Reader Question: Help! I Caught My Son Watching Porn

Help! I Caught My Son Watching Porn

Every week I like to put up a Reader Question and take a stab at answering it. Here’s a scenario that all too many parents deal with: what do you do when you catch your son watching porn (or your daughter watching porn)?

Here’s an email I received:

This morning, I had to be out of the house for a little while and my 15 year old son babysat my 6 year old son. We let our 6-year-old get on the computer because he is a music FANATIC and spends hours on youtube watching videos, especially classic rock. Today my older son walked in and caught him looking at some ugly pictures. A quick look at the history reveals he had typed in “sexy neckit (naked) girls” in the search engine and I am DEVASTATED at what he saw. Images that I didn’t even want to see, much less my SIX year old. I want to handle this correctly…I don’t know what to do. I need to know WHY he even searched for that and I need to know how to punish him. It is making me feel like a miserable failure as a parent (we don’t monitor enough, we don’t go to sunday school enough, etc) I can’t stop crying. Of course I called my husband at work and I’m going to wait until he gets home so we can both talk to him. Our older son asked our younger son why he was looking at that and he said “my mind told me to and I cant control it” Please, do you have any advice how to handle this??

Isn’t that tough? So let’s try to work this through.

Most Children will See Porn Before they are 18

Porn accounts for 25% of the web pages on the net, and chances are your children will see it. Indeed, 43% see it before age 13. Often it’s by accident; I remember one friend telling me about her 11-year-old son doing a school project on nursery rhymes, and while he was at school he typed in something about Little Bo Peep. Guess what came up? The teacher had to hurry over and minimize the screen, because all these kids were staring, mouths agape. I’ve had that experience, too–I’ve been searching for something innocent and you click on a link and it’s porn. So chances are they will see something.

Early Porn Use is Heavily Associated with Later Porn Addiction

I’m not saying, though, that because everybody will see it it therefore means you shouldn’t be worried. On the contrary, almost everyone I’ve talked to who uses porn heavily started when they were teenagers. The root is found back then. And it makes sense. As a teen, your brain is still forming, and indeed it’s going through a lot of changes. If you start to see porn when you’re just starting to develop sexual feelings, the porn images get fused with the arousal sections of your brain, and you start to depend on those images for arousal. The porn also activates the pleasure centers of your brain, in a similar way that drugs do. So you start to form these connections that begin to rely on porn. As an adult, the effects of porn can devastate relationships.

That’s why we absolutely need to protect our kids from porn as much as we can. So here are some strategies to do that.

What to Do If You Catch Your Son Watching Porn

This mom reports being devastated and crying all day, and I totally understand. A little bit of crying isn’t going to hurt your child, and it will cement the idea that you’re sorry FOR your child.

And that’s what I would emphasize:

“I’m sorry you saw that, because it’s dangerous and I want so much more for you.”

Rather than expressing anger, just talk matter of factly about it. You certainly don’t want your child to associate sex with shame, but at the same time you don’t want your son (or daughter) thinking that this is what sex is.

So start explaining to them,

“I know you’re curious about what people look like naked because you probably hear about it everywhere–on movies, and at school. But that’s something that’s just for marriage. When we start looking at people like that then we start thinking about people just about their bodies–and we’re so much more than that.”

You can even start a discussion about what makes a good person, and how it has nothing to do with what they look like.

And then say that bodies are fun and beautiful, but we’re not supposed to share them with everyone, it’s just for marriage.

What about if you catch a child watching porn who is much older?

Then I think the key is to be honest with them fully: one of the reasons I don’t want you watching porn is because I want you to have a great sex life when you’re married, and this will wreck it. Tell them about how it retrains the brain to get aroused by an image, and not a person, so that when you’re married you can’t even really enjoy sex with your wife. If you want to enjoy sex, you have to ignore porn.

I heard this awesome story from a mom at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) conference I was speaking at last week. She went to bed one night (her husband was away at work) at about 11, and when she woke up an hour later she saw that her 14-year-old son’s light was still on. She had thought he was doing homework, but she got up to check, and as soon as she came in the room he minimized the screen. She asked what he was doing; he admitted he had been watching porn.

She immediately pulled up a chair, said, “Cool! Let’s watch it together.” Then she maximized the screen and started clicking through, providing commentary the whole way (that’s not real; she’s obviously had surgery; no one really enjoys that). About 10 minutes in he grabbed the mouse and minimized the screen again, absolutely mortified. And he said, “can we get filters on our computer?” I think she wrecked it for him!

If you want to learn more about how to handle kids and porn, Covenant Eyes has a great FREE ebook out called “Parenting the Internet Generation“.

Covenant Eyes Parenting Ebook

How to Lessen the Chance Your Child Will Watch Porn

How do you lessen the chance they’ll watch porn? Some quick steps:

1. Keep the computer in a central place.

Kids normally watch porn and become addicted if they have a computer in their rooms. Make all internet use happen at the dining room table or the living room, so that you’re doing it as a family.

2. Turn off wifi when you go to bed.

Turning in at 10:30? Turn off the wifi so your child can’t surf late at night. That’s often when they start! And have a central dock in the kitchen for charging all phones/iPads overnight. Make it a rule that devices get left to charge there, so that kids aren’t surfing at night on their phones.

3. Watch whose house your child hangs out at

The most common place to view porn, other than in your house, is at a friend’s house. And often kids see porn without even wanting to because a friend shows them, and it’s awkward to ask the friend to stop. So, in general, have kids hang out at your house when you can supervise. If they go to a friend’s house, check what their computer rules are.

4. Get filters on the computer

Honestly, these really are a great deterrent. Yes, a determined, smart child may be able to find their way around them. But filters stop the chance that searches for “Little Bo Peep” will bring something icky. And they mean that if a child wants to see something, they have to be very determined. A momentary temptation won’t be able to drag them in.

