My Child Saw Pornography, What Should I Do?
Nov 22, 2021
If your child has accidentally been exposed to pornography, it's normal to feel upset and concerned. As a parent, thinking of your child viewing online pornography is uncomfortable and scary. The reality is though, it's not a matter of IF your child will view pornographic material, it's a matter of WHEN.
According to Forbes magazine, the average age a child first views Internet porn is 11— shocking right? Well, it shouldn't be. In recent years, children are increasingly younger when using the Internet unsupervised. In fact, most children in the United States have a cell phone by the time they are seven years old, meaning that they have near constant access to the Internet. This highlights a new concern for parents— are their kids finding porn on their smartphones?
Parents looking for a solution to minimize accidental exposure and prevent intentional viewing of pornography should consider using Net Nanny parental controls. Net Nanny offers a number of features including the #1 rated Internet filter and porn blocker, that aid parents in managing what their kids are doing online. Utilizing Net Nanny’s porn blocking features can give parents peace of mind, knowing that their kids aren’t able to access adult content.
How to Talk With Your Kids About Pornography on the Internet
In a study posted by Shared Hope International, 42% of Internet users age 10-17 years old admit to viewing online pornography. Before getting too concerned, consider that 66% of these children reported that they viewed this material accidentally while attempting to access age-appropriate programs. This begs the conversation to parents and caregivers: How do we protect our children and if they do view pornography, how do we respond?
Parents sometimes wonder if their child will be traumatized from the exposure. While prolonged exposure to pornography can elicit negative emotional responses, the greater potential for harm and shame can come from a parent's reaction. The best course of action a parent can take is to address the behavior in an age-appropriate manner, being careful not to overreact.
Educating your child on the risks of inappropriate, adult content online should include discussions on sexuality and Internet safety. So, what does the conversation around Internet pornography look like between parent and child? Well, that varies based on the child's developmental stage and the family belief system but here are 5 suggestions to get you thinking about it:
- Start Early
A conversation with your teenager about accessing online pornography is going to go a lot smoother if you've already established a language around sexuality with age-appropriate conversations in their elementary and middle school years.
- Provide Reassurance
It's natural for young adolescents to be interested in sex as their own sexuality is beginning to emerge. Doing our best to educate instead of blame will encourage conversation and an opportunity to learn. In doing so, we lessen the potential of shame and guilt and create a more open and honest conversation around sexuality.
Conversations with your child around viewing Internet pornography should avoid shaming and punishment. While this conversation will likely be uncomfortable for both of you, try to provide reassurance to the child, regardless of age, that they didn't do anything wrong.
- Address Accidental Exposure to Adult Content
If younger children have accidentally viewed online pornography, try saying something like: "I’m sorry that showed up while you were on the computer. Those videos are intended for adults, not children. Together, let’s find some better sites for you to visit that won’t show those kinds of images. Do you have any questions?" From there, follow the child's lead in a developmentally appropriate way.
- Express Concern for Regular Exposure
For older children with more free access to the Internet, you may begin to notice a concerning pattern of behavior or perhaps a glance at their Internet history shows access to online pornography. For these children, I'd suggest starting the conversation with a statement like: "It seems that you've been spending a lot of time on your tablet lately and by the history, it looks like some of that time has been on sites with adult content. I want to talk with you about some of the risks associated with viewing this material."
- Disband Assumptions
Sometimes kids will assume that what they see online is an accurate representation of normal sexual behavior. After exposure, explain to your child that what they are seeing is not real. Sexual behavior is normal but online videos are staged and is not an example of regular sexual behavior.
Why Families Need the Best Porn Blocker
Conversations surrounding sexuality and pornography on the Internet will likely be awkward for both parents are children, but they are important to have. The Internet is full of content that isn’t age-appropriate and new pages and sites are being created every day. Even further, kids are naturally curious and are becoming more tech savvy at younger ages.
Understanding why and how to block porn sites is vital for parents who are looking to prevent their child from accessing adult content online or developing an unhealthy pornography addiction. Doing so, and using a parental control software like Net Nanny, puts you in the driver's seat of your child’s online experience. It minimizes exposure to pornography and can help set them up for not only healthy Internet use, but healthy ideas surrounding sexuality.
Net Nanny parental control software is known worldwide as the best porn blocking and porn filtering software. Net Nanny reviews web pages in real-time and either blocks pornography and other mature content or warns you about it, according to your preferences. Net Nanny includes pre-set monitoring features, which can easily be customized to meet the unique needs of each family member so you can decide what type of content is appropriate for everyone.
Learn more about Net Nanny’s Family Protection Pass and keep your family safe with the best porn blocker software available.
Annemarie Lange is a licensed professional counselor in the Philadelphia area that utilizes mindfulness and meditation to help her clients deal with a variety of challenges.