+
Billie Eilish, Howard Stern, pornography

Billie Eilish shared with Howard Stern that early porn use "destroyed" her brain.

In the internet age, parents have to talk to their kids about pornography. If parents don't, someone else will, and that someone else will more than likely be a peer or peers who don't really know what they're talking about.

But talking to kids about porn can be tricky. The when, how and how much questions are hard to navigate. Parents might worry about saying too much, too soon or too little, too late. Research shows that it's not uncommon for kids to see pornography online, either intentionally or unintentionally, and the age at which some kids are first exposed is far younger than parents might think. However uncomfortable parents might be about it, the conversation needs to start early.

Thanks to singer Billie Eilish's openness about her own porn experiences, parents now have an especially opportune "in" to bring up the subject with their kids. She recently shared with Howard Stern that consuming porn at a young age "destroyed" her brain, and that as a woman, she finds porn "a disgrace."


"I used to watch a lot of porn, to be honest," she told Stern. "I started watching porn when I was like 11. I think it really destroyed my brain, and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn."

Part of the problem with porn is that so much of it depicts violence and aggression and the objectification of women. Eilish told Stern that she frequently watched violent porn, and the first few times she had sex, she didn't say "no" to things that were "not good" because she thought that's what she was supposed to find attractive.

Another problem with porn is that is gives kids unrealistic portrayals of what sex is like as well as unrealistic images of people's bodies.

"I'm so angry that porn is so loved, and I'm so angry at myself for thinking that it was okay," she said. "The way that vaginas look in porn is f—king crazy. No vaginas look like that. Women's bodies don't look like that. We don't come like that."

Hearing someone like Billie Eilish say things like this is refreshing. Eilish, 19, came onto the music scene at 14 and made it big at 17. She's attracted fans of all ages, but much of her fanbase is young, which makes her an ideal bridge between generation smartphone and the parents who didn't grow up with pornography constantly accessible at their fingertips.

If parents aren't sure where to start the conversation about porn, start here. "Hey, you know the singer Billie Eilish? Here's what she says about her experiences with porn." It's a good opportunity to ask kids what they hear in their social life, what they think, what questions they have. For kids who might think their parents are old or out of touch, hearing a young, hip celebrity drop such wisdom from a place of experience may lend some credibility to the "why you should avoid porn" lessons parents are trying to teach.

And again, it is vital that parents teach it. Dr. Michael Flood of Queensland University of Technology shared research on the negative impact of porn use on young people, including:

- shifting sexual interests, behaviors and expectations, which can impact relationships

- lowering men's relationship satisfaction and leading to coercion in sexual acts

- teaching sexist and sexually objectifying understandings of gender and sexuality

- increased violent behavior, sexually aggressive behavior and sexual harrassment, especially from men toward women

Ideally, discussions about porn are a part of larger, ongoing conversations about sex kids start having with parents at a young age. Children are curious, and answering their questions matter-of-factly (and without embarrassment, which for some parents might take some practice) provides a solid foundation for frank conversations about sex as kids get older.

Kids may not always want to talk to their parents about sex as they go through adolescence and puberty, but if they don't learn from you, they're going to learn from somewhere. It may never dawn on kids that their parents have a lot more experience with sex than their peers do, so the more we normalize talking with them about sex in healthy ways, the less (hopefully) they'll seek out answers from unreliable sources like peers and pornography.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Dyslexic plumber gets a life-changing boost after his friend built an app that texts for him

It uses AI to edit his work emails into "polite, professional-sounding British English."

via Pixabay

An artist's depiction of artificial intelligence.

There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

The topic of AI is complex, but we can all agree that a new story from England shows how AI can certainly be used for the betterment of humanity. It was first covered by Tom Warren of BuzzFeed News.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less

Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

Keep ReadingShow less