Kids and Pornography

In the past month I have heard from direct sources about 2 incidents where frum (religious) 13 year olds have been caught viewing pornography. One of the boys was Yeshivish and one was Modern Orthodox. In both of these cases the parents just didn't seem to realize that their kids had easy access to pornography. In one case of the teen had down loaded pornography on to an ipod touch (many parents are unaware to that the ipod touch has Internet access). In the other case of the teen's parents were letting him sit in his room with his door closed with a computer that had no parental controls on it.

I am amazed at the lack of knowledge in the Jewish community (and the general parenting community) about this topic. Parents don't seem to understand what thier kids have access to. The pornography available in the 70's and 80's is down right quaint to what is available today. One of the most disturbing aspects of the easy availability of pornography is the havoc it may create in a young man's intimate life. Many of the images that are avaiable on the Internet are of women who have used plastic surgery and other body enhancements to alter there bodies. There is a real possibility that these boys could lose the ability to have an intimate relationship with normal, non enhanced women (such as their future wives.) Pornography addiction is another very real and very destructive problem these kids might develop.

It is really important that parents talk to their kids about pornography and the dangers of it. Make sure they know that you are aware of what kids are doing today. My attitude has always been assume the worst. I don't care how frum a kid is (or if said kid is a girl). Having a computer, phone or an ipod touch with out parental controls is basically giving your child the green light to veiw and download pornography.

Parents need to install parental controls on everything that has Internet access. Family computers should be in high traffic areas in the home. Kids should not have internet access in their rooms. Parents should also be checking their browser histories and cell phone bills often. You should also know what your childs's passwords are to his email and Facebook accounts (a lot of pornography sharing happens through these venues). Most importantly don't assume your teen is different because he says and does all the right things when he is with you. Even the straightest teens can be curious about pornography.


Anonymous said…
This is a nice blog! I came via your comment on Mother in Israel.
Anonymous said…
Which parent controls do you suggest?
Thanks tesyaa!

Anonymous, we have Macs and they come with good parental controls. You might want to check out this Consumer Search review for more info.
Christine said…
This is timely. My children are still very young and are never on the computer without us, but my oldest son is about to turn 9 and I know that adolescence is around the corner. Do you have any advice on when and how to talk to a child about sex? I'm curious as to your thoughts!
Christine, we have mostly followed their lead and we try to be as honest as possible with the kids. If they ask a question we answer it even if it makes us feel a little uncomfortable.

There have been a few subjects that we have initiated such as body development (we did not want their to be any surprises) and the subjects of pornography and safety.

As the kids have gotten older J tends to talk to Z about the man stuff and I tend to talk about woman stuff with R. That's not to say that Z and I never broach the subject but our conversations tend to be about boy/girl issues and the content of movies, TV and books.

We also try to keep things light. There is a fair amount of joking about the subject and we are hoping that this will make it easier for the kids to ask us any questions they might have.

I'll let you know how this approach worked in about 20 years!

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