What pornography is teaching our kids
Modern technology is exposing our kids to more than just fun games and the answers to life, the universe and everything on Google. It is also exposing our kids to pornography.
A visiting Australian 'sexologist' has highlighted the fact that our kids are being exposed to more 'dangerous' pornography and at a younger age than ever. Youth Wellbeing Project founder, Liz Walker, is a Masters graduate of Health Science in Sexual Health. She is delivering her 'Counteracting Porn Culture' workshops to parents and educators in Auckland and Wellington during August 2016 and talking about her explicit sex education programmes that have been introduced to over 30 Australian schools.
What are our children being exposed to?
When we allow kids to explore the internet, responsible parenting leads us to warn them of the dangers of sharing personal information. We are also wary of kids being exposed to violence and bad language in video games and online videos. But what else are they being exposed to?
A 2015 Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls Report revealed that kids as young as five years old were accessing images that included gang rape. With the human brain not reaching maturity until into our 20s, these are images that a child simply can not process. Pornography is often extremely degrading to women, can be violent and does not honestly portray the actions of a trusting relationship. Pornography can become addictive and damaging.
Sex education is tough enough when you're a parent. The human psyche doesn't usually put us at ease when talking about such personal and private matters as sex, especially with our own children. So talking to our kids about porn is about as comfortable as a tax audit. However, it is an ongoing conversation that we must start, for the sake of our childrens' wellbeing.
Sex education needs to be more than just learning about the reproductive system and how to put on a condom. It needs to include discussions around building healthy and rewarding relationships, values, intimacy, consent and emotional maturity. In recent years the sex education programmes in New Zealand schools have expanded to address some of these topics but parents also need to have honest and open discussions with their chlldren.
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