Internet Porn and teenage boys - Mothering Forums
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Preteens and Teens > Internet Porn and teenage boys
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 02:02 AM 01-02-2005
I can't believe I'm posting this here or anywhere, for that matter. I happened upon the history button on my computer tonight and found that my oldest son (13 in Feb) has been viewing pornography on the internet. We have parental controls and he has shut them off when we're away. What's worse is that our computer is in our play room and he's been doing this while babysitting siblings. I asked him about it and he lied, of course. I told him I knew what he was doing and he finally admitted it. You need to know that I am a very conservative person. I don't watch TV unless the kids are sleeping, I don't watch movies, I don't read any mainstream publications or books, there is nothing sexually explicit in our home at all. I have always been very open with him about sex in general and it's place in society. Porn is so disgusting, IMO. I'm home all day with the kids schooling them, playing games with them, reading to them. I feel like such a failure, though. I thought I could trust him and that trust is really quite shattered at this point. He's at my parent's house tonight which is probably good so I can gather myself before I have to talk with him. I just had to vent about this. Thanks for listening.

teachermom's Avatar teachermom 02:17 AM 01-02-2005
this is not a reflection on what kind of mom you are or what kind of kid he is. he is just a teenage boy with teenage curisoity. I would first see if you can move your computer to a very public place in the house. what parental security do you have on your computer? I have norton and I can set it where only the administrator can change settings. my ds does not even know that there is an adminstrator because I set it to hide that user. he of course does not know the password to use adminstrator even if he found it. as for how to deal with your son about it...maybe explain why you feel porn is bad/innaproperate with out making it about his sexuallity just keeping it general. you could limit his computer usuage to when you are home until you feel that he is being responsible for it. just so you know...the history can be erased, which now that he has been caught by it he will most likely figure out. I can't remember which but either norton or windows xp have a feature where it logs all websites visited and can not be cleared.
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 02:22 AM 01-02-2005
We also have norton and I'm an idiot and didn't know you could set a password. Needless to say that has now been done. Norton has the weblogs that cannot be erased. Our computer is in our most main room, what would be a dining room but is a play room in the front of our house. That's why I put it here. Ugh, parenting babies is so much easier, and fun, than parenting teens.

I have already told him that his feelings/urges/etc are normal. Acting on them in this manner, however, is not. Esp when in charge of younger siblings. Also, he's not even supposed to be on the internet or computer when I'm not home. Anyway, thank you for responding.
MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 04:14 AM 01-02-2005
Actually, acting on his sexual feelings and curiosity by seeking out porn is normal. All teenage kids do it. The internet has just made it easier to get. It is not, however, acceptable to you in your home and possibly in front of your younger children. I'm not conservative about things like you so I don't have any advice or ideas of what to do to keep him from looking at the porn. However, I agree with teachermom that it is not a reflection of your parenting or his character. It's a natural curiosity. It might be better to have your dh talk to him about what you think is acceptable and unacceptable regarding sex and why. Don't despair because there is nothing wrong with your son. On the contrary, this shows that your son is a normal teenage boy.
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 11:53 AM 01-02-2005
After sleeping on it I realized that my upset is not so much from looking at the porn, though it's not the best place to find out about sex, IMO. My real issue is him doing it in broad daylight, in the playroom, while babysitting. That makes me very ill. If a babysitter that I hired (and we do pay him) did that I would so freak out!!! Anyway, thanks again for the support. I am glad that he's normal, :LOL I just wish he was normal in private.
Coffee Mom's Avatar Coffee Mom 12:19 PM 01-02-2005
You are right, the issue isn't the porn but the viewing of it with younger children around and while he's babysitting. Although I don't have any boys, I'm sure your son is very normal, he just needs to learn to do these things in private. Best of luck!
MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 04:57 PM 01-02-2005
Maybe he's not ready to babysit yet. If this happened with someone outside the family, or even someone else in your family like a neice or uncle, you would not hire them again because it would be obvious they don't show good judgement of what is and is not appropriate around young children. I think you should react the same way with your older children. Don't "hire" him to babysit again.

