Social media platforms provide a great opportunity to connect with others, find entertainment, and express creativity, but they also come with a great responsibility for internet safety. With all of the social media platforms available, kids are being exposed to pornography at very young ages, some even as young as 8. This has lead to very young children sending nude photos to each other and participating in soft pornography.
As a parent, it’s crucial to talk to your preteens about pornography and internet safety, but those conversations can be difficult to approach. Here are some tips to help you have this conversation with your child.
Warning Sings of Kids Watching Pornography
It’s not always obvious a child is watching pornography. As many kids have their own devices at a young age, you may not always know what they are doing online. If your child exhibits any of the following, he or she may be exposed to pornography:
- An unusual interest/curiosity of sexuality for his or her age.
- Pop-ups or inappropriate emails on your device.
- Your child quickly changes their device screen when you enter the room.
- Unexplained changes in behavior including secretiveness or defensiveness.
How Kids Get Sucked into Internet Porn
It can be very concerning to discover your child is viewing porn online, especially if your child is quite young. Pornography can have quite damaging effects on young children. It can give them unrealistic views of sex and romance, which may shape unsafe sexual health practices. Worse yet, pornography can increase attitudes supportive of sexual violence and violence against women.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy for young kids to get sucked into internet porn. They can be exposed in several ways, including from friends or accidental viewing on social media or internet ads. Curiosity may drive children to watch porn or seek it out after the initial exposure.
How to Talk to Preteens About Pornography
Discussing pornography with your preteen can be awkward, but it is important for keeping your kids safe. Encourage an open line of communication about what porn is and how it can affect people. Talk about the unrealistic expectations and simplified version of sex that pornography exhibits. Allow your child to ask questions and tell you what they may have heard about the topic already. Discuss internet safety as a whole, and set reasonable internet safety guidelines with your child.