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I Caught My Teen Watching Porn. How Do I Respond?

Dear Your Teen:

What spyware would you recommend if you discovered that your teenage boy was visiting porn websites?

EXPERT | Hemanshu Nigam

Responding to issues surrounding teenage sexuality feels daunting and often embarrassing for many parents, especially when faced with the reality of your child watching inappropriate videos online. Sexualized content has become more easily accessible to teens than it was prior to the Internet. It’s easy to blame technology for tainting their teens with this ‘inappropriate’ content. Pornography is easier than ever to access, although it’s not impossible to keep away. Yet, if the child is seeking porn, it might be valuable to look at the root of that action.

We often forget that parental concerns about teens viewing adult content have existed for hundreds of years. That said, today’s digital age offers parents technical tools to block certain content or monitor online usage like never before. But what’s the best approach to take when faced with these realities?

How To Talk To About Teens And Porn With Your Teen

Consider the ways that parents have dealt with this issue for so many generations in the ‘real’ world. First normalize your teen’s curiosity. Also, initiate an open dialogue about your family values and expectations as they relate to pornography. Though internet pornography may be against your family’s rules, it’s good to initiate a conversation about learning that they searched for it anyway. Open communication is the first line of defense and offense when raising your teen. Websites provide tips and guidance on how to discuss pornography with teens without directly shaming them for their curiosity or questions. (Examples of websites: Theporntalk.com, KidsandMedia.com and NetSmartz.org)

Every parent raises their child differently. Some don’t monitor very closely at all when it comes to technology and personal diaries or journals. Others read diaries, others listen to phone calls, and others read text messages. If you want to monitor, stop, or block any kind of action on technology, plenty of software exists to help you out. And, PC Magazine did a full fledged review of the variety of tools out there. Ultimately the decision on what is best for your family is up to you. And this is the way it should be.

As a father of two teens and two soon to become teens, I can tell you that the world may have changed, but the lessons remain the same.

Hemanshu Nigam

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is the father of four, an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, CBS, Fox, Washington Post, New York Times, abcnews.com, and Huffington Post. Sign up for Online Safety TV’s Weekly News & Info, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.