Q&A: My Ten Year Old is Looking Up Sex Online! What Do I Do?
A reader writes, “I follow your page all the time. I first heard you guys speak at the homeschooling conference in North Carolina. I need HELP! I have 4 boys. I have already dealt with the introduction to porn with my first two, both were exposed to it at a Christian friend’s home. We have had protection on computers, we pay for [protection software] for the older boys’ phones and computers.
We just got a new computer and set it up. It was supposed to have a parental filter on it. I had to go out of town and had just not gotten around to testing it. My 10-year-old looked up “YouTube sex” while I was gone. I am MAD – not at him, but at Satan and this whole mess that our boys have to deal with in spite of our zealousness, that one mistake can lead to exposure.
I don’t know how to protect them. I have read several of your articles dealing with this and thought we were protecting them pretty well. TWO questions, 1. what is the best parental control I can put on the computers? 2. What do I do now to deal with this exposure? I want to help my boys.”
Sadly, this is one of the most common questions we receive. The ages of the children seem to be getting lower and lower, too.
Let’s look at your second question first: What do you do now to deal with the exposure?
You didn’t say what ages your four sons are, but it sounds like your 10-year-old may be one of the younger two – and may not have had the talk you had with his older brothers when they were exposed to porn. Obviously, it’s time to have the talk with this son, too, and maybe your fourth son as well.
On the one hand, it’s understandable if a young guy is curious about the subject. At ten years old, he is just beginning to feel the nudge of the hormones which will transition him to manhood … and that transition includes an awakening to sexual feelings and urges.
However, the world’s view of sexuality is so far astray from God’s design, we really have to teach the Biblical message intentionally to our sons. The Bible tells us that God created sex, and the love between a husband and wife is both holy and full of joy, but cutting corners and running outside God’s boundaries with our sexuality is sin – a kind which not only leads to shame and guilt, but can undermine or destroy our health, relationships, and our happiness and peace of mind, too!
We need to share Jesus’ teaching on the subject. Did Jesus ever talk about pornography? Really, this is covered in the Sermon on the Mount, when He said,
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
This is important, because we have a tendency to excuse our own sin if we think, “nobody was actually hurt” or “I didn’t actually do the act myself.” Jesus said the problem is not just the sexual act itself, but our heart’s desire or lust for sinful acts.
He needs to understand that what he’s doing is illegal – and can open the door to other sins. Your conscience can get numb if you keep acting against it. You can become accustomed to doing evil, and end up doing things you never thought you’d do.
He needs to understand that people (besides himself) actually are being hurt by the porn industry. The money that feeds the porn industry is driven by the numbers of people that watch it – that’s what sets the price for advertising and the more depraved products. Even if you don’t pay for what you watch, you’re feeding the beast — and providing demand for actors and actresses to appear in these de-humanizing videos. Anyone who watches porn shares in the victimization of the people on the screen!
That’s a lot to lay on a ten-year-old. But this is the reality of what he’s stumbled in to, and sadly, the world and the Tempter are forcing this issue on all of us. He needs to understand the basic sinfulness and danger of watching porn, at any age, but especially at his young years.
The other question is, what’s the best parental control you can install?
We have used and recommended Covenant Eyes for years. They offer filtering for younger users and accountability for older kids and adults (yes, everyone gets their own sign), and you can adjust the sensitivity for greater or lesser supervision. Plus they allow you to install the program on as many devices as you need, for the same low family price for all of you.
TRY IT FOR FREE FOR THIRTY DAYS – CANCEL AT ANY TIME
But remember, software and hardware systems are tools, not solutions. The real power lies in relationships – the vertical relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, and the horizontal relationship with parents and trusted advisors. Be sure to share the Gospel with your kids, because they need God’s grace in every part of their lives – just like we do. Yes, Christians struggle with these temptations and failures too, but the Holy Spirit works with them to become more and more Christlike as time goes on.
But be sure to build and maintain the relationship between you and your child, too. If he knows you love him, will do your best to answer his questions, and will listen before you react or judge him, he’s more likely to come to you with those questions and concerns – and that’s your chance to share Biblical wisdom and God’s love.
Want more ideas?
Check out our resource page and our workshop, Shining Armor, to get a Biblical view of sexuality and purity as it relates to boys – of all ages
Join us for one of our popular webinar series – and get your questions answered!
Boyhood Boot Camp for parents of younger guys – new series starts October 22!
Boot Camp 9-12 for parents of pre-teen sons – recordings available now, and live series beginning in January
PreFlight for parents of teens (both boys and girls) – series starting October 13!
Sign Up or Order All Of Them Below!
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie