Nudity, sex, and social media are three topics our teenagers do not like talking to us about. As their parents, you do not assume that they are shy or novice about sex-related topics. They read, see, and even learn about many of these sex-related issues on the internet. It might even surprise you as to what they know.
This is why you as their parent have to talk to them and tell them what is right. If not, your child might start saying and acting out what he/she sees on the internet. Like it was stated in the Teenagers and Nudity article, the internet has lots of positive benefits, but if left unchecked, the negative impact might also affect our children.
These negative impacts include;
- Exposure to sexual content plays the role in the stereotyping of men and women. Sexy pictures displayed on the internet have their parts in how women are viewed as sex objects.
- Sexual behaviors are influenced whereby viewing sexual images of other people causes one to become less respectful of their partners.
- Negative feelings about one’s body. It has been reported that social media can produce a “compare and despair” attitude whereby people start to compare their bodies to those that are heavily edited pictures on the internet.
How to talk to your children
Talking to your teenage kids about what they see online can create a level of trust between you and them. Showing them that issues bothering them are important to you can help create a better sense of self-esteem, where they can tell you something no matter how embarrassing it might be.
- Let them know that they can talk to you about anything no matter how uncomfortable it might be. Do not let your kids start seeking answers outside, especially on the internet – they can be misled.
- Discuss stereotype. Let them understand that social media can create ways that men and women are expected to act, this does not necessarily make it right. If your child makes stereotype comments, correct them, and let them understand why it is inappropriate.
- Teach them to understand what is right and what’s not. People come online to give the impression that they have the perfect body and life. This should not be it, you should let your kids know that most of what they see on the internet are fake, edited, and photoshopped.
- The issue of role models is also important. It is common among teenagers to idolize these popular musical celebrities, even as far as dressing like them. Introduce your kids to better role models that would better shape their lives, not these fake-life celebrities that share irrelevant takes on the internet.
- Educate them on when to ignore, block and report. They might not have control over what other people post, but they have control over what they see. Teach them to always block and report inappropriate content and messages on their feed.
The internet can make and mar people. It is left to you as the parent to teach your kids what is right for them. At a very young age, they are eager to try out many things – educate them on what to try out and what to discard. We do not want to leave our future in the hands of youth that have their lives based on just sex and nudity.