Raising Kids

When Should I Talk to My Kid About Porn?

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To answer this question let’s look at some stats first.

  • 90% of kid’s ages 8 to 16 have viewed porn online.
  • 11 is the average age of a child’s first experience to porn.
  • 1 in 3 youth report unwanted exposure to sexual material online.

There are tons of stats related to kids and porn. As you can see by just a few I’ve listed, you need to start talking to your kids sooner rather than later. I think by a least 5th grade you need to start having some very simple discussions with your children. I know that seems young, but the stats say they’re vulnerable to exposure.

What’s a simple discussion? Asking a question like “Have you ever seen a nude picture of someone?”. You may get a response like “Eww, gross!” but if the answer is yes, even if your child doesn’t say the word, most parents will be able to tell if they have seen something. If you think they’ve seen something, then explore it a bit deeper. It could be nothing, like a picture of natives in Africa that they saw at school. I recall seeing a picture in National Geographic when I was a kid, and at the time it was a bit shocking. Or it could be something else. Maybe a kid from school showed them a nude picture. Maybe they stumble into something online. The idea is to get some dialogue going with them and, based on their response, adjust the conversation. If they have seen something inappropriate, it’s time to have a deeper discussion about porn and lay down some ground rules for what inappropriate behavior is when it comes to porn. If you’ve found a particular friend of theirs has shown them porn, a discussion with that friends parents is in order. Nothing confrontational, but more of a “by the way Johnny showed Mark a picture of a nude girl when he was over your house last week, and I thought you’d want to know” type discussion.

These can discussions can be uncomfortable, but we can’t just ignore it. We have to deal with it head on. Yes, it is unfortunate that parents have to start having discussions with their children about porn at such a young age. But in this fast paced, technologically advanced world we live in, porn is finding our children at increasingly younger ages. We need to help them avoid the onslaught. Starting off with some simple discussions with them when they’re young could make all the difference.

This article was originally published here and is used with permission.

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