Talking to your teenager about Sexuality & Sexual Health
A Guide for Parents & Caregivers
Part 5: The Internet & Sex
Millions of Canada's teens use Instant Messaging, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram everyday. As a parent of a teen, you need to know how young people can be exposed to sexual images and "sex talk" while sitting on the computer or smart phone.
Internet & Sex?
Cell phones with internet access and text messaging mean that teens do not need to be at home to be online.
The Internet offers people who want to sexually exploit teens an easy way to get into young minds and hearts.
As a parent, there are ways you can protect your teen from sexual exploitation online.
harassed, exploited, or threatened
4 strategies to protect your teen:
They need to know they can tell you about anything that scares them or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Communicate often & build trust
Keep the computer in a public part of the home
Insist on a reality check
Teens who limit their Internet & cell phone contact to people they know in person (from school, sports, etc.) may be safer than those who "chat" with strangers through messaging online.
Do not allow teens to have a computer in their bedroom or private area.
Make it clear that strangers they meet on-line may NOT be who they say they are.
The law is on your teens side!
Canada and many other countries have ratified The Convention on the Rights of the Child. It applies to every person under the age of 18 and clearly states:
"young people have a right to be protected from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation"
Communicating with someone under the age of 18 with the goal of getting sexual services is against the law.
Using a computer to lure someone under 18 into sexual activities is against the law.
Giving money to anyone under the age of 18 for any sexual activity is considered sexual abuse, and is against the law.
Internet safety rules for teens:
No personal details
No meeting in person
Do not tell people online where you go to meet friends, eat, play sports, or exercise.
Do not provide online "friends" with addresses or phone numbers.
Do not send webcam and/or cellphone pictures to people you do not know in real life.
Some predators ask teens to send them "sexy" pictures, then they threaten to send the pictures to parents or others to manipulate the teen.
Modelling agencies or theatre groups will NOT ask a teen to provide a picture on the Internet. If your teen experiences this, report this to police.
Never arrange a meeting with someone you met online unless you take an adult with you.
it is important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen(s). They will be more comfortable coming to you if a situation does arise.
For more information see Talking to your Teenager about Sexuality & Sexual Health, Parts 1-4 & our Conversation Tips: