FamilyLife Blog

Help! I Found Porn on My Child’s Device!

by | Jun 2, 2020 | Healthy Sexuality, Media & Screen Time, Parenting

Editor’s note: Parents of daughters this is also for you. Women’s pornography issues are on the rise.

Pornography is pervasive on the Internet! Just look at these statistics from Internet Safety 101. 12% of all Internet websites are pornographic.

  • 1 in 8 Internet searches are pornographic.
  • Children see porn on average at 11 years of age.
  • 4 out of 5 teens (16-year-olds) regularly access pornography online.
  • 79% of pornography viewing is occurring in the home.

When pornography is discovered on a child’s device, I recommend the following guidelines.

1) Remain calm! This could be an honest mistake, as 7 out of every 10 youth accidentally come across pornography online (wrong click on a pop up, innocent words and misspelled words can lead to porn sites). Have an open conversation about it, ask open ended questions, and withhold judgment.

2) If we discover that our expectations were not clear to our children, then we need to clearly communicate our expectations about pornography, sexting, cyber bullying, connecting with strangers, and posting of private information. A single conversation with all family members, followed by posting expectations on the fridge door and near all internet devices is sufficient.

3) We need to create a home environment that empowers children toward success and provides accountability.

For example:

  • No computers/tablets/Wi-Fi T.V.’s/smartphones in bedrooms.
  • No surfing the internet alone or late at night when everyone is sleeping.
  • We (the parents) have the passwords for all our children’s online accounts and screen locks.

For peace of mind, consider using monitoring software that runs in stealth mode (not visible to your child) on your child’s mobile phone (click for software reviews) and home computers. The monitoring software should be capable of sending email alerts to you and capable of monitoring texting apps, social media apps, and all browsing activity.

As age appropriate, I do not recommend blocking software or parental control software because we need to provide an open environment where our children can practice being wise and responsible under our roof. The more they practice at home, the more likely our children will succeed in unregulated internet environments once they move out.