Talk with your kids. Not to them, but with them. Porn is largely impossible to avoid now, so it’s up to parents to provide conversations with their kids about sex, sexuality and what they are going to encounter online. An open chat has always been a great way of inoculating your children.
— Richie Hardcore, NZ social change campaigner’
Our silence around porn is no longer good enough, doing as it does such a grave disservice to our young people, who deserve to be guided with much more love and confidence towards a healthy and joyous expression of their sexuality.
— Bernard Beckett, NZ Author
First off, well done on finding your way to our website…
Parenting can be hard work and it’s not easy to keep on top of the rapidly changing world of technology that our young people are growing up in. The fact that you’re here shows you care about what they’re up to.
So welcome, have a look around our site, and hopefully there’WIll be something here to help.
First up, if you want to start a ‘porn conversation’ with a young person in your life, it’s a good idea to be prepared …
Here’s a great way to get started, which we’ve called ‘BLAT’.
Breathe. Learn. Ally. Talk and take action.
Preparing for talking about porn with your child is really important. If you rush, there’s a risk your child might feel uncomfortable or misunderstood and may close down any conversation. So settle in, here are a few tips …
Drop your shoulders and take a deep breath ...
ALLY & ASK
It’s important that your child knows you are their ally and on the same team as them ...
Before you rush into a porn conversation with your teenager, upskill on today’s porn culture ...
TALK AND TAKE ACTION
When you feel ready to talk to your child about porn, click below for Talking with Teens or Talking with Children/Tweens for specific conversation starters and topics.
Drop your shoulders and take a deep breath. You might be experiencing all sorts of emotions if you’ve just found out your child is watching porn, but try not to stress about it. Most young people come across porn online these days – it’s almost impossible to miss with unlimited availability and ease of access on personal devices. Your child may have searched for porn because they heard friends talking about it and were curious, they might have wanted to learn more about sex, or they may have come across it accidentally. Whatever the reason, watching porn has now become a ‘normal’ part of youth culture, and it doesn’t mean your child is ‘bad’.
Before you rush into a porn conversation with your teenager, upskill on today’s porn culture – it will go a long way with gaining credibility when you talk with them. Learn what kind of porn young people are watching; how much is out there; the messages they are getting from porn and how things have changed since the Playboy days. Read our PORN 101 fact sheet, or Can porn affect us? and check out the Parent Resources and general Resources to find out more from some of the latest research, books, websites and video clips.
Ally & Ask
It’s important that your child knows you are their ally and on the same team as them, with the same long-term goal – having healthy relationships and a great future sex life. For any constructive conversation, young people need to feel safe, free to share their views and know they’re not going to get in trouble for being honest.
So, we recommend starting with a curious, questioning approach. Before you dive straight into asking about their porn use, start with asking them about their friends, about the attitudes of their peers towards porn, their access to porn and how they feel about it? Ask open questions – ones that start with what, how, why and require more than a yes or no answer. Aim to get their perspective on porn and listen with empathy.
Talk and Take action
We also recommend taking action by getting internet filters, talking to other families and getting help if needed. Internet filters can be really helpful for home computers and devices (cell phones, tablets) and we recommend Safe Surfer. Your teenager may feel annoyed about this if they’ve gone years without filters, so remember to talk to them calmly about it beforehand.
It can also be helpful to talk with other parents and ask about their experiences with porn and young people, as they might be able to suggest some strategies that have worked well for their families. And finally check out our Need Help? page if you’re looking for extra support or counsellors in your area.