“Both 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, 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 school for after-school 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 As, plays a sport, reads voraciously, and in general appears to be a responsible kid. — Very Worried Mom”
What does your location and income have to do with any of this? Are you trying to imply that what is going on with your son isn’t normally a problem associated with the affluent and those living in a “beautiful part of the country”? You’re trying to make a correlation that just isn’t there.
Why would you give him a smartphone? That seems like a way to exacerbate the situation. Why not give him a flip phone? It’s the safer alternative given your fears. I didn’t receive a phone until I was 15 and a freshman in high school. Young kids don’t need phones. I see 6 and 8-year-olds walking around staring at their phones (causing future neck and back problems) and they are disconnected with the world and it’s just … another story for another time.
Now that I’ve got the phone part out of the way, I want to address the other – more important – part. The porn.
Maybe he’s just super horny.
My initial response is “boys will be boys.” Because as a 14-year-old he’s starting to fully experience hormones and that includes finding and watching porn. But that would be too dismissive.
Listen, you said so yourself he does well in school and stays out of trouble. So what’s the problem? He’s not dabbling in drugs or getting drunk or stealing things from the Piggly Wiggly. He’s watching porn. Yes, I know porn can have negative effects on the developing brain of a young adult. It can also represent an unhealthy version of what sex actually is. Because it isn’t what porn depicts – at least not today’s version of it. If anything that is what you need to address with him and not this “addiction” because when it comes to it your son needs to know what he is seeing is not real and that is not how someone should treat a woman or women in the real world.
Then again, I’m the guy who wrote his senior capstone mockumentary about professionals in the adult film industry called Adult Content. I also worked on the Joseph Gordon-Levitt film Don Jon – a film about this very topic! So maybe I’m not the best person to be getting advice from on this topic. And since I like to keep things 100 here at Jaw With John, I will admit that in high school and into college I watched a considerable amount of porn but still managed to do well in school and graduate. SO there’s hope.
I realize I’m not helping in the slightest so I will close with this: If after telling him to stop he continues to watch porn and you catch him then you need to sit down and talk with him.