It is an unfortunate moment when you catch your 6-year-old watching inappropriate videos. One that makes you feel like your child’s innocence has been stolen.
Unfortunately, you are not alone in this situation. According to a study done by the American College of Pediatricians, “A large survey of American young people revealed that 51% of males and 32% of females claimed to have viewed pornography for the first time before they were 13 years old”, which is a startling statistic.
Furthermore, movies, television shows, and video games introduce our kids to violent and erratic behavior and imply that it is an accepted way to handle an issue, as long as the person conducting these heinous actions is portrayed as a good guy in the plot.
While we would love to shield our kids from this content as much as possible, it is hard these days because the internet is so easily accessible that anyone with a device and internet can go on any website they desire. So how do you handle finding your 6-year-old watching inappropriate videos?
1. Stay Calm
Shaming your child or creating a feeling of self-doubt is never an effective solution. Yelling also does not solve problems so make sure to avoid that.
It is a hard concept to take on, but research indicates that by implementing this tactic, you will lower your kid’s self-esteem and potentially ruin the relationship that you have with your child.
Remember that at the young age of six, your little one likely had no idea what they were looking at, nor that it is inappropriate. Calmly let them know that they are not in trouble, but that you need to have a talk about what they saw.
2. Address the Issue Head-On
First and foremost, remove all distractions from the room. You want to implement active listening so get down on their level and maintain eye contact. Ask them what they were watching and how it made them feel. Then inquire what made them want to watch it? Did a friend show this to them? Did they find it by themselves? This is not an interrogation, but a conversation so keep the appropriate tone.
Next, ask them if they have any questions. While this is probably not the time that you planned to have this talk, addressing it head-on is important. You want them to feel comfortable coming to you if they become curious and not going back to the internet or their friends.
3. Having The Sex Talk
While it seems early, an astonishing number of kids are having sex prior to the age of thirteen. This means that having “the birds and the bees” discussion is more important than ever. Discussing the purpose of intimacy and finding the right person is job number one. It is also imperative to talk about being safe.
Again, shame and scare tactics are not the answer in this situation. Having an open conversation about the appropriate age to engage in these activities creates clear direction for your young child and gives them guidance for the future.
If they are watching pornography, you need to explain to them that it normalizes violence and rape so having discussions about why these videos are not a positive representation of sex is essential.
4. Addressing Inappropriate Behavior
Terms like vagina and penis are appropriate. Using words like “cookie” and “box”, while less crass, send the wrong message. By using the proper terminology, we instill a healthy body image and ensure that our kids feel safe and comfortable talking to us about these topics.
Furthermore, this vocabulary becomes even more important in the awful event that your child finds themselves in an inappropriate or insensitive situation. As of 2010, the National Center For Victims of Crime reported that 20% of girls and 5% of boys will experience some form of sexual assault.
The best way to address this terrifying scenario is to take the time to explain that they are called “private parts” for a reason. Mommy, daddy, and their doctor are safe individuals to show our private parts to, but others are not.
Reiterate that no means no and that if someone asks to see these parts, they need to immediately find a person they trust to help. Finally, emphasize that no matter what happens, they can always come to you about anything.
5. Violence Does Not Solve Problems
Watching content that promotes violence and crime can be a serious safety issue for your kids as well. Just like pornography, violent videos and games can subconsciously teach your child the wrong lessons. Cruelty and force are not a constructive form of resolving disagreements and you want to avoid normalizing these actions.
Remember that you are their role model. Instilling good moral standards and encouraging conversation when problems and disagreements arise is a fantastic way to teach your child effective problem-solving skills. Moreover, if you choose to turn on a violent movie for your Friday night film, make sure that they are not able to see or hear it.
Additionally, make talking about gun safety a priority. A whopping 33% of households with children have a minimum of one gun in the house. While you may not be a part of this statistic, your child’s friends or family members could be and if firearms are not stored properly, this can lead to a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.
Consistently reiterate that guns are not toys. In the instance that someone shows them a gun, tell them to immediately excuse themselves and to find an adult.
6. Be Proactive With Prevention
One of the best methods to prevent your six-year-old from watching inappropriate videos is to put parental controls on all of your devices. When they are going to a friend’s house, have a discussion with the parents of their friends about what you allow and what is off-limits in your home.
Personally, I used Net Nanny we trying to protect my children from all the garbage on the internet.
Furthermore, discuss their stance on weapons and confirm that if they have any, that they are securely locked away. Also, confirm that they will be under constant supervision while not under yours.
Finally, while it can be a bit tedious, take the time to evaluate all movies, television shows, and games that you bring into your home. Listen a little closer to the music that you have playing in the car. Find activities for your kids while you watch the nightly news. Children are extremely perceptive and they absorb everything like a sponge. Therefore, we want to focus on our kids taking in positive and beneficial information.
Prevention is very important to implement in this situation and there are many ways to do so.
Even the best parents in the world can’t control every situation in their child’s life. However, you can control how they handle them when they arise.
Catching your 6-year-old watching inappropriate videos is a time where your great parenting skills need to take place. It feels like they broke your trust by consuming this type of content but at 6 years old, they don’t know any better.
No parent wants to introduce their kids to the bad things that can happen in this world, but they will be better protected if you address scenarios that could occur in a delicate and understanding fashion.
Even when not discussing hard topics, let your children know that you love them and that you are a resource for any and every question or concern that they have in life.
While you are talking to your child, deal with these situations like you were speaking to an adult. This can have a much greater impact on their outlook moving forward. As the saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”