teens

“So, I found some things on your phone.” Last night, I discovered my tween was Googling porn.

Full confession: I’m no prude. I’ve watched my fair share of porn in my time. And not just mainstream porn. (I’ll leave it at that – I’m just trying to say I’m fairly open-minded.)

But something I’ve been totally unprepared for is discovering my son may be watching porn.

Of course, I knew the day would come. I mean, online porn is basically sex education for kids in 2020.

Watch: Pornhub’s stats on who’s watching what, when. Post continues after video.

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Also, I’ve always been really open with my kids about sex and masturbation. I never want to make it shameful in any way. Sex is a part of life and can be one of life’s great joys with the right person.

So in my home, there’s no skipping kissing or sex scenes in movies. (I mean, it’s not like we’re watching R18+ stuff together, anyway.)

For these reasons, it took me by surprise that I was horrified when I found porn on my 12-year-old’s phone.

But I was. I was instantly horrified.

This is how it, ahem, went down.

I was innocently fixing settings on my son’s phone when I needed to search for something. I opened Chrome, and to my horror (I cannot stress horror enough), I found all these PornHub tabs open.

(If you don’t know PornHub is, just think about it for a second, it’s pretty self-explanatory…got it? Good.)

My heart sank; the screen was full of open tabs – meaning that time had been spent searching for content.

It also made me a little cross for a millisecond, because I thought, “This is the crap I’m paying Telstra for?”

But that thought was quickly pushed out of my mind when I noticed the word “mum” in one of the tabs.

“My eyes, my eyes!” my brain screamed, as I shut that sh*t down quick smart.

And then I said to myself, “Oh f*ck, here we go.” Despite being so open about sex, I realised I was totally unprepared for how to deal with porn and kids. (That sounds…wrong. But you know what I mean.)

Yes, I needed to talk about porn setting expectations, but in the interests of the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as I usually operated, was talking about young female porn actors basically being there because their Hollywood dreams had failed, and they needed cocaine to get through each scene, also necessary?

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Maybe not.

Listen: Mamamia’s ‘Sealed Section’ podcast breaks down exactly what porn Australian women are watching. Post continues after audio.

Unsure of how to talk to my son – a weird feeling for me – I hit up Google.

“How to talk to teens about porn,” I wrote in the search bar while I thought, “FML I should have a drink first”.

Luckily, my favourite parenting site – the government’s raising children network site – (no, this is not an ad, it’s just really helpful), had this to offer:

‘Pornography can make violent sex and disrespectful relationships seem normal. You might think that’s what you should do in real life. But in real life, it’s important to show care and respect when you’re intimate with someone. You should always be certain you’re only doing things that both of you really want to do.’

Brilliant. Thanks, government.

Weirdly nervous, I crept into my son’s room, desperately hoping not to find him with a hand down his pants. (Yes, I knocked first.)

I gave him back his phone, and then, procrastinating, we talked about dinner and what David freaking Dobrik (some ridiculous Tik Tok star he’s obsessed with) did in a swimming pool. So reluctant to have the porn conversation, I even listened to the story properly.

Finally, I said, “So, I found some things on your phone.”

I was watching his reaction carefully, and I’m 90 per cent sure what he told me next was true.

He didn’t know what I was talking about and quickly checked to see.

“I didn’t do that!” he exclaimed.

Yes, I was desperate to believe he’d not searched a video with “mum” in the title, but also, going by previous experience, I was pretty sure he wasn’t putting it on.

“So how did it happen?”

“Andy and I swapped phones today to play each other’s games and he did it then, he was laughing about it.”

So, he was using the old ‘blame a friend’ move, eh? But I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Determined not to shame him, or the act, I reminded my son he needed to be careful with his phone and moved on.

“It’s natural that you’ll be curious about porn, but I want you to know it’s not reality,” I began, thanking the Raising Children Network for existing.

Once that barrier was broken, we did have a good chat about the pros and cons of porn.

For example, pro: it can be fun. Con: it’s illegal to access if you’re underage.

I didn’t add that there are way more interesting sites than PornHub. He’s a smart kid; he’ll soon work that out himself.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo from Getty. 

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