Internet Porn Reaching Kids Before Parents Have 'The Talk'?

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By Alex Murashko, Christian Post Reporter
June 19, 2011|5:27 pm

Internet pornography is increasingly trumping “the talk” between parents and their children about sex, online safety experts say.

Cris Clapp Logan, congressional relations director of Enough is Enough and contributing writer for XXXchurch.com, recently published an article with a headline that asks, “Are you letting pornography educate your kids about sex?” 

Enough is Enough is an organization that tries to make the Internet safer for children and families, and XXXchurch.com is a ministry and resource in fighting pornography addiction.

“I think that parents have long struggled to talk about sex with their kids, so it's not necessarily that fewer parents are sitting their children down and having ‘the talk." It's more so that ‘the talk’ has become outdated,” Logan told The Christian Post. “It's simply not enough to have one conversation with kids about the birds and the bees and be done. Kids today are being assaulted with information about sex, much of it deeply influenced by pornography.

“Parents must have an ongoing conversation about sex, body image issues, and healthy sexuality as their children grow and develop, otherwise the pornography message will win out,” she warned.

Recent studies have shown that as many as seven out of ten kids accidentally encounter pornography online, with almost 80 percent of this exposure occurring at home. Logan said that some parents may not know the severity of the problem because of growing up in a different era.

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She writes in her article: “Perhaps you stumbled across a Playboy magazine as a youngster and you don’t feel damaged as a result. If you’ve only really been exposed to the soft-core images of the ‘70s and ‘80s, it’s critical to understand that pornography has dramatically changed with the advent of the Internet. Kids now have easy access to hardcore, explicit content, filled with violence, fetishes, multiple penetrations, group sex and more.”

“Additionally, many parents don't even think to include the topic of pornography in the sex talk,” Logan said. “So, the main avenue that kids are receiving information about sex from is left out of the conversation.

“Parents, for the most part, are totally shocked when they learn that their kids have seen pornographic content. They simply don't understand how easy it is to access, that it's free, and that even if their kids aren't looking for it, they are bound to stumble upon it.”

Logan recommends for parents to talk to their kids about sex in an age-appropriate fashion. “For younger children, just doing spot checks, talking to them about coming to you, the parent, anytime that they encounter anything scary, like scary pictures or images online, they should come to you.”

As children approach middle school parents should ask more questions, and more regularly about the content they have seen online, she said. “Use real-life examples to ask your kids what they think about issues regarding sex and pornography. When they are in middle school (7th grade), I think introducing the topic of pornography in a more straight-forward way is needed.

“Many parents think their children are immune or are too innocent or are smart enough to avoid pornography, but every child is at risk of coming across this content,” Logan said.

She recommends that parents use filters and parental controls to prevent young children from accidentally coming across pornography online.

Usually fathers are given the task of having “the talk,” and should remember to fully engage their children in conversation, she advised.

“Fathers should not only present information or their perspective, but they should also listen to their kids and ask questions. Feeling out how much exposure and knowledge their son or daughter already has had will help set a strong foundation for the conversation going forward,” said the congressional liaison for the internet safety for children group.

“Keep an open door policy when it comes to sex. You as the parent are always available for them to talk to, and even if they make mistakes, you would prefer them to come to you than to try to hide what they are doing or get out of a tricky situation themselves,” Logan advised.

Children need to understand the dangers of pornography, she added. “Pornography is not equivalent with sex as God intended – it's a distortion of sex as God intended.”

 

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