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Porn Has Fuelled A 400% Rise In Child-On-Child Assaults In the UK. My Advice For Protecting Children From Online Pornography.

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In a report by The Daily Mail, convictions of rape by those aged under 17 years old have almost doubled in just four years in the UK.

A representative from the Ministry of Justice has warned that extreme pornography is fuelling this alarming rise in the number of child rapists.

Experts say violent pornography is influencing children to act out the aggressive, hardcore scenes they see online. For example, a couple weeks ago, an 11-year-old boy admitted seven counts of rape and sexual assault on boys under 13 after he watched similar explicit images online. Legal officials involved in the case said it was clear that internet porn had sparked the sex attacks.

Porn is the new sex education for countless children across the world. For many, it’s their first exposure to sex, and that’s a huge problem because of what they’re learning.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) recently conducted a survey in the UK of more than 1,000 children aged 11-16, and found that at least half had been exposed to online porn. Of this group, almost all (94%) have seen it by age 14.

In the same survey, many boys revealed that they wanted to copy the behaviour they had seen watching porn.

Why This Matters

These distressing abuse stories and the survey’s results show the massive role porn is playing in the development of young children today. Porn is influencing their behaviour, as demonstrated by the skyrocketing number of attacks.

What these children are learning from porn are skewed perceptions of sex and harmful attitudes about their natural sexuality and how to treat others, to say the least.

The most graphic porn imaginable and unimaginable is easily accessible, anonymous and affordable than ever before.

This is a huge problem, and as parents you really do have a huge influence on your child’s wellbeing, mental health and ability help them to grow up to be happy, well rounded adults in loving, respectful relationships.

By being educated and raising awareness on these findings, you can hopefully spare generations to come of the many harmful effects that are directly related to this pornification of our society. It’s time we stop underestimating the harm of porn and educate those around us.

Sometimes we put off or avoid important conversations because they are challenging, they are embarrassing, we have no idea where to begin, or we are scared we will screw it up.

How do I talk about pornography?

With such worrying research globally, you simply HAVE to have the ‘Talk’

Just don’t put your head in the sand, hope it goes away or leave it too late.

Most parents or caregivers have to have the ‘sex’ or ‘porn’ talk for the first time at some point.

While it can be awkward at first, once you get started it does get easier. If you can be brave for the first twenty seconds, the rest will usually take care of itself. But think ahead, plan what you want to say and how you want to say it and where you want to say it. It’s important so it needs thinking about ahead of time.

It needs to come from you. It needs to be done in a caring, loving environment & no I don’t think it will make your kids even more curious.

We need to ‘Talk & Teach’ our kids about healthy eating, brushing their teeth, crossing the road, staying away from paedophiles online and we have to teach them about the dangers and harrowing false information they are going to come across online around sex and relationships.

The best thing to do is to go somewhere together where you feel safe and you can talk uninterrupted. Perhaps you can chat while you walk the dog or grab an ice cream together. Then start the conversation.

Here are some simple starters:

  • “I don’t really know what to say, but we have to have a talk about sex and pornography.”
  • I read an article today that said kids are seeing pornography at really young ages. Have you heard of pornography? Do you know what it is? Are the kids at school seeing it or talking about it? Have you seen it?
  • A few days ago you mentioned that you knew how the baby got inside your Aunt Josie’s tummy. I thought we could talk about that some more. How do you think that the baby got there? Where did you find out that?

What if you really can’t have the talk as it brings up your own ‘stuff?’

Perhaps you are a parent who simply can’t have a conversation about sex or pornography with your child as it brings up memories, traumas or issues so having a conversation about sex and pornography is simply too hard as it is a trigger and causes too much pain personally for you.

Or maybe you want to give your child a positive view of sex and sexuality and worry that your negative view of sex will taint something that you want to be sacred for your kids.