Covenant Eyes
I really believe that every family should have filters. They can’t stop everything, but think about it this way: 30 years ago if you wanted porn, you had to go to a store and buy it, and it was kept on the top magazine rack. It’s not like you had a shelf full of Playboys in your house, in the living room, and you just said to your kids: I don’t want you looking. But that’s what we’re doing today if we don’t have filters. It’s like we have DVDs and magazines all over the house, and we’re telling kids, “don’t look.” Putting a filter on is like putting those DVDs and magazines back on the top rack of the store, and out of easy access. Isn’t that better?

Covenant Eyes is a great program that lets you restrict access to certain types of sites, and sends a report to the person of your choosing of what sites everybody has chosen to try to access. So it really does work as a great deterrent. And I think this is a service for our teens. Porn is very tempting. If you could partially remove that temptation, isn’t that being kind? And Covenant Eyes is offering a month free to our readers (just click the link and it will know you’re from here).

5. Model Healthy Sexuality

Be affectionate with your spouse in front of the kids. Talk to them about sex and tell them that in marriage it’s good. Let them know that you’re not uptight–you actually want great sex, not a counterfeit.

6. Pray Lots–and Get Your Kids Praying, Too

Finally, there’s no substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit in your child’s life. I heard another story from a mom whose 9-year-old son jumped off the computer like it was on fire one day. The mom was startled and asked the child what was going on. He replied, “I wanted to search for naked pictures, so I typed it in, and as I did, I heard God say, “Ethan, Stop It.” Really loudly. So I got off the computer.”

He heard God’s voice! And that’s a wonderful thing. So make sure your kids are involved at a great church. Talk to them about God at home. Model prayer to them–pray about everything, just in quick sentences. Let them see you praying to resist temptation to gossip, or to feel proud, or whatever, so they see that they can do this, too.

Now it’s your turn: what have you done to protect your children from porn? What experiences have you had with your children and porn? Let us know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links.

Comments

  1. ButterflyWings says:

    I think there needs to be a distinction between porn and just nudity. Kids are curious, and I sometimes wonder if a simple, one off basic anatomy lesson might be a good deterrant. If they believe that the human body is natural, then it lessens their interest in something they see as “off limits”. And I think it would leave a lot of kids less traumatised by accidently seeing nudity.

    When I was a kid, even being a female dressing room freaked me out, because even though I was female, I had had it drilled into me that all nudity was bad. Even when I went on to uni and studied anatomy and physiology, I failed the reproductive section because I mistakenly thought it was dirty and disgusting. And when I first became a nurse, and was given a male patient (with no legs and only one arm) to bedbath on my first day, I literally could not do it.

    Obviously things have changed since then. I went on to spend two and a half years of working in aged care where showering and changing diapers for both men and women was a daily task (all shift!).

    All kids are curious, they want to know what is normal, what people look like – maybe just basic anatomy lessons would do them some good. If boys and girls understood how ugly a person’s “privates” actually looked when not viewed sexually, it may put them off ever wanting to have a look!

    It’s still in the same vein of teaching them not to be aroused by images. Make it mundane, nothing to be aroused over.

    PS loved what the MOPS mum did! I’d love to have the courage to do something like that to a teenage boy but I know I’d be far too embarassed to. But it probably did the teen a good lesson about how silly and fake porn is.

    • That’s a great point, Butterfly Wings. Kids are naturally curious and there’s nothing wrong with that. Thanks for adding that!

      And I love what that mom did, too. Can you imagine being that boy?

      • Yes, I thought that MOPS mom was just genius. It opens the door for the son to ask questions (hopefully), shows she’s not afraid of it, nor does it freak her out. She’s demonstrated that she knows about it and more than a mere cursory knowledge. I think this is something a mom could do, but perhaps not a Dad — esp if Dad struggled with porn at some point.

        I also like the ‘turn off wifi’ suggestion. Inhibitions drop when you get tired and things you might not otherwise do happen late at night.
        Rachael recently posted…Ways to participate in ‘talk like a pirate day’My Profile

  2. When I first read the title to this I thought, “My boy’s just young, don’t need to worry about this for a while.” But the reality is that it happens to kids younger and younger so it’s best to be prepared. This is some great advice. We haven’t talked about porn in particular but we have started talking to our boys (5 and almost 3) about sex. It just comes up naturally when we talk about how their little sibling was made. It is so important to just talk to your kids and listen to them and get to know them. Build up that line of communication from the time they are young so the “awkward” conversations are already addressed before they become awkward.
    Tessa W recently posted…Consistency in the Service of MotherhoodMy Profile

  3. Amen to everything Sheila shared! Filters and accountability are definitely helpful, but they simply cannot fully protect against pornography or your thoughts and the images already burned into your mind. Neither can we escape living in a world that is rapidly becoming more invasive and aggressive in its opposition to God and His design for sexuality. By that, I mean pray–and don’t stop praying–that God would open his eyes to the truth of what pornography really is: a lie. The best filter is a changed heart–something only God can bring about.

    I know I’ve shared this before, but it was only when I literally began praying, “Lord, make me sick of this sin” that He began to work and I began seeing pornography for the ugly lie it was.

    I was close to this boy’s age when I was first exposed to pornography (in the days before the Internet)–and though I had no access to further porn until years later, those images were still there. Be open and honest about the anatomical/medical aspects of sex with him-—appropriate to his age-—regularly sharing the truth of how and why sex can be either a tremendous blessing in marriage or a serious sin problem outside of it (as Julie Sibert says “begin the conversation”). As Jessica Harris (beggarsdaughter.com) shared:

    “Instead of asking how to protect their innocence, we should be asking how to protect the sacredness of sex in their lives.”

