The Third Talk

I am a Dad, a coach and a believer in kids. I put this page on the site so that you would know who I am and why I have started this campaign. I volunteer as a basketball coach, I volunteer as an advocate, I have assisted search engines to create family safe search practices, and I’m the Associate Director of Sixty Second Parent, a child health website providing vetted medical information to parents of young children.

I am also the Founder of The Third Talk™ Foundation Inc. A non-profit 501(c)3, non-partisan, non-denominational, non-biased preventive education platform. I am a subject matter expert on the prevention of childhood exposure to online pornography.

Five years ago I began to speak with my kids about the challenges that they would face online, including bullying, shaming, and online pornography. I gave them phones, I put in filters, I left the computers in the kitchen. The more research I did on the topic the more I noticed the lack of any realistic discussions about online pornography in schools, faith-based institutions, and communities. I needed to be more comfortable having this conversation. Parents, in general, need to be more comfortable having this conversation. The research shows that this just isn’t the case. I also realized that no matter how well versed my children might be, that they were going to run into kids with all sorts of information on the topic and that the expectations of those kids could be very different from mine, and others. I had to talk to them as well, or at least to their parents.

The remedy, of course, was a national conversation on pornography and its effects on our kids and their developing brains.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I spoke with lawmakers, school boards, individual educators, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, Senators in my district, Senators in other districts, Congress Men and Women, Law Enforcement, faith-based institutions and so on. I was unable to find a clear path to have the pornography conversation become as easy as the conversations we already have with our young children about smoking, drinking, and drugs. We talk about riding in cars, stranger danger, and even stop drop and roll.  There is not a child in middle school today that doesn’t know smoking is bad for them, even though statistically some of those kids will still smoke. We need to have that level of conversational courage on the challenges that pornography can present to our young kids. It became clear to me the ‘Government’ wasn’t going to do it, and neither were churches. Unfortunately neither were parents, children, schools, administrators, or the porn industry going to have this conversation.  I don’t know of anyone who knows anyone, who has had to has to “Stop Drop and Roll”, and yet every single child in the United States today knows what it means and how to do it. How and why to resist viewing online pornography at the age of 10, 11, and 12 however, is information our children will need to understand and use every single day for the rest of their middle school and high school experience.

Everyone that I have had the honor and blessing to speak with agreed that the porn conversation needed to happen. I received a lot of “good lucks” and “so brave” and “thank you’s”. And, no one had any idea or any type of  plan how to address this topic in any meaningful way.

So I’m doing it myself. I have created this Parent Funded education site called The Third Talk™. The talk about ‘porn’.

How are you affecting change?

Talking to 7-17 year old kids and their parents.

What are your expected results?

We plan to reduce the number of pornography videos viewed by children. Even a very small percentage reduction in exposure, translates to hundreds of millions of videos that are not viewed by underage kids. A 10% reduction is equivalent to over 1.2 billion videos removed from the viewership of 7-17 year old American kids in one calendar year.

Why are you doing this?

When your son can explore his own sexuality without feeling the need to perform on a level he is uncomfortable with, or doing things he feels he shouldn’t be doing, we will have ended porn-culture for kids. When your daughter has confidence in her safety, and any interaction comes from a place of mutual respect and communication, you will know we have turned the tide. It starts with our young people, without shame or blame, and a willingness to meet all kids in the world they live in, not the world we wished they lived in.

Why? Because we need to express a level of courage about this content in oder to protect our young kids, so I am going forward and being brave. I have an ability to change culture for our kids, and as such, I feel I have a  responsibility to do so as well.

Why now?

Pornography has existed for a very long time. In 2018 however, everything (everything) is available on a smart phone. This is not Playboy, or Penthouse. What young kids see online with one purposeful or inadvertent click of their mouse is just not healthy for them. It is in this environment however, that our kids are now learning, on their own, about the ‘sexuality’ they’ll express for the rest of their lives. We can do a better job of preparing our young people, especially our young boys, from this inevitable environment. Together with the support of parents, we are already on our way. https://www.gofundme.com/thethirdtalk

Is this a specific ideology, or religion?

The Third Talk™ is information about growing up in a porn-soaked internet environment and how to manage that successfully within your own family’s belief system and nothing else. There are no ideological beliefs incorporated, and this is not “sex-ed”. We are a non-profit, non-denominational, non-partisan, non-biased, prevention based education platform. The Third Talk™ does not promote any agenda except communication. The Third Talk™ is an initiation of the process of parents comunicating with their children and learning from their children. It is a fact-based presentation of common sense information and relatable reasons why young boys and girls should simply avoid this content altogether. We provide information that allows for every parent to tailor the discussion within their own family’s belief system and values. The result is an ongoing conversation, easy to bring up and easy to talk about, where 45 minutes beforehand there had been years of silence. The result is that young kids decide on their own, not to view online pornography.

I offer a 50-minute description of how I see this challenge for young people and why I believe that young kids shouldn’t view this content. I do this from a place of knowledge and with a perspective on this challenge that has been missing from all prevention-based discussions. My strategy does not offend. I do not blame, shame, ridicule, or use colorful language. I am not a father figure, I am not a friend. I am a coach. I am a guide through this risky gauntlet, and I do not pull punches. I speak to families regarding the world our kids live in, not the world I (we) wished they lived in. I do this because the challenge we face is no less urgent than the health and wellbeing of our most precious and vulnerable family members.

What hurt can this content cause young people?

