My name is John Van Arnam. I am a Dad, a coach and a “big-picture” person.
I volunteer as a basketball coach, I volunteer as an advocate. I have assisted search engines to create family safe search practices surrounding pornography for over 8 years. I am a Partner in Prevention on the Bumbombe County Prevention Task force, I work for The State of North Carolina as a School Safety Program Trainer under the Department of Public Instruction, and The North Carolina Center for Safer Schools (NCCSS). I am the President of Raising Better Boys and I am the Founder of The Third Talk™ Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3. I have a degree in Psychology and a minor in Child Psychology. I have been called a ‘Sexual Health Consultant’, a ‘Subject Matter Expert’, and a Lecturer. I prefer the term ‘Coach.’ A coach on the prevention of childhood exposure to online pornography.
To be clear. There is no amount of pornography that could be considered ‘safe’ for children, or ‘just part of growing up.’ Period.
This can be a scary topic for parents to think about much less discuss. However we as parents need to put our own fears aside and address it openly because this content is available for all of our children on every device and social media platform they see. We can no longer hope or expect that they will not see this content, or that our children will properly manage their own exposure, or remain unaffected when viewing pornography. We have tried for 20 years to remove it, restrict it, filter it or shake our fists at the problem, however our underage American children still view over 380 pornographic videos every second of every day. We have to act. The Third Talk™ is how I have decided to act.
My action will come in the form of thoughtful honest communication.
How are you affecting change?
Talking to parents and their (11-17 year old) kids, and providing them the language they can use to avoid the damage this content can cause. I initiate a family discussion surrounding pornography in their own individual families structure and environment, and showcase how to continue that discussion in an ongoing way. I can do that in one meeting.
What are your expected results?
I want to greatly reduce the number of pornographic videos viewed by children, with an absolute end goal of zero. I want to help change young people’s culture from ‘porn-culture’ to one of respect, communication and care. Even a small reduction in exposure (10%) translates to hundreds of millions of videos that are not viewed by underage kids.
Why are you doing this?
When your daughter has full confidence in her own physical safety, and any interaction comes from a place of mutual respect and communication, we will know we have turned the tide. When your son can explore his own sexuality without feeling the need to perform on a level he is uncomfortable with, or do things he feels that he shouldn’t do just to ‘fit in’ we are on our way! It starts with our young people, without shame, and a willingness of parents to meet kids in the world they live in, not the world we wished they lived in.
Is this a specific ideology, or religion?
The Third Talk™ is information for parents and their children, about growing up in a pornography-soaked internet environment and how to manage that successfully within their own family’s principles and nothing else. There are no ideological beliefs incorporated, and this is not “sex-ed”. We are a prevention based education platform. We are sex-positive, and communication focused.
Pornography in the brain of a young boy can alter the interest he has in real people, enhance aggression, depression, fear, shame, loneliness, and even set neural pathways in his brain that might take years of expensive therapy to remedy. This content for young girls can act as a guide or a strategy to showcase what boys “want”. We as adults can do a much better job of preparing our children for this inevitable exposure. If you think about it, we’re the only ones who can.
BE BRAVE for your youngsters, they cannot be brave for themselves regarding pornography at such a young age.
Coach John, The Third Talk™ Founder, SME
- School Safety Program Trainer, NC Department of Public Instruction
- Stakeholder: North Carolina State Human Trafficking Commission
- Member: Prevention Task Force Buncombe County NC
- Founder / Executive Director, The Third Talk™
- Strategy Director, Sixty Second Parent
- President, Raising Better Boys LLC