  4. Jesus-in-the-City says:

    I think also remind the kids that the people they see in the porn are real people. They are someone’s daughter, son, sister, brother, mother, father, and in a vast majority of the cases, like 80% or something! they are either there against their will (like withs sex trafficking) or truly emotionally and mentally don’t want to be in the position to have to be making these movies and videos. So by watching pornography we are perpetuating a cycle where there is demand for people, our brothers and sisters, to be forced into doing something evil that they really don’t want to do.

    I feel really bad for this mom and don’t want to imply any judgment with this comment, so,please understand that completely, but I also would NEVER in a million years, leave my child home to watch youtube or anything else on the Internet. Especially not a 6 year old. They could be in chat rooms talking to who knows who! and certain porn companies purposefully set up their programs to come up when child-centered topics like ‘little Bo peep” or “Disney” or what have you are typed in. It’s sick, but it’s true. They are targeting your children and you have to be ready if you are going to win the good fight for your child’s’ innocence. People have to understand that there is an enemy out there with specific designs to take down your children. I have very small children, but as they get older there will be strict rules, like no internet alone in their room or home alone. They will have rinky-dink phones without Internet access, if they have phones at all. My daughter is 2 and she uses the ipad all the time, but there is a feature on it where you can turn off the Internet, so she uses it to play games and stuff but she can’t go online. Also, I don’t know why, but we have apple products and I find that there is much less issue with spam and pop ups and that sort of thing than when I had a regular PC. I don’t know why. And yes, I would highly recommend Covenant Eyes or that sort of program.

    I would be totally freaked out too, but remember, your kids and their innocence are largely your responsibility and you have to take it very seriously and cover all your bases. Of course, there is an aspect of free will there, and you will never be able to control your kids and what they do without you 100% of the time! but creating an open and honest dialogue about these things and having the kind of home where sin, repentance, prayer, temptation, holiness, forgivness and other core aspects of our faith are regularly discussed is really important, from as young an age as you decide it should be. Also, thank God for this teachable moment where you can have an open and honest dialogue with your child while you still have influence over them. Don’t shame them, temptation is not a sin, but give them the tools they need to say “no” to it and as always, always, always, completely bathe them in prayer morning and night!!

    God bless you!
    Aja

  5. Im a totally freaked out Mom of an 8 year old boy. My biggest fear is that he will stumble upon porn and then become addicted.

  6. If anyone could weigh in on this…my son is almost seven and I’m afraid he’s going to stumble upon porn accidentally. Think about how easy it would be…we are new to the neighborhood and there’s another seven year old boy up the street–he’s into gaming and has older brothers. I know he has used the “f” word during online gaming. His parents thought it was funny and told me that they don’t like to discipline their kids, what are you going to do he has older siblings, etc. (I wasn’t, nor was my child, involved in this, I’m just recounting a neighborhood convo). But suppose my son were to spend time at this boy’s house? The parents have different values. The older brothers may decide to “share” pics or something they’ve discovered. I am tempted to tell my son no computer use at anyone’s house. But then there are phones. Do we tell our kids no computer or phone use at anyone’s house? (My child doesn’t have a phone but the older kids, and increasingly younger ones, do too). All it takes is ONE exposure! And you can’t “unsee” something!

    • Jesus-in-the-City says:

      Hi! I’m not saying this in a condemning way, so please listen to it as in the tone of a sister or friend. Your comment sounds very passive, like you are parenting from a place of not having the authority to be in control of where your 7 year old goes and who he spends time with and even what he watches. I can see how the latter might be more complicated, but not impossible to monitor, but the first two seem pretty cut and dry to me. As a parent, God has placed you in a position of authority over your children, so you have the responsibility to lead and direct them, regarding where they are and are not to go, who they are and are not to hang around with, especially after school hours and what they are to watch and not watch. If you haven’t begun laying this foundation yet, it may seem too late, but it is better late than never. Invest in some good Christian parenting books, listen to radio shows that are constructive and supportive of Christian parenting, be active in your church, and encourage healthy relationships with other kids and families that you trust or at least feel comfortable around. Be clear about your expectations as a parent and about the consequences that will follow if your expectations aren’t met and then follow through if and when it happens. Don’t let your child fall through the cracks. Parenting is hard and no one wants to be the authority figure all the time, but God loves your son and gave him to you for you to shepard. He wouldn’t give you that responsibility without also giving you the tools to carry it out. God bless you and most importantly, keep praying, both for your son and for the tools you need as a parent. He will hear you and He won’t leave you powerless or ineffective!

      Love,
      Aja

  7. anonymous says:

    I’m not sure people are aware of this and I don’t want to freak people out more than they are already but; please
    do not assume that because something is animated it’s for kids. That is emphatically not the case.

    Japanese/ Korean anime cover every conceivable subject including porn. Now, a lot of anime is cute and harmless. Some are thought provoking and serious. Some of it is really violent and some of it is seriously weird. I watch quite a lot of anime myself and the shows I watch are clean and uplifting
    BUT
    There are also at least three entire anime porn categories: Hentai, Yaoi and Yuri. Yaoi is male-male erotic material and its specifically targeted to teenage girls. The “soft”/ non-explicit form of it is shonen-ai were really beautiful male characters have romantic relationships. It’s particularly insidious because you can’t tell at first glance what it is. The story is often really engaging and characters are drawn in such a way that it’s often hard to tell gender. Only later do you find they’re both male and then you may have opened a door.

    So don’t assume that animated = ok. And if your kid watches anime: research the show online. Read reviews, watch a few episodes. You’ll find out pretty quickly if its ok or not.

