How To Talk To Your Child About Pornography

How To Talk To Your Child About Pornography

The best way to support your child is to have open, honest conversations about what they might see and how it's different from real sex and relationships. Check out some useful sites to help you start a conversation with your child about pornography.

Keep It Real Online - Pornography

A video from Keep It Real Online about how many young Kiwis are using porn to learn about sex.

Keep It Real Online


Key points to remember about how to talk to your child about pornography

  • it's normal for young people to be curious about sex
  • pornography is often harder to avoid than to find - many children in NZ have seen it either by accident or by seeking it out
  • pornography is very different from what it was even 10 years ago, so it's really helpful to prepare for the conversation in advance
  • the best way to support your child is to have open, honest conversations about what they might see and how it's different from real sex and relationships
  • choose a private, quiet time to talk, like a car ride or during an activity together
  • acknowledge that the conversation may be awkward
  • respect their opinions and boundaries - don't embarrass them by making jokes
  • try to let your own ideas take a back seat and actively listen
  • get them to teach you what they know about things like consent
  • be patient - don't give up, try and try again

How can I talk to my child about pornography?

The website of The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has some ideas about how you might start the conversation.

They say: "We know that conversations about sex and pornography can be awkward and embarrassing and sometimes as adults we have no idea where to begin. We hope that these animations can help you to start the conversation in a way that suits the age and stage of your child".

"The groundwork needed to teach your kids about sex, consent, and healthy relationships starts young. It's important to have the 'sex talk' before you have the 'porn talk', and we know these topics are tough for parents. So we've created some resources to help walk you through it. This video shows a simple way of engaging with your pre-teens about the media they're consuming".

"So you know your kids have had the 'sex talk' but have you talked to them about porn? Our research showed that even if teens aren't watching it, they know about it. And it can be confusing for them as they figure out their ideas about sex and relationships. We know it's a tough topic! So we've created resources to make it easier. And it starts with simple conversations".

Other resources to support your conversation with your child about pornography

Keep It Real Online

Keep it real online websiteKeep It Real Online is a New Zealand Government campaign to support parents and caregivers to keep their children safe online. See:

The Office of Film and Literature Classification

Classification office websiteThe Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) - Te Tari Whakarōpū Tukuata, Tuhituhinga is the government agency responsible for the classification of all films, videos, publications, and some video games in New Zealand. The OFLC site has some useful information for parents about controlling content and pornography. See:

The Light Project

The light project websiteThe Light Project is a charitable trust founded in 2017 by a small team of sexual and public health experts. It is a pilot project that aims to help youth, their whānau, schools and wider communities to positively navigate the new porn landscape in Aotearoa. See:


Netsafe websiteNetSafe is an independent non-profit organisation that provides cybersafety and online security education for all New Zealanders. NetSafe's website has a variety of information on online safety and security issues. The website has information for children, parents, community groups, schools and counsellors. See:


Just the facts websiteJUST THE FACTS is a website run by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF). It is a project funded by the Ministry of Health through district health boards to educate New Zealanders about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). See:


This page last reviewed 14 July 2020.

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