1. How to Protect Your Child from Being Harmed from Cybersex: Teach them Resilience

    During the course of researching my book, The New Age of Sex Education: How to talk to your teens about cybersex and pornography, I came upon the research of Pamela Wisniewski and her colleagues. Dr. Wisniewski's research focuses on teen internet safety and parental mediation styles. In non-scientific terms, her work helps us understand how teens navigate risk on the internet and how different parenting styles and parenting behaviors affect the behaviors of teens online. Her work is very timely and offers wonderful suggestions on how to help your child navigate the online world safely. In this…Read More

  2. Webcam Trolling and Children

        A study recently published online in the Telematics and Informatics journal brought to light the problems of webcam trolls and how they can victimize children on chat sites. First, let's talk about webcam trolls. Many people are likely familiar with the term troll that is often used for people who post disruptive, mean, or harmful communication on the websites or social media sites of others. It is not uncommon to see a comment in the news about some celebrity replying to a troll who posted something on their social media site that is perhaps fat shaming, sexist, racist, homophob…Read More

  3. Not All Teen Sexting is Consensual

        Last evening I was in the office with some free time as I had confused the time a client was coming in for an appointment. It was a “meant to be” moment as during that time, I had the opportunity to assist a fellow clinician with his concerns regarding an adolescent client. To keep things confidential, let’s just say the client was a young teenage man who had received sext messages from a young woman. The consultation started as a concern about mandatory reporting. In the state of Pennsylvania, this did not meet mandatory reporting criteria. However, it was a great teaching…Read More

  4. Technology is the Glue that Keeps Teen Friendships Together

    Given the way the media works, we tend to hear a lot of fear based messages about the internet and teens. Fear that they will be contacted by a child predator. Fear that they will see pornography they don't understand. Fear that they will send a sext into the virtual world that can never be taken back. We talk about the fear and the bad things. However, there is balance in everything. While there are some risks to children from unsupervised internet use, we have to acknowledge that there are also great benefits from connectivity as well. The Pew Research Center recently published a study outli…Read More

  5. Down the Rabbit Hole: How many clicks until your child finds hard core pornography?

    A few weeks ago, a client shared with me an experience he had with his child. Let me start by saying that I work with pornography addicts, and this gentleman has been in recovery for years. He is VERY knowledgeable about online pornography, it's dangers and how easy it is to access pornography online. My client related that his wife had found pornography on his son's phone. His son is in the 12 year old range. My client and his wife are savvy folks. They handled this situation and conversation with their son with grace, knowledge, compassion and most of all, lack of judgment. The point of this…Read More


    Anyone who has heard me lecture or has been a client of my practice knows how concerned I am about how our culture shames sex and sexuality. The sex addicts I work with have such an enormous sense of shame about their addiction. Their partners have their own sense of shame about being in a relationship with a sex addict. Our culture shames sexuality all the time. I have become more and more uncomfortable about how the media is handling the topic of pornography use among adolescents. If you do a Google search about kids looking at pornography the predominant language is “caught.” “Caught…Read More


    Part of my goal to slow down this summer is to catch up on my reading. Recently, I was introduced to the work of several researchers at Penn State (Wisniewski, Jia, Carroll, Xu & Ronsen). This team of researchers from Penn State are in the College of Information Sciences and Technology and some of their work relates to teen safety online. This spring, the team of Penn State researchers presented data at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing Conference. The paper:Preventative vs. Reactive. How Parental Mediation Influences Teens’ Social Media Privacy Behaviors won …Read More

  8. How to keep kids safe online and build trust

    Over the weekend, an article came out in the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3034480/The-children-young-ten-feed-internet-porn-addiction.html) from the UK discussing children as young as ten who are fighting pornography addiction. While this might have been news for the general public, this is something that is common knowledge in the field of sexual addiction treatment. The age of those addicted to pornography continues to get younger and younger. Many parents, when faced with the either the media buzz or the reality of what their child is doing online, look for resources …Read More

  9. PocketGuardian: New App to Help Parents Detect Sexting and Cyberbullying

    As a clinician who is very interested in prevention, I always have my eye out for new strategies or ways to help parents be aware of what their children are doing online and on their smartphones. We all see enough news stories to know that, though not all children are sexting, a large enough number of kids are sexting, bullying and being bullied that we all need to be aware. This morning I heard about a new app developed by two dads from Maryland who both happen to be software developers. According to an interview on CBS DC, the dad's were inspired to create this app after hearing about and di…Read More

  10. What type of internet parent are you?

    In the process of writing my book, The New Age of Sex Education: How to Talk to your Teen about Cybersex and Pornography, I feel like I have read every scientific study from the past decade on the topics of online pornography, sexting and internet safety. Last night’s reading, a 2011 study on the safe internet use of Dutch children, prompted me to think about the tactics that parents use to try to maintain safe internet use by their children. First, the study talked about the types of risk a child faces (this comes from a 2008 study from De Moor et al). Internet risks to children can be brok…Read More