04-28-2020 09:22 PM
I am new into parenting and my wife found something unusual about our 13 year daughter. She has a tablet with a Instagram account given to her which is consistently monitored by my wife however she was smart enough to create a new Instagram account and message some of the boys from her school during the lockdown period, the content of the message was mostly sexual related and much of it was driven by our daughter.
We also found out that she was searched for "Naked videos" from search history and my wife also spotted her naked looking and touching her body while she was watching a video in the tablet. It comes unusual and shocking to us as she has never been exposed to this.
My wife had a word with her very calmly and gently in regards to her recent activities and she lied that the new account was used by a friend of hers and she never searched anything of that sort in the web. My wife also took screenshots of the Instagram messages to show it to me and when she came to know she secretly took her phone and deleted little did she know that it could be retrieved from recycle bin. Our biggest concern is that she doesn't end up doing something which she will regret for the rest of her life or gets too indulged into these and we are not able to bring her back.
No child is an angel, but she comes pretty close. Exceptionally respectful, does well in school, kind and appreciative of anything I do for her. She never swears, speaks crudely or says anything inappropriate.
My wife and I have been deeply in stress and we cannot stop thinking how our daughter got into this. We love her a lot and we don't want to give up on her hence we seek advise how we can control this or approach this with her. We don't think it is the right time to talk about sex education with her as she is too young to understand.
04-29-2020 12:36 PM - edited 04-29-2020 12:39 PM
Hi @nik_579 ,
I imagine it must have come as a pretty massive shock to you and your wife to find those videos and messages on your daughter's account. I can hear how much you both love and cherish your daughter and how important your relationship is to you - those are all wonderful things, that will help you to navigate these really tricky conversations and topics with her.
ReachOut have developed some resources to help parents have these tricky conversations with their teenagers- we have a great article about talking to teenagers about pornography here .
Pornography use is pretty common among Australian teens - a 2016 study found that 44% of kids aged 9-16 in Australia had viewed some form of porn in the last month. Kids will often look for porn for a range of reasons - to satisfy their curiosity, explore feelings about their sexuality, learn more about sex, and so it's important to be able to have an informed, open and honest conversation with your daughter about it.
If she is using a tablet to message boys from school and send sexual content, it may also be wise to have a chat with her about the potential risks that come with that - like people saving her messages and images if she's shared them, and sharing them on without her consent. We have an article here about teens and sexting which gives a good run-down on a lot of those issues.
You mention that your wife also saw your daughter naked and touching her body while watching a video - I imagine that would have been incredibly uncomfortable for your wife! It does sound like your daughter is beginning to explore her sexuality, and though I appreciate it might be uncomfortable it could be a good time to start having more conversations with her about sex, sexual health, and consent. Kids will often look at porn partly because of curiosity about sex, but it obviously isn't always the best or most realistic way to learn about safety, consent, and what realistic intimate relationships look like. A lot of kids will start to explore their own bodies well before they become sexually active with other people, and it can be a safe way for them to learn about their sexuality.
These are all massively tricky conversations to have - I have a child who's only 2 years younger, and I can't quite imagine how I would feel in your situation. If you think it could be helpful for you/ your wife to chat to a parenting coach/ counsellor about this, we do offer a free one to one service where you can talk to an experienced counsellor. You can find out more and access that service here.
Your daughter sounds like a lovely kid, and you sound like really switched on parents - good luck with it all, and feel free to check in here any time.