Media Giant’s Granddaughter Attacks Cosmo ‘Porn’

by Cris Clapp Logan on July 27th, 2012 in Parents

Victoria Hearst, the granddaughter of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst went after her own family’s magazine for publishing what she calls “pornographic material” kids can buy.  Ten years ago, when Victoria became a Christian, she asked the corporate board of the magazine, “If you would not want your daughter or granddaughter to behave like this, why are you telling other people’s daughters and granddaughters to behave like this?”  Today, she is still fighting to protect kids from the magazine, but there are no signs that the magazine will change its content or self-regulate by adding the brown “adults only” wrapper, so in the meantime, what’s a parent to do? 

First: Educate Yourself.  Understand that just because a magazine (or book or website) might not be flagged as pornography per se, the content included may be pretty explicit and even what we would consider pornographic.  I can’t tell you how many times I’m behind a mom and her daughter at the grocery store and the daughter takes advantage of her mom’s frenzied state and slips a magazine like Cosmo into the shopping cart.   Many of these magazines feature young starlets popular with the teenage crowd on the front covers, so without taking a few minutes to see the featured articles and graphic content inside, a parent may not have any clue how explicit the content can be inside.  Magazines like Cosmo are highly sexualized, filled with erotic-themed content, advice on sex positions, fetish, S&M and sexual experimentation and often feature nearly naked models in their pages.  These magazines are really not safe for teenagers. 

Second: Set an Example.  If you don’t want your daughter to read these magazines, then it’s probably best for you to stay away from them as well.  Most of the teenagers that I work with that read magazines like Cosmo have grabbed them from their parent’s stack of magazines.  If your kids see you reading the magazine, to them, it will be like you’re endorsing the magazine to some extent.  Be aware that your kids are watching and taking account of the content that you take in.

Third: Talk to Your Kids.  Set clear rules for what sort of magazines, shows, movies and sites your kids are allowed to visit/view/read and explain your perspective.  Talk regularly with your kids about healthy sexuality and watch out for teachable moments.  Even if magazines like Cosmo were moved into the “adults only” section, it’s likely that at some point, your kids would come across the magazine or similar sexual content.  As you dialogue with them, set a strong example and help them understand your standards, you can help protect them even when they aren’t with you at home.  For help, check out our guide “The Talk” in the parent resources.

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