Discussing porn with our children

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Discussing porn with our children

Discussing porn with our children isn’t something that we think about a lot. However, within 48 hours my whole outlook on this subject completely changed. I was chatting to a friend in our local supermarket who was planning ‘the chat’ with her son after finding that he’d accidentally stumbled across some porn on the internet. Sympathising with her plight we exchanged ideas about the best way to approach the situation and merrily went our separate ways.

Although my son and I had already discussed the birds and the bee’s, I walked away very relieved that it wasn’t me who was having an awkward porn conversation that afternoon. However, it was during my perusal of the salad aisle that I got a text message which stopped my smug relief quickly in its tracks.

My husband had found my 10 year old son watching porn on his sister’s computer tablet in the bedroom. Something called ‘Virgins of the Forest Part 2’. Despite my husband’s reassurances, my son was embarrassed, ashamed and understandably distraught.

I felt the panic setting in, my son is only 10 years old. How on earth was I meant to deal with this? We had parental restrictions in place and the children were supervised whilst online. What had gone wrong and how do we fix this? How do we discuss porn with our children?

My initial response was to ask my husband to put my sobbing child on the phone. Amongst the celery and tomatoes I reassured my son that he certainly wasn’t in any trouble and there was no need to be upset or embarrassed. I asked him to carry on his day and help my husband with the cleaning until Mummy got home.

Full of concern, I quickly made my way home. Knowing that at just 10 years old my son hasn’t got the experience or emotional development to understand that the images on the website aren’t reflective of sex in real life was a real worry to me. Sex education based on pornographic websites where women are treated without emotion, care and with depravity was not the education that I wanted my son to have. However, I needed to combat this with a discussion that feelings of arousal and masturbation were perfectly healthy.

Quite a quandary and it was about to get a whole lot worse…

I came home, put the shopping away and nonchalantly chatted about day to day things whilst my son relaxed. I hated the thought of him being embarrassed and ashamed and wanted him to relax as much as possible before our chat. It was during this time of reflection where I realised that despite the parental controls we’d put in place and our careful vigilance of their use of electronic devices, there will be times when our children will come across porn and other times when they will seek it out. Curiosity about sex is a normal part of growing up.

I sat him down and gently asked about the film he was watching. To my horror, it transpired that these films often pop up alongside the children’s games they were playing on their tablets and it was his younger sister who’d stumbled across it first. She had shown it to him and he’d continued to access and watch the video long after she’d lost interest. These films were somehow attached to the children’s games they played.

 

I asked my daughter to come upstairs and also reiterated that although they hadn’t done anything wrong I needed to know about the films that they had been watching. I watched in horror as my precious, innocent children showed me the actions they had seen from a particular film. It was heart breaking.

I explained to both children that the films were created to stimulate certain feelings and that by feeling these sensations they wasn’t doing anything wrong and that it was quite normal. I also explained that the ladies in the films were paid a lot of money to behave and look a certain way and it isn’t always the genuine way that grown up’s behave and show love to each other.

I explained that other children may not play the same games and won’t have had the same films put in front of them as my children had and therefore they weren’t to discuss them with other children. It wasn’t fair to pass on information which may not be correct and could upset other people. In other words, please don’t repeat what you’ve seen! I did however contact the school and make them aware of the situation, particularly as these images were found alongside children’s games.

My final warning was that the film they had watched was for over 18’s only and I advised them that by watching these programmes they were breaking the law. I warned them that the Police can locate each and every computerised device and will know if any children are watching unsuitable material which could lead to arrest. A white lie but one I hope will work as a deterrent without causing any mental harm.

I wasn’t sure what else to say…

They asked me questions about sex and I answered as honestly as I could. They asked if I’d had sex, how many times I’d had sex and even how many men I’d had sex with. It was excruciating but necessary. Luckily my son informed me that his brain was melting before I could answer the sexual partner’s question – mine had melted hours ago in Aldi!

I’d already covered the birds and bee’s a few months ago but never thought I’d have to discuss the perils of watching Porn with the children. However, with Porn addiction and sexually motivated crimes on the rise, as well as incidences where children copy scenes they come across in these films it seems to me that the porn chat is becoming increasingly important in families with young sons.

On average children, particularly young boys start watching porn between the ages of 11-14 (according to Focus on the Family) and by googling the word porn you are immediately faced with a range of hard-core scenarios. Young men are lulled into a world where emotionless and degrading encounters are the norm.

By bringing the issue of pornography into the spotlight it gave me the opportunity to discuss porn with my children at an age where they are still very new to the subject and are still very impressionable. I hope that by approaching this subject early they will grow up with a healthy and informed attitude towards the websites that they will inevitably come across in the future.

I had hoped for a few more years but as the porn industry grows, exposure will inevitable increase. In the meantime, I have made an appointment with an expert in computers and tablets and will be double checking all parental settings. Despite the vigilance of parents, pornography and natural curiosity isn’t something that we will always be able to protect our children from.

We never think about discussing porn with our children. But for their sakes, it’s a subject that’s well worth considering.

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Discussion7 Comments

  1. Just ten years ago, we were looking for singlets (traditional wrestling clothes) and we had tons of porn sites come up with all sorts of images! So its not just games. I was in my twenties by then but still, its hard to know where porn will and won’t be.

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