In a previous post we explored at a handful of tips and practices when having the sex talk with your kids. Unfortunately, many parents are ill equipped in our tech driven world when it comes to addressing sex, engaging in meaningful conversations with our children, and understanding the digital world they are growing up in. As parents we can either help build our child’s view of sexuality or react and respond to a view of sex being built by their peers and the culture.
This is no different when it comes to tech and social media.
Have you talked to you kids about sexting? Safety online? Social Media? Porn?
Do you know which social media platforms your kids are on?
Do you know the effects of porn? <– Seriously worth 15 minutes of your time.
Are you kids prepared and equipped to deal with the tidal wave of sexual pressure that begins at earlier ages than we parents ever experienced?
What is a parent to do?
If you haven’t read Let’s Talk About Sex Talks, go do it now.
Sex & Tech Tips
1. Be present in the world your kids live in. This is easier said than done. Many of us grew up within the physical world. Riding bikes, hanging out with friends (in 3d), and communicating face to face. Now we all live between two worlds, especially our kids. We must begin to accept that the digital world is here to stay and integrate into our lives more and more. The first step to parenting in our age is to be present. If your kid is on FB, be on FB. If they tweet, follow. If they’re instagramers, insta with them. If they snap, you snap. Imagine if your son brought home a girl in a bathing suit that looked more like a rubberband trap? Or a daughter bringing over a friend who broke out her treasured bong in your living room? You would probably say something. The reality of life today is that our kids invite all kinds of friends over, just not in 3d. I might be old fashioned, but I still meet my kid’s friends and their parents, so why wouldn’t I do that in the world where they spend much of their time?
2. Talk about porn with your children. Before the internet porn was bound to magazines, vhs tapes, or squinting through snow laden skinemax channels. Now every type of porn is available at any time on every internet connected device. You’re child may not have a phone, but one of their friends does.
[Maybe you didn’t click the link before…do it now and watch the videos to learn about the effects of porn? <– Seriously worth 15 minutes of your time.] This is not a purely spiritual exhortation, but a neurological, emotional, social, and sexual health exhortation to raise children who are healthy in all areas of life.
The average age of exposure to porn is younger than you think, and the effects of porn are more grave than most realize. As mentioned earlier, we can either help build our child’s view of sexuality or react and respond to a view of sex being built by their peers and the culture. When I decided to tell my son about porn he had just turned 8. We talked about how porn is a picture or video of naked people that is a wrong twist of reality. I taught him how porn hurts the men and women involved by creating an image where sex is changed from a relationship connection to a purely physical act. This includes the strong ties of porn and porn consumption to the sex slavery of 27 million people in our world today. We also discussed how porn affects those who watch it. The brain wiring, the heart callousing, and the bad relationship altering that occurs when you use the images of other people for temporary pleasure. Since he had not yet seen porn, I gave him a game plan to follow when he does see it. It’s not an if, it’s a when. Step 1: Stop looking at. Step 2: Come talk to mom or dad about it. Step 3: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you or your child are already hooked on porn and need a game plan with tools to overcome start here.
3. Teach your kids the reality of sharing inappropriate or unsafe content. The internet is a wild place with few rules. Here’s three rules of life online: Everything you post or share or backup has the ability to become (1)instant, (2)global, and (3)permanent. A text, sext, snap, or message can and will be saved. Information about where you are can be used by broken people to find you. Be smart and think before you share. Do you want this to be instantly shared? Is this okay to be seen by people who you don’t mean to send it to? Will this negatively affect your present and future by being accessible online?
4. Access & Boundaries. This one is simple for me, but I’ve found other parents who want to give their child differing levels of freedom. I wouldn’t let a 13 year old bring a prostitute into their room, why would I not use the same guidelines for what they bring onto their phones or tablets? My children can have private access when they no longer live with me and I no longer pay for their access. Until then, they can expect me to have every password and access to every platform they are on. They may (are likely going to) try to hide things, as kids do, and I will inquire and check, as parents ought. I am naturally tech savvy person, but they will be better. I learned tech, they’re grew up breathing tech like oxygen. If you feel ill equipped check out Circle. It’s hardware that makes it easier for you manage access to content and time allowed based on each device connected to your home network. For a healthy overload of information and helpful tools to manage access and boundaries for home and mobile check out Covenant Eyes or XXXChurch. (No affiliation, I just like them.)
5. Once Again, share your values behind any of the decisions and boundaries. Your kids deserve it. What’s the reason for you having access? To raise and wholly love them? To guide their sexual health through massive surges of physiological changes? To prepare them for a healthy life and marriage?
Why are you setting boundaries? To teach them the importance and health of boundaries? To protect them as they are forming their sexual worldview? To help prevent choices made as a teenager from affecting the rest of their life?
What is you why?
Educate yourself so you can explain the why behind the what regarding your sexual worldview. I’m against porn because of how it robs us of the beautiful side of sex and love. I educate my kids about what they share because of the real world consequences that occur when we’re careless.
Be sure to check out “Let’s Talk About Sex Talks” where we look at some practical tips and tools to help you navigate the conversation about sex with your kids.