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 - Department of Internal Affairs / The New Zealand Government - Motion Sickness

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


Key points 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 Classification Office Te Mana Whakaatu website has some ideas about how you might start the conversation.

"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".

You can also check some advice about how to talk to your child about sex

Young people's views on porn

The Classification Office Te Mana Whakaatu spoke with young people across Aotearoa about their views on pornography and what they need from whānau when talking about porn. These animations may help you to have conversations with your child in a positive and productive way. Take a listen.

What young people want from whānau

Talking with your 10 to 13 year old

"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".

This video shows a simple way of engaging with your pre-teens about the media they're consuming.

Talking with your 14 to 17 year old

Other resources to support your conversation with your child about pornography

Keep It Real Online

Keep it real online website

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

Classification Office Te Mana Whakaatu

Classification office website

The Classification Office Te Mana Whakaatu is 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 website

The 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 website

NetSafe 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 website

JUST 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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