I know how easy it is to expect your older children to watch your younger ones while you run out for a quick errand or get some much needed shopping done but 13, especially for boys, is not always as mature as we'd like to think. I would never let my 13yo ds babysit my almost 1yo because I know that he is not emotionally mature enough. I do sometimes ask him to watch the baby for maybe 5-10 minutes while I run to the convenience store for a soda. He usually offers to go to the store for me instead because he doesn't want to babysit even for such a short time.

One thing that came to my mind after reading your original post was how you could be so sure that it was him looking at the porn. But then you said he eventually confessed so I guess this isn't an issue unless he might confess to something he didn't really do because he was backed into a corner.
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 12:43 AM 01-03-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife
Maybe he's not ready to babysit yet. If this happened with someone outside the family, or even someone else in your family like a neice or uncle, you would not hire them again because it would be obvious they don't show good judgement of what is and is not appropriate around young children. I think you should react the same way with your older children. Don't "hire" him to babysit again.

I know how easy it is to expect your older children to watch your younger ones while you run out for a quick errand or get some much needed shopping done but 13, especially for boys, is not always as mature as we'd like to think. I would never let my 13yo ds babysit my almost 1yo because I know that he is not emotionally mature enough. I do sometimes ask him to watch the baby for maybe 5-10 minutes while I run to the convenience store for a soda. He usually offers to go to the store for me instead because he doesn't want to babysit even for such a short time.

.
Ds took the Red Cross Babysitting class two years ago. I didn't really let him babysit until recently. And, no, he won't be hired again anytime soon.

We talked this evening and hashed a few things out. There was no yelling or crying or anything like that. He was punished for lieing, punished for abusing his babysitting privelages but not punished for curiousity. And I know it was him based on the time and date on the computer history.

Thanks again everyone!
meowee's Avatar meowee 01:24 AM 01-03-2005
sorry this is happening! I was just thinking about you today, isn't that weird?

I haven't read all the other responses yet, so maybe I'm repeating, but, I too am a very conservative person when it comes to this stuff.

You need to password protect the parental controls immediately. If he can still bypass them, he must not be allowed to use a computer that has internet access. Period. Not even at thelibrary.

Curiosity about sex is ok, but looking at porn and having sex at his age are not ok (I don't believe porn is ever okay, actually). I would discuss sex with him in a very open way always in the context of religion, marriage and conception. You are a conservative Catholic, right? So you undertand what I'm talking about. Tell him that it is spiritually dangerous to dabble in sexual things like this outside the sacrament of marriage. Tell him that sex is not "dirty" or something to be ashamed of, but that when a woman has sex, she is sharing her soul. Does he want a woman's soul to be used like that? Sex should be a sacred act between husband and wife, in the context of conception. This is the trad. Catholic viewpoint, right?

Others don't have these beliefs, but even though I'm not Catholic, you & I do.
MarineWife's Avatar MarineWife 03:15 AM 01-03-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekblad7+
Ds took the Red Cross Babysitting class two years ago.
That's good. I can't even get my ds to take the classes.
wildbozmommy's Avatar wildbozmommy 09:28 AM 01-03-2005
We went through this with our now 15yo DS at that age. Even though it's normal, you have to remember the crap that is out there is not the innocent naked woman stuff that was available when we were growing up. Looking at porn can also become a destructive habit if it's not nipped in the bud. We have strict parental controls on our kids' computers and get reports just about everyday that list what sites they were on and what sites were blocked, etc. There are lots of good programs out there that you can download that will give you even greater control. Good luck!
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 11:35 AM 01-03-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife
That's good. I can't even get my ds to take the classes.

Well, he seemed to learn alot then but I think he needs a refresher. He must have missed the part where they said "don't look at porn on the computer when caring for young children" :LOL Seriously, he liked the classes alot. There was only one other boy in the class but he didn't seem to mind.

I think having the password will help so much (i'm such an idiot to not know that was available before) but I would love to get the reports too. I'll have to check into that.
teachermom's Avatar teachermom 01:16 AM 01-05-2005
I agree that parenting teens (or even almost teens) is so much harder. The issues just seem to get so much more important. sounds like you are in a better place about this incident. I'm glad. ds and I talk alot about the porn crap that you can find on-line...luckily for me at this point I think he mostly thinks the idea of sex is gross, mostly-not totally. :LOL
LadyGodiva's Avatar LadyGodiva 09:36 AM 01-05-2005
Being curious about sexuality is normal and healthy for boys this age (and older ).

