What do I do – I caught my child looking at porn


I caught my child watching porn, what should I do? Have healthy, meaningful conversations to undo the damage that has been done. Here is your guide to help your child disassociate himself from the evil of porn.

Lately, my writings have been about socially relevant issues; real issues that today's parents encounter. Problems regarding peer pressure and lack of motivation in children and also addiction of social media and technology. I have discussed some serious, burning issues as well, like the article that talks about children keeping bad friends and another one on teaching boys to respect women. I have also written an article about living with an LBGTQ child. The LGBTQ topic is not a problem, really, but parents do require guidance to come to terms with it.

Parents cannot run away from these issues; they are too in the face. It is important to have a strategy to cope with the challenges that kids inadvertently throw at us. The parenting task is not easy, but you've got to do it.



I mulled over the present topic; wondered if it was appropriate to discuss it. I realised that it is a problem, and brushing it under the carpet is not a solution. I believe that issues that threaten our children should be discussed threadbare, so we can arrive at practical solutions. It is equally important to discuss another pertinent issue, which can be awkward for parents to handle; something that most Indian parents would perhaps shy away from, because of all the cultural taboos. But, it's serious enough to be addressed.

I am referring to pornography or porn. With smartphones in the palm of their hands and computing devices in their rooms, children have easy access to explicit sexual content. The curiosity of the unknown can soon turn into an addiction. What would you do if you find your child is watching porn?

Livid perhaps, and possibly a little uncomfortable too. Becoming incensed will not resolve the problem of your child viewing adult content online. You need to tackle the situation, maturely, in such a way that it allows you to address different aspects of the issue. Confiscating the computing devices or restricting the internet usage will not resolve the problem either. Your kid will find other ways to watch adult content. It is time for you to have open discussions with your child.



Courtesy: Time Magazine

A look at the search history of your kids' computer will perhaps reveal a lot about what they watch on the internet when you think they are gainfully engaged.

An internet history replete with porn sites will come as a major shock to you. It is inquisitiveness that takes the child to these sites, but it soon becomes a preoccupation. Our culture is not open about sex, and unfortunately, porn, as flagrant as it may be, become 'lessons' for the child.

It is understandable for a child to be curious about something that no one openly talks of. Parents think that it is not the age for their child to be viewing explicit adult content. And they are right in their view. These video clips can corrupt the child's immature mind. After all, the aberrant content deviates from the normal and is replete with perversion and degrading imagery and worse.



Courtesy: The Independent

Don't hit the roof


Coming back to your reaction – avoid judging and calling your child unsavoury names. Take a grip over your emotions. Remain calm and deal with it judiciously. Shaming your child is not going to change a thing. Yes, you caught them watching something that they shouldn't have been watching, but you hadn't ever forbidden them from it, had you?

Getting angry might seem a plausible reaction, but what will you achieve? This is not a crisis situation that needs to be remedied immediately. You will need to counsel your child and for that conversations are important.

If you show your anger, then you'll close the doors to conversations. Fear of you will override everything else and your kid will not be receptive to your opinions.

Get things back to normal


Your child must be full of shame, knowing that his deception has been caught. No one likes being caught doing the barred stuff. Don't give him a dressing down and add to his shame. I am not advocating that you ignore what you discovered; not at all. The suggestion that you do not shout at the child does not imply that you condone or ratify what he did. But, you not shouting does remove any fear the child might have and makes him a little more inclined to listen to what you have to say.

Whilst, shouting and shaming the child would make him look at himself as immoral, for being curious about something that is intrinsically normal to human behaviour.



Keep the conversation positive


It is extremely difficult for parents to talk to their kids about physical intimacy. However, when your child has been watching porn, it becomes your duty to educate them on certain apposite aspects. Don't make sex seem as if it were something unhealthy. Instead, stress on the fact that there is a time for everything, and that they are still too young to be exploring it.

Help your child realise that sexual relationship is part of a healthy bond, between couples, and it is not the way as it is depicted online. Focus on aspects that it is about being with the right person, respect for the partner and a monogamous relationship. Speak about the bad effects of casual sex and promiscuity. Get out of your comfort zone and speak to your child about everything that's unnatural about porn. And while you are on the topic, you can also consider talking about HIV, STDs and pregnancy.

