Children spend more and more time online.
It’s our job to teach them how to be safe. Any child can receive or share sexual tinted photos. Even if they actually didn’t want to. Make sure your kid is prepared for the online world.
Having a conversation can be the best protection you can provide for your kid. This can be tricky and sometimes awkward. However, openness is important to avoid kids getting into (even more) trouble. Therefore, please use the information on this website as input and discuss tips and tricks with other parents and caretakers about how they approach the topics ‘sexuality and online’.Read more
What are important topics to discuss with children?
Read more about how to talk to your kids about sexuality and online and the potential risks that come with it.
- Topic 1
- Topic 2
- Topic 3
Why do you talk to your kids about sexuality and online?
Talking to your kids about the topic ‘online’ prepares them for the good – but also less sides of the internet. As a parent, you want your kid to grow up as healthy and safe as possible, while protecting them and giving them the tools to make sure they can make their own decisions. This is no different when it comes to online and sexuality.
Even though it can be a bit apprehensive to talk about these topics, kids will be more protected when you have regular conversations with them about how they are doing and what they’re doing (online). Education about sexuality supports and protects kids and youngsters in their sexual development and teaches them to make responsible decisions. Having those conversations can also decrease the risk of becoming a victim of (online) sexual transgressive behavior, or (accidentally) transgressing someone else’s boundaries, which is why it’s important to have these talks with your kids.
Children can get into situations online they’re not prepared for. As a parent, it’s important that you teach your kids how to react in certain situations. Show your kids they can come to you for anything, even if they haven’t been able to respond the way you agreed to together.
Teach them they can come to you with both positive and negative experiences.
Children need someone they can reach out to, to discuss fun and less fun topics. You can offer them your support by being open, having no judgment and by encouraging them to form their own opinions. If you want children to understand certain values, it’s important to talk to them about it and explain why these are important for you, for your religion/believes and your culture.
Teach them to ask you or other adults they trust for help when they are in a situation they’d rather not be in.
Everyone can get into a situation they didn’t want to be in, asking for help is always a good idea.
Teach them not everyone on the internet has good intentions and people sometimes pretend to be someone else.
Children have a tendency to easily trust people and can forget that some don’t have good intentions or might pretend to be someone else. Trust is a beautiful thing, but it’s important for kids to be alert and conscious. Try to make clear agreements about what they can and can’t share, such as (home) addresses, phone numbers and passwords.
Teach them the internet is a place where you can easily find information, but that not everything is true.
Google can be your best friend, there’s a lot of information out there. It’s important to know that not everything that’s posted on the internet is true. Some things that are written online differ from reality.
Don’t worry if something goes wrong
Kids can do certain things that you, as a parent, would have liked to see differently. They are exploring boundaries and they make mistakes, that’s how they learn. As long as you openly communicate with them and show them their own responsibility, they will approach you faster to have an open conversation about it.
Teach them that there are things on the internet you’d rather not see.
Google and social media contain a lot of photos and videos you’d rather not see. Prepare your kids and discuss how they could potentially respond if they receive something they don’t want to see. For example: “Never forward photos or videos someone sent to you”.
Teach them about privacy settings
A lot of apps automatically create an open profile when creating one. Teach your kids that it’s safer to create a private account, to not accept every friend request and how to respond when they receive a message from someone they don’t know.
Teach them to treat others and themselves with respect
Tell your kids that if there is something they wouldn’t like if it was done to them, they shouldn’t do it to someone else either. That’s how they learn about respecting other people’s boundaries. Besides this, it’s also important kids don’t do anything that they don’t want to do or like. That’s how they learn to respect their own boundaries.
Teach your kids about norms and values and explain it to them.
If your own culture or religion brought you certain ideas about sexuality and online which you would like to teach your kids, it’s important to explain what is expected from them and why that’s important. If they understand why you want to share certain values, it makes it easier for them to relate.
