’s too late.
- Tell your children that porn is a fantasy and not a realistic depiction of how intimacy should be conducted. Let them know that they can talk to you if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable.
- The more positive, healthy, value-centered, sex education kids receive from their parents, the less promiscuous and confused they will be.
Because of the early sexualization in our culture, we just can’t hold off the conversations. Porn is only a mouse click away or one swipe of the phone away. Kids are confused and curious and part of your job is to give God-honoring wisdom while you shower them with understanding and love.theparentcue.org
You might also want to read: How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers?