Playboy’s Flagship magazine will no longer publish images of fully nude women as of March 2016. Part of the reason according to CEO Scott Flanders is that “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free.” Mr. Flanders’ statement is a scary one. How many of our tweens and teens spend hours on the internet?
In times past, access to pornography was more controllable. It was the magazine behind the cover. It was the video in the “adult section”. It was the channel that could be blocked. Today, the reality is that some level of pornography is available if you are connected to the internet. I was looking up some information about our local public radio station and made a mistake in the web address, only to have a site pop up that was informational in a very illicit way. I couldn’t get off of the site fast enough.
You might have thought that the discussion about pornography could be put off until your child was older. However, the easy access to pornography has made it necessary for parents to discuss this touchy subject at a younger age.
Our ultimate goal as parents, family, friends and mentors is to help young people have meaningful, respectful relationships. Pornography is not real, but teens don’t know that.
According to Gary Brooks, a leading researcher on the impact of pornography, “Boys who are initiated in sex through these images become indoctrinated in a way that can potentially stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Tweens and teens are learning how to have relationships. We need to be the voices in their heads as they figure out how to treat one another and the part that sexuality plays in those relationships.
It is important to be comfortable when you discuss this topic, but how many people are comfortable talking about pornography with their child? What are the limits and depth of this talk? We know that if a child comes across sexual content the reality is that they are probably not going to run and talk to you about it, even if you have a really close relationship with your child. Discussing your values about sexuality in relationships, will allow your tween or teen to view any inappropriate content within a context that includes those values and not just relying on their hormones.
Stay tuned for our next blog on the ins and outs of how to have this talk.
Car Thought (something to ponder as you shuttle your kids about): What values about sexuality and relationships do you want to communicate to your child?
Many readers have told us how uncomfortable these types of conversations can be. Let us help.
Send us your questions about talking to your kids about issues of sexuality and relationships. We will respond!