Clinical child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts used to advise parents to keep computers in the kitchen or a public room as a way of keeping an eye on what they saw on the Internet. Fast forward just a few years and she says that advice is pretty much obsolete -- computers are everywhere and kids are accessing more and more information (especially about sex and sexuality) that may be a bit mature for them at earlier ages.
That's how Dr. Roberts came up with the idea for the first book in her children's book series "Just Enough," published in both Canada and the United States, so parents could use it as a tool -- a "wholesome" primer on the very basics of the miracle of life.
"We can safely say that a lot of kids are getting information before their parents intended them to," Dr. Roberts told MTV News. "There’s lots and lots of that happening right now; parents don't get to set the first impression. Sexuality can be set in a way that’s wholesome and natural or a way that is racy and titillating and oppressive -- and what kids can stumble upon ins’t necessarily the best first impression for them."
Roberts explained that the "first impression" of sexuality is so important: When it's shared in a way that's positive and healthy -- demonstrating the beautiful and happy parts of bringing a baby into the world -- it allows parents to sustain the same kind of positive conversations throughout their kid's development.
The language in the book is all super accessible to children, Dr. Roberts said, so the experience of this very first "talk" will be as painless as any story time. She also avoided any terms that may be a bit much for people of all sorts of diverse backgrounds -- making sure that the information is all accurate without slipping into TMI-mode for the super young kids. It's just like the title says: Just Enough.
"I don't want [kids] to think they came from something taboo and I want them to know they came from something that was loving and beautiful," Roberts said. "As a child grows up there’s going to be all sorts of opportunities for them to expand their understanding -- that's their individual journey. The first impression should be something wholesome and healthy."
Ultimately, Roberts said that these are just the first of the many conversations parents will need to have with their kids to make sure they're prepared to enter puberty and adulthood, but access to that information in the safest and most sensitive way in an increasingly-digital society is critical.
"The world is moving and changing and it's essential we protect our children while the world's moving and changing,” Roberts said. "If we don’t make sure our sociocultural practices keep up… we run the great risk of having children who have unwholesome and unhealthy ideas about sexuality and that cannot be, projecting forward, a good thing for our society."