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3 Things to do if you find porn in your child’s browser history

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You never thought it would happen to you, to your child, but here you are. You found pornography in your kid’s internet history. Or you walked in on your teen surfing adult websites. Or you stumbled on images in your tween’s smart phone. However it happened, you now know your child has been viewing pornography. What should you do now?

 

1) Nothing
That’s right– if you discover your son or daughter has been viewing pornography, the first thing you should do is absolutely nothing. The idea of your child viewing porn will evoke strong feelings– anger, fear, disgust, guilt– none of which will be helpful. Take care of yourself first. If you’re religious, pray for perspective and peace. Ponder your values and your goals for your child’s future. Visualize how you want your relationship with this child to look next week, next month, next year, ten and twenty years from now. Talk to your spouse or a trusted friend or relative with similar values. You may need to spend a few hours or a few days on this step, and that’s ok. When you feel your knee-jerk reaction dissipating, move on to step 2.

 

2) Plan your approach– and approach your child
Prepare a few talking points. The following statements may be helpful:

 

The problem with pornography is…
I’m worried about you because….
I don’t want you to look at pornography because….
I want …. for you, but viewing pornography will mess it up by……

 

Keep it to a few sentences, then end with a question or open statement.

 

What can I do to help you?
Tell me about your experience with pornography so far.
How long have you been viewing pornography?
When did you decide to look at pornography? Why?
When you look at pornography, what do you get out of it?

 

3) Make a plan together
Your plan will be unique, but here are some possible components:

 

*An internet curfew
*No private internet usage
*All computers and mobile devices out of bedrooms
*Install a hardware-based filtering system, like Clean Router (highly recommended!)

 

Whatever the specifics, your child should be involved in creating both the limits and the consequences. Rather than an enforcement mentality, ask how you can help him or her stay away from pornography in the future. Make sure the plan provides structure and promotes accountability– no excuses or gray area.

 

It’s natural to feel angry or frightened when you discover your child is involved with online pornography. The effects of porn are serious, especially for children and teenagers. Try to stay calm, though, and focused on your child’s needs. There is a way forward, and you and your child can do this– together.

 

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08 Sep, 17

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