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How to Talk to Your Kids About Explicit Content
I’m not a fan of sleeping. I prefer that my children value their sleep as much as I do. Isn’t it better to be fresh and ready for each day than to be sluggish and out of sync with the world? Apparently not.
More important are other topics like, ‘which movie are we going to watch?’ It may sound harmless; Surely unsupervised young children watching TV or online movies late at night is nothing to worry about? Some titles were discussed, fortunately my daughter asked us about the titles. Mom checked them out on IMDB for parental information and was able to discuss the themes, action and language warnings, etc. with our daughter. I was impressed when I heard that she had decided that she would not watch the film. The party finally decided not to watch any movie and instead do other, more social things. Good call.
It reminded me of an article I saw in the paper recently about a woman who wrote a book to help schools, parents and children discuss pornographic images they have seen on the web or TV. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Liz Walker was only six years old when an older girl from the street above squashed down next to her on the school bus and excitedly whispered “Hey, do you want to see something?” It was a Playboy she’d found under her brother’s bed and filled with graphic pornography. ‘I felt this sense of disgust but also excitement’. Ms Walker recalls. ‘I was catapulted into an awareness of my sexuality that I wasn’t ready for. In my six-year-old brain I thought this is what you have to do to do to be noticed.”
Porn at the party?
Now, I’m not saying that every person’s place your child stays at is going to have porn and isn’t likely to be at a party for heaven’s sake. But it will happen someday, with some friend or they will encounter it themselves. Already in my childhood you may have a friend whose dad had Playboy calendars in his office. You might see fragments of a pornographic magazine strewn across the train platform on the way to school, but it wasn’t easily accessible. Thanks to the Internet, everything has changed. Now any child can access pornographic images at the touch of a button and it’s easy to hit it even when you’re not trying. I was once trying to find some pictures for a children’s church, Bible lesson. I wanted the kids to have some craft to work on that involved “fat cows” and “lean cows” from Pharaoh’s dream in the book of Exodus. Yep… don’t bother looking up those terms.
How to act
Don’t you think it’s a good thing to be able to talk to our children about images, subjects, language that they might encounter before they encounter it? Don’t let your kids just watch. Check it out first and discuss. How? Go to IMDB for movies or sit down and watch an episode with them before you let them commit to a series.
Take the party invitation and the movie in question. I think my wife did the best job there… checking the movie, discussing the content with my daughter and since it wasn’t explicitly going into potentially harmful areas we left the decision with our daughter. But the subjects were not great. The language warning was not optimal either. I give my daughter 10 points for saving the movie as well and pray that this is something our kids could apply with consistency.
It is better that they take the decision, warned. I think it’s good to say to our children… what kind of things do you want in your head? Of course some movies we as parents will say, no.
But few of us will dive headfirst into the problem of porn. The internet makes porn so accessible, it can’t be long before our children are exposed to it at school, at a friend’s house or our own home.
A book I’m dying to get:
Liz Walker’s book is called “Not for Children” to facilitate an open conversation between parents and primary school children about explicit images they may have seen. She warns, “We already have a generation of kids who see degrading, violent sex as the norm without relationship, intimacy and love. If someone doesn’t speak up soon, we’re looking down the barrel of tomorrow’s sex offenders and a barrage of intimate partner violence.” (Sydney Morning Herald, Sunday 7 February 2016, News page 20).
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