Teenage Child Viewing Online Pornography

You should take immediate and decisive action. Sit down with your son and tell him that you know he's been accessing Internet pornography. Let him know that you're disappointed with his behavior. Announce that you're going to be implementing appropriate consequences, including complete restriction of his use of the Internet for the time being. Make sure he understands that you are doing this because you love him and care about his future.

At that point, you can explain exactly why pornography is such a bad and dangerous thing. It seems enticing, but pornography fills the mind with false and destructive messages about sex and human relationships. Let your son know that viewing porn can harm his relationships with girls. Tell him that it will cause him to look at them as objects rather than persons. It may even affect his ability to build and maintain a healthy marriage later in life.

Also, if you haven't done so already, we'd strongly suggest that you purchase some Internet filtering software or sign up with an Internet provider that allows for parental monitoring to ensure that this doesn't happen again. You'll be interested to know that Focus on the Family is now partnering with award-winning Net Nanny to give families the online protection they need. Net Nanny uses proprietary technology to categorize Internet content in real time, smartly determines what is harmful based on your settings and protects your child, sends you reports, and even texts to alert you of danger. We realize that software programs of this nature aren't necessarily the ultimate answer to problems like those your son is facing. But we feel strongly that they can play an important role in helping you keep tabs on the entire family's online activities.

When he earns back his Internet privileges, let your son know that you will be keeping a close eye on his online activities. As a minor living under your roof he should understand that his right to privacy has limits. Many parents find it helpful to draw up an "Internet use contract" with their kids. The contract should spell out what sites your child is allowed to visit, what time of day he is allowed to access the Web, and how long he will be allowed to stay online. Similar guidelines can be devised with reference to chat rooms and Instant Messaging. Include a written explanation of the consequences of breaking the rules. When the document is complete, both parents and kids can sign it and post it on the refrigerator.

By the way, you should know that you're not alone. Statistics indicate that teenage boys and young men are accessing Internet pornography at an alarming rate. Pamela Paul, author of Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, reports that 70 percent of eighteen- to twenty-four-year-old males visit pornographic Web sites in a given month. And many of them started viewing porn when they were much younger.

For more information on this topic, we suggest you visit Focus on the Family's special Web site dealing with sexuality and related issues. It can be accessed at pureintimacy.org.

If you'd like to discuss your concerns over the phone with a member of our staff, one of our counselors will be happy to take your call. Each is a committed Christian and a licensed therapist. You can reach them at this number.

Resources
CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming, and Social Media (book)

Family Survival in an X-Rated World: A Practical Guide for Guarding your Heart and Protecting Your Home (book)

Logged On and Tuned Out: A Non-Techie's Guide to Parenting a Tech-Savvy Generation (book)

Managing Technology's Impact on Your Kids (broadcast)

Digital Pornography Addiction: What You Need to Know and Where to Find Help (online booklet)

Referrals
Net Nanny - Internet control software that protects your family from pornography, online predators, and cyberbullies.

Be Broken Ministries - Serves men (married, single, or divorced) and couples affected by pornography and other sexual struggles and strongholds.

Pure Intimacy - a Focus on the Family Web site offering articles and resources that assist both men and women in the pursuit of God-honoring sexual purity, and recovery and redemption from sexual brokenness.

Focus on the Family Safety Resources - a Focus on the Family web page providing information on safety resources intended to equip families with the tools to combat internet and other media threats.

Pure Hope - provides families with resources to equip them in their pursuit of sexual purity and integrity.

Articles
When Children View Pornography

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