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This evening my son (age 9) made a difficult and unsolicted confession to mom that he saw pornography on the internet. Yesterday, Elijah (my son) and James (not their real names) were at James' house playing on James' dad's computer when James showed him a porn site. Not a soft-core site either. The first page of the site is XXX. Elijah said he kept trying to get him to leave the site and get back to the games they usually play. But James kept clicking on the pictures.

When he told mom he was really upset and definately knew it was wrong and that he needed to tell us.

We are friends with James's parents. They're solid, wonderful parents and would certainly want to know what happened. How should we approach them? Elijah is sleeping soundly right now. We'll talk more after school tomorrow. Hopefully by then I'll have better wisdom to give. Any ideas?

Thank You

asked 16 Nov '09, 03:20

Matthew%20Sposato's gravatar image

Matthew Sposato
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So the wife and I at different times mentioned this to James' parents. They're fine people and completely understood our concern. They've caught James before looking at the site in question. Apparently an older boy in the neighborhood showed him the site last week. They decided to install some parental controls on James' computer. I was kinda hoping they'd move the computer from James' room to a more supervised part of the their home. But that's their decision. Thank You for the insightful replies.

(17 Nov '09, 05:42) Matthew Sposato

Off the top of my head:

  • Let your son know he did the right thing by telling you about it, that you're proud of him, and that he has done nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Tell the parents of the other child. Not in an accusatory or confrontational way -- give them the benefit of the doubt that they're good parents like you, will be concerned, and will take the appropriate actions (talk to their child, end unsupervised computer use, etc.). But if they don't seem to take it seriously, that's probably not a boy your son should continue to play with.

  • If you haven't already done so, it's time to give your son all the age-appropriate information about male and female anatomy, sex, etc. Include a talk about porn -- specifically that it exists, that it's meant for adults, and that it's a very distorted view of what sex is about and paints an extremely 1-dimensional view of male-female interaction.

  • It's a good reminder of precautions to take in your own house: computer should be in a "public" area, should have various filters, etc., and your son should know what kinds of sites have your approval to visit and which do not.

Honestly, I don't think there's any "damage" done here. Generations of kids have stumbled upon XXX magazines, walked in on their parents or other people "in the act", etc., and they turned out just fine.

link

answered 16 Nov '09, 15:40

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lgritz
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+1 for the preventive tip =8-)

(16 Nov '09, 16:29) Yuval
1

I would add, ask the friend's parents to please monitor their computer use a little more closely.

(16 Nov '09, 22:22) mkcoehoorn

As a parent, I would definitely want to know if my child was acting as a XXX tour guide. I don't think you need to pass judgement, but you would do well to let James' parent know what you know. I would do it face to face unless you are going to be super judgmental. I would want to know, but I wouldn't want just a letter or an email, because my wife would go nuts worrying about what wasn't said.

More importantly is how you handle your own son. Probably won't be that dramatic, but only time will tell.

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answered 16 Nov '09, 03:28

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MrChrister
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Agreed. We'll definately inform James' parents. We're good friends with them, which helps. Our approach will be one of concern, not condemnation or criticism. Before doing so, I'll talk to my son again. I want make sure I know how they got on the topic and how long it lasted.

(16 Nov '09, 03:47) Matthew Sposato

Since your son already knows it was a bad thing to do, I think you shouldn't make a big issue of it. Otherwise the action may very well be used to get attention later on.

As for the other parents; I usually break this kind of news as objectively as possible. Trying not to show my values or my understanding of their values. People tend to be very defensive about their children. Let them take their time to react. Tomorrow you have a days lead on them so don't force them in to a reaction at once.

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answered 16 Nov '09, 12:14

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Idstam
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Your son sounds like he behaved extremely well, in the circumstances, I think you should be proud of how he acted, and let him know you are.

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answered 16 Nov '09, 14:19

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Meg Stephenson
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Thanks Meg. I did use this as an opportunity to let him know he did the right thing and that I was proud of him.

(17 Nov '09, 05:34) Matthew Sposato

This just happened to me last night, which is how I found this post/thread. my eight year old found it...he was being silly and googled something about naked...not sure why he wanted to see naked anything but that is how he got started w/ the sites popping up. I am so upset that his young mind saw such disturbing images . I talked to him about what he saw and told him that the content is distorted etc..but I still am really worried about what he saw! I truly learned my lesson about never allowing a child on the computer out of site!

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answered 07 Jun '10, 21:39

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jamie
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Um, I think I know why an 8-year old boy would want to see naked things -- pretty much the same reason as the rest of us, only possibly more curious because it's novel. I don't think you should be worried about it, remember that our pre-internet generation was passing around Playboys (or worse) at that age and were not damaged. Previous generations had even more direct sex experience without damage (think one-room house with parents needing to have sex, not to mention living on a farm with mating animals a part of daily life).

(15 Jun '10, 07:22) lgritz
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Asked: 16 Nov '09, 03:20

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Last updated: 07 Jun '10, 21:39