    Another thing that can get girls is fan-fiction. Now there is a lot of good and wholesome fan-fiction. There is also some rather explicitly sexual fan-fiction.

  8. Sadly this isn’t just a problem for boys. I caught my daughter looking at porn. I think I was even more shocked and horrified that it was my daughter versus my son. One of her friends showed it to her when she was at her house. With the easy access to the internet that we have today, this is a very real threat to our children and their innocence.

  9. I know what you’re saying, and I agree. I of course would not let my son play with this kid if I felt uncomfortable–this kid was an example. I guess I’ve just come to realize with the sheer number of kids ( especially boys) being exposed to porn so early, chances are my son is going to be friends with at least one of them. A post from a few weeks back was about this issue of kids viewing porn, and stated that many times, kids share it to gross their friends out, shock them, etc. The article also stated that the parents had no idea what was going on, as they were “good kids.” What I’m trying to say is, I absolutely believe in covering them in prayer. But I’m looking for a concrete way, parameter if you will, to shield him when he’s at the “good kid’s” house, etc.

    • Jesus-in-the-City says:

      Read this in full faith and conviction of what it means for you and your family/ son:

      Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. (James 5:16-20 NLT)

      Did you read that? HAS GREAT POWER AND PRODUCES WONDERFUL RESULTS! The AMP version is even more encouraging. Praying is probably THE MOST concrete thing that you CAN do for your son. You may not be able to SEE the results, but if done in faith and without fear and doubting it’s the best tool that you have directly from Heaven. As Ephesians 1 says, God has given you EVERY spiritual power in the heavenly places… That’s a pretty BIG arsenal, so don’t take it lightly.

      Your kids have free will. There is no way to absolutely ensure that they aren’t going to sin. As a matter of fact, you can definitely be sure that they WILL. But you can’t paint porn as this big boogie monster that you are too afraid to come against and that is SURELY going to snatch up your son’s mind. That puts both you, him AND God in a corner of being at the mercy of sin, when really, every thing that Jesus did on the cross puts us in the COMPLETELY OPPOSITE position. We have POWER and VICTORY over sin in Jesus’ Name, but you have to believe that and walk in it and parent that way, in the authority and freedom that Jesus died to give you.

      The Truth will set you free every time! It is a promise. So, if you, truly, feel this is a burden on your heart for your son, get it out into the open and talk to him about it BEFORE it happens. And like the MOPS mom, treat it like it is, which is NOT something that you need to avoid at all costs and be afraid of because it will rot your brain or turn you into a ‘bad person’. We are already ‘bad people’ who have been saved, healed and delivered by a righteous, holy and loving God. All sin separates us from God, not just porn, so like I said, start talking to your son in real, honest, free terms about the nature of all sin, what it does to us and why God wants us to stay away from it and include porn in that conversation. Also, read from the Word of God TO your son 1 John 1:5 thru 1 John 2 are good places to start. Tell your son your concerns, talk to him about sin and it’s dangers, including separating us from God, tell him that it does trick us by making us feel good in the moment, but down the road it only leads to guilt, shame, heartache and more sin, where as, when we listen to God and stand up for what we know is right, it might feel difficult in the moment, but down the road it leads to a greater relationship with God, strengthened faith and wisdom and protection from God. Be truthful. Paint sin in its true light and righteousness in its true light as well and begin to trust your son to make the right decisions once he knows what he is working with.

      I guess I am just encouraging you to be proactive. Be the voice in your son’s ear that he will hear, if he goes to the good kids’ house and porn, or some other sin comes up. Prepare him, so that when the situation arises, he will be in a position of power to do what is right, and if he doesn’t do what is right, it’s not because he didn’t know, because you didn’t equip him or because you didn’t pray.

      And yes, pray,pray, pray for your son. Know that even though you can’t see its effects, it is something VERY concrete that you can do for your son that might help him when yo can’t possibly be there to. Read Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness for more light on that area and all the best to you!

      God bless!!!
      Aja

  10. We just had this play out in our house, we have 3 boys and a girl ranging from 8-18 years old. Our 14 year old son was home for an hour in the afternoon by himself one day and was at the computer and the word “sex” popped into his mind and then he typed it in the google search. Of course he immediately started seeing stuff and thank goodness was convicted enough in his spirit to stop looking after only a minute or two. He knew what he did was wrong and he said he felt dirty just seeing it and thinking it.
    I am so thankful that his immediate response was to stop and then to call his dad or older brother. My husband is in men’s ministry and talks frequently to our boys about the dangers of porn because he’s seen it play out in other men’s lives.

    My first response was unbelief but my husband (thankfully) looked past my emotion and knew the appropriate response was to come alongside our son and talk with him about what he saw, why it’s wrong, what God designed sex for and the fact that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Rather than closing the communication door by being shocked and disappointed at him and punishing him, he opened the door for dialogue and was able to speak into his life at a time when our son was crushed at what he had done. They even discussed what circle of friends could be an accountability group, not that he has to tell all his friends what he did but having 1-3 other friends his age start meeting and discussing pressures they face in high school and how the Bible can apply to their lives. This would be a huge step in teaching our son how to have close friends and modeling small group discipleship.

    A great resource for all moms is Vicki Courtney’s book titled “5 Conversations you Must have with your Son”. Amazing insights into growing our boys into manhood and her chapters on Sex and pornography is a must read! She gives very practical conversations to have with our sons. One of which is the strategy to equip our sons with self-control in the area of sex and porn – STP – Stop, Think and Pray.

    We are very much a family who believes our job as parents is to raise adults, not kids. We want to teach and equip our kids to grow into adulthood with tools and self-discipline to be responsible Christian men leading their families and relying on God for direction, not us (and our limited knowledge)!