In these cases, don’t avoid the subject but:

  • Ask your partner, a friendly relative confident to have the ‘Talk’ or speak to your child’s school or ask a friend, church leader or other trusted adult to help you.
  • Get a book–there are lots of suitable books for children of different ages.
  • Find something appropriate and educational on Youtube (that’s not pornographic).
  • Purchase an educational, and age-appropriate, video for your child to watch WITH YOU so you can talk about the issues afterwards.
  • Talk to your child’s school counsellor or to a Helpline.

Be open

Once the ‘education’ part is done keep the lines of communication open, relaxed & appropriate as you want to have a relationship where your child knows they can talk to you, or the other person that had the chat with, them around anything worrying them, or any questions they might have.

If they want information, you want them to know that they can turn to you, or that person you steered them towards, because they’re safe and will give them good information. This is always better than trusting the internet for answers to questions about sex or pornography.

Let your child know that any question is ok to ask, and that you want to do all you can to help them get answers to the big, tough questions, even about sex and pornography. This is true even when you might have to send them to someone else to find the answers.

The truth is that most children, especially teens, won’t be asking questions. They’ll be glad when the conversation is over. And if they ask a question you don’t know the answer to, smile and tell them the truth. Say you’re not sure. Then find the answer and use it as an opportunity to have another talk about intimacy.

The Birds & The Bees Talk

Sex is about relationships and being intimate within a loving, respectful equal relationship based on mutual consent. It’s not about instant gratification, power or control and children need to learn these values from you.

Children are learning, listening and watching you all the time so, how you speak to your partner & about them to others, how you show love and respect to your partner & how you model honesty, kindness, truth & empathy are all important values that are getting get passed down to your children consciously and unconsciously.

Here is my article on Talking To Your Kids About Sex

How can I protect my children?

We all want to protect our children from things that will harm them. But when it comes to protecting them from pornography, we may be fighting a losing battle but that doesn’t mean you have to give in, give up and throw in the towel.

This is a very important subject for parents in the 21st Century as some estimates suggest it accounts for as much as 30 percent of all web traffic.

Recently a Mum of a 9 year old boy came to see me as her son was distraught after being exposed to pornography when a classmate told him to search ‘bum’ and ‘naked ladies’ & ‘willy’. The classmate had an older brother who was viewing pornography and had shown him how to find explicit content. This boy, told his friends all about what his brother had shown him.

What started out as a bit of a laugh quickly became very traumatic and scary.

That’s how simple, easy and damaging this stuff can be & how it can easily happen.

Another mum found her 13-year-old daughter on her ipad in her bedroom after 11pm as she just went in to check on her before she went to bed. Her daughter confessed that she had heard about pornography at school and had become curious. She had been getting up in the middle of the night to explore the online world of pornography as she knew it was not something to be shouting about & was ‘unacceptable’ ‘wrong’ and a bit shameful & ‘illicit.’

Children may be told about pornography on the playground or on the school bus by friends or older kids. They could be exposed to it at friends’ houses, neighbours’, family members’ and even in your own home. Kids are naturally curious and want to know more.

Ways we usually protect our children.

  1. Firstly, we usually create places of security to keep ‘bad things’ out. An example of this is putting locks on windows, padlocks on gates and alarms on houses to keep intruders out.
  2. Secondly, some parents proactively pre-arm their children and teach them how to be safe in dangerous or challenging situations. An example of this is teaching a child to swim, what to do if there’s a fire and how to cope in a terrorist attack.

To protect your child from pornography, both of these approaches are helpful. You can make the devices you have control over safe by installing appropriate software and filters to stop ‘accidental’ discoveries happening. However, this is not enough. Children will discover pornography in places where filters are not in place.

Cocooning, pre-arming & preparing

As much as possible, we all want to cocoon our children & wrap them up in a degree of cotton wool, and protect them from pornography. But by the time they are around 8/9 years old, we should consider talking about pornography. This is called ‘pre-arming’ them.

