If you’re looking for a book that will help you to empower and protect your child from the harmful effects of pornography, then Someone Should Have Told Me by Holly-ann Martin is the book you need!
Sadly, talking to kids about pornography has become one of those ‘must have’ conversations that parents must have about the risks that are out there. As well as talking to our kids about drugs and alcohol (and all those other risks that are out there) we need to add pornography to the list. I’ve been in this field for over 25 years now, and the one biggest change that I have seen in ‘must have’ conversations with kids, is pornography.
But the porn conversation is a little different to other conversations that we might have about risks. It’s a conversation that we have earlier and really do need to start when children are young. As soon as you hand your phone over to your child to play on or to use a hand-held tablet, they are at risk of accidentally stumbling upon porn. Which means that we need to gently start guiding them as to what they should do when it does happen.
The porn conversation is also a lot harder than other conversations about risks. We aren’t talking about ‘baby making’ or loving sex when we talk about porn. It is hard-core sex that is all about the act and not the relationship. And it is the sort of sex that we don’t usually associate as being ‘nice’.
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You can learn more about how to protect your child from online porn here.
Someone Should Have Told Me is a book that will hold your hand and guide you through an age-appropriate conversation with your child about pornography. It will allow you to talk with your child about the most common ways that children accidentally find porn and what they should do when they stumble upon it.
Watch my video review of Someone Should Have Told Me, where I’ll take you through the book in greater detail.
There is a secret art to reading books about tough topics. The first read is always the hardest, so just keep that in mind. It will be easier the next time.
Someone Should Have Told Me is a book that you read with your child. The author makes this very clear at the start of the book. So don’t hand it to your child to go and read by themselves. It won’t harm your child to read this book alone but the purpose of the book is to start conversations. And the real learning happens with the conversations you will have with your child.
Make sure you also go to the back of the book and read the Information for Parents, Carers and Teachers. You will find discussions questions for each page, where the author makes suggestions about possible conversations you might have with your child. She also provides information about what to do if your child has already seen pornography. Additional information is also given about concepts that are relevant to pornography: feelings, early warning signs, safety team or network, persistence, names of private body parts, saying ‘no’ and secrets.
So the first thing you need to do is to read the book yourself before you share it with your children. This way you know exactly what is inside the book, and you won’t have any unexpected surprises about any of the content.
The book is very direct and uses language that children understand. The author, Holly-ann Martin, works extensively with children and has first-hand knowledge of how children are exposed to sexually explicit imagery. So because she teaches them herself about how to avoid and respond to pornography, she has developed a vocabulary that children understand. The language is direct and to the point, which means that children know exactly what she is talking about. They won’t misinterpret and be unsure about what she is talking about.
This is a book that you will want to reread with your child. Children only retain information that is relevant and of interest to them. So they won’t remember everything in the book from just one read.
I have been talking with my 9 year old son about pornography for about 2 years now. Just the other day whilst we were driving, he saw the word ‘porn’ on a sign outside an adult shop, and asked me what porn was. I was shocked. Not because he asked what porn was! I was shocked because we have had many discussions about it and he still didn’t understand what it was!
So this is a conversation that we need to keep repeating with our children. So that they know how to avoid it, but also what to do if they do find it. So they know that if they do find porn, that they won’t be in trouble, and that they need to tell you about it so that you can help them to process what they have seen.
There are some other resources, like Someone Should Have Told Me, that will help you with talking about pornography. There is my list of pornography resources, that are a roundup of some of the best resources that are available.
And if you are unsure of how to answer your child’s questions about pornography, then Sex Ed Quickies may be of help. It contains the answers to those tricky questions that kids may ask about love, sex, relationships and growing up. It also includes a section on answering kid’s questions about pornography and what they may see.
If you’re looking for some more sex education books like Someone Should Have Told Me, then you’ll find them in my cybersafety book list.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and to empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. You can join my online parent support group here and visit my shop for helpful resources.