Help! My kid Googled “porn”!

I hear this all the time.  It is SO common for kids to google “porn” or “naked girls” or “penis”.  They want to see what’s out there.  That curiosity is normal and healthy.  

The results that pop up from a search like that, however, are NOT.  

While parental control software might shield them from some of it, or alert you to the search, it’s only a matter of time until kids learn how to get around it.  Then they search again, because they’re still curious.  Of course they are!

Don’t get discouraged.

The best thing you can do is talk with them about it.

The problem with kids and porn is that their brains are still forming, and we don’t want their arousal pathways wired to a screen, or even a certain body type.  

Their brains should wire to their EXPERIENCES, not to imagery.  The less imagery, the better.  No particular expectation about what body parts should look like, no judgement about the “right” way to do it. Parents should be the only ones guiding their children about sexuality.

Just the basics, please.

The basics are all they need at this point, for a healthy innocent exploration of their own sexuality.  Help them veer away from satisfying their curiosity with extra information and porn, and towards grounding them in their own feelings and sensations.  

Here’s what I’d say to my kid:

  1. Sexuality is good. It’s a beautiful way for GROWN-UPS to grow closer.
  2. All that porn stuff is irrelevant, since you have to learn what you like. None of these “resources” can tell you that and certainly not online porn.  
  3. You’ll learn what you like or what a potential partner likes by being near them and communicating, not by watching a video.
  4. Don’t expose yourself to this stuff because it wires your brain differently. You may have no inclination towards any number of things that are shown in pornography, but by watching porn, your brain may develop an interest in watching these things. Even if you’re disgusted at first, the imagery is arousing and haunting (it’s designed to be!) and the brain may adapt to create “likes” that you didn’t have on your own. 
  5. Porn sites have already removed all the videos that didn’t bring users back. It’s compelling or it wouldn’t be there for you to find.

 

I know it’s not easy. Thank you for stepping up to these tough conversations. We owe it to our kids to be brave about online pornography. 

These conversations will reap huge benefits, not just for your child, but for partners they may have in the future.

 

We’re all in this together, and I’ve got your back.

John

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