He should learn of that incident.... that, as others have already said
1) viewing porn in the presence of young children is not acceptable. Make him think of the consequences if he'd been doing that while sitting the neighbours' children?
2) and what I find of crucial importance, that pronography is NOT THE REAL THING. It's not the norm, it's not the avarage person's sexlife. It does not depict the avarage person's body. Pornography is a multi million dollar buisness. It's about making money.....

But there are alternatives to porn. Take an artbook: There are many erotic paintings & sculptures. Themes of legendary lovers, paintings of haremwomen dressed in the lightest of muslin cloth, in a room think with incsent smoke, filled with luxurious cushions & guilded furniture. Stunning female (and male!) nudes.
At the same time, he'll learn to recognise a David or a D├ęgas

As to the poster that said to tell the boy sex outside marriage was bad for his spirituality......... I don't agree with that. I feel a young person must make experiences. " try before you buy"
Plus the fact that maybe he does not want to follow into his parent's footsteps in that matter when he's adult and living his own life.

All the best!
lab's Avatar lab 11:13 AM 01-05-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbozmommy
We went through this with our now 15yo DS at that age. Even though it's normal, you have to remember the crap that is out there is not the innocent naked woman stuff that was available when we were growing up. Looking at porn can also become a destructive habit if it's not nipped in the bud. We have strict parental controls on our kids' computers and get reports just about everyday that list what sites they were on and what sites were blocked, etc. There are lots of good programs out there that you can download that will give you even greater control. Good luck!
I was going to make this same point.

I don't have a problem with porn, boys and girls at this age will seek it out. Whether it's a magazine or a racy book. That's normal. And I understand that you were mostly upset about your sons, uh, timing.....

I do have a problem with teenagers seeing some of the stuff that is on the internet! That's not cool.......
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 12:26 AM 01-06-2005


Quote:
Tell him that sex is not "dirty" or something to be ashamed of, but that when a woman has sex, she is sharing her soul.
Do you mean that a man is not, or is there just some other reason to emphasis a "woman sharing her soul"?

TIA,
Kay
mwherbs's Avatar mwherbs 12:05 PM 01-06-2005
I am not exactly sure how to say this but it is crossing my mind when I read this thread- I agree and totally support you on the not while babysitting kids and not in a room they are in. But just exactly how/when if only left alone with temptation when babysitting was he going to try this? Just wondering
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 12:56 PM 01-06-2005
I don't know if I understand your question but he was babysitting a couple of weeks ago and did do this.
chicagomom's Avatar chicagomom 07:18 PM 01-06-2005
I guess I'm curious too about this. My kids aren't at this age yet, but I also wonder how to handle this. I agree internet porn use can be a destructive habit and doesn't represent healthy sexuality very well to young kids just learning about sex. OTOH, I also think their seeking it out is normal.

So, how do you help them channel these urges? Do you direct them to racy novels? Permit certain kinds of porn? I'm at a loss. It seems like saying it's just forbidden is a way of denying the reality of their feelings.

How do you AP porn?
lab's Avatar lab 08:01 PM 01-06-2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagomom
How do you AP porn?
The question of the day!!!!!

I want to see this at the top of the main forums page!
chicagomom's Avatar chicagomom 08:22 PM 01-06-2005
:
Jenne's Avatar Jenne 03:35 AM 01-08-2005
Well...one way to AP porn might be this...when my brother was 11 or so we lived overseas and the news stands all had various nudey magazines just out and about for the world to peek at. So he did. Over and over and over. Everytime we would pass one he would just stare and stare at the covers. So. Everytime we passed one my mom would ask him if he wanted a magazine. He would blush and say no. She would ask if he was sure. My dad would also do the same thing. Finally one day he said, okay. So he and my dad went and purchased it and then they went and had a talk about it. I'm not sure what exactly they talked about but I do know that the ogling stopped after that. I think, knowing my dad, they probably talked about how the magazine wasn't real, that it had nothing to do with love, how sex can be both a wonderful thing and a destructive thing all depending on circumstance, and that having self-pride and wanting women to have pride were important things but that liking women (and their bodies) was natural. To me being open and honest and guideing embodies the AP parent of children and adolescents...

Now...how do you AP sex???

