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Pornography: your teenager watches it in secret… how to react? What consequences? Advice from a psychologist



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A study reports that one in three minors watch porn on a regular basis. How do you discuss this with your children? How can the subject be approached? Interview with Nycomedes Alves, psychologist in Toulouse.

Nearly one in three minors consults pornographic content at least once a month. This represents 2.3 million children in France. Among children aged 12-13, this represents one in two children. Within your household, it would therefore not be surprising for your teenager to be concerned, especially if he has a smartphone. But how to approach the question with him? What if we find out he’s watching? Psychologist Nycomedes Alves answered questions from La Dépêche.

La Dépêche du Midi: How to react when your child watches pornography?

Nycomedes Alves: Rather than reprimanding him for his consumption of pornographic content, or telling him that it is not good, we must try to understand the “why” he watches it: if it is friends who have shown him, if he wanted to, how he got access to the video or how he found out about these sites… Trying to understand is the key for your teenager. He’ll go crazy if you reprimand him, especially since it may just have been the curiosity that piqued him, and his consumption is infrequent. Children sometimes look at pictures without understanding their meaning.

How to discuss it with him?

You have to explain to her that sex in life does not happen like that. Concepts such as consent, consideration of the other exist. You can also discuss with him what the reality of sexual life is, explain to him that it is not an act of violence but an act between two individuals, that tenderness is needed.

How not to make the question of sexuality taboo with your child?

Much depends on the relationship that the parents have with sexuality. You don’t have to answer all the questions about the sexual act either. We just need to demonize this issue. Whatever happens, the child will have access to content and he will one day experience the sexual act. You just need to have an open discussion with your child. On the other hand, it is necessary to explain to him that if you decide to prohibit certain sites via parental control or other, it is for his good and not to restrict him.

What are the consequences of pornography on his development?

The main risk for an adolescent or pre-adolescent is obviously the representation that he will have of the sexual act. Many pornographic videos are very oriented by male-female sexuality, this can upset him if he is in full search of his own sexuality. If he consumes too much of it before the age when we have hindsight on what we watch, it will directly make him think that performing a sexual act must look like what he saw.

Addiction to porn videos is real. If the parents do not feel comfortable with questions about sexuality, make an appointment with people who can help and understand their child.

THE 3018, the national number for children, teenagers and parents on all questions related to the digital uses of young people, allows you to make a free, anonymous and confidential call to discuss subjects such as sexuality with an adviser. The number is open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
You can also join the Fil Santé jeunes, free and anonymously at 0800 235 236 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.
The Ministry of Health has also set up the 0 800 08 11 11Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., for advice on sexuality and contraception.

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