I came of age when the internet was bright and shiny and people said things like ASL(age sex location) in IRC chatrooms and you could ‘meet’ strange and interesting people by using the random button on ICQ.
Fear of girls and young women meeting up with aged men who they found on the internet pretending to be young and turning out to be sexual predators was starting to run high. At the same time as all of this I was discovering both the power of the internet and my own sexuality.
Parents often fear the things adolescents might find on the internet, pornography, creeps, and all the other stuff conspiring to sexualise children before their time. I agree that media objectification and sexualisation of children particularly girls is deeply problematic, however at the same time the free availability of information and titillation on the internet can be really helpful in the exploration of sexuality in a physically safe manner.
My first sexual experiences consisted of chatting with people on the internet, sometimes strangers sometimes friends. It allowed me to discover what turned me on and what didn’t, how to relate to people sexually and also discover what people actually DID when they were having sex.
I have no doubt that if my parents had known about this my one avenue for risk free sexual discovery would have been taken away from me, and it was risk free for me, there were no webcams or pictures involved, I didn’t give away my contact details or even my real name to strangers. It was simply a way of dealing with the feelings and thoughts I was having.
I would love to know your thoughts on this!