In this day and age, where information is available at the click of a button, it would be foolish to act like a prude, in front of your child. Your conversation should let your child know that you have their interest at heart.



Courtesy: YouTube

Clear the misconceptions


Your child has been viewing porn and has seen more than he should have, at his age. The vivid videos can corrupt their impressionable mind. You will need to enlighten him on the twisted misrepresentation shown in these videos. You need to have that frank talk with your kid, or else he will carry with him the impressions the videos made on him. Those vision become trapped in his mind and can lead him to believe them to be true. He would one day want to go there and experience everything that he has seen.

You need to clear the fallacies that such content creates, to protect your kid from becoming a debauchee.

Talk to them about male vs. female sexual reactions. Speak about everything that is wrong with the content that he has been watching. Let him know that it is not about male domination and that these movies are just about fantasies.

Talk about why porn is wrong


We already have social and cultural taboos in place. You can also introduce your religious convictions to explain why it is a problem. Other than these, I believe that it's vital for your kid to realize that pornographic material is destructive, and it can harm his developing brain and his understanding of the healthy sexual relationship.

Also, bring up the point about the exploitative and abusive nature of porn. It is a big industry, but it is a clear exploitation of women; it is the objectification of women, for the hedonistic. It eroticises humiliation, control and intimidation of women and reinforces mindsets that inspire sexual harassment, rape and brutality. Discuss the Nirbhaya case.

Be open to questions


Put aside your awkwardness and ask your child if he has any questions. Don't shy away from the subject, because your kid will have questions – be prepared to answer them.

Prod them, to help enable the conversation; ask if what they saw terrified them or if it shocked and troubled them. There is no doubt that the conversation that ensues is going to be uncomfortable, but you must clear those doubts, to prevent what they watched to leave an everlasting impact on your child.



Set rules and boundaries


Explain your expectations and rules to your child. He needs to know that he is too young to be viewing such content. He also needs to be told all the things that have been covered in this article.

Also, enable parental control on the computing device, so you can censor content that your child can view. Install a spy app on your child's smartphone that gives you easy and instant access to all their logs. I cannot stress how important this is.

Children will be curious, don't hold it against them. But, ensure that you show them how wrong and twisted porn can be. It is your job to protect and guide them - show them the right perspective. Have you handled a similar situation, as a parent? Any words of advice or experiences that you would like to share? Let us know how you would deal with this situation?


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Comments

Author: K Mohan27 Sep 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

This is a challenging situation faced by every parent as the children grow up to adolescent age. They are bound to know more about sex and sex education. As this subject is neither taught at school or at home, the interest of the child further increases and thus look for source and ideas to watch the subject. And once that urge comes into mind, children go to any level for watching porn contents. Many school and college going students are given cell phones fully loaded with data packs. It is the parents who should be responsible to keep an eagle eye on the behavior and movements of the child and to check them as and when the need arises.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Silver   Points : 2

This is really an issue which a parent won't like to encounter. Rightly said, as a parent, we should discuss why he or she should not watch porn. Many times we ignore things due to embarrassment and don't discuss such things with our kids. We should always be open with them and should discuss with them. Then only can they be taken to the right path.

Author: Juana28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Mohan,
I agree with you. Yes, it is the parent’s responsibility to check their children’s behavior and prevent them from going astray. But, I also feel it is equally important for parents to have that talk with their children. Children will be inquisitive, especially about things that no one talks about, things that are cloaked and hidden in secrecy.

My advice to parents is that they should broach the subject with their kids and educate them about the problems and risks involved. Children need to know that sex must be a responsible act, between two consenting adults. Lessons on respect and boundaries are crucial. It is also imperative that children are told about the ugly side of pornography. It is a tough job, but it needs to be done.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

The author has raised a very justifiable article which should attract the attention of the sensible parents so that they can have a full-length discussion with their children regarding this crucial issue. In fact, the children alone are not to be blamed for their diversion to an unusual route offering them unexplained pleasure. In fact, they lack guidance from the different quarters including the parents. The parents should come forward with the timely help presenting the different facets of the pornography. Though such discussion with their children would be quite embarrassing it would be equally devastating if there is a permanent damage of their career due to lack of timely intervention of their own parents when it is especially required.

