Sex ed should be a series of evolving conversations.
One in three New Zealand boys are watching pornography on a regular basis. Girls are watching porn, too. It’s just too easy to access. No more walking through the video shop to a dimly-lit R18 nook. Accessing porn is now as easy as opening a web browser and entering a search term 🔍
So—where to from here?
Parenting in the digital age requires us to be brave and rewrite what the norm was in our childhood sex education. We have a whole heap of new research available, proving how important an evolving shame-free conversation is for future-proofing the way our young people approach sex. Think of it as building blocks—we lay a solid foundation and subsequently build upon it as our kid’s age. It is not just one conversation—it is a series of conversations we will have over the years.
If we do not educate our kids, external places will. Many young people now use porn as sex education.
Most kids start asking questions about sex very young, “Where do babies come from?” Time to let go of the “stork” and other dismissive types of answers from yesteryear! What you say can seriously help your child in shaping a healthy view of sex. Yet, we still have more to do to help protect our young people from seeking out porn.
Starting with your own ideas on sex and the messages your children maybe receiving is a good place to begin.
Reflecting on your own ideas and values
Self probing questions:
- What was I taught about sex? What would I have liked to have improved in the message that I was given?
- What are my personal views about sex?
- Do I have any shame talking about sex and/or am I uncomfortable talking about it?
- How have I previously responded to questions surrounding sex—either kids trying to figure out how on earth they got here or what sex even is?
- How do I want my children to view sex; where do I want them to learn about sex?
Once you have checked in with yourself, sit down with your spouse or a friend and start talking about how you will educate your children, parents work together on this. Use your spouse or friend to practice the conversation on to get rid of any embarrassment or shame you still maybe experiencing (your kids will pick up on this, it’s important you feel relaxed).
Sex education cannot guarantee that your kids or young people will not seek out pornography for education or to try and understand sex, but it is a crucial ingredient in promoting a healthy view of sex. As mainstream pornography generally does not align with the topics you would have discussed, like consent, respect, love, connection, bodies, sexuality, etc which will really give your young person an advantage if/when they’re exposed. They’ll be armed with real information supporting them in rejecting the lie which is porn.
For your younger kids, we created a book: Keeping Safe on the Web with Kyle the Kingfish. A tactic we introduce in response to kids being exposed to pornography or other graphic content is
“Turn. Think. Tell.”
Read the full book online.
You’ve got this!