My Kids Accidentally Saw Porn

A friend of mine accidentally introduced her elementary aged kid to porn when she told him to google “Big Nate” last week. She didn’t realize that Big Nate is not only a popular children’s book character but also a porn star. An innocent mistake any of us could make, and probably have or will at some point. Yes, we can put safeguards in place so The Impressionables can’t troll the internet or night time adult cable programming, but eventually, they are going to be exposed. Granted, you hope they are old enough to be simply grossed-out rather than traumatized &/or that they come to you so you can put some perspective on it for them.

When was the first time you saw something pornographic?

If you asked my parents if kids accidentally saw porn in the 1970’s, they would vehemently deny it. I remember my first exposure vividly. I was nine or ten. My dad kept a stack of Playboy magazines on the bottom shelf of the bookshelf in the family room where we watched Good Times and The Bionic Woman. My mother positioned the bark-o-lounger in front of the green bookcase, theoretically obscuring the presence of the adult publications. The magazines “with the great articles” were nonetheless very accessible once sitting in the chair. And access them my 4th grade BFF’s and I certainly did! It was 1976, and my friends and I knew where our respective fathers “hid” their smut. Come to think of it, all of our parents did very little to hide the magazines. More like barely segregated them from the seasonal Sears and JCPenney catalogues or not displaying them on the coffee table next to the bowl of cigarettes. (Seriously- my mom kept a bundle of fresh smokes and matches in crystal holders in every common room in our house growing up. How was that ever a good idea?) Good thing we were easily accessing their stash of porn and not guns. (Hey- it’s my job to see the silver lining of otherwise potentially confusing events.) Patricia’s parents kept Playgirls in the 2nd floor bathroom magazine rack. We found Angie’s dad’s Penthouse and Hustler stash under her parent’s bed.

Modern parents should be grateful that we can “catch” our kids looking at porn on the internet. As a lawyer, I prefer evidence-based parenting. Unless my parents wanted to perform fingerprint analysis on the glossy pages of a naked big-boosomed Dallas cheerleaders photo shoot, I could deny anything unless caught red-handed. I learned from my big sister’s mistakes and was much more capable of deception as a result. Still, it is one thing to have your kid stumble upon porn from an outside source (and potentially see some seriously messed-up shit) and another level of creepy to watch nude women being delivered to your house. I’m relieved Hustler mailed their magazine covered in brown paper to shield my innocent eyes only to have my father provide me immediate access.