How boys become men in a world of online porn, social media and sexts

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Khelan Morrey, 13, went camping with his father Nick to help with the transition to manhood. Photo: Justin McManus

 

This story took a lot of work in terms of thinking through the issues and talking to my male friends, most of whom are fathers themselves, as well as mothers, experts and online resources. Raising kids is a different kettle of fish now that the internet is so pervasive. Some of the points I have taken away from my research are:

  • Make talking about love and sex a natural part of your relationship with your boy
  • Broaden your boy’s network of male rolemodels so they have someone other than their dad to talk to about sex and relationships
  • Have a strong and robust policy when it comes to internet access and behaviour
  • Consider marking your son’s transition into manhood, perhaps with a rite of passage-style camping trip

Really, the kinds of things we need to avoid happening to our boys are valid for both genders. We need to promote respect for ourselves and each other. The objectification of women seems to be something to be firmly entrenched in mainstream media – we need to give our compassionate boys the tools to see through it and see women as people.

The story appeared in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 18 July. Read it in full here.