To effectively pre-arm:

  • Ask if they know what pornography is. (Most 8 year-olds won’t know what it is.)
  • Ask if any of their friends have told them about it, or shown it to them.
  • Share your concerns about pornography and teach them why it should be avoided.
  • Ask them how they could avoid it & ‘Talk & Teach’ them why.

If you discover that your child has seen pornography, remain calm. Instead of overreacting, talk about what they saw and how it made them feel. Tell them it’s normal to be curious, then discuss why it’s important to avoid pornography and consider ways they can stay away in future.

The main message is to talk to your children early. Continue talking with them while they’re dealing with curiosity around pornography, and even if you find that they’ve been watching pornographic content.

If you’re open with your children about sexuality and pornography it’s much less likely to be a problem because children will be open too. Be mindful of the age and stage and maturity of your children too. Think before you speak.

Remember, stay calm. By overdramatising the situation or by getting your children into trouble you make it more likely they’ll create viewing patterns in secret. And you need to avoid that scenario at all costs.

Books to Start Conversations

‘Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids’ by Kristen A Jenson, Gail Poyner & Debbie Fox is a comfortable, read-aloud story about a mum and dad who teach their child what pornography is, why it’s dangerous, and how to reject it. Using easy-to-understand science and simple analogies, this ground-breaking book engages young kids to porn-proof their own brains.

The 5-point CAN DO Plan teaches kids how to avoid the brain-warping images of pornography and minimise the troubling memories of accidental exposure that often tempt kids to look for more and lead them into a dark and destructive addiction. To stay safe in the digital age, kids must install an internal filter in their own brain. Good Pictures Bad Pictures shows them how.

It only takes a few taps on a mobile device for a curious young child to find an endless supply of deviant, hard-core, and addicting pornography–all for free. Unfortunately, many young kids are being exposed to pornography without the slightest clue that it can damage their developing minds.

Parents will appreciate this resource to porn-proof their kids because it makes a difficult discussion easy and empowering. How? By teaching kids’ simple concepts about the brain and the process of addiction, and by giving them a specific strategy for keeping safe from the poison of pornography. Many parents also use this book as a powerful tool for sexual abuse prevention!

 

Also

How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography’ 

makes it easy for any parent to start these difficult “talks” with their kids. Despite its short (64 pages) format, it is a very comprehensive review of the dangers created by online pornography. The book also addresses how to approach these varied dangers. Each section is simple and straightforward, full of helpful, insightful information, and finished with thought-provoking discussion questions.

This book was written for busy but committed parents who are ready to approach this topic but may be unsure where to begin. There are tips for parents such as creating a plan for YOU when your kids are exposed AND creating a plan for THEM when they are exposed.

Some of the topics included in the book are: Defining Pornography, Addiction, Media Literacy, Curiosity is Normal, Healthy Sexual Intimacy, and Creating a Home of Openness.

For younger children we have simpler, reassuring discussion questions such as:

“Why is it normal to be curious about sex?”

“What would you do if a friend showed you pornography?”

“Some people seek out pornography when tired, bored, lonely, sad or stressed out. What do you do when you have these types of feelings? How do you cope?

For richer, more mature discussions, they have included questions that address the hateful, misogynistic nature of pornography. For example:

“Why are racism and cultural stereotypes celebrated in pornography, when they are generally rejected in all other areas of pop culture?”

“What does it mean for us as a society that a majority of boys (and girls) are watching cruel, violent pornography as a means of sexual education?”

“Some experts argue that porn hijacks our sexuality by relentlessly telling us what sex “ought” to be. Should a person create his own unique, healthy sexuality without influences from media or porn? Or does he need “help” from these outside influences?”

I hope you found my article helpful. Feel free to share it as it’s a really important subject isn’t it?

 

The post Porn Has Fuelled A 400% Rise In Child-On-Child Assaults In the UK. My Advice For Protecting Children From Online Pornography. appeared first on Sue Atkins The Parenting Coach.

 

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