In today’s digital world it’s very easy for children to come across pornography. This can happen by accident, as most sites are free and don’t require any type of age verification, or intentionally out of curiosity. While children might see porn for the first time by accident, teens are more likely to be seeking it out.
It's normal for young people to be curious about sex. The best way to support them is to have open, honest conversations about what they might see and how it’s different from real sex and relationships.
How to approach the conversation with your child
It can be challenging to talk to your child about porn. Conversations about sex and pornography can be awkward and you might feel like you have no idea where to start.
- Choose the right moment
- Listen to what they say
- Let them know porn doesn’t reflect reality
- Discuss sexual consent and respect
- Be patient
Information and advice on how to talk to your child about pornography is available from the Classification Office:
- Advice on how to talk to your child about porn(external link)
- Growing up with Porn(external link) – Insights from young New Zealanders aged 14 to 17
- Talking with young people about pornography (PDF, 129KB)(external link)
Information and advice for talking to your kids about sex:
- Family planning, advice around sexual and reproductive health – https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/(external link)
- Kids Health ‘How to talk to your child about sex' – https://www.kidshealth.org.nz/how-talk-your-child-about-sex(external link)
If you are worried about your child, these organisations can help:
- Safe Network(external link)
- Need to Talk(external link), or freephone or text 1737
- Youthline(external link)
- Lifeline(external link)
More information for parents and whānau about pornography is available on The Light Project website(external link) and from Netsafe – How to talk with young people about pornography(external link).