It's time we talked...

One of the challenges of raising teenagers is about helping them deal with their emerging sexuality. If having ‘the talk’ was ever enough in the past, it certainly isn’t enough today.

The widespread availability of pornography poses a threat to the values that most parents/carers hold dear. Research tells us that your children will see porn, whether they seek it out or see it accidentally, and that some of them will make their own porn and share it with others.

Over a quarter of young people have sent a naked or nearly naked picture of themselves to someone else.

The nature of porn has changed rapidly, especially with video easily available for free. A big majority of scenes contain physical violence, almost always directed at females, with most of the performers reacting neutrally or with pleasure to those acts. 

Stereotypes about women, men, power, and aggression drive the worldview of mainstream porn, influencing the viewer’s expectations of themselves and others. Unreal bodies, unsafe sex, performance sex, aggressive and non-consensual sex – all are commonplace.

What sort of person do you want your child to be? What values do you hope will mark their close relationships? What can you do to help them develop in that direction?

One aspect of ‘the talk’, which actually is likely to be many smaller talks over several years, has to be about porn and its portrayal of how people relate sexually. Young people need your help to see the distortions of porn.

Help them by reducing their exposure where you can; encourage critical thinking; give them the confidence and skills to negotiate limits with peers; tell them about respectful, meaningful and life-giving committed relationships. Show them what really matters by the example of your own close relationships.


Martin Graham
School Counsellor

Information about school counselling is at {base_url}/learning-teaching