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Searching for porn

How would you react if your son was looking for nude pics online?
By Lynne O’Connor

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
I've always considered myself to be a liberal mom. I don't suffocate my children with too many rules and regulations; but the rules that I do have, are strictly enforced.

My twelve year old son, for example, has a cellphone - albeit a very basic one - with no internet. I really don't see the need for him to have access to the worldwide web 24 hours a day, when I can't see what he's surfing. I'm also not too firm on age restrictions for PlayStation games or movies, as long as I pop into the family room every now and
then to see what he's watching. I'll happily turn the TV off if I feel the content isn't appropriate.

So when it came to issues of girls, nudity and pornography, I thought I'd tackle it with the same sense of supervised freedom. He is, after all, a boy and although paging through a nude magazine has never appealed to me, I reluctantly accepted that my guy would probably be curious one day.

That is, until I was faced with a dilemma recently. My son came home to tell me that his friend had been surfing for pictures of a half-naked Megan Fox. I wanted to cry!

As any harassed mom would, I brushed off the comment by saying something silly like "I hope you're not doing the same", and then promptly phoned my husband (and my mother) to bemoan this latest crisis.

Not satisfied with their laughs and advice to chat to him openly and frankly about surfing for such images, I enlisted the help of an old contact and friend - who also happens to be a sex therapist.

Here’s what she suggested:

Dr Elna Mcintosh, from the DISA Health Care Clinic says there's no doubt that x-rated material is being seen regularly by younger audiences. As tween boys’ hormones start racing and they become more aware of girls, it's absolutely normal for their curiosity to start peaking. They become researchers and scientists, investigating their bodies and searching for answers about themselves and the opposite sex.

Dr Mcintosh says, "Take a deep breath and don't scream!" Boys are naturally curious, so it's important that you don't make him feel ashamed about looking at those images.
"You don't want a situation where later in life, he remembers that incident, the shame he felt and develop a problem with his sexuality".

She recommends that mom, or preferably dad if he's around, sits with the child at an appropriate time and calmly and frankly discusses the incident. "Tell him that it's very  normal to be curious, but that it's not appropriate, at his age, to surf the internet looking for those pictures".

When does internet pornography become a problem?

Dr Mcintosh says the parent should instinctively know when there is a problem; the child will become withdrawn, he'll close the screen that he's been looking at when you walk into the room and even more concerning, is that he may become interested in seeing his sister naked. In these cases it would be important to deal with the matter seriously and firmly and possibly look at getting external help, from a therapist.

The thing to remember here is that while your child will and must have access to the internet, you remain his parent. That means having access to his computer or phone at all times, checking what he's surfing, keeping up to date with technology, keeping the line of communication open between you and your child and putting measures in place to curb what he's searching for.

My shattered nerves! I think I may just pack my bags and head to a tropical island for the next ten years while my three children go through puberty.

Have you come across a similar challenge with your curious son? Tell us how you dealt with it below.
Read more on: behaviour  |  development  |  nudity


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