When young children or teens see sexual content in the media, it's important to ask questions. This does a few things. First, it engages a different part of the brain than the part involved in watching the media. If an adult interrupts a child or teen while they are watching a performance and asks them to think about it, it helps them process the experience.
Secondly, adults can use this process to infuse questions with values. For example, "How do you decide when something is right or wrong?" "Was that behavior respectful? Why or why not?" Engaging the thought process with questions like these helps deepen the critical thinking of the child.
Finally, adults can use this technique to point out any double standards or other social justice issues that might be addressed. "Do you think both the male and female performers got the same reaction? Why or why not?"
Here are some questions you may choose to ask. For best results, choose a few and approach the child or teen in a spirit of curiosity, rather than judgment.
- Do you see any differences in the behavior of the male and female performers?
- Are there different rules for guys and girls? If so, what are they? Why do you think they are different? Is it fair?
- Do you think this is “cool”? If so, why?
- .Do you think drugs or alcohol had a part in shaping judgment or behavior?
- If you were friends with this person, what would you have told them before or after this?
- What values do you use to help you decide if something is right or wrong?
Engaging critical thinking is more helpful in developing good decision-making skills in young people than judgment or harsh reactions. Try it today!