teens

'I found my 19-year-old daughter doing "Twitter porn". I chose to confront her.'

I thought Twitter was the place where Donald Trump made stupid comments and celebrities would retort back, not something that had a darker side.

Although I wasn’t much of a Tweeter, I did have an account that I think I created a few years ago. But mostly for me, Twitter was just the blue bird that sat on my phone not tweeting.

Then one day, I decided to have a look in the Twitterverse to see what I was missing out on. Instead of some terse Trump words, I found something much closer to home.

I found my daughter doing Twitter porn.

Before I had found her Twitter account, or should I say that of her ‘sexy alter ego,’ I didn’t know Twitter porn was even a thing. Was I naive? Or just not very savvy with social media? Because explicit videos were not something I thought I would be seeing on Twitter, especially not of my own 19-year-old daughter.

An acquaintance had sent me a link to her account via direct message. It was sent months prior to me seeing it, just sitting innocently in my inbox until what I refer to as ‘P Day,’ when my perception of my daughter changed forever.

Her Twitter handle combined a hint of her name with what I guess you would call a ‘sexy twist.’ It had seemingly been set up solely for adult entertainment and included over 50 ten-second clips of her in varying compromising positions. Some included her, face visible, in lingerie posing on a bed. Others were more explicit and included full nudity and the performance of sexual acts.

Obviously, I was completely shocked and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Seeing my own daughter this way was confronting. It stripped away my memories of her as an innocent child, the view of her as a ‘good girl’ that I had, up until now, still seen her as.

I was also confused – why was she doing this? Had I done something wrong as a parent in order to make my daughter feel like this was a good choice for her? Was she not the feminist that she claimed to be?

And I was worried – what would this mean for her future?

The internet is an unforgiving place where secrets don’t hide. My daughter is 19, studying at university with huge career aspirations – but she was making choices, I felt, that could prevent her from achieving these things.

For days I ruminated about what I had discovered, whether to tell my husband and what to say to my daughter when she called next. I didn’t know how to approach it, who to ask for advice or what to do.

I still wanted to protect her but at the same time, I wondered how I really could now that she was so vulnerable, so very publicly?

Unsure how to navigate a difficult conversation with your daughter? This episode of Ask Me Anything has the answers. Post continues below.

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Then with an impromptu visit by my daughter, I stopped questioning internally and decided to just ask. The conversation was difficult. My daughter was embarrassed that I had seen the videos but not about the fact that she had made them.

She remained confident, sure and happy about her decision to make ‘adult clips’, as she referred to them, and to share them publicly. She told me that it allowed her to express herself in a way she wanted to and in a way she couldn’t do elsewhere, and that through this medium it gave her the power to control what was shared and when. For her, it was liberating.

Then finally she stated: “I’m 19, I am my own woman”.

And with her telling me this I realised that yes, she was. She was grown.

She was an adult and she could, and no doubt would, make her own decisions. Sometimes, like this one, they wouldn’t be ones I would agree with or fully understand. But that was my issue, not hers.

I had to be supportive of her and non-judgmental of her choices, because as a parent that is sometimes just what you have to do.

As told to Shona Hendley.

Shona Hendley, ‘Mother of Cats, Goats and Humans’ is a freelance writer from Victoria. An ex secondary school teacher, Shona has a strong interest in education, she is also a passionate animal advocate. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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