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Say you know that your son watches pornography and you may or may not have caught him in the act. How do you react to this ? Do you ban him from using the internet/monitor his activities or overlook if you think he watches a little bit once in a while ? Assume that he is not a addict and has a life beyond the internet. Please share your thoughts and/or experiences with me.

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His age is an important factor in how to react. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Mar 20 at 7:23
    
Actually, I am not a parent. But, I would like to get some answers to this question. Chenqui. –  Borat Sagdiyev Mar 20 at 7:29
    
Why do you need to catch him in the act? This isn't a court of law we're talking about, right? Why does he have unrestricted access to the internet? I'd say it's pretty normal for a pubescent teen to want to watch pornography... it's your job to make it impossible. –  Ed S. Mar 20 at 8:31
    
I have reopened it, but I encourage you to still add a bit more detail. Approaches for communicating with a 13 year old are still going to be quite different from communicating with a 19 year old. –  Beofett Mar 21 at 12:38
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"it's your job to make it impossible" = that's an impossible job. –  DA01 Mar 22 at 21:58
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

My son is only year old these days, but I can't deny I think about "those discussions" I'll have to make with him at some point, in the years to come. So here is what I would probably do.

  1. First of all, in the beginning of his puberty I will have "that discussion" with him, explaining about many things and probably mention porn as well. I don't think that telling something like "never watch porn" is going to work so rather advice him to stay discreet about it and not let it reflect on real life.
  2. If I will catch him watching porn, I will just repeat what I said before. Again, I don't think I will yell at him or punish. Of course that it also depends on the type of porn (there are things that will not be tolerated) but generally speaking, I must face that it's part of becoming adult.

One more thing, if we ban something and press the child into a corner, he might retaliate in unexpected ways and in the end of the day, banning porn might only lead to him watching more. So better have it under some sort of control. Plus, we all do it, or at least did it at young age so totally forbidding it would be hypocrite.

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Yes, I agree. People need to let off some steam once in a while. Puberty is not choice, but nature at work. As long as its not the main thing in life, it okay. The strange thing is that I know some married mens who watch a porno despite have wife. They forbid their kids to use internet/pc when catch them watching porn. Hypocrisy at its best. As long as it not too extreme porn, it okay. –  Borat Sagdiyev Mar 30 at 7:53
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I agree with Shadow Wizard that talking is important. I think it is also important to let your boy know that porn, even in its more harmless variants, is not what making love looks like (and explain how it differs). Even I as a female accept that watching at porn is something what some people do, and (in my opinion) it's not necessarily bad, as long as certain boundaries aren't crossed (ie no violence, etc.).

With a young man watching porn, I would assume that he might be trying to learn more about sex and personal relations. This may be related to learning how to navigate the minefield of dating and all that follows, or it might be related to learning how to handle the roller coaster of hormones he is probably subject to. Either way, I think he deserves understanding and guidance, not prohibition (or worse, punishment).

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You need to talk to him, not just once, about the importance of respecting his own intimacy and other´s. Also, take some practical actions like not allowing computers or TVs in the bedrooms. Computers at home should be in places where everybody can watch over.

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+1 for the first sentence, -1 for the next so +0 in total. I agree we (parents) should talk with our children about those things, but also think we should allow them privacy at some point. Otherwise it would look like we don't trust them. –  Shadow Wizard Mar 24 at 13:44
    
Be careful with privacy. There is no privacy on the internet, period. So letting the children have their own TV or take devices into their rooms is not a matter of trust, is a matter of helping them have real privacy, and rest, and helping them deal with nocive content. –  MikeG Mar 25 at 2:06
    
At some point, you ought to trust your children that they will manage their time properly and be careful online. It can start when they're 20 or 16. –  Shadow Wizard Mar 25 at 7:33
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You gotta talk to him. You won't be able to just outright block it - he'll find a way around it. The dangers of pornography on the teenage mind(and any mind for that matter) are well-documented. Pornography addiction is going to be a big issue for kids growing up now with the internet. Like you said, your son isn't addicted, but being aware of how addictive it is may help him in making a good decision.

He's gotta be able to make his own decisions about it - you can't just control him forever - so the best you can do is guide him to make smart decisions. Checkout yourbrainonporn.com to start.

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"The dangers of pornography on the teenage mind are well-documented" -- really? Cavemen in 28,000 BCE had porn (see eg. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Willendorf), while the idea that porn corrupts young minds is a Victorian invention. –  jpatokal Mar 23 at 10:58
    
Corruption is no invention, is a fact and yes, porn has corrupted men of all times. We will not help teens from it by accepting it as normal. Porn corrupts men´s minds and we all should seek to educate teens out of it. –  MikeG Apr 1 at 13:05
    
Thanks Mike. @jpatokal The article you linked even states that there is much speculation about the purpose of the statue. Pornography has always corrupted but now it is available in extreme quantities, so we need to be responsible for ourselves and our children. –  Dan Apr 2 at 0:55
    
"Fact"? Actual scientific research on the topic is mixed at best, there's some evidence that the availability of porn has decreased sexual violence. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_pornography –  jpatokal Apr 2 at 1:29
    
Yes, it certainly had some benefits - I don't disagree that it can mitigate sexual violence. In fact you could say that its one of the big plus-sides to porn being available so widely on the internet now - that would-be predators can 'get their rocks off' without hurting anyone! That's why I'm not arguing for banning it. It is still something that should certainly not be taken lightly, and teenagers deserve to be taught about it's effects. –  Dan Apr 2 at 13:14
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