In 2020, the median age for first pornography exposure is 11 years old. However new research from the security technology company Bitdefender… Read More
In 2020, the median age for first pornography exposure is 11 years old. However new research from the security technology company Bitdefender, has reported children under the age of 10 now account for 22% of online porn consumption in under 18 -years olds. These alarming figures and the fact that throughout the COVID_19 pandemic our children are more online than ever, prompted us to explore the topic further.
For parents, these statistics can be terrifying, but experts agree that talking to your child about pornography is the first step to safeguarding them. Some even go as far as to say that if you are not ready to talk to your child about pornography your child is not ready to access the world wide web. Viewing pornography used to be more prevalent amongst boys, but recent years have shown less of a difference in the way girls and boys are viewing pornography.
At Sassy Llama, we have seen a tremendous upward curve in the amount of times pornography or exposure to harmful content gets brought up in our workshops.
There are two problems we see with porn:
Let’s deal with #1 first. Pornography is manufactured. What is shown is a fake depiction of sex. Additionally, the actors & actresses are preforming for the camera. Their bodies & performance are not an accurate depictions of what a real man or woman looks like or acts like. If pornography is your first exposure to sexuality, you might be left with a warped understanding of what sex and your role as a man or a woman is in the relationship. It’s objectifying nature messes with a young person’s sexual identity and creates unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partner in the long run.
Now for #2. Pornography strips sex down to the bare basics. It neglects to show context. This context includes a healthy, loving, mature relationship. The human connection that leads to a sexual relationship is removed. Values such as empathy, compassion, understanding and trust do not feature in pornography.
As parents we have two roles in managing our children’s digital lives: Monitoring & Mentoring. Both of these roles are pivotal from the day children are given online access. Monitoring plays a big role when your children are under the age of 13. This is regulating their online activities and putting rules in place for their digital lives. However, as they grow into teenagers, self-regulation becomes key. Mentoring the values, you’d like to see in them and encouraging open dialogue in the household from birth assists this transition and overtakes the need to monitor as strictly as before.
In line with this M & M approach, what are the things you can do from day one to safeguard your children from the pornography trap?
Pornography is as old as time. I will never forget the somewhat questionable imagery carved into the walls of the ancient city of Pompeii (Est. 6th–7th century BC). But over the years the content has evolved to suit a range of tastes as wide as the imagination can stretch and whilst looking at goldfish might tickle a fancy for a period of time it is a slippery slope from goldfish to whales. This variety and extremity is why pornography today is very different from what it was back in Pompeii. At all costs, as parents it is our role to protect and preserve our children wherever they might roam and this includes their digital spaces.