The New York Times ran a story today on how to talk to your children about the pornography they are actively seeking out, like a bunch of Juicy Juice-chugging, sticky-fingered little perverts.
The article was called "So How Do We Talk About This?" and featured anecdotes from several parents describing the ways in which they preferred to call their kids out for loving porn.
Most of the parents seemed pretty normal. One of them seemed insane. See if you can pick that parent out.
1. Chaz, a software consultant from Minneapolis
Why'd he have the talk: He received an iTunes receipt "for an app showing 1,001 pictures of breasts" his 12-year-old son had purchased. (LOL Forever. This kid. I can't.)
So How Did He Talk About This: He told his son that it was "natural to be curious" and asked that, on this journey of exploration, his budding boob-enthusiast stick to one specific site, to which he had been granted special access, that featured "pictures of naked women that were not much racier than what might appear in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated."
2. Unnamed parents, who sound so freaking cool they probably do not even exist
Why'd they have the talk: They just "assumed their children would eventually search for pornography."
So How Did They Talk About This: By giving valuable, real world tips on "how to be discreet, erase browsing histories, and avoid malware." The Times notes that, in some states, these supercool parents might have violated "harmful to minors" laws by showing their kids porn, but, obviously, these parents answer to a higher moral code of Being Awesome; the laws of the land bind not their free spirits.
3. Patti, a mother from Massachusetts
Why'd she have the talk: She didn't. Patti told The Times "she believed her duty as a mother was to shield her five children, ages 7 to 15, from explicit content, even if it meant hours spent poring over user manuals and access controls for the computers." Worse, now she has to add TIME magazine cover surveillance to her already lengthy porn paranoia checklist.
So How Did She Talk About This:
"When she discovered that the iPod Touch devices she gave her children for Christmas could be used to surf the Web, she was so upset that she took them back until she could figure out how to deactivate the Internet connection. She also called Apple to argue for a warning label on the box.
4. Jeanne, a blogger from Upstate New York
Why'd she have the talk: While watching Youtube videos of "My Little Pony," Jeanne's 6-year-old daughter "stumbled upon" (yeah right – 6 is the new 36 and this girl sounds devious) a "graphic video" that had been suggested as a related link.
So How Did She Talk About This: She told her daughter, '"There are some videos we shouldn't be watching,' and made sure she knew she hadn't done anything wrong."
5. J. Carlos, a writer from Pasadena
Why'd he have the talk: He borrowed his son's phone to look up a restaurant and noticed the kid had been searching for all kinds of freak-nasty things. More specifically, terms that "seemed both naïve and potentially troublesome."
So How Did He Talk About This: "Rather than angrily confronting his son on the mountaintop" (they were hiking), J. Carlos waited until a natural opportunity for discussion presented itself. He told his son it was natural to be interested in sex but that porn was not representative of real relationships and asked if he had any questions about what he'd seen.
Can you pick out the insane parent?
It was J. Carlos, for passing up the chance to angrily confront his son on a mountaintop. Dramatic opportunities like that come along but once in a lifetime.