Talking about the birds and the bees with your kids has never been easy for any generation, but it has also never been as important to do as it is today.
If you dont broach the subject of sex with your kids, the Internet will. In the Internet version, the birds and the bees have an orgy, and they record it. Then one of the birds posts the video on an interspecies revenge porn site and, as a result, one of the bees cant get into the college of her choice. In other words, your kids are learning about sex whether or not they get comprehensive sexuality education at school, whether or not their friends are abstinent or sexually active, and whether or not you and your child have had the talk.
So whats a parent to do? Well, for starters you can attend my Straight Talk Parenting Series workshop Jan. 21. I will teach attendees about todays sexual youth culture as well as ways to equip themselves with the tools to start a discussion about sexuality with their kids. Here is what we will be up to:
• Ill give an overview of the pornography industry, revenge porn and amateur porn, how pornography has changed since high-speed internet, and how pornography is marketed to minors.
• Ill talk about our sexualized culture, what the new normal is, and what we should and should not be concerned about.
• We will discuss how teens use pornography and other sexual media on their computers, tablets and smart phones, etc. I will then provide you with research on how Internet pornography use affects physiological and psychological development.
• I will provide parents with a list of social-media sites and apps that teens use to build their web presence, exchange sexual content with each other, and connect with new teens as well as new adults.
• Participants will learn how to monitor their kids cyber-activity as well as be able to identify what they are comfortable with kids having access to, so you can modify your monitoring to whatever degree you are comfortable with.
• I will teach parents how to listen, so your child will talk to you about sex. It is more important (and beneficial for your teens health) for a parent to be approachable rather than become the expert lecturer on the birds and the bees.
• Parents will learn how to approach sexual conversations and integrate those conversations into everyday life.
• Parents also will learn how to foster healthy sexuality and instill their own familys sexual values to prepare children for the inevitable sexual aspect of their current or future lives.
This may seem like a daunting task, but with new knowledge and a little bit of practice, I will teach parents how to connect with their children and help them develop into sexually competent people. For more information about what I do, visit www.meganmaas.com.
Megan Maas is a prevention and methodology pre-doctoral fellow in Penn States department of human development and family studies. This weekly column is a collaboration of Centre County Communities that Care serving Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola area school districts, and Care Partnership: Centre Region Communities that Care serving the State College Area School District.