“How do we protect our kids from the dangers of pornography, and how do we talk to them about it?”

As your 12 -year -old son stumbled across pornography, well, let's talk about it today on Tips
on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize
in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations, the group
Private Practice Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen
Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I answer your
parenting questions here on Facebook Live. Let's jump into today's question. Recently, I
began to suspect that my son has started watching porn on his computer. He's 12, and because
of COVID and distance learning, he's had a lot more screen time alone in his room than we would
like. I work from home and have a lot of Zoom meetings. Recently, I checked in on him, and his bedroom
door was locked. And when he came out, he had a guilty look on his face. I felt like something was
going on. I'd really like to check his browser, but

I don't want him to think I don't trust him. Should I talk to him about... should I talk to him about
it even though I don't know if he's doing it? I don't want to give him any ideas and also I'm really
uncomfortable about it. If I do talk to him, what should I say? Wonderful question. I love this
question because it's not about if you should talk to your kid. It's how you should talk to your
kid. it. Absolutely you should talk to your kid about this. It's a big topic. This is a whole workshop
conference type of question, but we only have a few minutes, so I'm going to do the best I can to
address these questions. First and foremost, educate your kids on sex and sexuality from an
early age. As soon as they start asking, where do babies come from? As soon as you're giving them
a bath, start educating them about differences between male bodies, female bodies, all the
different kinds of bodies. Make sure they're talking about that. Make sure they're educated
on what sex is. Not only the basics

of the biology of it, but also just the relationship, you know, respect, consent, you know,
sharing, you know, all these things that involve dignity and respect and caring that go into
a healthy sexual life. I think it's important to be talking about these things. So when your
teenager or your adolescent or your kid stumbles across pornography, which they most likely
will because everyone's got a screen in front of them and no matter how many restrictions you
have on those screens, they're gonna come across something either at home or at someone's house
and so they're going to be confronted with it. So at, you know, middle school age, especially
by then, you really want to start talking to them about what pornography is and isn't. You know,
it is a stylized, very amplified version of what is sexuality. It is not actual depiction of
what sexuality is. I think it's important that they understand these things. The more they
understand sex and sexuality on a basic fundamental level, pornography

becomes less of a taboo and less interesting. If you do come across your kid and the laptop's
open and it's right there and you see it, don't panic. Stay calm. Don't have this as a way to get
mad or angry or upset or shame, this is a great time to talk to your kid about what he or she is feeling
in this situation. What does it mean to them to look at this? How does it help? How does it hurt?
Also, it's important to talk to them about how pornography can skew one's perception of what
is sex and sexuality. It can create a very skewed version with violence and disrespect and we
want to make sure we want to gear our kids more towards a place of healthy sexual expression.
Sex is normal. Sex is healthy. It's a part of being human. And just because your kid is 12 doesn't
mean he's not having sexual thoughts and feelings. Most likely he probably is. And if he's having
strong sexual feelings and he goes in his room or the bathroom and does what 12 year old boys do,
that's fine, that's normal. You

may need to talk to him, especially, let's say for example, your kid is on the spectrum and misses
some social cues and misses how things, how what he does affects other people, you may need to
talk to him about making sure he cleans up after himself. I know, I know, I know you think that
sounds weird and disgusting and eww, but these are real conversations that real parents have
to have with real kids. And it's really important we're talking and educating your kids, especially
kids who may be on the spectrum and maybe have a hard time understanding the nuances of all this.
So talk. And if you are uncomfortable, it's really important that you're doing your work for
yourself to find out how to understand this in a better way. It's a huge topic. Down below are
a couple websites I have for some books. Robbie Harris is an author and illustrator. I know,
she's not the illustrator, but she is the author. Her website's down there. She has great books
for teaching kids about sex and sexuality for

many different ages. There's another book list that I found. It had just a ton of books to scroll
through. Robbie Harris is one of my favorites. There's so much more that I probably could have
put on there, but talk to your kid. Do not be afraid of this, because if you are, and your 12 -year
-old is being exposed to pornography, then who is your kid going to go to talk about it? Is it you
or the internet? And the internet is not going to be the safe place to go. So it's really important
that you have these conversations, not once, but many times. Make sure they have these books
in the room, so if they don't want to talk to you about at least they have the book in the room, they
can talk about it. Also, if your kid's really curious about naked bodies, there's plenty of
tasteful nude art out there you can find. It's on Google. You can find it anywhere you want. And
you can pick and choose what you think is appropriate to show what is an appropriate vision of
what a female body is, what a

male body is, you know, what what these things are. It's really important to take the taboo out
of it. When we take the taboo out of it, it becomes less interesting. So, this is a huge topic.
Again, I can talk for a whole hour about this, but you don't have an hour on FaceTime to watch me,
so I'm just gonna leave it there. Thank you so much. We have a few seats left for our Parent Workshop
next Wednesday at 7 p .m. over Zoom, called Quarantine, all your quarantine questions and parenting
questions answered. We have a few spots left. If you're interested, please register ASAP and
go to the website down below and register today. We probably will be filled up by the end of the
week, and hope to see you there. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and
Child and Young Counseling. This is Tips on Teens, and we'll see you next Wednesday at noon on
Facebook Live. Thanks guys, bye bye.

How do we protect our kids from the dangers of pornography, and how do we discuss it with them? This week’s question comes from a parent wanting some advice on just that.

“Recently I began to suspect that my son has started watching porn on his computer. He’s 12, and because of Covid and distance learning, he’s had a lot more screen time alone in his room than we would like. I work from home and have a lot of Zoom meetings. Recently I checked in on him and his bedroom door was locked, and when he came out he had a guilty look on his face. I felt like something was going on. I’d really like to check his browser but I don’t want him to think I don’t trust him. Should I talk to him about it even though I don’t know if he’s doing it? I don’t want to give him any ideas, and also I’m really uncomfortable about it. If I do talk to him, what should I say?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.