The talk for all ages
0- 4 years: From toddler to kid
In this age category, it’s possible for children to use apps that are suitable for their age. Let them know that they should not click on notifications and/or updates. Try to keep an eye out when your child uses apps and let them know that they can always come to you if they have questions. Talk to your kids about what they do and don’t want to do and like. That you for example only should hug someone if you both want to, or that you don’t have to play along with a game if you don’t want to.
4- 7 years: The boundary age
This is the age at which children need to learn about boundaries. A child in the age of 4-7 years is able to use tablets or mobile phones without supervision. Tell them which apps they can and (more importantly) cannot use. The history of apps can also be monitored – not out of suspicion, but to protect them. Make sure your child cannot access the internet without supervision, avoid apps with a messaging option. Child filters are useful, but they don’t always work. There’s no guarantee that it’s safe. Besides this, discuss what you can do when you like someone, for example giving a hug, but that you shouldn’t do that if the other person doesn’t want to. Encourage your kid to ask questions about apps, friendship, love and more.
7 - 10 years: The practice age
This is the age at which many children get their first cell phone. Most children do not have a phone subscription, but wifi is everywhere. Filters are more important. This is a good time to talk about the rules of the internet. They can be confronted with shocking pornographic footage. Let them know that they are allowed to ask questions. Tell them they should not share personal information with random people online. Teach them how to use a nickname and preferably create social media profiles together. Ask your kids about what they’ve done and seen online that day, and emphasize that they can always ask you about anything and can always ask for help.
10 - 12 years: The age of letting go
In this age category, children are starting to become more sexually developed. This is noticeable in their behavior. Their online reputation is increasingly important. The difference between the online world and the offline world is getting smaller. Children become curious about sexuality; they search for information about sex(uality) on Google and can be exposed to inappropriate pornographic content. Transparency and openness about sexuality and love is important. Talk with your kids about falling in love, about sexuality and about what they do and see online: what is fun and what isn’t, what are the risks? Discuss how they can communicate about their own boundaries and respect those of others: for example, never forward someone else’s (sexy) photos or videos and if someone else does, talk to them about it and let them know it’s not okay. Be open and encourage your kids to ask questions and to be open about what they have seen and what they’ve experienced. Look here [link to topics] for more tips. If you need help talking about these subjects, reach out to Qpido.
12 - 16 jaar: The high school age
Youth at this age are very active on social media. Communication between friends mostly takes place online, via social media apps. Youth can regularly be confronted with unwanted sexually oriented footage from peers and/or children in their personal network. Discuss the risks of sexting with your child(ren). Talk with your kids about sexuality and online and how they can be safe, but also that there is help if something bad happens. Discuss how to set their own boundaries, and how they can take other people’s boundaries into consideration. It’s not okay to do (online) sexual things if the other person doesn’t like it.
Helpwanted.nl offers help to the child sexting victims. They offer practical assistance to prevent negative effects; i.e. removing sensitive images from the internet. They also give information about sexting. Children, (foster) parents and teachers can reach out to Help Wanted.Read more
Qpido offers assistance to children and young people in the Amsterdam region that struggle with sexually transgressive behavior. Qpido offers support for both parents and children. Contact us (anonymous) via live chat, email or by telephone : +31 (0) 6 29 33 80 64. Messaging via WhatsApp is also possible.Read more
The police gives advice to victims and helps them to do file a report.Read more
Centrum Seksueel Geweld
The ‘Centrum Seksueel Geweld’ is a place where victims of sexual assault or rape can get help when they need it: forensic, medical and psychological. A team of doctors, nurses, police and other caregivers work together at the ‘Centrum Seksueel Geweld’ to give professional care to victims of sexual assault and rape. The ‘Centrum Seksueel Geweld’ is a place where victims of sexual assault or rape can get help when they need it: forensic, medical and psycholigical help. A team of doctors, nurses, police and other caretakers work together at the ‘Centrum Seksueel Geweld’ to give professional care to victims of sexual assault and rape.Read more