Our children are being exposed to more digital pornography.

More than 20 percent of children in a recent study conducted by the National Commission for Women and Children reported exposure to digital pornography.

This is a worrying development that we need to address.

More of our children are using devices that connect to the internet. Once you are online, you are going to be exposed to pornography. This is evident by the increasing number of pornographic material being shared, willingly and unwillingly, on WeChat and other social media platforms.

While we, as adults and parents, can take steps like enabling filters on our devices, web browsers, and modems or routers to prevent pornography from being accessed, the efficacy of such a measure will always be limited. There are other devices and platforms outside our “safe zones” that our children will be exposed to.

The most effective way will be to educate ourselves on the issue and then talk to our children so that they know the dangers of pornography.

Pornography is dangerous. It’s a business industry and as a result, some of its content is unnatural, misogynistic, and borders on unethical and criminal activity.

The danger is that it could lead to imitation by our children.

Already we’re seeing some of the impacts. Local video clips and photographs containing pornographic material have been shared on social media affecting the reputations and mental health of victims.

In some cases, we see that our younger generations are sexualising themselves at younger ages, which opens the door to exploitation. In some cases, parents are sexualising their children at younger ages.

The problem is that we’re not talking about how to deal with this phenomenon, both among ourselves as adults, and to our children. We need to start.

As our kids grow, they will become sexually curious. Instead of having them go on the internet, uneducated about sexuality, and view mostly unnatural acts of sexual activity produced by the pornographic industry, it would be better if we arm them with the required knowledge and set them free.

They need to know that online pornography is only one notion of sex and that it is not normal. We need to talk about values, about respect for another and how the images are usually demeaning, usually of women. We need to talk about the law, and how it is illegal to produce pornography in Bhutan and the consequences of breaking the law.

Again, it is important that we educate ourselves, and that relevant agencies raise awareness among parents on the issue. This topic should also be discussed in the schools as part of a sex-education course or as part of media literacy. We need to go on the offensive.