By Tylar Bloch

Technology has made it easier than ever for kids to access information about the world. In the realm of sex education, however, technology may be unable to fully replace the role that parents can play in teaching their kids about the importance of healthy sexual habits. In fact, having these conversations throughout their development can strengthen the parent-child bond.

In a 2015 study of more than 25,000 adolescents, researchers have found that parent-adolescent sexual communication has had a positive impact on the use of condoms and contraceptives. Similar research highlights that these conversations can help adolescents to feel more supported as they begin thinking about their sexuality and their potential interest in meeting a romantic partner.

With access to sexual materials including pornography on the rise, the need for such conversations is more important than ever before. For example, it was reported that a quarter of America’s youth today learn about sex primarily from pornographic content. Given that online depictions of sex and sexuality tend to exaggerate, misrepresent, and glorify sexual dynamics in order to maximize viewer engagement, parents can help impart more realistic notions about sex that better prepare kids to have healthy romantic lives in the future.

Granted, for sexual and gender minorities, technology has offered unique benefits when at-home conversations about sex may be ill suited to their individual situations. In these cases, especially when parents have indicated that they may not support LGBTQ+ individuals, the internet may offer an important educational outlet.

That said, having an open dialogue about sex and sexuality may still be the most important way to ensure that kids have the tools they need to meet the future’s challenges as adults. Accordingly, here are some tips that parents can follow to be successful allies when it comes to sex education for their kids:

  1. Start early and be proactive
  2. Create a safe and non-judgmental space
  3. Listen actively and validate kids’ feelings
  4. Teach consent and boundaries
  5. Stay on top of the latest trends in tech

Conversation Starters

  1. What are ways that you can help foster a safe and non-judgmental space when it comes to conversations about sex and sexuality?
  2. Are there particular times and places where it may be the most helpful to have these conversations?
  3. How can community spaces such as schools help play a role in keeping conversations about sex and sexuality relevant and current?
  4. What are some shows and movies you’ve seen that depict youth sex and sexuality in a positive light?

Resources


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