The parents should be watchful to the various activities of their children including their involvement in pornographic activities. Indulgence in the same makes their children forgetful of limiting boundaries. The parents should explain in brief about the marital relationship including the sexual act after entering the contract of marriage. Involving themselves in watching pornography at this stage would lead to the distraction of their normal studies apart from taxing their own mind with sensual activities causing mental disturbance sooner or later.


Author: Juana29 Sep 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Sanjeev,

Absolutely, the situation can get very awkward for both the parent and the child. But, parents need to shed their inhibitions and carefully approach the subject with the child. It is extremely crucial to do so or else the content in the videos can damage the child's psychological development and give the child a twisted view of sex.

It is important that parents clarify things and present the things in the right perspective. A child who hears a trusted adult destroy the askew presentation as shown in pornographic content is likely to grow up with a healthy view of the natural act.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta29 Sep 2018 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

I feel its the responsibility of parents to remain cool and discuss with the kid. When you catch your kid watching porn movies, he or she may be embarrassed and scared how parents will react. So in such situation we must not lose our temperament and take things wisely.

Author: shampa sadhya30 Sep 2018 Member Level: Silver   Points : 8

This article is a must-read for each and every parent. Watching porn while growing up was an issue and it is still a matter of concern. Nowadays, it has turned out to be of greater concern because the teenagers have a large access to electronic gadgets than in the past. Earlier there was no cell phone but now each individual owns one and, the teenagers are quite smart as they block the access to their mobile phones with a password.

At present, most of the couples are working, so, quite naturally, children are forced to stay without their parents for a longer period of time. Getting caught is a worse fear but when the watchdogs, the parents, are away, they enjoy liberty. Thus, when parents get to know about their children watching porn the home atmosphere gets extremely stressed and irritated.

Well, stress and irritation won't solve the issue. This has to be handled quite delicately because the harsh attitude of the parents and guardians would prompt the child to be arrogant and rude. The issue has to be addressed in a fine way that is the child must be taken into confidence first. Thereafter, the parents must explain the pros and cons of watching porn in a sensitive manner. Abusing the child would spoil the relationship between the parents and the children but affectionate and understanding tone while extending guidance will definitely convince the child to confide in his/her parents. This breaking of ice will help to reshape his/her thought process, temperament and then only an adolescent would learn to make dignified choices.

Author: Aditya Mohan02 Oct 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

The topic you chose is quite interesting. When Ram Gopal Varma was asked what was his first internet search he gallantly confessed "porn". Porn was always there. But internet made the distribution skyrocket and free actually. Because porn is free, any one with internet can access it anytime. This is a puzzling situation. Children aren't curious about porn when they are introduced to it. They are pleasured by it and when one is pleasured, the act often becomes a habit. Though there are no proper estimates, an average 1/14 of population watches porn and undoubtedly teens and men in early twenties are the regular watchers.

Watching your child watching porn is a, let's face it, humiliating situation. But from a male perspective, my approach to my son or daughter would be different. I wouldn't necessarily patronize them but may only try to keep a check on them. Anything in large quantity is harmful. The tips you propose are all great. But it's not an easy task to mask your humiliation and eliminate your child's fascination.

Just do this. Put safesearch in your browser on if your child is young...say 13. Since 13 is when most children get exposed to porn as that is when the interest hits. Since he is a newbie he won't know how to switch safesearch off.
Our search engines are actually engineered to block adult images and porn related images. So putting "safesearch" on is a plenty good measure. Also introduce your child to "search history". Tell him/her that you can monitor their web activity if they were caught watching porn on PC. These don't necessarily scare them in an active but passive way. They will know they are being watched. That would keep them away for few years, until they figure how to use private window browsing.

Author: Juana02 Oct 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Sheo Shankar Jha,

Parents must communicate the right message to their children. The right things to communicate can include the following –
1. Pornography is an act; it is a movie, made for earning money. Children need to know this fact, or else they can grow up with lower confidence vis-à-vis their performance. Further, their concepts and expectations about sexual relationships built on what they watch can adversely impact their sexual relationships in their adult life
2. Another important lesson that parents need to impart to their kids is about consent. This is very important. Consent also means respect for the other person. Pornography does not teach lessons on consent and can lead to the child growing up with the wrong notions
3. Lastly, girls should be taught that they are not ‘sexual objects'. Boys should be taught the same, so they do not see women as ‘sexual objects'.



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