  11. WOW! Thanks Aja! That is exactly what I needed to hear. And Stacy, it’s great that you and your husband handled it that way, rather than going with the knee jerk reaction. And thanks for the book recommendation.

  12. I had picked up my (then) 8yr old’s iPod to help him get on WiFi at a Dr’s office (gotta love long waits with kids) & when I went to his Safari, he had searched the term “naked”
    After a moment of pure panic…I checked his history & found he hadn’t actually GONE to any of the sites. Just searched the term.
    We had a talk about it & I found out one of his friends had told him to type in the word. Nothing else, just type in that word. We talked about how it was an inappropriate topic to search & I took away his iPod for 3 days, along with permanently disabling the Safari app.
    He’s now 9 1/2 & no problems since.

    We keep our computer they use in the living room. I check the history randomly every week (I have an 11 yr old that’s getting into girls, not taking any chances). And they aren’t allowed to take their iPods into their room out of our purview.

    I know there’s a chance they’ll see it or hear it someday. And I hope they’re comfortable enough to come to me or their father when that time comes. We don’t act embarrassed about things that come up, but we don’t bring them up if it hasn’t happened yet either.
    The 11 yr old has had the “talk” with his dad, as he’s into girls & has started middle school. We felt it was safer to have it before something happened than deal with consequences.

    It’s a hard road to walk sometimes. Keeping our kids safe, but informed enough to make wise decisions. I pray for all the parents out there that are making these tough choices every day!
    Karen Yocum recently posted…A lesson…somewhereMy Profile

  13. I think the theme I see in the comments so far is this: You can NEVER guarantee your child won’t see porn. What you can do is keep communication open, and keep telling them the truth–that sex is sacred, and that we need to guard ourselves.

    I totally agree. Try not to be devastated if you realize your child saw something by accident. Yes, it may (and likely will) happen. It does not mean, however, that they will be messed up for life AT ALL. God is still powerful and can protect your child, and you talking about it will help equip them for success in withstanding it!

  14. Stephanie says:

    Hi there! Thanks for the interesting and conversation-promoting blogs, Sheila!

    Stumbled on your website just a few weeks ago and have been daily enjoying your blogging now.

    I have to say, as a mother, that I was really taken aback at something from the very beginning of this story. Now I’m not trying to “play judge” or anything but I read this yesterday morning and kept thinking about it through the day and such. I talked to my husband about it and decided to post my thoughts. So for what they’re worth here goes!

    Firstly, yes, like Aja pointed out, I would NEVER leave internet access going when I wasn’t at home and my children around. The fact that he likes you-tubes…etc…well he’s SIX!! What in the world? The music is filled with messages we don’t want our quickly-being-formed children hearing, and you never know where a website is going or what can pop up. We don’t do I-phones, or whatever they are and my internet access is limited on a 10yr. old laptop!! I’m not anti-technology but I do believe its a huge stumbling block for raising wholesome children. Internet is like the tree of good and evil in the garden of Paradise….and our children have the effects of the original sin of our first parents – its human nature. They WILL stumble and they just aren’t ready for that kind of traumatic stumbling yet.

    Sorry I’m getting off center, but Secondly: “sexy naked ladies”?????? Where does a six year old learn ‘sexy’? Now, don’t laugh!! I know, I’m being naive right? I have four children myself though….let me tell you it doesn’t need to be that way. We have a duty to protect their innocence and hand them proper knowledge as the time comes. This is innapropriate for a 6yr.old – he should be playing cowboys and indians for heaven’s sake! And I’m not idealizing. We have to fight for our children’s right to their childhood!! Check out his companions – public school teaches homesexualtiy and sex in kindergarten now! – so homeschool? This isn’t over-sheltering, its trying to fulfill our duty as best we can as parents. Why does a six year old want to see naked women??

    Anyway, I know I’m running on a bit. But I feel very passionate about our children’s innocence. And while my husband is the first to admit that God protected my innocence growing up beyond the norm ( I didn’t know what sex was until 14!!) he understands why this is so hard for parents in today’s model world.

    We are homeschooling and I am happy to say my son loves all things outdoors, my daughter plays mommy with her dolls, and we don’t watch TV. Its a busy and happy life. And again – I’m not judging – I’m saying IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY.

    With Prayers,
    Stephanie

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I’d agree. My kids didn’t know what that word was at 6, either, and as parents, we do need to be careful what TV shows we watch and music we listen to in front of the kids. It’s amazing what they pick up!

      If your children are in school (we homeschooled, too) it’s much harder to completely control for it. But as much as you can, protect their innocence when they’re that young. And under no circumstances allow them to play at a house where you don’t know the parents well and aren’t comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, it’s likely for a reason!

  15. Unfortunately, I have some experience in this area, and after dealing with it for years, hopefully some wisdom that might help others. When I found porn sites in the history of our high school son’s computer, we were devastated. Good Christian kid, good friends, all of us involved in ministry at a good church…and this was 15 years ago when it wasn’t even as accessible. My dh and I sat down with him, but in retrospect it seems like we leaned toward the “ashamed and disappointed” end of the spectrum, rather than openly talking about sexuality and what God designed it to be. This was likely because we hadn’t grown up in homes where sex was discussed, and because we had gone further before marriage than we should have. Too many secrets that the enemy uses to hinder healthy, honest conversation…. We put on restrictions with computer use and talked about it some, checked the history, seemed like there was an occasional relapse with tears from all sides, so we thought it would go away.
    I don’t want to put a downer on college, because in reality a sinful heart finds ways to do what it wants wherever (Mt. 15:10-20); for our son, college far away gave him the chance to live a double life, still involved in ministry but viewing more porn. There were interventions from us and friends, the beginning of much counseling, as well as some depression for him. Today he is successful in his career (by God’s grace), but his wife is living a lonely, hopeless (except that in Christ, there is always hope) life as we all pray and wait for that breakthrough to give him consistent authenticity and victory.
    Porn is as despicable and effective tool of the enemy as there could be in this world, and it is only getting worse. Don’t assume you can prevent your kids from seeing it (but definitely try!), but prepare them for when they probably will by not making sex look like “forbidden fruit”. Model healthy husband and wife affection (appreciate Sheila’s encouragement on this), keep your relationship with your sons and daughters open so there can be questions and talk without a sense of shame. (If the church could talk about this more, I think porn addiction wouldn’t be so rampant, but it flourishes in the dark.) Remind them over and over of God’s grace…yes, He wants us growing in holiness, but there is abundant forgiveness for us when we cry out to Him.

