Parents

  • Talk to your children early and often about body safety and privacy.

  • Include the message that their bodies are also private from their peers and their siblings or other children in the household, and from adults who are close to the family.

  • Include the message that they should not look at or touch other children’s private areas, even if the other child is asleep.

  • Give your child appropriate places to go for information if they are curious, and healthy ways to explore their own bodies and sexuality

  • Use internet controls, filters, monitoring, and update this on a regular basis.

  • As much as possible, keep children in separate beds and consider separate bed rooms. This includes same-gender siblings. 

  • When children are sharing a room at any age, even for an occasional sleepover, have an open-door policy, and give clear instructions about what touching or exposure is allowed in the room (i.e. backrubs and hugs are OK; tickling in private parts is not).

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  • Have age-appropriate conversations about managing pornography.

  • Get help for your own pornography addiction if it is a problem–set a good example for your children by using the internet responsibly.

  • If you see anything suspicious or unsettling, follow up with more investigation, conversation, and intervention. 

  • Follow your gut instincts; Err on the side of caution and getting more help than needed. 

  • Don’t be afraid to say things or give instructions that seem like they should be obvious–especially if any of your children have developmental, social, attention, or cognitive challenges.

Be especially attentive and aware around higher-risk situations, including:

  • Step-siblings and half-siblings

  • Children with limited physical or communication abilities

  • Children who tend to be impulsive

  • Children who are socially immature or awkward

  • Children who have shown manipulative, abusive, or bullying behavior in other areas

  • Children who you know have been victims of any kind of abuse, who have witnessed violent or abusive encounters between others in the home, who have experienced abandonment for any reason 

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