Be Your Child’s First Choice for Sex Ed –Instead of Google

By Kim Yerkes

As an adult who grew up in the ”90s”, I didn’t have constant information available. I remember fighting with one of my friends over whether there are people in the world who don’t fart. She was adamant that she didn’t pass gas. We never resolved that fight. We didn’t have the all-knowing Google available to tell us she was wrong. Google can be a great resource to help with our jobs, find parenting advice, shop, and may even help prove your friends wrong. On the other hand, Google can contain some extremely harmful content. Imagine how “helpful” it may seem for a curious child. 

How The Trap is Set

Anyone, children included, can view graphic pornography by typing in the word “porn” and then clicking once. You may think that your kid would never search the word porn, but many children hear this word on the playground at their elementary school. 

Perhaps your child is simply curious about sex. They may search, “what is sex?” Or they may have questions, like, “what does it look like, how does it work” and “why is it such a big deal?” They may find some information that talks about male and female anatomy, but they still don’t understand how it’s done or why it’s a big deal. They get curious about what it looks like and see a video link. You can see where this goes. Innocent curiosity can lead a child down a dangerous path. 

How can we talk to our kids about the dangers of learning sex education online? Let me share with you three steps that parents can implement to fight against negative sex education.  

  1. Start the Conversation Early

Start talking to your children about sexual intimacy early on. The younger the better. This makes the topic normal and establishes a foundation of good communication. If this is out of your comfort zone, a great book suggestion is 30 Days of Sex Talks for Ages 3-7. This book helps make conversations easy and natural, and provides conversation starters and questions on essential topics, including affection, anatomy, predators, online dangers, and relationships.

  1. Find Good Educational Tools

Be prepared and informed when you talk to your kids. It may not be easy explaining how babies are made to a 4-year-old, or what masturbation is to your teenage son. Keep in mind, the way we answer their questions now will determine how often they come back to ask in the future. Taking them seriously and answering with a well thought out answer will show that their questions are valued.

  1. Keep the Conversation Open Ended

Make a plan to touch base with your kids often. The conversation about healthy sexuality should be ongoing. As kids reach middle school and high school, the conversation about sex becames more complex. I made a plan with my kids and asked them to talk to me if they had questions about what someone said or did at school. An example of this was when my son in 6th grade came home and wanted to talk about a group of students in his grade pretending they were gay. This is exactly the type of situation I hoped he would come and talk to me about. We talked about various types of sexual orientation, being kind, and not making fun of someone’s sexual orientation or pretending to be gay as a way to mock someone else. He agreed and we had a wonderful talk about sexuality. 

Today, make a goal to be the most trusted source in your child’s life. Prioritize talking to your kids about difficult subjects like sex, intimacy, and digital citizenship. Be informed and educated about their world so that you can better understand the issues they are dealing with. Keep talking to them and find moments to connect.

For more inspired suggestions to start these conversations, check out Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age. Included are tips on starting conversations about healthy sexuality, the dangers of pornography, racism and tolerance, changing technologies, and so much more. Parents, we are not alone. There are many resources available to help us build lasting, meaningful relationships with our kids. Keep up the good work.

All of our books are available here on our website and on Amazon!

Kimberly Yerkes is currently earning her bachelor degree in marriage and family studies at BYU-Idaho. She’s been married for 19 years to her best friend and the boy next door, Josh. They have three kids, ages 10-15. Her family loves to ski, play tennis, play football, hike, read, and perform all kinds of music. Kimberly is a classically trained singer, and her kids found a love for many different instruments. They love to perform as a family in church and at retirement homes in their community. Her family is her greatest joy, and raising emotionally healthy kids is her passion. 

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