Please explain why I should let my kids on Facebook

Okay, this isn’t all about Facebook, but it’s about the Internet in general. And sex. And 11- and 12-year olds.

I just watched this trailer for Sexy Baby, a movie that is, in the words of the documentarians, about the intersection of sex and technology:

The movie follows the story of three females: a precocious preteen, a woman in her early 20s who has genital surgery to better please her boyfriend, and a former porn star in her early 30s.

The trailer, and this extended interview (somewhat sloppily handled by the interviewers, in my mind) with the documentarians, is informative. The part that popped out at me? First, it seems evident to everyone that the age 13 requirement for opening a Facebook account is a complete joke. Second, and here I quote one of the filmmakers:

In terms of kids, they see porn. From what we have found they are accidentally seeing it … not accidentally seeing it …  at like 11, 12. And, this is not your dad’s porn under the mattress. It’s, like, hard-core gang-banging sex. If you’ve never seen sex before and this is your first exposure to it it’s a little bit scary.

I’ll say.

The preteen featured in the movie, a New Yorker, claims that 80 percent of her guy friends have porn “apps” on their phones and the figure drops to just 50 percent when considering her girl friends.

I wonder if the moms out there think that these facts and figures are ludicrous? Sensationalized for film?

But, more importantly, I wonder if we can ever really feel safe with our kids on the Internet. It’s not a problem for me yet – my eldest is 8 – but I’d love to know how moms of older children make sense of this information and navigate the murky waters of teen and preteen independence when everyone seems to be climbing aboard what sounds to me like a cultural Titanic.

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