Happy New Year,

Jenne
bettymundy's Avatar bettymundy 05:20 PM 01-08-2005
Hi, this is my first posting, although I am a long time mothering reader..just never seemed to have time to get chatting unfortunately. Anyway, it is desperately sad that my first posting would be for this reason, but I could really use the support and advice of a greater, like minded community.
I was helping my nine year old son clean up his room two days ago. I opened a box and saw a bunch of folded up papers..he's a packrat so i never thought, just unfolded the first to see if it should be thrown out or not, and it was a pornagraphic picture printed from a computer (our's, as it turns out). There were many more, and I only looked at a couple, they were nauseating, but the worst was the list written in our beeswax crayon by his childish hand, listing site after site with little boxes next to them for checks when he'd been there.
Understand, we are a homeschooling family, with no t.v, no newspaper delivery, we don't even listen to NPR when our kids are around. We moniter everything they watch and see, our computer is in the kitchen, I sit with him whenever he does a search in case he ever came across anything by accident, and he is limited to 1/2 hour a day.True, I can be in and out of the room, but I am always near. I felt very certain that he would not be aware of porn unless by accident, but I was wrong. Someone, and he named another child in our community who is denying all knowledge, gave him a list of sites to visit, and I have that list too.
He and his best friend asked for a sleepover, not an unusual occurence for them, and they and another friend slept in our den. After we had gone up to bed they snuck into the kitchen to get online and view the listed sites, and printed out material.
I feel so stupid because we saw those sites in our cookies, and on our printer list, and assumed they were deposited there by some kind of spyware. I even asked around for software which could prevent this because I wanted to protect my child from coming across it. We deleted them right away and congratulated ourselves on keeping our home safe....
Last night we went right through our address bar to see if there are anymore sites and we got all the way to x before we found one. He's gone looking while I've been reading to or attending his sisters, when I thought he was looking at Bionicle sites! And he confirmed this for us.
There is high emotion in our home, and I am devestated. The accused child's mother says the list I have is not in her child's hand, so my son likely lied about this too.
He is a sweet, lovely boy, my firstborn, and every time I look at him I see the things he's seen, and I can't meet his eyes.
We are trying to keep a level head, talk about what he's seen, and he claims he wants to leave it all behind and becomes very hysterical when we talk to him, but I am becoming concerned that this is a cover, and I am loosing perspective.
I don't want to make it bigger, and the other boys families spoke to their sons and feel that it is taken care of, but I am afraid my boy has problems, and am beginning to wonder if he should have counselling.
I read with interest the other threads, but my son is so much younger that I don't feel I can write it off as just natural curiosity.
Thank you for reading such a long entry, and I welcome all responses,
honey's Avatar honey 01:35 AM 01-10-2005
Betty,
I don't really know what to say about this other than 1) welcome to MDC and 2) I'm so sorry this happened to you. I have an almost 9 yo son and I would feel very strange about him seeing porn, much stranger than if it had been my 14 yo. It just seems young, and that some innocence was lost. I wish I knew what else to say. It sounds like you are a great mom.
ekblad9's Avatar ekblad9 02:18 AM 01-10-2005
Betty - I am so sorry that you are going through this. Though my son is 12, I imagine his maturity level to be a bit younger. I was in your shoes about looking at him and still can't look into his eyes (granted it's only been a week). The worst was looking at the history on the computer and seeing a few porn sites and then Lego.com or something. How sad. I wish I could tell you what to do. I think counseling would probably be a good idea. I don't know if you attend church but our priest talked with Brandon (at Brandon's request) for a long time last week. It seemed to really help alot. It steps things up a lot when this type of thing happens. PM me if you want to talk further.
Jenne's Avatar Jenne 06:06 PM 01-10-2005
Betty,

My heart goes out to you! Just a thought I had and wanted to share. Perhaps he wasn't looking at the those sites for sexual gratification but instead because it was naked ladies? That may not seem like a difference but to me it is a big one. I think there are many 9 year old boys who would jump at the chance to see a woman's breasts. Not because of a sexual urge but because it has the allure of the unusual. As a former teacher of boys I have seen my fair share of folded up print outs and magazine pages which I found shoved into backpack bottoms and then the tears and hysterics over the embarrassment at getting caught. I think talking with your son and talking with his friends' parents was the best course of action. If you are religious and want him to speak with a minister/pastor/priest/mullah/rabbi that would work too. I'm not sure a trip to a social worker/psychologist type counselor is in order though. Most likely he is incredibly embarassed and really does want to just move on. Obviously you know what is best for your son and are in the best place to gauge what type of intervention is nescessary. Rest assured that this is not too unusual...