Porn can change the impression children can have of members of the opposite sex, and even themselves. Pornography in extreme doses can reduce the ability of young kids to form thoughtful relationships at a young age and even into adulthood. Pornography can take all the fun out of what should be a normal, healthy, natural, exciting, wonderful, gradual, exploration process. Kids need to know that It’s not fun™ to watch this content nor does it prepare them for healthy interactions. It’s not healthy™.  And, if we all can remember, this gradual exploration process can be confusing, challenging and nuanced enough on its own, without an ocean of pornography (fantasy created for much older adults) saturating every element of our children’s online experience and expectations. When kids see pornography online, without understanding It’s not real™ their ‘sex education’ comes at a regrettably young age and at a very high price. The Third Talk™ is offering an alternative through simple communication. We are changing the culture for kids with communication, factual information, and new conversations within the safety and guidelines of their family. Together we as Parents can make this cultural change and curb the volume of pornography our Nations children see every year; every day.

Absorbed in large volumes watching porn can prevent young men, even high school aged young men, from being able to properly, biologically respond to physical stimulation with a real person. Its called P.I.E.D. Watching pornography in extreme doses can present situations where girls feel obliged to behave in certain ways, or perform certain acts that they may not want to or be emotionally ready to. They may do this to be ‘cool’ or fit in, or keep a boyfriend whose knowledge of sexuality based physical interaction comes only from watching online porn. This can cause physical and emotional damage, frustration and fear, and even reduce a young person’s interest or pleasure in sexuality itself.

Taken in extreme doses, pornography can turn young boys into sudo-predators, and actual predators. After watching an hour of pornography every day for as long as 5 years before any human interaction, these boys may simply see a young girl as an object to be conquered and cast aside. Without any alternative message to pornography as a “depiction of actual sex” this young boy is not at fault for copying what he sees every day. He has not received an alternative message to “pornography as ‘real’ sex” or maybe any message at all about online porn. That is not his fault! That is my fault, your fault, ‘our’ fault, parent’s fault. I’m not allowing that to happen anymore. Together we can change porn-culture. Remember, 11 is the average age of first exposure.

Pornography in the brain of a young boy can alter the interest he has in real people, enhance aggression, depression, fear, shame, loneliness, and even set neural pathways in his brain that will take years of a new message to remedy, if that’s even possible. In extreme cases, young children viewing online pornography increases the chance of their assaulting someone that they date or marry or “hook-up’ with or love. We can do better as parents for our young ones. We can let them know the truth about the hazards of this content before their first exposure to it. We owe that to them. We would not send our children into the Mojave dessert for a week to look at the flora and fauna and just ‘forget to mention’ heat stroke, rattlesnakes and dehydration. Why do we feel its o.k. to be so silent about pornography?

So let’s go!

Kids deserve to have this topic discussed as openly as other dangerous topics, like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. We do not want kids to be forced by peer pressure or self-esteem, (or physically forced), to do things or behave in certain ways that they don’t want to just because other kids do; and maybe only because all the other Moms and Dads refused to the have The Third Talk™ with their kids.

So, let’s all have The Third Talk™.

20 years ago this wasn’t a problem that parents and kids needed to discuss. The volume of hard core content available to every person with a phone has changed that. Combine smartphones, busy parents, savvy kids and online pornography with a lack of any meaningful discussion (preventive education) by schools churches, government, parents, or lawmakers and we have the perfect storm of access and misinformation, and we all need to adapt to that now. Every parent on your side of the football field or the soccer field, and every parent on the other side of that same field has this exact challenge in their household. Imagine every football field or soccer field in every County in every State across the entire Country every weekend, and you’ll begin to see the scope of the challenge and the only true strategy for mitigation. We know that 93% of boys and 68% of girls will have viewed online pornography before turning 18. So, if someone has a better idea than our gathering together Nationally as parents,  just admitting we have a real challenge and tackling it head-on by effectively talking about it…I am very interested in hearing from you. Please do not bring filters, legislation or eliminating porn from the internet into this conversation. Those are not realistic solutions, they are the ‘easy’ path, they have all been tried, and they have not worked in 18 years. They are not a realistic strategy. Online porn companies do not break the law. Filters can be easily subverted by children as young as 9 or 10. The DHHS, DOJ, DOE, Churches, Schools, Parents etc have had 18 years to act and cannot! The proof of that is that American children today see over 12,000,000,000 porn videos a year, 380 per second, 162 a year on average for each child 0-17 years old. I don’t have to explain to you that a 15 year old sees a lot more pornography online than a 7 year old.

Communication and preventive education is the only remedy to the challenges porn exposure introduces to our young kids. It is also the only solution that we haven’t tried. I believe that we OWE it to our kids to be brave about this topic and address it head on. Online pornography is just something that in digital age of 2018 simply exists, it just ‘is’, and no matter how much you may ‘wish’ it wasn’t that way, ignoring the problem or wishing for the “old days” does not help. In fact it hurts; a lot. I implore you to join us and together we can end this challenge for kids now.

There is much more to say, and I welcome your comments in the comment section. Just know that I am here to help parents and kids talk together about online pornography in a safe, thoughtful, considerate, respectful sex-positive, family-focused, prevention-based environment. I am committed to providing all children a starting point to discuss online pornography openly with their family without shame, blame or embarrassment. Our work has already resulted in children making the decision to avoid pornography of their own volition. When supported by their parent(s) with questions…(hint hint) and no “answers” parents can easily remove fear regarding the conversation, and any notion that pornography represents reality or could double in any way as ‘Sex -ed’ for 11 year olds.

You tell a friend and they tell two friends and they tell ten friends, etc., and the next thing you know pornography no longer exists in the dark for our young people. We can talk about it at book clubs, in communities, and congregations without stigma or fear. You can then comfortably create and enforce your own families belief system regarding pornography with your kids from a place of knowledge, mutual respect, and ongoing communication.

Together we can socialize this solution for your children’s and your grandchildren’s, health and lifelong happiness. BE BRAVE for your children, they cannot be brave for themselves regarding this topic!

Thanks,

Coach John

 

 

 

 

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