You Caught Your Child Looking at Pornography — Now What?

It’s not exactly news that teens will attempt to sneak a peek at pornography if it’s available to them. Teens – both boys and girls – have always been curious about sex and about the human body. But in today’s world, it’s not just a magazine or even a stray video that your teen might look at. With the click of a mouse, they can have access to an unlimited amount of pornography. What do you do if you catch your teen looking at porn on the internet? Here are some tips that can help you talk to your teen.

First, Don’t Panic

Pornography is likely to be a difficult subject for your teen, too, so be sensitive to their feelings.

Teens and pornography is one of those hot-button issues that sets off a parent’s panic reflex, as do most topics that are related to sex. But it’s important not to hit that panic button if you can help it, and you should definitely avoid overreacting in front of your teen. The way you handle yourself while dealing with the topic of pornography matters as much as how you actually decide to proceed.

Don’t shame your teen for watching pornography. Even if the expectation in your house is that your child should wait until marriage or legal adulthood to have sex, it’s important to recognize that during their teen years, their hormones are driving them to think about sex and seek out sexual stimuli of some kind, which can lead them to pornography. In other words, they are behaving normally. Focus on educating your teen, not on punishing them for looking at pornography.

Have a Conversation

You shouldn’t panic or overreact, but you shouldn’t just let it go, either. Looking at pornography is normal, but it can also be harmful, especially without context. Porn can give teens unrealistic expectation of what sex should be like, as well as what their and their future partner’s bodies should look like. It’s important to talk about how pornography is largely fantasy, and shouldn’t be viewed as a literal representation of what their sex life will be like.

It’s also important to talk about the ramifications of overloading on pornography. Experts agree that it’s possible to become addicted to sexual stimuli, and that pornography addiction can lead to dissatisfaction with a person’s real life sexual relationships.

Going Forward

Knowing what your child is doing online can help you keep them informed about safe behaviors.

There are a lot of factors that go into deciding how you’re going to handle the issue of pornography going forward, including the age of your teen, the type of pornography and frequency with which your teen was viewing it before you discovered it, and your own views about the morality of pornography. You may or may not decide to forbid the viewing of pornography entirely. At a minimum, you should restrict your teen from using a credit card to access porn sites, and make sure that they’re aware of and avoiding pornography that is illegal, like images of minors in sexual poses. Make sure they know that possession of underage pornography is illegal even if they are also underage.

You can’t talk to your teen about what they’re doing online unless you first know what it is that they’re doing, and they aren’t always going to volunteer that information. Parental monitoring software can help you keep the lines of communication open, and allow you to step in before simple curiosity develops into something more problematic. Find out how parental monitoring software works when you get our free trial.