Pornography has never been more accessible than it is now. What’s available online nowadays is more explicit, violent and bizarre than ever before.
Whatever your values are, it’s not something that can just be ignored and it is really important to talk young people about porn.
It is of course, going to be an awkward conversation, so choosing the right time is crucial. The recommendation is that the sooner you have this conversation the better. Of you must have had a conversation about sex and sexuality in advance.
Don’t expect your son or daughter to ask a lot of questions or appreciate you bringing it up.
Pornography can create unrealistic expectations in young people, and so it’s important to set the record straight, and reinforce this.
It’s perfectly natural for people in their early teens to be curious about sex, but what they see in porn is not what real sex is. You could get your son or daughter to read: Porn vs real life on ReachOut.com.
Porn can show very destructive, loveless scenarios and you want your teen to be aware that relationships should be about a partnership and fulfilling.
You could do a bit of research and select a piece to watch together, all the while breaking it down and reflecting how unlike real life it is. This will potentially be so uncomfortable you may put them off for life, but it’s really important out the power dynamic used in pornography and how exploitative it can be.
The fact is that pornography is adult content and people under the age of 18 years-old shouldn’t really be watching it, yet the industry isn’t doing much to prevent that. But, it is also a fact that teenagers are curious and porn is only a click away on their phones.
Watching porn can also be highly addictive, so it’s a good idea to try to work out how much your teen or young adult might be consuming. There is evidence that consuming too much porn desentitises young men to what they see and can create difficulties for them being with an actual partner at a later date.
It can also distort what young women think of themselves physically. There’s also the expectations that all young people can develop from not having real life experience.
Working out how much is too much is an even trickier step than having the conversation in the first place, but equally should not be ignored if you suspect there’s a lot being consumed. Ultimately you want to encourage young people to be able to self-regulate when it comes to anything like this. Whether they set boundaries for themselves by telling you or not, they need to be set.
Make sure to talk to them about real sex, respect and how to foster strong relationships. As mentioned before, a lot of porn is violent and exploitative particularly to women. Talking this through with both teens and adults should encourage the desire for healthy relationships.