Discussions about sex are essential to parenting in the digital age
The highly trained therapists in Act for Kids Sexual Abuse Counselling programs identified a need for a resource for adults to use to talk to young people about sex and sexually explicit material they might see online. A dedicated team of our Sexual Abuse Counsellors and young people created the resource, ‘Positive OR Negative? You Decide’.
This is a resource to help you have conversations with young people about sex and sexually explicit online material to help them stay safe.
- To support young people and the protective adults in their lives to have constructive conversations about consensual relationships and sexuality.
- To unpack the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to human sexuality.
There is no way you can have a helpful conversation about sexually explicit material with a young person without talking about sex. Therefore, the topics of this book and the quotes from the young people we talked to contain sexually explicit content.
Act for Kids is aware that online sexual material (pornography) is readily available and is increasingly utilised for sexual education and development by many young people. We also understand that many parents, and protective adults – including therapeutic professionals, feel conflicted or uncomfortable discussing themes of pornography. This discomfort may also extend to communication about young people’s sexual development, self-pleasure exploration and use of online sexual material (pornography). However, open conversations about these topics help young people stay safe and are essential to parenting in the digital age.
The majority of parents want their children to grow into empathetic, confident adults who can think critically about social media and online messaging; and have healthy balanced relationships. Act for Kids wants to help equip and support parents and carers to achieve this goal.
Guide to using the booklet and having conversations
Did you know, the average age of first exposure to pornography may be under 12 years of age in Australia? Act for Kids therapists consider 12 years and older as a guideline age for the use of this particular resource.
Before sharing this booklet with others, consider:
- Individual emotional maturity
- Developmental stage
- Context and environment
How to use the booklet:
- Do not give the booklet to a young person in isolation. It is designed to start conversations and debunk myths about the sex young people see online.
- Use the conversation prompts at the back of the booklet to inform your discussions.
- Be open, honest and nonjudgmental. Remember, this conversation will probably be hard for them too.
- Encourage them to ask questions. Answer these as honestly as you can.
- Use the correct terminology when talking about sex and private body parts.
- Have multiple short chats with your young person. This is much more effective than an exhausting drawn out dialogue.
- Allow time for them to think about the content and reflect. We believe the ‘less is more’ technique reduces some of the embarrassment for the young person, which means ongoing conversations may be more likely to occur.
We welcome feedback on this resource, which is designed to help you have humorous and potentially less embarrassing conversations with young people about sex. Please don’t download and print this booklet. To place an order or provide feedback, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Booklets are available to order for a modest fee to cover printing and postage.
Please read the information above before viewing the booklet.