  16. To Stephanie’s post, my son is six and LOVES YouTube videos–he watches everything from magic tricks, to robins hatching, to manned space flight (all supervised). And while I think he’s extra innocent for six, he has said the word “sexy” before, as has my four year old daughter! When I asked where they heard it, I found out it was from our homeschooling friends. I’m not bashing homeschooling at all, because I wish we homeschooled. Just saying that it’s so much a part of our culture that we literally can’t control it or shut it out sometimes.

    • Absolutely – homeschooled doesn’t mean traditional value kids only!! People have different reasons for homeschooling too. I was a product of private school, homeschooling and then public colleges. However, I would say my kids wouldn’t be playing with kids (homeschooled or not!) who are using that language – NOT at 4 and 6. Sorry. I would be talking to those parents if they were friends of ours.

  17. They were Christian homeschooled kids–friends of ours from church– their nine year old daughter was singing some song with the lyrics, “I’m sexy and I know it.” I doubt if she even knew what it meant– she probably heard it from another kid. Thankfully I just told my kids it’s not something that’s appropriate to say, and they stopped, didn’t question me. I do think though that homeschooling allows parents to have more control over influences, which is a big reason I want to homeschool. Unfortunately my husband is dead-set against it. So the “compromise” is we send my son to a Christian school. It’s not perfect, but at least kids are called out when they are being inappropriate. When he was in public school last year, there was very little discipline and bad behavior was tolerated or overlooked.

    • Wow that is a tough one!! I remember when my homeschooled little brother, at 9, had the Britney Spears album #1 – 16 yr. old Britney straddling a chair and singing “baby hit me one more time” – I was scandalized. I’m 28, so I was 14 then. I remember it clearly. You see, my parents’ parenting philosophy TOTALLY changed with their fourth child – not sure they even really can admit it to this day. We first three were raised very differently. We were military brats and raised all over Europe. I remember walking by naked statues constantly and never a dirty thought even coming to my mind. It was just lovely art. Even “the David” in Florence was just so pretty to me – my innocence never questioning – my parents were awesome in the natural but guided exposure we got! Then something changed at the end with their last baby…..
      My children don’t hear ANY pop music, but music fills our home. Rock ‘n’ Roll’s beat, let alone usual lyrics, feeds the soul messages, even without the words. Messages that turn on switches to sexuality, questioning God, etc….because God is ORDER, and Rock ‘n’ Roll the opposite.
      We are really into field trips and discovering things and all sorts of stuff. We use an awesome Catholic curriculum, accredited, SETON homeschooling. They are linked to so many helpful blogs and have all accredited counselors.
      My husband was not jumping-over-the-moon excited about homeschooling. He’s 41 and from a different country and culture. His only experience was unfortunately the existing bad examples of the “socially backward homeschooling product”. That is the parent’s fault though, not homeschooling. But so far, he is pleased with what he is seeing and our family life is so purposeful and enriched. Out of curiosity, would I be nosy if I asked why your husband is against the idea?
      Otherwise, kudos to you for doing the best you can!! We cannot do more than our best!! Prayers, Stephanie

  18. Wow! Similar background, Stephanie. Like your husband, mine is not from America. He’s Irish, and so knows nothing about education in America. His idea of homeschooled kids is that they must all be weird, socially awkward, etc. We had a babysitter a few years ago who was homeschooled. She was the most creative, responsible, interesting and fun teen I’ve ever known. Still, my husband didn’t get it. She decided to go to public school for 9th grade–then ended up switching back to homeschool. “See!” he said, “She doesn’t fit in!” Well, seriously, I don’t WANT our kids to fit in when they’re in high school, not with what our sitter told me was going on. So I think a lot of it for him is that he’s stubborn and has preconceived notions, doesn’t bother to look any further or do any research. The other part is that he just doesn’t “get it” yet. You can be sure, when our daughter hits 13, he’ll suddenly decide maybe it’s ok if she doesn’t “fit in” and start doing what all the other kids are doing! Anyway, the homeschool issue was starting to cause a rift in our marriage, so I finally realized that, rather than seeing my husband as “standing in my way,” I needed to realize that God gave me the husband he gave me for a reason, HE is in control of it all, and for whatever reason, I’m not meant to homeschool right now. Keeping my marriage from damage is more important. My husband was content with sending our son to the public school–but he decided a good compromise for us would be a Christian school. This was even a big leap for him–I don’t think two years ago he would have even dreamed of it. We’re happy with the school. I still get jealous of homeschoolers, and wish I could do it too, but we are where we are I guess.

