son is looking at porn

Dos and Don’ts When Your Son Is Looking at Porn

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We all spend more time looking at screens today than we did 15 or 20 years ago. While this rampant availability of screens made it possible for many of us to work from home during the pandemic, it also has brought with it real dangers. I’ll be blunt—the unlimited and unfiltered availability of porn is one of the greatest threats our sons face.

We’re only starting to realize just how much porn use is becoming a habit (or addiction) in the lives of our kids. The question is: What do you do now? Here are a few dos and don’ts when you learn your son is looking at porn.

Do: Talk about it.

If you don’t talk to your son, the porn industry will be more than happy to educate him in your place.

You are in a privileged position to help your son tackle this difficult subject. Just like the pressure to smoke, drink, do drugs, and have sex, pornography is something all our kids will face at some point. Your son needs you to have this difficult conversation with him. If you don’t talk to your son, the porn industry will be more than happy to educate him in your place.

Don’t: Just laugh it off.

When your son is looking at porn, there may be a temptation to dismiss it by simply saying boys will be boys. We can use all sorts of excuses like immaturity or lack of brain development. While these may be contributing factors, we need to be ready to guide them to a higher standard. They need to know women are not things to be used and tossed away and that sex is not merely for recreation or entertainment.

Do: Be grateful it happened under your roof.

While a discovery like this is not a moment for celebration, it is good that you found out your son is looking at porn. We are given 18 years not only to form virtue in our sons but also to teach them about the dangers and temptations they will face as they grow up. That it happened while he was living at home means you now have an opening to help him understand what’s wrong with porn and how to protect himself from it.

Don’t: Lose your mind.

It’s important that you don’t overreact and shame your son in this moment. Whether he first saw it by accident or curiosity led him to search it out, research speaks to the fact that kids are exposed to porn early and often. Remember that the porn industry is a multibillion-dollar machine that wants our sons to seek out explicit material habitually. Instead of losing your mind, meet your son where he is, and choose to help him form habits.

Do: Find out how it’s getting into your home.

Take some time to examine the places porn may be coming into your home. Do you have a huge, unfiltered cable or streaming package? What can your son access without your permission? Are you allowing your son to be online behind closed doors? In some cases, you might need to make a hard decision for the sake of your family. In others, parental or screen time controls can help you.

Don’t: Assume everyone can just quit.

I once read a study that compared the addictive qualities of porn to crack cocaine. For many of our sons, it may not be as simple as making it a rule not to look at porn anymore. Some may need help from a therapist. Others may benefit from resources like Bark, Covenant Eyes, or Integrity Restored.

Do: Examine your own relationship with porn.

Our sons look up to us and imitate what we do. At times, they even imitate some of what they don’t see us doing. If you have a porn habit or addiction, it shouldn’t be surprising that the pattern reappears in the life of your son. You need to deal with this even as you help your son face his own battle. Whether you struggle with porn or not, spend some time on a website like Fight the New Drug to better prepare yourself for these difficult conversations.

Sound off: How do you handle difficult conversations with your kids?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some of the dangers of the internet?”