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Porn and kids inappropriate content

 

In the “good old days” a lot of children didn’t see any pornographic material, and those that did manage to find magazines lying around did so in their teens. Today it’s a very different story, with the largest consumers of porn being those aged between just twelve and seventeen years. The average age to see porn for the first time is just eleven years old, with some as young as eight being exposed. Needless to say this is having a detrimental affect on our children.

 

Industry Is Booming

 

The porn industry is huge. It accounts for 12% of all websites (almost one in eight sites), which equates to more than 24.5 million websites. And money-wise it generates over $3000 per second.

Although some of us see porn as completely inappropriate content online and would like it to just disappear, this industry is booming. There’s no chance of it disappearing any time soon. For this reason it’s important to prepare our children for what they’re likely to stumble upon by mistake at a young age, most likely when they’re doing their homework.

 

Porn and kids

What’s The Magic Age For The Porn Discussion?

 

One big question I’m often asked is, at what age do I talk with my children about porn? Sadly, I believe the porn discussion needs to happen at the same time as the sex discussion. And with puberty starting for some as young as eight, I’d be starting the porn discussion (in age-appropriate terms) at around that age.

 

Where Do I Start?

 

Starting the discussion is tricky. It’s good to remember that if you are not the one to raise the discussion it will come from someone else, and may not go the way you’d like. Also good to know that it probably won’t be as bad as you anticipate!

Use real terms rather than baby terms. You don’t want to teach your child to be embarrassed of the correct terms, or to treat them like babies. Give the expectation that your child is mature enough to handle it and chances are they’ll rise to the occasion – don’t underestimate them!

Many people like to use books to help, and I think that’s a great idea. Books can take away a lot of the embarrassment; someone else has put great thought into expressing what needs to be shared so why reinvent the wheel and make life more difficult than need be?

 

The Effects Of Porn

 

In terms of the effects of watching porn on young children, they are numerous. Children think that because they see so much porn, as opposed to sex the way it ideally should be, that porn is the same thing as sex. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Boys who watch porn think it’s normal, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat girls they way they are treated in porn videos. Girls similarly think it’s normal, and presume they need to behave as they see other girls behaving in these videos. Either way the behaviour is “normalised”, a very scary thing.

Children who watch a lot of porn lose empathy for others and start viewing other people as sexual objects, rather than as real people like themselves who have feelings and who deserve to be treated with respect. This makes it difficult later on for them to form what most of us would consider a “normal” healthy relationship with a partner in future.

Porn also affects the brain in other ways. The size of the brain actually shrinks through watching it, and the memory function doesn’t work as well as it should. Combine a smaller brain with less memory and it isn’t a good sign as for as getting good results in school.

An addiction to porn (which happens quite quickly) also makes it difficult to concentrate on other things, with the child thinking more about when they can watch the next video. And ideally the next video will be even more graphic than the last one they saw.

Other affects of viewing porn include social anxiety, loneliness, depression, stress, and negative self perceptions. Probably the worst effect of watching porn is when children replicate the behaviour they’ve seen on others, particularly on younger children.

 

More Help Is Available

 

When we think about inappropriate content online we usually think of porn and other sexual content. Of course it doesn’t end there though, your children will no doubt hear plenty of bad language in videos, and will be exposed to violence in games and videos, not to mention plain old TV.

It’s better to accept this, be proactive and start the porn discussion with your children before they see it for themselves. Burying your head in the sand and hoping it doesn’t happen too soon is a recipé for disaster.

Hopefully reading this will encourage you as a parent to bite the bullet and start the porn discussion with your child sooner rather than later. If you’d like more help with this or anything else in relation to keeping your primary school aged children safe online you can register for the next free Peaceful Digital Parenting solution webinar here

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