In today’s world, many kids see porn by the age of 8 to 11 years old. As parents, we need to help our children by having open and honest conversations about it. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Don’t panic

If you find out your child has seen porn, stay calm. It’s normal for children to be curious about bodies and sex. Getting very upset in the moment may send the message that they can’t come to you with questions or concerns in the future.

2. Ask questions

Ask how they came across it. Was it by accident? With a friend? Were they trying to find an answer to a question? Ask them what they saw and what questions they have about it. Make sure they know that nobody should pressure them into looking at anything that makes them uncomfortable.

3. Communicate your values

Take the time to think about what your values are. Maybe you think porn is ok for adults, or only ok in certain circumstances. Whatever values you share with them, make sure to use clear language and confirm that they understand what you’re saying.

4. Help them process what they’re seeing

There are some things adults take for granted about porn that young people may not realize or understand. Communicate that porn sex and real-life sex are different. Porn is a performance, where people might change the way they look, what kinds of sex they have, or what noises they make for the camera. Real-life sex is not about performing, it’s about connecting with someone. Additionally, porn actors are generally consenting behind the scenes through a contract and discussion, but you don’t see this in the final product. Consent is always a must in real-life sex. Also, while birth control and condoms are usually absent in porn, they’re essential in real life. This includes talking with a partner about safer sex before having sex.

These conversations can feel uncomfortable, but teens want to hear what their parents think about sex and relationships.