help I found my child looking at porn online: young boy with a tablet

That dreaded moment that most parents don’t even want to think about … you find out that your seemingly innocent little munchkin is actually not so innocent and has been watching some rather X-rated content on the iPad or has been sent some videos on WhatsApp that would make even the least prudish of us blush.

Yet, in this increasingly digital world with our kids on their devices as we frantically try to send the email we started 4 days ago (because…mom life) our kids stumbling across explicit content is an unfortunate reality of the digital age. But what on earth do we do and what do we say? Here is Klikd’s response to this frequently asked question.

What should I do if I catch my child watching porn online? 

Right now, there are at least 4.5 million porn sites on the web with 64 000 visitors per minute. According to a 2019 report 70.7% of tweens and 84.0% of teens have encountered nudity or content of a sexual nature online. So while we are not trying to give it the thumbs up, we ARE putting it out there that it is inevitable that most of our kids are going to land where your kid did today. Like anything inevitable, it’s easier if we plan for it, but if we can’t, give yourself a break, pull up your big girl panties and dive in.

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We all have different values in relation to porn but some basics prevail when it comes to the big chat – a much harder one than the birds and the bees for sure.

1. Know where you stand on porn before you get into the discussion.

2. Don’t respond immediately with shock, horror, shame or indifference (they won’t buy the latter anyway).

3. Get real – if they are big enough to stream it, they have to be big enough to talk about it. This means normalising their interest in sex, but not normalising what they find online. What you want to get across is that there is no need for shame in relation to their curiosity, but that what they are finding is not the real deal.

Women and men don’t look like that in real life – they don’t act like that either. Talk about how these kinds of images can make real-world sex confusing for them because women like to be respected and engaged with (rather than treated as sex toys) and men don’t have to have the stamina to keep going for three hours straight. If you can help them understand how porn affects THEM in THEIR lives, not just that it is sexist, you have a much higher chance of your message being heard.

help I found my child looking at porn online: young boy with a laptop

4. It’s also important to impart (but maybe not all on the same day) that porn is not that different to a drug – our brains need more of it to feel less. And by more in this case, we mean extremes. And then it will be hard to be aroused in the real world, by real girls. There’s no fun in that.

5. Don’t forget to throw in how important the notion of CONSENT is in the real world – something not often seen in the world that is PornHub.

6. Lastly, stay away from shaming them – even if your family values abhor porn. The teen years are hard enough without the added angst.

Porn and parental controls

Remember, for younger kids, it is definitely worth putting in place filtering mechanisms and parental controls to filter out explicit content (Download Klikd’s FREE Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls HERE) but do bear in mind that nothing is foolproof and our kids will eventually outsmart us.

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So having these pointers in your arsenal of chats (even if at this stage it seems mortifying) is keeping you ahead of the game in your digital parenting journey. This means that instead of reacting with shock, horror and disdain when the dreaded moment arrives, you will be able to respond in a way that maintains the connection between you and your t/ween, ensuring that they know that even when things go south online (mind the pun), they can land safely and softly with you. And then maybe get yourself a well-deserved drink!

Klikd has created a cyber safety education app covering everything from how to manage tricky people online, cyberbullying, online reputation to phone addiction and so much more. Each module also contains multi-faceted components to keep t/weens engaged throughout the learning journey. You can download the app by clicking HERE. 

Klikd interactive app logo
Klikd is an educational company focused on providing tools for busy families and professionals to flourish in a digital world. It was started by Sarah Hoffman and Pam Tudin and their flagship product, the Klikd app is an innovative educational app geared at equipping kids and teens to navigate the digital world safely and successfully, giving parents and educators the sigh of relief they have been waiting for.