The implementation of technology in our everyday lives has made it to where parents need to be more alert than ever before. When it comes to technology and sexuality, there are several concerns parents need to bring up with their kids. Remain calm when talking about exposure to explicit material with your children.
Discuss, Don’t Lecture
Talking to your kids about some of the dark dangers of technology can be uncomfortable, but don’t let your discomfort turn the discussion into a lecture. Rarely are children ever receptive to being admonished about something they might not be involved with.
Approach the topics at hand with grace and a sense of calm. Ask questions, speak with empathy, and express your concerns about the issues you want to protect your children from.
When you have their attention and you’ve stepped into an open back and forth discussion, you can start to mention more specific topics.
Ask your children if they know what sexting is before telling them about it. Once the definition is clear, talk with them about the dangers of sexting and help them develop healthy boundaries between themselves and others.
Sending/Receiving Inappropriate Photos
When talking to your child about creating, sending, or receiving explicit photos, there are several things you might want to include when mentioning the risks of participating in this behavior.
- That photo will exist forever: Once a photo is taken, it doesn’t stop existing. Even if the photo isn’t shared willingly, it could fall into the hands of hackers and others with malicious intentions.
- The photo likely won’t remain private: Even if the photo is only shared with one person, that person might share it with someone else, despite promising not to. From there, it could spread to thousands of people.
- Minor nudes are ILLEGAL to send/receive (even to other minors): Sexually explicit imagery involving a minor counts as child pornography, and even sending it to another minor is a crime that can result in one or both parties facing criminal charges.
Talking about viewing pornography can differ quite a bit from one family to another, but key components of the conversation should include:
- A non-judgmental approach
- Discussions surrounding sexual health and safety
- Reminding children about boundaries and consent
- Explaining the differences between reality and what is presented online
Remember that these conversations should be ongoing. Rather than having one long discussion about internet safety, parents and children should frequently have open, honest talks about risks and responsibilities when navigating the online world.