When I first started writing about how parents can look after their kids’ childhoods, I wasn’t prepared for the volley of criticism that would be leveled against me. Since the publication of my book “Where Has My Little Girl Gone?” I have been variously slammed as a “moral crusader”, part of a “moral panic” and being sexually repressive.
I am sure there are many educators out there who experienced far more personal criticism than I have.
But as a writer coming to the subject for the first time, my experience is an interesting snapshot, which illustrates how porn has been allowed to reach our children almost unchallenged.
That’s because as soon as you question porn, even from the point of view of a concerned parent, there’s a whole lot of people, quick to condemn you as a prude and extremist. The undercurrent is: “Why should you parents spoil our party – just for the sake of your pesky kids? It’s your problem.” The other critics are those who claim porn is empowering to women. They conveniently pass over the fact that at any given moment “barely legal” teens are being passed off as school children in cheerleader outfits.
Is it empowering when flat-cheated girls in blue ribbon pigtails are being penetrated while labeled: “that slut Cindy Brady’?
Of course, the associated talk of “free speech” and “repression” has played brilliantly into the hands of the porn industry.
No wonder so many parents are so frightened to stick their heads over the parapet when they are immediately shot down as moral harridans and spoilsports. But by saying and doing nothing for so long, the situation has slipped from our grasp.
Children innocently looking for their favourite cartoon characters are confronted by pornographic versions. Kids who instant message each other to talk about their school day get pop-up ads of erect penises.
So my question has to be how has the porn industry been allowed to broadcast virtually anything over the Internet – yet we as parents have become scared to talk back?
If you’re an adult who loves porn, that’s your choice. You formed your own tastes over time and experience. Count yourself lucky to live in an era where you can enjoy whatever turns you on 24-hours-a-day – on your computer or even your phone. But just remember there is a flip-side to the freedom you enjoy – and our kids also deserve another kind of freedom. The freedom to grow up without seeing graphic sex they are not ready to see.
Tanith Carey is author of “Where Has My Little Gone? – How to Protect your Daughter from Growing up Too Soon, available on Amazon.com, price $19.99.
Editor’s note: In our porn-infused culture, if parents are not vigilant, it’s highly likely their children’s first sexual experience will occur in the glow of computer screen, devoid of healthy, age-appropriate guidance and true human interaction. It’s vital that parents have conversations with their kids about healthy sexuality and use the technology resources and parental controls (like Safe Eyes) available to prevent their kids from being exposed to this content. Check out our parent resources for more.