Do you belong to the class of parents that say the kids are too young to be taught this subject matter? then you probably might be heading for a shocker. The internet makes pornography readily available to anyone at any age in any location and it makes it difficult to raise a child today. As a matter of fact, it is most likely that kids are getting a lot of their sex education through viewing porn and you will be shocked how much they know already. Scary right? that’s it. If you ever experienced how things suddenly pop up on your phone’s screen while reading through a blog post or news headlines and with just a click, it redirects you to a link with sexually explicit contents, you would understand how dangerous the internet is becoming for kids.
Discussing this with your child can be very tough but not discussing can be way tougher. We live in a world of unbridled access to technology with kids as young as 5 years old being exposed to sexually explicit media on smart devices, video games and other mainstays of the digital age. Fortunately, hope is not lost. As a parent, it’s important to have an open and honest discussion about pornography to shape our children’s worldview.
Here are some few tips you need to get you started
The earlier the better
If you are yet to start talking about it, the time is now. start early. Unsupervised searches on the internet by kids is more dangerous now than ever. Many kids come across porn accidentally while searching for something totally unrelated on the internet. A prior discussion can prepare them ahead. This can help minimise potential harm. It also gives the child insight into what they may see, and what is best to do in such situation
Be conscious of your child’s activities on the internet.
If you have already noticed some strange web histories or searches on your child’s device, probe your child and ask them to explain what they understood from what they saw. They are exposed to many things today and they want to know about it. Find things out yourself occasionally to know what your kids are up to on the internet. With a tech savvy child, checking browser history would be futile. Its more effective to install apps that restrict access to certain sites. So before handing them their devices, ensure you have restricted access to “adult” sites.
Teach them what pornography is all about and why it is bad for them
Explain in pure terms what pornography is all about. To be honest we can’t do much about making sure they don’t come across it. We can’t always be close to them and we can’t be sure of what other kids bring with them to school that could spark your child’s curiosity. Let them understand the pictures and videos that are qualified to be termed porn. For instance, tell them if they ever see naked individuals posing on the internet or touching each other’s private parts, rubbing against each other ― this is called pornography or porn. Let them know they might accidentally come across it and whenever they do, tell them you would like them to close the computer or turn off the phone and come talk with you, so you can help explain better what they have seen”
Lead by example
The kind of movies we watch and how we respond to actions with risque scenes speak volumes. The saying of do what I say not what I do may not really work with those kids as they pick clues from our everyday life. If we regularly stream or watch programs that contain things that we would tell our kids are inappropriate, then we might as well be complicating the issue.
If you have a bad experience in this area, don’t hesitate to share the failures with them
You can either create a scenario or if you have an experience of failure in this area or stories that you heard or read about the evils of pornography, it is best to share with them. It will make much sense to kids if they hear a story of how you sailed through their level when faced with similar issue. We can use the stories to tell them about the consequences of our choices
At what age should I start talking about this with my child?
For children aged 5-8 years, seeing pornography is usually considered accidental. However, according to research, the average age of first viewing of porn is between 10 to 12 for boys and 11 to 13 for girls. During this period, it is normal for them to start having some sense of awareness about their sexuality. The curiosity heightens and there is likelihood for the urge to know. So, it’s advisable to start ahead of time with prior discussion. As long as the child has access to the internet, he/she should be educated about online safety, and what to do at any given time. A prior knowledge will help them develop healthy orientation and make informed decision .