As our children get older, we often find that we have to make adjustments in the way we conduct ourselves. Where it might be perfectly okay to tell a dirty joke in front of a little baby, telling that same joke in front of an adolescent is a whole different story. Because even while we would like to think that what we are talking about is going over their little heads, experts say that’s not necessarily the case.
But while it is fairly easy to censor yourself and what you talk about in front of your kids, it’s much more difficult to shield them from the sexual innuendo and double entendre so prevalent in television shows and movies. Even those intended for children often contain jokes and gags that are meant to entertain the parents who are watching alongside them.
And according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, their comprehension of what they are seeing and hearing may be more than embarrassing for all involved. Recent studies have found that exposure to sexual content in television and other media in early adolescence can double a child’s risk of early sexual intercourse. How’s that for awkward?
The report, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media,” also finds that just as damaging as what kids are seeing in the media is what they aren’t seeing: Consequences for risky behavior.
Keeping the television out of kid’s bedrooms and limiting how much and what they watch is the best way to protect an impressionable mind from inappropriate media content. But when hugely popular, mainstream and kid-rated movies like “Toy Story 3” are slipping in R-rated zingers, what’s a parent to do?
I like to use those opportunities to talk about things that might not otherwise get talked about. A recent “Back to the Future” showing on television provided lots of opportunities to talk to my 10-year-old about how hormones make boys and girls act a little weird and what to do if a boy ever tries to force a kiss on her.
How do you deal with inappropriate content in what is supposed to be kid-friendly entertainment?
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