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Talking with Kids about Porn – Part 1

Talking with Kids about Porn – Part 1

In our blogs, we want to offer Parents worthwhile, thoughtful and grounded information. At our Raising Teenage Boys Parent Sessions, we ask what concerns or fears Parents have for their boys at this key time of their lives and we hear online pornography mentioned.

We decided to bring in a professional in the area, Hugh Martin from Man Enough, who supports men of all ages to take positive steps in taking responsibility for this area of their lives. After hearing his story at a men’s conference, we invited him to share with us a 3-part series to support our villages’ need for knowledge, understanding and strategies. Here goes… take it away Hugh!

Today’s youth are the most tech-savvy group in Australia, with much of their social lives conducted online.

On the positive side, the internet and social media allows young people to socialise with their friends, find their “tribe” and access information and knowledge in an empowering way.

But on the negative side, young people are revealing ever more information about themselves in an increasingly amplified way, they are becoming increasingly anxious about their online identity and access to adult or extreme material is fundamentally different.

There is an estimated 500 million known pornographic webpages on the internet and when the brains of young people switch on to sex it should be of no surprise that their lessons are likely to come from today’s porn websites.

Today we start looking at how to engage your kids in a conversation about porn. We’ll commence with the importance of talking. Talking about porn is a great way to introduce big topics that young people want to talk about – like sex, sexuality, relationships, body image and respect.

The ability to throw in an open question about porn at the right time can encourage critical thinking, which will stand them in much better stead than simply telling them what to think.

Why talk about porn?

Today’s internet porn is vastly different to that of even 10 years ago let alone the porn you probably saw when growing up. Porn today has more to do with domination than even objectification and its prevalence today means that this could become your kid’s key source of information about sex and sexuality.

That is unless your kids know the difference between porn and reality. And that difference will be you.

The challenge for parents, guardians and teachers today, who didn’t grow up with this technology, is to appropriately educate and guide young people safely amidst shifting behaviours and norms created by rapidly evolving technology and the transformative nature of extreme content.

Start talking

The most important thing is to start a conversation and keep it going.

Young people are more likely to be interested in porn if they are interested in sex, however boys are being exposed to pornography at much younger ages. The average age of first exposure is currently 11 and accessing porn is incredibly easy. Kids don’t even need to go looking for porn to find it as there are a number of seemingly innocuous words that yield porn results online.

But young people are also critical and literate consumers of all media – including sexually explicit media. However, sex and relationship education has not kept up with technology and content so you people are left with either porn or actually having sex.

Next week we’re going to look at some values around porn and what it gives us and what it takes away.

For more information about Hugh Martin, check out his website – www.manenough.com.au.

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