Teen getting addicted to Internet porn
Dear Amy: My husband and I are professionals. We live in a beautiful and affluent part of the country.
We have two sons, ages 14 and 10. Some time ago we discovered that our older son had accessed pornography by creating a false account on our computer. After confessing, he seemed contrite and promised us that he wouldn’t do it again, and we decided to give him another chance.
A few months later, we gave him a smartphone for his 14th birthday, but we chose one that didn’t have many bells and whistles. We made him sign the contract, and (just for good measure) I asked my younger son to hold on to the locked phone once the boys came home from school.
I found out yesterday that on the days that my younger son was at afterschool activities, my older son was home watching porn. My husband and I are stunned, shocked, repulsed and have no idea where to go.
We are worried that if I enroll him in a group for porn addiction, he will learn other things that we would rather he not be exposed to. I am trying to find research about this, but am not getting the information I am seeking. Other than this, my son gets all A’s, plays a sport, reads voraciously and in general appears to be a responsible kid.
Very Worried Mom
Your son created a fake account to view porn at home— and your longer-term reaction was to give him a smartphone and have his 10-year-old brother confiscate it after school. Really? Your older son’s choice to return to his habit means it is more than youthful curiosity. You should do everything possible to control his access (and be alert about your younger son’s Internet usage).
There is a lot of information on the increase of teens becoming “addicted” to Internet porn, including research papers published by the National Institutes of Health. This information, like the porn your son consumes, is just a click away.
The research on the impact of pornography on the adolescent brain is alarming. Teens who consume violent porn (the great majority of it involves violence) are much more likely to engage in aggressive or violent sexual behavior. They are far more likely to become sexually active at an earlier age and to have (obviously) unrealistic views about sex and relationships.
Your family needs professional help and support. Anxiety may be an underlying issue for him. At the outset, you and your husband should try to reduce your hours at work so one can be home when the kids are there after school. Along with professional counseling and parental involvement, support and communication are crucial for your sons.
Dear Amy: I just finished a session with my teenage son’s therapist. As the oneyear mark of his suicide attempt approaches, we discussed the extra support he needs as he works through this anniversary. “Ripped Off Mom’s” concern over her child not receiving her due in terms of birthday gifts was certainly the comic relief I needed as I help my son cope with his clinical depression.
Life Provides Perspective
This is an anniversary to celebrate. Thank you for providing this perspective.