Sex in the Cafeteria: The Problems with Preteen Google Searching

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About Kristie Christie

Kristie Christie is a writer and speaker who communicates to audiences about living a life of freedom, authenticity and connection. She'd love to keep in touch with you: check out Kristie's blog www.kristievosper.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on twitter: @kristievos.

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  1. I am very pleased to come across this website and these articles. I am a single mother of one young pre-teen boy. I am very open generally in my communication and liberal in my beliefs, however the “sex talk” just never happened until I saw on his computer at age 10 he had been Googling sex.

    We had “the talk”, which I always assumed I would find easy, and found it surprisingly hard. I of course put a block on his computer, but with mobile phones these days everything is available.

    It is a worry how readily available pornography is to our young children. And I must admit to having gone into “lecture mode” rather than open conversation. Thank you for the advise. I will now begin to have an open sex dialogue and conversation with my son and try to demystify some of the taboos around sex and bodies with him.

    • I’m so glad it was helpful, Holly. I think it’s absolutely natural to go into lecture mode. That’s the way I can tend too. It’s that mama bear protector coming out…but open conversation always wins.

  2. What a thoughtful article— my 12 yo son has tons of great and up to date information at a click of a mouse…but he also has mind-numbing stuff he can watch, too… I try to listen and talk with him when he watches his faves, like Ryan Higa, Ray William Johnson, Tobuscus, and Smosh…. Sometimes the words and situations are a little gross and foul… And sometimes we laugh together over the same silly things…weirdly enough it does provide an opportunity for us to talk about various topics, like gun violence, swearing, bullying, inappropriate sexual behavior, drinking antics, etc. ….I am grateful for the opportunity to talk rather openly with my son in contrast with the way many of my generation were brought up… There were so many taboo topics and the Adult Book Section in the library was tantalizingly on another level ( and we had to sneak over there to peek into what we were not supposed to know about…

  3. I had to check this story to see if it was an old post. Google has been around for, what, 15 years? The 9 YO kids the author worries about in 2013 aren’t alone or unique: there is literally almost a generation of them now. The original 9 YO kids exposed to Google searches are mid-20s college grads now. Nor are today’s 9 YOs the first to really be faced with the “problem” in the article. Today’s college students are all tech savvy enough to have used Google at 9YO.

    The author essentially worries about a potential issue that is a nonissue because its come and gone already.

    And always be wary of someone warning you that your kids are exposed to different things or will grow up differently than you. This is the story of every generation since the earliest children graced the earth. The first kids to enjoy tamed fire drew snears from elders about their inability to handle it and appreciate it.

    Just as Elvis’ hip thrusting wasnt the end of society and civilization neither will Google be.

    So what to do?: talk to your kids, prepare them for what they may see and create an atmosphere where they can come to you with a question about anything else. I expound further here: http://www.triplethedad.blogspot.com/2012/10/child-rearing-philosophy.html

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I agree that every generation has a new threat, and one people clutch pearls over.

      But Kristie is talking to parents who didn’t grow up with Google about kids who ARE growing up with Google. That’s what she’s talking about. For those of us in our 30s with small kids, this IS a new thing and we need to be aware and conscious of the fact that our 12 year olds could very easily google “sex” and fine BDSM scenes that they are far from understanding, in a way that we absolutely could not have.

      Not that I”m condemning BDSM but it is a highly misunderstood kink, and can be highly dangerous if a person isn’t introduced to it in a healthy way by folks like Cliff Pervocracy who teach skills to keep everybody safe and happy.

      For a child with a developing idea of sexuality, seeing sex portrayed via pornography can affect their ideas about sex, intimacy and attachment and it concerns me greatly. With my own kids, it will only be a few short years before they will be actively seeking out sexualized images, and as a sex writer and a sex-positive feminist, I have concerns. Of course, I’ll be sitting them down talking to them about porn very naturally, it’s easy for me. I can teach them about what porn represents, what it does and does not do for human sexuality, about kink and what it does and does not mean about sexuality.

      But for a lot of parents, they have no clue that it’s two clicks and their kid can see someone in nipple clamps being whipped. And we need to know that and be prepared for it. Not because we need to freak out and cause paranoia, but because we need to be prepared for conversations we simply did NOT have with our parents because the chance of us seeing fetish porn was just so minimal.

      • Yes, but today its “fetish porn,” yesterday it was Elvis’ hips. After all, the parent raising a child during that time had no experience with TV or this new fangled rock-and-roll music their kids were experiencing.

        My kids aren’t quite to the age where this is relevant yet, but I think about it. I’ve viewed porn online, and I dont think kids are as likely to stumble upon BDSM as you think or to be as confused as you think.

        As for kids being overwhelmed… the whole world is new and scary for them. While this may be more over the top than some topics, I generally think kids are great at coping, better than we give them credit for, especially when parents foster open, communicative atmospheres where kids feel safe.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Just because you may think that kids are more prepared than we think they are doesn’t mean that parents don’t need help or advice on the subject.

