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How and When to Tell Your Kids about Sex
information is older, responsible Christian teens; they often are aware of the
dangers and willing to share their perspectives on how to identify problems
and protect younger teens.
The best research2 suggests that the feared pedophile child molester is
a real but unlikely risk through social media. Among the types of victimization, the vast majority of prosecuted sexual crimes involve s­ ocial-­media
victimizers who seduce young girls rather than assault them.
This kind of abuser makes contact through social media, looking for
someone vulnerable with whom to cultivate a relationship. He works to build
a wall of suspicion and resentment between child and parents, driving the
child into sharing secrets by sham disclosures on his part. He uses guilt to
manipulate the child into feeling obligated to share more information and to
keep it secret. Eventually, he seeks a ­face-­to-­face meeting at which the child
consents to sex. When caught, such actions are prosecuted as statutory rape
(sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor).
There are a number of indications of vulnerability to such seduction
through the web:

Children who have been sexually abused, who are isolated and prone
to secrecy, or who are otherwise emotionally troubled are at risk
and should be warned strongly about the risks of turning to online
relationships for support.

Kids who are troubled by their sexual feelings, urges, or attractions are
at risk, especially if they do not have a close, caring, and transparent
relationship with at least one parent. This is particularly true of boys
who are struggling with nonheterosexual attractions; 25 percent of the
victims of these crimes are ­pre- or postpubescent boys.

Teens who show patterns of immature judgment and underdeveloped
emotional control are potentially vulnerable.

Adolescents who start sexual experimentation early, or who went
through puberty early and quickly developed ­physically—­especially
those who began dating e­ arly—­are particularly vulnerable to being
drawn into victimizing relationships.

Paradoxically, teens with more skill in Internet use are at higher
risk because they are more likely to “strike out on their own” into
dangerous territory on the Internet. Their sense of sophistication


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