parents

"What do you even say when you catch your 9yo girl watching porn?"

So ninety per cent of kids aged 8-16 have seen pornography. Are you ready for The Talk?

I don’t want to talk to my kids about porn.

I really don’t.

I don’t want to talk about big-boobed, hairless women with unusual looking penises in their mouths.

I don’t want to talk about anal sex or money shots. I don’t want to talk about why the women are so passive and the music is so bad. I just don’t want to talk about it at all.

I know this is a head-in-the sand kind of attitude but it’s how I feel. I want the whole big nasty world of YouTube and Google searches to vanish. I want my children to retain their innocence as long as I can hold onto it.

I know it is a head-in-the-sand attitude.

And yet I know it is a battle I cannot win.

A good friend of mine has reminded me the time to have this unwanted conversation is looming. She has a child only a year older than mine. Nine, to mine’s eight. A bold, diligent girl with a generous smile and a quick mind.

She walked in to check on how her daughter’s homework was going last week and found her nine-year old quizzically watching a naked woman blow an erect pornstar on a screen usually used for showing Minecraft zombies and Dress-Up Doras. When she told me it made me want to weep.

“That poor f**king girl” I said, not seeing the awful irony in my words. “How bloody humiliating for her.”

My friend was astonished and stunned, shut down the computer. Her daughter, bamboozled and ashamed, ran.

Her little girl hid for an hour, my friend frantically looked for her while first checking the search history.

The whole awful affair boiling down to one innocent Google search.

Naked people doing sex.

If you, like me, are dreading the porn conversation this four-minute Ted Talk is worth watching:

This whole story makes me mad and sad and anxious all at the same time. I feel flattened by the weight of this enormous depth of information we are giving our children. It’s heartbreaking. And yet it is the world in which we live.

And so I know that there – in the not-too-distant-future – is that talk waiting for me.

I know, in the future is that talk looming.

I am envious of those parents who talk with aplomb about how easily they carried it off. Of how they had been discussing sex “since birth” and how they have meaningful and interesting conversations about sexuality and sexual values at the dinner table.

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I am in awe. Our dinner table conversations consist of “Eat-your-broccoli, don’t-touch-your-sister’s-food, use-your-fork-please.”

Penises, vaginas and blowjobs wouldn’t get a look in through the strains of “I’m finished – What’s for dessert?”

It is said that 90% of children aged between eight to 16 have seen pornography at least once.

Obviously the vast majority of that statistic are going to be in the older age bracket of that group and in fact, according to the London School of Economics, in most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child doing homework, and used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information .

But they still get there, don’t they?

I know that part of parenting is having these uncomfortable conversations. I know it is ignorant of me to delay it too long, and yet I am scared of piercing that first hole in my son’s innocence if I go too early.

Of course it’s an age-old problem, but the scandal of peering at those Penthouse magazines you found hidden under a rock in the bush you BMX-ed in after school pales with what’s available for our kids.

90% of children aged between eight to 16 have seen pornography at least once.

I know that I am going to feel awkward and he is going to squirm. I know that I will tell him to always come to me with anything and always ask questions. I will tell him how different sex is from that you see on a screen and how confusing it must be for him.

I will try and look into those deep brown eyes of his and tell him I will always be here and always understand.

I will tell him of how I love him, and I how trust him and I will kiss him and send him on his way.

I know that he will believe me for a little while until the time he becomes a teenager and his feelings become almost too impossible to share with anyone close.

And I will feel cheated, cheated that our children are having to have these conversations too young, exposed to this too early, ruptured too soon.

How do you feel about talking to your kids about pornography?

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