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, The Light Project and Netsafe:
- 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
- How to talk with young people about porn(external link)
- Parent advice, support, information and resources (external link)
- Advice on talking with children and tweens about porn (external link)
- Advice on talking with teenagers about porn (external link)
You can also access Ka huri i te kōrero - Changing the conversations(external link), a resourse created by the Classification Office and the Ministry of Education to support school teachers to talk about pornography. Parents and whānau can browse as a guest and find the public version using the search tools.
Information and advice for concerns about pornography:
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 to Talk(external link) or freephone 0800 044 334 or text 4334
- 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 the Classification Office - How to talk with young people about pornography(external link).