Welcome to part 1 of my 3 part series on assessing and addressing pornography use with kids. It won’t be easy when you do, but you’ll be glad you did. Part 1 is about preparing yourself. It’s important for you to be an approachable parent, if you want your children to really keep you in-the-know about what they are up to in any area of their lives. Preparing to be approachable about porn can be difficult to say the least. You can start here with 5 ways to prepare yourself to talk about porn:
Before one of my workshops, a mom once told me, “I’m not worried about porn, I check under my son’s mattress all the time, and nothing is ever there.” Suffice it to say, she had a lot to learn. Long gone are the days of finding a Playboy in your brother’s closet or a “dirty movie” in mom or dad’s sock drawer, or sneakily changing the channel to “Skinimax” for 5 minutes at a time, hoping no one comes downstairs to see what you’re up to. Now, kids have access to hundreds of thousands of hours of free porn, and not just “regular porn”, but the kind of stuff that would have taken someone months and lots of $$$$$ to track down prior to the internet.
You may be thinking your kids are downloading apps because they are just a simple way for them to keep in contact with their friends. This is certainly true for most kids, but unfortunately, even innocent use of most of these apps can land a kid in a situation he/she never intended to be in.
Here are some apps that are popular among kids and why they are potentially problematic for them:
I was facilitating a workshop for parents the other night, and there was some confusion over the difference between gender and sexual identity. So, I thought I’d do a quick post on some terminology, and share this helpful video that is really simplistic, yet clear, and suitable for most ages. Understanding the differences in gender, sexual orientation, biological sex, and sexual behavior can be legitimately confusing unless you happen to have had a course on gender or sexuality. For example, many people think of gender in a binary way, but it is more widely accepted as a spectrum (1). There is also the issue of intersectionality, where an individual’s gender identity meets their sexual identity (2), highlighting the importance of considering the nuances of identity and not trying to simply put people in clearly marked boxes. Then, there is the whole issue of sexual behavior. For example, some heterosexually-identified women kiss or engage in other sexual behavior with other women (3), and like the video suggests, some heterosexually-identified priests don’t engage in any sexual behavior. Therefore, sexual behavior does not determine sexual identity. In sum, not everyone agrees on the best terminology to use, but here are some terms that are pretty widely accepted with definitions mostly from GLAAD:
Sex: The biological classification of people as male or female. At birth, infants are typically assigned a sex based on a combination of internal and external genitalia and in some cases, chromosomes.
I’ve been getting requests from parents over the past year, to write a post about talking to kids about sexuality. It really is impossible to boil down all the relevant information a parent needs to talk about sexuality with their kids into a single blog post for several reasons: 1. Each child is going to require different discussions at different points throughout childhood; 2. You wouldn’t emphasize all the same points to a girl as you would a boy or a child that is struggling with their gender identity; 3. You wouldn’t approach discussions about sexuality with a wallflower child as you would a social butterfly; 4. If your child has experienced sexual abuse, he/she would need different care that this post cannot address; 5. If your child is a sexual minority he/she is going to need some different conversations than a heterosexual child. However, there are some basics that everyone at any age can handle. There are also some points that I like to emphasize that are rarely if ever emphasized in standardized sexuality education programs or even parent-child communication programs. I also believe these points can be made regardless of the sexual values you have for your family. Here are a few “tip of the iceberg” pointers:
About this Blog:
I'm here to help us discuss sexuality, gender, and media by integrating information from academic and mainstream sources. I hope this resource produces more sexually competent people who raise sexually competent kids.