I’ve become aware that my children are watching some very strange stuff on the Internet, including, I suspect, some porn.
My husband says I shouldn’t worry, because there’s always been porn. And that the Internet is just the way kids find out all about sex these days. But of course I do worry! So what can I do to protect my children?
Hi Worried Mum!
Your husband’s right that children nowadays do find out all about sex from the Internet, whereas once upon a time they found by talking about it.
There are websites that offer them helpful information, but many more are simply revolting. So you’re right to worry. Your children might be looking at some extremely weird stuff and thinking it’s normal.
There’s nothing new about pornography, of course. When Pompeii was first being excavated 150 years ago, for example, archaeologists were shocked to find walls covered with Ancient Roman erotic art.
But nowadays young people have easy access to Internet porn, and that’s not good news. Although research on pornography is generally inconclusive. Some people dispute the dangers; saying that porn just takes the mystery out of sex for young people, and doesn’t change how they behave.
Others argue that it’s demeaning to women and encourages sexual harassment; because boys who visit porn sites are more likely to think that sexual harassment is acceptable and that ‘normal’ sex is boring.
While the girls worry about what they should look like because they’ll never match up to the porn stars. They also develop distorted ideas about what’s ‘sexy.’ So it’s now common to see even very young girls striking provocative poses and posting pictures of themselves in their underwear.
Both boys and girls also risk developing exaggerated ideas of how couples should behave together. Most of them believe they know the difference between real life and the Internet. But actually they don’t. And porn’s highly addictive, with viewers quickly becoming desensitised by it and wanting yet more excitement.
So how can you protect your children? Well, you can’t stop them going online. Even if you have no phones or computers in your house, they have friends who do! They’ll also lie about their surfing.
So just talk to them. Encourage them to ask you about anything that disturbs them. And above all, explain to them that making love is about caring for your partner. And that although some people do like watching films of other people having sex, what’s on the Internet is nothing like the real thing!
All the best,