    • Dear Amanda– Wow! Your reply really resonated with me! Yes, we DO have a lot in common. (Maybe we need to exchange emails so we don’t overwhelm Sheila’s site? :))With a smile I agree that Irish are stubborn – lovingly, annoyingly, and frustratingly (a word??) stubborn! My husband is 100% Irish blooded but an Australian. Add the male Aussie stubborness to the Irish blood and I have my work cut out for me! haha
      Anyway, a few things jumped out at me from what you wrote.
      Firstly, I want to commend you for saying your marriage is more important than disagreeing over an issue, even if its a big one, like homeschooling. Your stable, loving marriage DOES come first. I understand totally how that can breed frustration and a feeling of “being right” and “he just doesn’t get it”. Sounds like you’re not letting the devil use that one to put strain on your marriage!! Good for you.
      Secondly, I am sure you are already doing this, but keep praying (if homeschooling is something you still feel conviction about) that God changes your husband’s heart. Preaching and arguing (I know from experience!) won’t do it. Pray! And then, share with him….gently, a little at a time. I hope you don’t mind my perhaps undesirable advice, but I really want to encourage you! Read little bits about positive homeschooling things, like the one I want to share with you today. Tell him gently that it still is in your heart and on your mind and you would just like to share ideas together.
      Thirdly, I think an excellent book for your husband on what your daughter(s?) will be facing in school is a book EVERY dad of a daughter should own. “Strong Fathers Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker, a pediatrician. A friend gave it to us and I had a real wake-up call reading it and then gave it to my husband.
      Here is a quote from a favorite homeschooling book of mine, a quote that started the conversation that led to my husband agreeing to “try” homeschooling. The book is “Catholic Home Schooling” by Dr. Mary Kay Clark. She has been in education over 40 years, was a former school principal, homeschooled seven successful sons, and now directs Seton Home Study.

      Quote : “Socialization, or destruction of personality? — Dr.Damien Fedoryka, former president of Christendom College, and homeschooling father of 10 children, declared at a homeschooling conference : ‘I really didn’t consider it proper for my child to spend a year of her life learning to be an 11 yr. old, then another year of her life learning how to be a 12 yr. old, another year learning how to be a 13 yr. old….she has a mother at home. I’d rather she learn to be like her mother and have plenty of time to do it.’ Dr.Fedoryka is pointing out that the so-called social values being learned by children in school are constantly shifting values based on the collective immaturity of the group. On the other hand, the values learned from the mother are stable values which will be of use to the child all through life.”

      I love that paragraph!! God bless you and praying for you too!!
      Stephanie

    • Jesus-in-the-City says:

      Wow Amanda!

      I really liked your answer! My husband is Scottish and yes, they are so crazy stubborn, it’s UNBELIEVABLE! I don’t know what it is in their genes! On the other hand, they are fiercely loyal as well, which is a good thing for us ladies :)

      I just wanted to say I thought that your logic and what you are doing totally is great and inspiring. No offense to her, AT ALL, but I respectfully disagree with the other writer who responded to you. I think you’ve handled it wonderfully and biblically. You made a great,sacrificial compromise with your husband and our sovereign God knows your heart and your prayers and can step in if and when He needs to. He loves and protects your children more than you or your husband ever could and He will bless you for honoring His Word and your husband. You never know, your husband could just up and come home one day and mention that he thinks homeschooling would be a good idea! God is just that good! And if he does, you’ll know it’s The Lord and not you wearing him down by bringing it up over and over again, no matter how gently. At a certain point, we really have to learn as wives and mothers to let things go.

      I have been meditating on 1 Peter 3:1-6 a lot lately and the one part that sticks out to me is verse 3:6, WITHOUT FEAR. We really have to honor our husbands without fear that in trusting and respecting them and giving them control, God is going to somehow lose the reigns. I will be the first to say that I have a REALLY hard time with this myself, so I am no pro at it by any means, but I think, in a way, it’s taking the pressure off of us that our society seems so ready to heap onto us by encouraging us to be the mothers, fathers, best friends, bread winners, confidants, teachers and pastors for our children and families. No one can possibly fill all of those roles at one time and God doesn’t expect us to and it SHOULD be freeing knowing that we aren’t expected to when it comes to our Heavenly Father.

      You’re doing an awesome job! All the best and keep praying!

      Love,
      Aja

      • Stephanie says:

        Hi Aja,
        I think you

      • Stephanie says:

        Hi Aja,
        My first shot at a reply to you messed up. Sorry!
        I think you really misunderstood what I wrote….I NEVER meant that Amanda needs to wheedle, “wear down”, batter, or manipulate her husband. That was not my message. But there is nothing wrong in time to time with sharing what’s in one’s heart when the moment is right. I think that Amanda did the right thing too by honoring her husband.
        By the way, all things are possible in God!! We are called in this modern day to many more roles than we used to be. Our job is to discern our priorities and focus on the most important. God gives graces to us as they are needed to help us in our task.
        All the Best,
        “the other writer”, Stephanie:)

        • Jesus-in-the-City says:

          Hi Stephanie!

          Sorry not to use your name! I was responding a few hours after I read your comment and I didn’t check back to see your name, so that’s why I used “the other writer”. I have a two year old and a 4 month old, so most times I shouldn’t even be writing and just sneak replies in now and again when I can and fast because I love Sheila’s blog! :)

          I dont think I used any of the words that you used in your reply and I didn’t mean to imply that you meant that. I noticed that you used the word gently and I repeated it. I just think, from Amanda’s original comment, that it seemed from the effect that the issue of homeschooling was having on their marriage, like she had probably brought it up enough and her husband is most likely very aware of her position on the matter. I totally agree with your advice on bringing things up in a timely manner. That is so important! It just seemed to me, from what she said, that it probably wasn’t necessary for her to reiterate her point anymore. You said she should say that she just wants to share ideas together, but it seems like bringing it up again, after they have already agreed on the Christian schooling and after she has already expressed her desire to homeschool and that wasn’t the agreement they came to, it might seem more like beating a dead horse than gently sharing ideas.

