Many parents wait for the day when their little one will ask the big question, "Where do babies come from?" For parents who are nervous about talking to their children about sex, there's now an app that can help ease into the conversation.
Created by Dr. Jillian Roberts, a Victoria and P.E.I.-based registered psychologist who specializes in child and adolescent psychology, Facts of Life is a new interactive app designed to help parents answer difficult questions about sexual health in an age appropriate, just-enough way.
However, can a mobile app really replace "The Talk"?
Roberts, a devoted mother of three notes, "When children ask, 'Where do babies come from?' they are not wanting the complete 'talk.' Over the years, I have kept track of the questions asked to me and I designed this app to respond to those questions in an age-appropriate, accurate, interactive and wholesome way."
Children are curious and will seek out the information. As Roberts explains, "It is not safe for children to search online because of the inappropriate websites that pop up. There are good books available, but kids seem to prefer using their mobile devices to access information these days."
Although my mom did a great job at answering any biological questions I had about sex, she had a hard time explaining the more complicated, social aspects of sexuality. A huge chunk of my sex education came from a patchwork of (mis)information from friends, articles in dog-eared copies of Seventeen and lots of "naked dates" between Barbie and Ken. Once I got past the initial birds-and-bees talk, that's when I needed answers the most.
There's no app that will reaffirm it's OK to want sex, or what it feels like to sleep with someone you have feelings for and not have them reciprocated, or what to do when you find yourself in an unwanted, sexually compromising situation -- but maybe there should be. These are all questions I've had to answer through life experience, friends and back episodes of Veronica Mars.
Allison Bates, a registered clinical counsellor and owner of West Coast Counselling Services in Burnaby, B.C., says talking to your children openly about all aspects of sexuality is crucial. "Talk about the basics around anatomy, the risks of sex and the pleasures. Normalizing sex, their bodies and teaching them to respect themselves to have a healthy sex life is ideal and makes them less of a target for negative sexual experiences."
In other words, there still needs to be The Talk." The Facts of Life app is simply one way to help get the conversation started.