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Question
Posted by: ann | 2009/10/08

Child exposed to internet porn

My child of 5 has been accidentally exposed to internet porn. How should I handle it?

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Our expert says:
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Maybe not at all, other than by vigilance, mainly aimed at avoiding further such "accidental exposure". In such situations, as in some real-life experiences, kids can easily me more frightened and disturbed by a calamitous reaction by caring parents, than by the actual events themselves, which they may have taken far more matter-of-factly than we expect. You can have a gentle chat with the child about how this was inappropriate stuff he /she was not meant to see, and something that concerns adults, and not children. Inquire gently what the child actually thinks they saw and what they made of it. They may be puzzled, or may have misinterpreted it ; they may be interested, or, surprisingly often, they may not mave made much of it or taken it particularly seriously. Be prepared to answer, in an age-appropriate way, any questions the child may have, arising from what they saw. They may be more puzzled, as I say, by the adult reactions to them having seen this stuff, and the severity of our reactions may suggest to them that it was far more importan than they would otherwise have thought.

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