          Hey, this is just totally my opinion and you could be completely right. I guess it’s up to Amanda to decide. I just thought that the stance The Lord brought her to was a wise one and wanted to commend her on submitting in this areas because I’m sure it would be something I would find difficult to do myself.

          Anyway, looks like we mostly agree. Thanks for responding and sorry again if I misconstrued what you were saying.

          God bless!
          Aja

  19. Get SpectorPro in addition to a filter. It takes a snapshot of the computer screen every few seconds. There’s no way they can disable it. You see what they see. Sometimes it’s not porn that’s a problem, it can be as simple as a FaceTime call with a girl/guy. We told our kids that it was on our computer and said, “everything you see, mom or dad sees”. It’s like sitting in the room with them all the time. I don’t read everything, only if they give me a reason to. It works great.

  20. Thank you, Aja and Stephanie! You are both so kind and helpful, uplifting too! I’ve really enjoyed this discussion, and discovering our similarities :) God bless you both!

  21. I know it hurts. But I attended a boarding school, where we knew what everyone was doing, I can tell you that a good 95% of the boys in my year watched porn. But still a good 80% were good kids you will never even suspect, I was one of them. It is just puberty getting at us. You wouldn’t imagine how innocent some of the kids we caught were.
    There’s only one solution I can propose. Have someone talk with the kid on the issue. As a parent I would suggest you don’t have the talk to your kid on how you caught them watching porn. You make think that is the right approach, but trust me it is wrong. In whichever way you tell your child, he will always feel like he has disappointed you.
    Also, there is no way to stop your child, only he can decide to stop himself. If you turn off the wi-fi, use web protection, monitor his daily movement, you can never stop him. Your aim is not to stop him from accessing porn, but to stop him from feeling like he needs porn. And the way to do that like I said is to take him for a talk, or let someone talk to him. And don’t let the talk be relating to the event of you catching him watching porn, it should just be on why doing stuff like that is wrong.
    Something that helped me, is I got a calender, so for each day I didn’t watch porn, I put a tick on the day. When you see those ticks building up, you will begin to feel accomplished. No kid loves watching porn, it is just something they do to ease the feeling. Also, get him involved in sports, or something that will burn his time, and testosterone levels. I know at that age testesterone levels are very high. Hope this was helpful.

  22. My problem is not with the home computer, it’s with my teenage son’s smartphone. Do they make programs to block porn from smart phones? I noticed his was viewed on “sexyvinevideos” and You Tube.

  23. Mom2Four says:

    I recently found out my 13 year old son look up a pornography website. I was mortified and cried for hours when I saw what he saw. I candidly spoke with him about it and he said he would not look at it again. I did not shame him or tell him he was wrong but I did tell him that looking at those kind of videos and sites could lead to bad things. My husband has always made “judgement calls” about what movies he watches and what XBox games he plays. I strictly go by the ratings and hubby does not. He tells me that all this stuff is just normal boy being curious and says we will deal with it. How can I get hubby on board with raising our children in a Christian home? My hubby is a man of God but has let the way of the world soften him and make him passive about what our kids can and are exposed to. Anyone else experience this and how do you handle it?

  24. Kim Simone says:

    My kids are grown now but when they were growing up we had a program called Cyber Sitter on our computer. It blocked pornography and other bad stuff. It worked really well. I remember there was another one called Net Nanny. I’m sure there areother programs out there. I’m just baffled the parents don’t put these on their computers to protect their children. They are not difficult to find or to install on the computer. I hope the parents out there do that asap.

  25. Anonymous, I really liked your comment. Because you can block everything in your home, you can throw all cell phones, computers TV’s and video games, but truth be told, you still can’t prevent it if your child has decided he/she wants to watch porn, they will find a way. The important thing is to talk to your kids, about sex, about everything porn related, because sooner or later, a teenage boy whether homeschooled, or Christian schooled or public schooled will find out about porn. And sooner or later, our sons will be sexually aroused. Letting kids know this is normal, that sexual feelings are a part of Gods design, and that he has something amazing in store for marriage that Satan intends to steal. It’s so important that our children know that what God has planned for sex is awesome, but Satan wants to steal the joy, and the purity and the love out of it and make it wrong. And pray like crazy the the God who is all powerful works powerfully in the hearts of our young men. And also, it is important to know that its not just young men who struggle with this. With the wide availability of porn, a great number of our husbands and father’s of our children are completely caught up in this addiction and are living with the self loathing that comes with the addiction and the lies they tell. And for a wife it can be difficult to talk to your husbands in a supportive way if they are struggling with this because it makes us feel unloved. But we must support our husbands and love them enough to ask them if they struggle and if they do, to love them through it and pray and allow God to work on them…and this can be really hard. But if a dad can become free of this satanic influence, how much greater is the chance of the little boy to be free?

  26. When a child/teenager encounters pornography it is a form of child abuse. The website/magazine/movie is an abuser.

    My daughter was caught up in it, reading things and viewing videos. We had no idea.

    I let her know that a child’s brain (let alone an adult one) can’t process those images and thing straight. I let her know that she was a victim, and even though she enjoyed being victimized, that she had been essentially preyed upon by pornographers.

    I didn’t use that language with her but dumbed it down. She understood. I was grateful she told me what she had been doing, I didn’t ever suspect her. I didn’t show anger to her, but rather to the perpetrators. It was like I had let an abuser in my house. I was proud of her for taking responsibilty by telling me, but I didn’t punish her.

    She was 12-13 I helped her when she was 15. She feels like she lost 3 years of innocence.

    We sobbed together and prayed and allowed the healing to begin. She is so close to God now and cherishes her virture and cleanliness.

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