Puberty strikes... curious difficult child and the internet don't mix!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Yesterday afternoon the family went to the open house at the day camp where I had difficult child 2 and easy child/difficult child 3.

    difficult child 1 participated for a little while going down the zip line to the mud pit, down the water slide a time or two. Then he said he was cold and tired and wanted to just hang out in the car. He wanted to use my iPhone to listen to some music while he waited for us. I said sure.

    I haven't used my phone all day, and in fact I had it charging this morning because difficult child 1 ran the battery down completely using the iPod feature.

    Imagine my surprise when I opened the Safari browser to check the board here and my eyes are met with a sex website that is targeted at teens! It has several graphic images of teens posing or doing sex acts. And there are four other pages open on the browser that are also sex-related.

    So as I'm trying not to overreact I'm marching to difficult child 1's room to have a talk about this.

    I think it went o.k. I said that being curious is normal, and that I'd be happy to buy him whatever age-appropriate books he wants to help him understand more about the topic. But that surfing on the internet is NOT appropriate. That looking at images of people like that reduces them to objects, like a piece of meat. How would he feel if that was his sister there? Or his cousin? Or what if it were me? I think that idea shocked him a bit -- I could sense from his reaction that he'd never thought of it that way and it wasn't pleasant to consider. He said it would make him feel pretty bad if he saw someone he knew. I reminded him that those girls were somebody's daughter, somebody's sister. Sex is a very private thing between two adult people who love eachother, and not something to gawk at online. Didn't even address the legality of underage sex or underage images. I need to have that conversation as well.

    Needless to say, he won't have access to my iPhone any more. (The computer is already restricted through parental controls.)

    Since he's my oldest, I guess this is where I cut my teeth for the next two! Sheesh, it was SO much easier when they were babies!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    There was no internet back then, but i found a bunch of Playboys stashed under my son's bed at about that age. It didn't really bother me. I laughed to myself and tossed them out. He never said anything about his missing mags.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Yeah, I found a Victoria's Secret shopping bag with the "angels" in Santa suits stuffed under his bed -- it was husband's... someone gave him a gift in it when he was in the hospital in February and he kept the bag, and apparently difficult child 1 "borrowed" the bag. I found that and some where-do-babies-come-from books I'd bought a few years ago and had given to him a year or two ago.

    And six months ago he was caught wearing my underwear and bra.

    I know most of this is normal, but the internet is scary, and his dad has some issues I just do NOT want to see repeated in my kids.

    So I'm probably a little more freaked out than I need to be.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When difficult child 1 got to this stage it was - interesting. He had a younger friend who was supplying him with porn stolen form his older brother. I found some in his room and talked to him about it. I discussed the same things - it demeans women, it presents unrealistic images and sets up unrealistic expectations, etc. I then went online with him and TOGETHER we surfed the net. However, what we were looking up was anything we could find on the Google hit list for "dead porn star". That way I could show him just how damaging porn is, for the people whose images we see and view as glamorous, rich, attractive, healthy... it was a big awakening.

    Plus, for a teen boy to be viewing ANY porn at ANY level with his mother sitting beside him and commenting - it kind of puts them off.

  5. ML

    ML Guest

    I'm not looking forward to the next couple of years. Manster turns 10 in 6 weeks and I figure I have about 2 years before pueberty hits with all these issues. Ugh. I think you handled it beautifully.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    gcvmom, sounds like you handled things beautifully.

    I love Marg's suggestion of going through the information WITH difficult child. Not only is it an opportunity to learn about what happens to the people who are involved in the industry, but having your mom talk to you matter-of-factly about ANYTHING sexual is bound to be mortifying.

    The thing I find disturbing about all of this is that the porn site is TARGETED to teens. It's warped.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    been there done that! Then, difficult child decided that parental controls were something to be challenged. He learned a way to not only bypass them, but put an admin password on so I couldn't even get into windows, but he had full control of the computer. Then, I switched out the door lock to an exterior type that required a key to unlock. He, then, took the door off the hinges. Needless to say, i had to find another way to deal with this problem!! This was a couple of years ago.

    I like Marge's idea, too!

    Oh- what bothered me, along with the sites being targeted to teens and having some on there that must have been under-age, and having them somehow infect my computer so porn would pop up at any time, was the fact that some were not indicative of normal acts or even normal bodies. (Woman from waist up but man from waist down; animals involved, etc). I could find what difficult child initially searched for or websites he went to, and he wasn't trying to find "odd" stuff, but there it came. I was very worried about him thinking this would be typical for adults- I didn't want him expecting his wife to be involved in this someday. In that respect, the internet is much worse then Playboy.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    This is just it. ASIDE from all of the other issues associated with porn, I think the one that worries me the most is...our kids have enough trouble discerning what is normal, socially acceptable behaviour. These sorts of images provide a very skewed idea of what's normal and they don't have the resources or maturity to understand what they're looking at in the proper context.

    When my difficult child was sneaking onto the computer to look at inappropriate websites, it led to a lot of very unacceptable behaviour. Grabbing girls' breasts at school, saying very inappropriate things to girls on the school bus (apparently quoting "dialogue" from whatever he'd been watching), etc.

    We skipped NetNanny-type security, and went for full lockdown. difficult child is not allowed to use a computer unless his 1:1 staffer, his dad or I am sitting right next to him, watching the screen the whole time.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    So sorry. Just finished been there done that. And recovering from his latest foray ...

    We had to put passwords on all of our computers and tell the neighbors to do it, as well.

    Some of the moms are totally in the dark and don't think their kids need passwords to protect them from other kids, or that their own kids could do that.

    Yeah, yrs ago it was Nat Geo or Playboy. Now it's not just bodies, it's people in the act, very close up. Or animals, as was pointed out.

    My son has seen a fair amt of porn and just yesterday revealed how ignorant he still was of the entire reason for sex. He saw the story about the Egyptian mom who had sextuplets and said, "Oh, it was a fertility drug, so she didn't have to do it."
    LOL. Pretty funny, actually. I explained it to him and I was surprised he didn't run away.

    Best of luck.
  10. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I think you handled it well. Both my easy child and my difficult child have been caught looking at porn online. I set up new users for each of them and can control their access now. Whatever website the want to go to, they need my permission and password until I've permanently approved it. difficult child figured out my password once, but not since I changed it.

    difficult child has tried to download stuff from my son's cell phone. He even called the phone company to have them change the account so he could download porn. They didn't change anything, thankfully, but he did get charged for downloading some games.

    After my easy child was caught, he was mortified. He has never attempted it again, at least from what I can tell. Getting caught didn't seem to bother difficult child at all, so he can't use the computer unless an adult is home.

    Ugh! How will we ever make it through these teen years?