Lebanon Reporter

Features

September 13, 2012

No surprise to find kids wading into digital swamp

(Continued)

Penrod's investigators see kids from all over Montgomery County trawling the online prostitution sites. He remembers one kid who got stung in a case involving a sex worker, and police saw his profile pop up on a prostitution site the next day after he appeared in court.

The problem here isn't only about limiting access. There are deeper lessons to address.

The illegal purchase of sex, the fact that most American prostitution is a result of human trafficking and the reality that the plastic, bleached and enhanced world of online sex is a myth that twists ideas of human sexuality and relationships need to be discussed here.

Parents cannot toss aside online porn as the equivalent of the curiosity they remember.

Porn is everywhere. You click on a link for "Cute Animal Videos" and bam! you get barnyard acts by naked humans (true story — happened to me with the kids on the iPad this summer). Any child of any age with a Nook, a Kindle or an iPad can go from Word Search or Angry Birds to graphic, violent, degrading sex videos in just two clicks.

And for older kids, not only are they awash in unrealistic, desensitizing images, but they are constantly being urged to take it to the next level, to go live.

Families who don't have uncomfortable but honest discussions about sex, porn and prostitution are putting kids at risk for some scary consequences.

That sex talk won't happen once or twice. It has to happen often, with a lot more detail today.

Deborah Roffman, a sex educator in Maryland for four decades and the author of "Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids' 'Go To Person' About Sex," said she talks to parents a lot about the conversations they have with kids. But recently, she has issued an ultimatum:

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