(WGHP) — As students are returning to class – both in person and virtually – a growing threat is presenting itself in North Carolina. Now, there’s a new partnership aimed at protecting children from the physical and emotional effects exposure to adult male content can present.
“We really found common ground in the prevention of exposure of this content,” said John Van Arnam, founder of The Third Talk.
The Third Talk was founded in North Carolina to provide adults with the tools necessary to keep sexually explicit material away from children while creating a guide for adults on how to talk to children about such media.
“It affects the brains of our young children. It does this by releasing adrenaline, testosterone and dopamine together in a chemical combination that mirrors drug ingestion,” Van Arnam said. “This has led to aggression, depression, intimate partner violence, dating violence and even assault.”
Working with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, as well as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, The Third Talk created a seven-part video series to help adults and guardians initiate conversations while bringing attention to health and safety concerns associated young people being exposed to adult content.
“Parents will tell me that this topic is incredibly distressing to them, very difficult for them to bring up, and is scary, and for that reason a lot of parents don’t talk about it,” Van Arnam added.
In addition to the mental health concerns, Van Arnam says being exposed to adult content makes it easier for children to be “groomed” by predators online, which was accelerated during the pandemic.
“Tips that were received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, those tips doubled. Investigations into internet-based crimes against children doubled. Arrests made in the state of North Carolina during the pandemic doubled,” Van Arnam said. “This has ramifications in human trafficking and all sorts of other criminal activity online.”
Van Arnam added the average age for first exposure is 11 years old.
“Meaning anywhere between 8 and 14 would be considered normal,” he said.
Released in time for back-to-school discussions, the video series can be found at www.thethirdtalk.org.