          This all-or-nothing approach of “don’t overreact” becoming, “don’t worry about it” isn’t helpful.

          It IS important to talk to kids and prepare them for the real world, as it stands. It can be done wihout overreaction, but it DOES require *reaction*.

          • I totally agree with your Joanna. And kids DO find porn and are quite traumatised by what they see. And I am talking very young children. In fact, a co-advocate for sexual abuse prevention education has been called to implement an emergency education program where young children in a community are acting out sexual acts they have viewed and obviously have no comprehension of on other children.
            And on another point, Bryan, when your children do stumble on porn be it on their own or with their peers, they will very likely be traumatised by it as it may well be adults performing sexual acts upon adults or adults performing sexual acts upon children. Tell me what child is prepared for that and how can you ever compare this kind of exposure with new ‘fangled rock and roll’ music of the past.

  4. Thank you so much for your well-written and informative article.
    ‘I am extremely concerned for the impact explicit material has on children who do not have the developmental capacity to filter, understand and sort out graphic content.’
    I too am extremely concerned. It so important ‘body safety’ becomes a normal part of our parenting conversation from as young as 2.5 years. I am an advocate for sexual abuse prevention education which goes hand in hand with your key points above, but I also advocate we start to talk to our kids about their rights in relation to their body from a very young age. I also push for sexual abuse prevention education to be mandatory in all kindergartens and elementary schools WW.

  5. Valter Viglietti says:

    “Pornography threatens normal childhood from remaining innocent”
    Children are NOT innocent; they have never been.

    Besides, shielding children from world’s dangers will never work. Hence, open communication with them is the only good way to prepare them to face real life’s complexity.
    Do not think you can close the world outside your home (how naive!); talk with your children about anything. Do not restrain their curiosity (how vain!): feed it with smart and meaningful information.

  6. Sex needs to be an ongoing discussion between parents and kids. As much as it’s always an ongoing discussion between adults and adults. I do think more parents need to be honest and open about talking about the role of pornography. Fatherss and mothers should both talk to son’s and daughters about it. I also think that Fathers should think about what they would say to their daughters about porn as much as what they would say to their son and mothers should do the same. Would the conversation stay the same? Would you have the same concerns for your son as you would your daughter? How would you approach the roles of men and women and how they are generally showcased through porn? What would you say about the way porn looks and the way people in porn look? Would the ideas and messages that porn gives mean the same things to your sons as they would your daughters?

    And if it’s a two parent household, parents also need to remain in open communication with one another about what they are discussing with their children. Sometimes parents can do this little “lets keep this between you and me think” that excludes the other parent from the discussion and eludeds to secrecy to keep the peace.

    All in all, I think we already have grown adults that have been largely affected by pornography that was available to them as young kids. Just from my experiences with dating men, I’ve seen things in men that I don’t think are for the positive. It’s not that these guys are terrible guys, but they have obviously been heavily influenced by pornography. You can see it in how normalized certain things have been made in pop culture that use to be taboo. I don’t believe this is the same thing from when parents where worried about Elvis’ shaking hips. Porn is a serious issue that I don’t think our culture takes serious enough. Most porn today is still created for and by men. Which is another thing we need tobe honest about. If young kids, both young girls and boys are seeing porn, there is a heavy imbalance between what the role of a woman is presented as vs what the role of a man is presented as. Most porn shows that the woman is the object that fulfills the man’s desire. She is the one used to get off. It’s her body that is largely focused on. What her body is doing that is focused on. She is the object. While men are also objectified in porn, they are also more often showcased as the ones in power who have control over the situation and who are being serviced. In most cases ast least that’s what I’ve found porn to be.

    I wish we could have a world without porn though. Where people were free to discover what they liked on their own. And where they weren’t fed this contrived kind of sexuality that people seem to aim more for having then an actual real bond now a days.

    Even though Googles been around for 15 years, the internet and Google are still new to us and how we interact with it. We are still trying to figure out how to contend with new issues and technology everyday. So I do think this article is stll very valid and will be very valid for decades to come since we will always be navagating a new life with advancing technology.

  7. Jack Jones says:

    Why pick on sex? Everything a child experiences, influence them. I see no complaints about animal abuse kids see in Tom and Jerry. No complains about the daily does of crime dramas, and nothing about boys being sold toy guns, and watching the A-Team using violence to save the day. Then there are the parents who drink and smoke in front of their kids, activities that kill tens of thousands of people every day. Not all sex is bad, but we treat it all as if it were.

  8. Madeira says:

    I think what would be ideal is if we were less weird about sex as a whole, there should be easily accessible wholesome porn for anyone who wants it. I can imagine a nice television series about say a married detective couple who are affectionate and loving and you just throw an explicit sex scene in every episode, because sex should be portrayed as loving and fun for everyone not as something men do to women, Obviously it wouldn’t be for small children, but I feel that that would be a much nicer introduction to sex than say, tentacle porn.

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