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What I Told My 10-Year-Old Son When He Confessed to Watching Porn

By November 11, 2019 No Comments
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This #NoPornovember is all about recognizing the individuals who inspire themselves, their relationships, their communities, and our world to be porn-free. Click here to check out what this month is all about, and remember that Change Begins With One.

In our digitized world, it’s not a question of if kids will access porn, but when. It’s a sad fact, but parents can be ready for when it happens. This end of post is by our friends at Bark, who have amazing tech solutions for monitoring devices while building trust—read on for more info.

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

How My 10-Year-Old Son’s Battle with Porn Brought Us Together

My son came forward on his own about 6 weeks ago pleading…begging…to “make it stop Daddy!”

His “friend” introduced him to porn videos and even knew when to “shut it off” before his Mom made her way down the hall to “check on them.”

We find ourselves lucky and even grateful because he came to us…we didn’t have to catch him. Truth is he showed ZERO signs that anything was off, so had he not come forward, I don’t think we would have ever known! He hid his pain well. That said… your little angel you think isn’t struggling probably is, or has some heavy thoughts, images, and emotions they don’t quite know how to process.

Related: For Parents: My 14-Year-Old Daughter’s Experience With Porn Changed Our Lives In Unexpected Ways

Now, that’s not always the case for most kids, so if you catch your kid in the act, pull him/her aside lovingly. They’re in enough pain—believe it or not—already, and it’s killing them inside despite what you might think. As enticing as porn is, they want out. They don’t know how to break the barriers of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. It’s too much for their minds to handle between the ages of 5 and 17 years old, in my opinion. My son is 10 years old, and his battle is fierce.

Since then, our relationship as father and son has blossomed into something more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined. In our first big talk, I explained to him that when an alcoholic seeks help to stop alcoholism, they find a sponsor, a life coach. I said, “Son, what if I was your sponsor. Your life coach?” He replied, “Yes Daddy, I want you as my sponsor.”

RelatedParents: If You Don’t Teach Your Kids About Sex, Porn Will

For the last 6 weeks or more, we have been “cleaning out the closet” every morning or evening for about an hour. We talk about anything he wants. It mostly boils down to understanding just how normal he actually is for the thoughts, images, and feelings that have been provoked due to the introduction of porn and understanding where to draw the line and where there is personal accountability.

We talk about anything and everything you can imagine now in a way that builds confidence again, self-respect, self-awareness, self-care, and self-love.

RelatedFor Parents: How To Update “The Talks” With Your Kids To Include Porn

Our talks will continue daily and it’s no longer awkward to talk about sex. It’s just a normal conversation between father and son. He knows that because porn opened his eyes to a world he wishes didn’t exist, he knows it’s his battle for the rest of his life—to choose in or out—and he’s accepted that challenge.

His healing process has been amazing. Heartbreaking, but amazing.

R., a Fighter

Bark

Pornography is everywhere – by Matt McKee

Whether we like it or not, children today will be exposed to pornography. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Preparing yourself now instead of waiting until it happens will help you get ahead of the situation.

What to do when you find out your child’s been exposed to pornography online.
  1. Stay calm. How you react to finding out that your child has viewed porn will be remembered far more than the material itself. Have a conversation, not a shouting match.
  2. Be supportive, not scolding. Your child is probably unsure of how they feel about what they just witnessed. They may feel ashamed, or they may be curious. Understanding where your child is in terms of this content is key. As a parent, you want to be able to see through your child’s eyes. Being supportive is the only way to do this.
  3. Build trust while setting expectations. More than likely this is a journey and not a one-time experience. Let your child know how your family deals with this type of content. Fortunately, the relationship you have with your child is stronger than any content they’ve seen.
  4. Keep asking questions. Continuing the conversation over weeks, months, and years will be the best thing you can do. Check in from time to time, and don’t shy away when the subject arises. This way, an awkward situation turns into an opportunity to strengthen communication with your child.
  5. Put filtering and monitoring systems in place. Don’t just put your head in the sand. The same technology that causes problems can also create solutions. There are amazing tools out there that not only block content, but also let you know what your child is doing online. Put these in place now.
How to be proactive and reactive

One resource that can help? Introducing Bark, advanced monitoring software that helps parents understand what their children are talking about online with their friends and posting across social media. After all, as a busy parent, reading every text message, post, and email just isn’t realistic.

Bark was created by parents, for parents to offer a better, easier, and more effective way to keep children safe online. With it, you receive alerts when potentially harmful or dangerous issues arise and links to resources to help you naturally bring up conversations in response.

RelatedWhy Being Anti-Porn & Anti-Shame Go Hand In Hand

Created in collaboration with child psychologists, youth advisors, digital media experts, and law enforcement professionals, Bark delivers a research-backed, kid-friendly solution for safeguarding families as technology changes how and where we communicate. Over 3,000,000 homes and schools are using it now.

We’ve partnered with FTND to offer a free, one month trial for interested parents. Check it out, and keep your family safe, today.

Fortify

About the author

Matt McKee is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Bark, and the author of Parent Chat: The Technology Talk for Every Family. He’s passionate about helping families navigate the world of technology, and enabling kids to thrive throughout a digital adolescence.

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