Many parents are worried about what their children might see online, particularly pornography and indecent images. While the idea of talking to your child about porn might make you feel uncomfortable, the more you have these conversations, the easier it becomes.
One in 10 children have viewed pornography by the time they are nine years old, according to research by the Children’s Commissioner for England. 79% of young adults have seen porn by the age of 21.
They may look out of curiosity, as a way to explore their sexuality or they might say it is funny or entertaining.
It’s not always the child’s choice to look at porn. Images and videos are shared around on social media or they may click on a link from something else they are viewing.
Some might view pornography as harmless, but it’s important to understand the harm it can cause, particularly to children:
These tips will help you to have open conversations with your child and allow them to open up to you. You know your child best, so you’ll know which tips will work best for you.
You might find it helpful to start the conversation by sharing something you’ve seen or read.
In the Friends episode, The One with the Free Porn, Joey and Chandler accidentally get access to porn on their TV and won’t turn it off in case they lose it. You could use this to talk about:
you could also share these articles for young people:
You might want to review your house rules around technology. Do you limit your child’s technology use to certain times of day or only in family rooms? Try to involve your child in discussions about what is fair and appropriate for their age. Make sure you have parental locks on your internet settings where children are unable to access sites.
It is a good idea to have age appropriate conversations about sex and relationships regularly. Find out how to talk to your teenager about healthy relationships and consent. You could also ask your child’s school to share what they are learning in their personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons so that you can cover the same topics at home.
If you have concerns that your child may be addicted or have an unhealthy interest in pornography, you could talk to your GP or a sexual health clinic.
You can also speak to one of our parent coaches on a 1:1 Live Chat.