Happy New Year,

Jenne
chicagomom's Avatar chicagomom 07:00 PM 01-12-2005
I agree with Jenne (nice responses - thanks!)

Unless there is some other thing you are concerned about (such as abuse), I would chalk it up to curiousity and interest in naked bodies, and wouldn't escalate it to a psychologist visit. It might help you to talk to your minister or priest; I don't know if I would send him (I guess it would depend on how comfortable your son is with the person). Being confronted/ embarrassed/ chastised by an unfamiliar person might make things worse, rather than better.

It sounds like part of the problem for you is that he was hiding it and lying. My heart goes out to you.

I'd be curious to know from where the list came - an older friend or sibling?
LizD's Avatar LizD 02:43 PM 01-13-2005
The most difficult thing we are ever called on to do is not to overreact when we are shocked. A teen boy's curiosity and looking at porn are perfectly normal. Even younger is normal, too, depending on the person. My MIL found playboy under dh's bed when he was 7! Her ped told her to ignore it. If a son had been looking at some "hardcore" sites you might want to explain that not everyone enjoys every activity.... But your point about porn being disgusting, "in your opinion" is to me the real issue. It isn't disgusting to many people. Many love it, or could take it or leave it, etc. As our children mature we have to take into account that they may have very different opinions about this sort of thing and opinions are not values. By this I mean your family's values aren't threatened by this. You've raised him well, no doubt, and the values you have instilled are in there.

I totally understand why you'd be upset bc he was looking at it while in charge of his siblings, though. I have even had to speak to my friend's 17yo dd about what she does while in charge of the younger ones (she wanted to borrow our copy of A Clockwork Orange while babysitting!?!?!). BUT if you set it up so he can't ever look at it, he's going to try to see it somewhere, and that might not be what you want to encourage, either, because you will be completely in the dark about what he's doing...I would never offer advice on this, you have to do what's right for your home, but just a thought that crossed my mind.
Meiri's Avatar Meiri 04:13 PM 01-23-2005
We are going throught this here with DS, 14, too. He doesn't go to porn sites as such though. He learned, from his friends we guess, that Google image searches will turn up porn or porn-ish images.

We now have internet access password protected with content levels set at 0. You need the password to get the Excite! homepage, or Yahoo even. For DH and me to use the internet, we can disable the content control, but to keep him from the Google image pages, it must be set at 0. They are flying under the porn content radar somehow.

We didn't tell him that we'd done this. It was interesting to see how he reacted when I left him home alone the next time, and he did indeed try to go online without permission. At this point it's almost game between him and his dad, but not a serious one, so far. He's had a good thorough sex ed course too, so it's not uninformed curiousity.

We will not buy him a magazine, or a toy. As DH put it, we didn't have that stuff when I was his age.
Maybe I should give him access to my copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves?:LOL
our veggie baby's Avatar our veggie baby 02:08 PM 02-02-2005
I am against porn because I see most of it as the complete objectification of women and that is NOT okay with me at all...I would have no problem, well I guess, not nealy as much of a problem if it were just say, nude models, or even fondling, kissing, caressing type things my son was looking at, but some of these sites WOW...I mean, some REALLY hardcore stuff, borderlining on abuse of women in my opinion and I wouldn't in any capacity want my son to actually think that it was okay to treat women in such a manner, to use them as *playthings* and everything that goes along with it---because let's be realistic here folks, most porn is geared heavily towards men and THEIR pleasure, and a lot of it that I have seen portrays women in a VERY submissive, serving, objectified way---except of course on the whole other S&M scale, which has it's own downfalls to me....

So anyway, while I feel curiosity is very normal, I would NOT be cool with the online porn thing AT ALL-- if it were say, one or two sites and that was it, I probably wouldn't even address it and chalk it up to curiosity, but if it were like, site after site after site in the history etc, I would really start to think something was amiss and would address the situation immediately!

There would be a lot of discussion, I can say that for sure, and I would take it from there I guess...
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