Answers to the most common questions about who we are, what we do, and how to help kids navigate hypersexualized culture.
Yes, Culture Reframed is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We have no political or religious affiliation. Our work is based solely on factual, scientific, evidence-based research that examines the harms of pornography to children and adolescents and the proven tools we can use to address those harms.
Yes. While sexual images and stories are a part of human history, it is only in the second half of the 20th century that pornography has become a mass-media industry. The advent of the internet has only increased the cultural pervasiveness and normalization of pornography. No pre-internet generation has experienced the instant access to massive amounts of extremely graphic, hardcore, and sometimes interactive pornography that any child with an internet connection does today.
Pornography is rooted in misogyny, which has further exacerbated the issue of sexism in society as a whole—but especially in developing young minds. Sadly, modern mainstream pornography goes much further than just chauvinism. Today’s porn scripts most often include toxic power imbalances, derogatory terms, extreme fetishes, racism, and sexual violence of all kinds.
No, Culture Reframed is not anti-sex, and we are not pro-celibacy. We do not view sex as “bad” or shameful. In fact, we are a sex-positive organization that believes in providing young people with robust sex education to help them build healthy, respectful, and egalitarian views of sex and intimacy throughout their lives.
Our research-based, cutting-edge courses for parents and educators are designed to comprehensively address the harms of pornography to children. These courses give adults the tools they need to help kids and adolescents understand that they do not need to conform to the misrepresented, unsafe, and often scary brand of sex propagated by the billion-dollar porn industry. As a result, more young people can feel empowered with the confidence and agency to make their own informed decisions around sex and intimacy.
The violent, exploitive, and degrading nature of mainstream pornography exists in all genres, regardless of sexual preference, orientation, or gender identity. For this reason, our courses are well-suited for parents and educators of any child or adolescent who is struggling with the harmful effects of pornography, or who wants to help build resilience and resistance in kids before pornography use becomes a problem.
While our courses do not offer specialized support specifically for children and adolescents of all sexual orientations and genders, most of our course modules do not assume heteronormativity. In any module that does feature heteronormative examples, we note that this is the problematic dominant standard in our society.
Building resilience and resistance to pornography means helping young people understand that porn sex is not healthy sex. It means teaching them that healthy sexual interactions are rooted in respect for one’s self and others, consent, desire, and agency.
Our courses help parents and educators explain to young people that they should never be expected to engage in any type of intimate activity that feels unsafe, shameful, or scary. Instead, healthy sex is always a positive, safe, respectful interaction that takes place only when partners are able to provide full, informed consent.
Once young people understand that mainstream, hardcore porn is an egregious distortion of what healthy sex and intimacy are, they are less likely to succumb to sexual peer pressure or experience fear, anxiety, or depression related to sexual activity.
Culture Reframed’s robust courses help generate these positive outcomes by doing the following for parents and educators:
- Giving them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to have courageous conversations with young people about the role of pornography in our culture
- Helping them have developmentally appropriate discussions with young people about hypersexualization, consent, bodily boundaries, digital safety, and healthy relationships
- Providing conversation scripts and other helpful resources that allow for honest, open dialogue between trusted adults and kids, which help young people develop critical thinking skills about the hypersexualized world we all inhabit
We have several recommendations for parents and caregivers who want to spread the word about porn’s harm to youth as well as help drive change:
- Request that your schools and school districts offer comprehensive, porn-critical sex and relationship education for students
- Organize other parents/caregivers and hold smaller discussion groups where you all work through Culture Reframed’s Parents courses together, much like a book club
- Use filters on your children’s devices to help prevent them from accessing pornography. Culture Reframed has recently partnered with Canopy, a parental control app that provides a strong level of protection across all of your electronic devices. However, filters are not a stand-alone solution. Conversations with your children are critical!
Contact your local and state legislators to sponsor legislation that forces pornography websites to have firewalls that prevent children from accessing porn (e.g., support age-verification legislation, such as this recent Louisiana state law).
Good question. It shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, even though there are many positive things about the internet, the ease of access to violent, graphic, and legal adult pornography by children and young people is having far-reaching consequences for their safety, well-being, and relationships.
The UK took a huge step in the right direction in 2019 when they passed a new law requiring online porn users to prove they are adults via an age verification process. This new approach is the first of its kind in the world and puts in place the same protections that exist offline. Understandably, there are many questions surrounding privacy and how the restrictions will work.
In 2023, Louisiana was the first state in the U.S. to successfully pass an age-verification bill that would force companies to verify the age of anyone who wishes to go on a pornography website. Hopefully, other states will follow Louisiana’s lead by passing their own age-verification laws.
Culture Reframed has worked with a renowned team of academics, public health experts, educators, pediatricians, and developmental psychologists to create courses to help parents become that vital first line of defense against the harms of porn for their kids.
Let’s be clear: we cannot totally protect kids against most things in life—and unfortunately, that’s also the case with hardcore online porn. All children, at some point in their lives, will see it.
But Culture Reframed courses can dramatically reduce the harmful effects on kids of viewing extremely graphic porn. Our courses teach you how to have guided, open conversations with your kids about porn and act as the key trusted adult resource they need to go to with questions and concerns along the way.
The Parents of Tweens and Parents of Teens courses are online, free, and accessible 24/7. These 13-module courses introduce parents sequentially to the developmental changes—emotional, cognitive, and physical—that kids undergo, and the hypersexualized pop culture that shapes those changes and is the wallpaper of their young lives.
We are also thrilled to announce the launch of our Porn-Critical Sex Ed Curriculum for educators. This customizable, downloadable curriculum incorporates into sex education programs the harmful effects of widespread, hardcore pornography and is designed for educators and other professionals certified to teach sex ed to young people, specifically ages 13 and up.