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What if I Suspect my Teen is Viewing Porn?

 

           Every parent wants to protect his teenager againse Internet Pornography.  However, there are several warning signs that your teenager might be already be using it.  If you suspect any of them, action should be taken immediately to help him.  Common warning signs include:

  • Discovering porn on your teen’s computer, cell phone, iPad, tablet, iPod, etc.
  • Isolates himself with the computer, cell phone, iPad, tablet, iPod, gaming system, etc.
  • Tries to hide/lies about his online activities
  • Makes jokes about pornography
  • Makes sexual references in conversation
  • Engages in sexting
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Dropping out of extracurricular activities
  • Neglects responsibilities
  • No longer interested in spending time with family or friends
  • Change in mood: angry, sullen, moody, depressed, anxious
  • Disrespect for family rules

            If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult a mental health professional who is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual addiction.  It is also important to thoroughly check your teenager’s computer, cell phone, tablet, etc. for Internet pornography use.  Best Buy’s Geek Squad and Staples’ Easy Tech staff can help with this.  It’s also important to immediately install Internet accountability software, such as the one provided by Covenant Eyes on all electronic devices your teenager may use that has access to the Internet.

            The most important thing you can do when discovering your teenager has been viewing pornography is to not overreact.  A teenager should not be condemned, blamed, shamed, humiliated or made to feel bad in any way about his pornography use.  He probably already feels horrible about it, so you don’t want to make things worse.  Even though society tells them that viewing pornography is okay, deep down I believe teenagers know it’s wrong.  They need love, compassion and understanding, not condemnation.  Calmly talk to him about the dangers of pornography.  Then consult a mental health professional to assess whether your teenager might be addicted to pornography.  Let your teenager know that you will do everything possible to help him.