We’ve done our best to monitor our kids’ online activities. But our oldest teen son found a way to visit obscene sites and look at porn despite our best efforts. What should we do?
You should take immediate and decisive action.
Sit down with your son and tell him that you know he’s been accessing pornography. Let him know that you’re disappointed with his behavior. Tell him that you’re going to implement appropriate consequences, including complete restriction of electronic device use for the time being. Make sure he understands that you’re doing this because you love him and care about his future.
Explain the effects of porn
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. It will cause him to look at them as objects rather than people. It may even affect his ability to build and maintain a healthy marriage later in life.
Take practical steps
If you haven’t done so already, install some accountability software or sign up with a provider that allows for parental monitoring. That’s not the ultimate answer to the complex challenges you face, of course. But it can play an important role in helping you keep tabs on the entire family’s online use.
When your son earns back his online privileges, let him know that you’ll be keeping a close eye on his activities. As a minor living under your roof, he should understand that his right to privacy has limits.
In fact, many parents find it helpful to draw up an internet use contract with their kids. The contract should spell out what sites or apps your child is allowed to use, what time of day he’s allowed to access the web, and how long he’ll be allowed to stay online. Include a written explanation of the consequences of breaking the rules. When the document is complete, parents and kids can sign it together and post it on the fridge.
Call us for more help
Would you like to discuss your concerns further? Call our Counseling department for a free over-the-phone consultation. A member of our team will be glad to talk with you. Each is a committed Christian and a licensed therapist.
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