DEAR HARRIETTE: I walked into my teenage daughter’s room and saw that she was watching a program that had pretty overt sexual activity in it. When we talked, she told me that almost all of the teenage-focused programs these days have nudity and some kind of sexual activity. I was aghast. My daughter is a good girl, as teenagers go. I don’t think she is engaged in sexual activity herself yet, but I don’t want her to be able to see some of the things that are shown on these programs. She showed me some examples of popular teen shows on the streaming services, and she was right. ALL of them had sexual activity in them. I don’t want to ban her from TV. Honestly, I don’t know if that would really work anyway. What can I do to protect her? -- Rated R
DEAR RATED R: Continue to talk to your daughter about what you believe is appropriate for her to observe and what you wish would come much later. I remember when my daughter was younger, I would have her turn her head if anything suggestive came on TV. It wasn’t that we were watching inappropriate fare, either. For some time now, television programming has been dotted with age-inappropriate material. Because of that training, I can now say to my teenager that she should turn her head if something obviously inappropriate comes on.
Another approach I take is to watch programming with her and talk about what is being explored so that she isn’t sitting with that content on her own. Finally, you can check with commonsensemedia.org to determine what is appropriate for her age group. Encourage her to take responsibility for what she consumes. This will help her when you are not looking.