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18 October 2011

Your kid, porn and the law

Three learners charged with statutory rape relating to a sex video featuring a 15-yr-old girl, has highlighted the cellphone pornography question yet again, and it's serious.

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The arrest of three school boys from Oudtshoorn High School, charged with statutory rape relating to a sex video featuring a 15-yr-old girl, has highlighted the cellphone and cyber pornography question yet again.  The issue is deeply worrisome for parents of young teens, but, as the question sent to Health24's Sexologist below shows, it is also impacting children far younger.

Q:  Young boy exposed to porn

I am the mom of an 8-yr-old boy. We have already had the birds-and-bees talk, and I also bought him a book that is age-appropriate with nice pictures for kids explaining everything. To my surprise, some of his much older friends (in their teens) told him where to search on the internet to watch porn! I didn't see this coming, so now I have all the kids' filters on my pc. What concerns me is that he has already been exposed to hard porn, even videos! He says that he is curious and wants to know exactly how sex works and looks like.  I told him he is too young, the moral issues, it can be harmful, be careful because of paedophiles etc. But he is too young to understand the damage or potential threat in watching porn.  Do you have any suggestions on how to protect my son?

Expert:You have been confronted with one of a modern parent's biggest problems. I do not know how we can truly protect our children these days with the overload and accessibility of information.  He is too young to be exposed to this and technically (from a legal and psychosocial point of view), the 'much older friends' showing him how to get the information can be found guilty under the Sexual offenses act of 2007 of 'grooming' and even sexual assault (exposing a child to that constitutes sexual abuse).

At this age his value system is forming and this can harm him for the rest of his life. His curiosity in this regard could already suggest previous exposure to sexual abuse (remember sexual abuse can be anything form nudity, porn, grooming up to penetrative sex).

You can protect him by changing these older friends and talking to your child about what is age appropriate etc. We as parents have a 24/7 obligation to guard them till they can make meaningful decisions based on values with good social judgment.

A nice way to explain to him how being old enough is important regarding sex:  ask him to collect a very heavy bag for you (something you know he will not be able to carry or manage). When he complains that he cannot do it, you can explain to him that one has to 'grow' into certain things in life. You can only carry such a heavy bag if you are strong and big enough.

Similarly sex is something you understand when you grow up and is strong enough to handle properly.

I would not even debate this further - after all, you will not allow him to play with a gun or even negotiate his wish to play with a gun? Sex for such a young child is worse. It may be good to consult with a good social worker for an assessment and advice on the way forward.

Read more:

Cellphone porn and your teen

Send your question to CyberShrink or Sexologist for advice

(Joanne Hart, Health24, October 2011)

 
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