Sex talk with teens must address pornography

As a sex educator, Liz Walker promotes discussion between parents and their teenagers, but she believes many parents are ill-equipped to have the kinds of conversations that teens these days need.

“The storm of internet pornography has taken most people by surprise,” she says. “Activists such as Melinda Tankard Reist and campaign groups such as Collective Shout have been giving clear warning messages for years, but until now the devastating effects have been flying under the radar. I speak with counsellors and social workers who are feeling ill-equipped to have these kinds of conversations with kids, so it’s no wonder parents are still trying to catch up.”

“Push through. For the sake of your tweens and teens, find the courage to make yourself an expert”

Unfortunately, there is no easy way out for parents who feel uncomfortable having a discussion with their teenager about pornography. Liz says parents just need to get in and do it.

“Push through. For the sake of your tweens and teens, find the courage to make yourself an expert on the impact of the harms of early exposure and subsequent repeated exposure, and become comfortable with reframing healthy sexuality and relationships. I also highly recommend a strong Internet filter and an app to block explicit content on smart phones.”

 

References

[1] The report in the MJA was titled ‘Internet pornography and adolescent health’ and was authored by PhD Senior Lecturer Rebecca J Guy from the Sexual Health Program, The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, and Professor George C Patton and Professor John M Kaldor from the Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, University of Melbourne.

[2] The extent of exposure to pornography among children and young people; Flood, M; Child Abuse Review; Volume 18, Issue 6, pages 384–400, 2009; DOI: 10.1002/car.1092

About the contributor

Liz Walker is the founder of Youth Wellbeing Project, which develops and implements innovative education programs focused on youth wellbeing. The leading product is GET A GRIP teenz™: a self-awareness and educational program on life, relationships and the body aimed at the 13–15 year age group. Visit www.youthwellbeingproject.com

Further reading on this topic

Health risks for kids online – MJA Insights

Internet porn bad for adolescent health – University of New South Wales

PODCAST: Tracing the links between teen sex, porn and risky behaviour – Professor John Kaldor talks on Radio National

 

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Comments

  1. In November 2011 on Facebook there was the ‘Sneaky Hat’ event which went viral very quickly. People taking nude self photos with the hat placed appropriately. The police investigated and schools became involved. My kids showed me photos that appeared on their Facebook feeds which led to a good discussion about child porn. The trouble is the many of the images are still visible online for all the world to see, long after the phase is over.

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8377954/sneaky-hat-facebook-craze-investigated

    • Thekids says:

      A good example of something that seemed like a silly or funny idea but they really didn’t think through the consequences.

  2. People don’t realize how porn can affect them. It’s not only desensitizing, it can affect your love life when you’re of age: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201107/porn-induced-sexual-dysfunction-is-growing-problem

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