Now, before everyone freaks out on me, one way or the other, I want to make one thing very clear: I am neither “for” or “against” porn.  It’s far too situational and nuanced a topic for me to take clear sides like that.

Nevertheless, it is a big problem when children or teenagers run across a pornographic image or site they did not want to see.

It’s an even bigger problem when teenagers masquerade as someone else online, particularly someone they know in real life and then pretend to be this person while sending sexual innuendo and porn to someone else they know in real life.

My colleague Dr. Kris writes about this phenomenon on her blog – and it’s called cyber-bullying.

I’ve spoken with several parents recently whose preteen-age children were sent video porn by a third party claiming to be one of their friends.  The parents felt deeply violated – I have not talked with any of their children personally, so I’m not going to comment on how they felt.  Computers and laptops have been confiscated, the Internet has been turned off, e-mail accounts have been closed down.

I understand and can empathize with the decision to take each of these actions.  I am encouraging the parents to also talk with their children – in some specific depth – about the porn they saw.  I think they are taking me up on my suggestion, and taking steps to deepen their relationships with their children and expand their children’s skills in communication and understanding about sex and sexuality.  I think they’re all doing the right thing.

I was talking with my husband about Internet porn as a result of all of these conversations.  I pointed out to him that a video clip of a masturbation ejaculation is relatively minor compared to what else is available online these days.  I said that, given the options, an e-mailed video could be much, much worse.

He was shocked.  He did, of course, agree with me.  But nevertheless, the realization that a “cum shot” could be considered relatively tame was a deeply different perspective than the one he had grown up with.

Generationally speaking, I fall somewhere between the people who’s only adolescent experience of porn was Playboy and the extremely gross NEWS store outside the city limits and the people who are continuously bombarded with extreme and highly varied stills, websites, and movies.  My husband falls firmly in the generation who smuggled Playboys out of their father’s closets.

And I wonder how deeply this difference in experience of pornography between the generations will play out in parenting our very digitally-enabled children?  My husband and I are pretty much on the same page, and work well together as parents, so it’s not so much us or our particular children I wonder about – but about parents and children generally.

How will parents who had access to copious amounts of digital porn, sought after or not, treat their own children’s interest in porn differently than parents who did not have access to it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter in a comment.