The teenage age (12-18 years old) is the age that goes through many physical and mental changes and your child will be very curious about gender, sex and related things. Moreover, this is the age of using Internet-connected devices and sometimes with a smartphone with them, the fact that sneaks learn about pornography is higher than any other age.
As a wise parent, you need to educate your teen about porn with short, regular, and clear conversations. The article below will show you a guide on talking to teens about sex.
Talking to teens about sex (12-18 years old), why now?
This is an age that is inherently curious about gender, sex and relationships. If parents’ answers or the lectures from the school do not clearly answer children’s questions, they may watch pornography to find out themselves, satisfying their curiosity about gender.
Do not forget that at this age your child will bond with friends rather than with parents. To build closer relationships with friends, to be accepted as a “cool” person, your child can watch pornography with their friends because they are told to do so.
Besides, with the growth of the Internet, smartphones and fast internet speed, your children can access porn more easily and quickly than ever.
Since pornography is addictive, it just takes a few times of watching pornography for your child to completely risk becoming addicted to pornography. So prepare and educate your child about these sensitive issues now.
How to talk to teens about sex?
Initiate an informal conversation
You can initiate a conversation by skillfully telling about something you and your child watched in a movie, TV show, YouTube video, and more. Or you can kick off an informal conversation with some questions like:
- Have you heard people talking about pornography? What did they say?
- Do you know people who watch porn?
- Have you ever watched pornography?
- Have you seen pornography when being with friends?
- Do you have any questions about what you saw or heard?
Listen and be open to what your child says. If your child has questions, it’s best to answer briefly and honestly and don’t make up the answers if you don’t know the answer.
Explain pornography problems
Getting started is always going to be difficult. But once you have the courage and start talking to teens about sex, you will find it easier to talk about these sensitive issues. Here are a few important things you can mention:
The reason pornography exists on the Internet
Explain that some adults like to watch porn, so people take pictures of nudity/semi-nudity or film sex to make money. You may mention that, like many other jobs, some people choose to participate in pornography, but usually they do it because they cannot find another job.
Try and you might love this:
Is the porn scene in porn movies the same as in real life?
You can explain to your teens that porn actors are getting paid so they have to do what they’re told and look like they’re having a good time (but not sure whether they liked and wanted or not – especially women) – happening even when pornography is extremely violent, or having no consensus.
Young people may think that pornography shows them what their sex and body should be like and they will compare themselves to others, thereby having low self-esteem. Research has shown watching pornography distorts perception of body image, especially among teenagers. Making sure you cover this.
Emphasize to your child that the real body does not resemble the body of porn actors as actors may have plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery in different ways to attract viewers, thus they can have higher pay.
Risk of becoming a person who advocates for violence against women and sexism
Adults in general and teenagers in particular, when regularly watching pornography, may have distorted views or stereotypes about gender and gender roles. Research shows that regularly viewing pornography causes your child to lose sympathy with women, and it is perfectly normal to be violent towards women. These attitudes can make it difficult for your child to develop strong and respectful relationships.
Explain to your children about the harmful effects of porn like: “Pornography normalizes sexual violence scenes and disrespectful relationships with women. It misinterprets you that this is what women want and like and that it will not be a problem to show violent attitudes towards women”.
And you would think that’s what you should do in real life. But in real life, it matters to show care and respect when you make friends or have relationships with someone. You must always make sure that you are only doing what you both really want to do and respect each other.”
What to do when your child accidentally/intentionally watches pornography?
If your child accidentally sees pornography, reassure them that they are not in trouble and that you will be happy they tell you about it. Then, try to understand what your child feels through some questions like:
- How do you feel when you see pornography?
- What did you do after seeing it?
- Do you like watching porn movies?
Praise them for telling you and letting them understand that you are always there for them to answer any scary or confusing things.
Among the many risks and harm brought about by pornography, talking to teens about sex is one of the best ways to protect your child from the harmful effects of pornography.
However, regarding huge amount of pornography being created at the speed of light, active conversation is not enough, to ensure your child’s online environment is safe and healthier, many parents have used one of the best free parental control software – online content filtering tool to hide 15 types of harmful content on the Internet, including:
- Horrifying content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
- Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
- Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech
This free porn blocker extension can help to minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment for your child but at the same time, not invading their privacy rights.
However, if your child regularly searches for pornography while alone, consider talking to your kids about why they watch porn, whether they think it’s a good idea. If your child is watching porn to learn more about sex, you can help your child find better sources of information such as gender books.
Besides, talk to them about how often and what kind of porn they are watching. You can tell your child that you may be interested in sex and seeking sexual stimulation, but regular use of pornography can hinder positive relationships from forming.
If your child is concerned that they may not be able to control their use of pornography, you should help them seek professional help to solve the problem before it is too late.
Reference: Pornography: talking about it with teenagers 12-18 years
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