Do you block your teen's access to internet porn?

For those of you with teenagers in the house, do you make some effort to filter the web content they’re allowed to see? If so, what program or method do you use?

My 13-yr-old is getting a laptop for Christmas. My husband thinks we should just trust him, and not worry about setting up any kind of filter on the laptop. But I shudder to think what I would have looked up if the internet had been available when I was a teenager.

He’s 13. He’s going to look at porn. He’s prolly got friends that can disable the filter if he can’t do it himself. I wouldn’t bother.

Tell him that he doesn’t have to pay anything if he looks hard enough, and teach him how to get rid of viruses and malware, as well as good signs for malware-laden sites in the first place. If he doesn’t know already.

I don’t think looking at pictures of naked people is going to cause him any serious long term harm. In fact, I’d only be concerned if he had no interest in doing so (not that I’d want to know the details!)

IMHO, setting up a culture in which kids’ computer use is in a public area is a sound practice. This was easier to physically set up with a desktop, but it’s really about norms. This goes beyond computers and porn to just establishing that your kids don’t hole themselves up in their rooms with a full-time intravenous connection to electronic media and relationships with people you never meet.

He’s gonna access it anyway, I know you hate to throw in the towel and give up but it’s a reality.

One good way to limit this is simply only give your teen access to dial up. It won’t prevent him from looking but dial up is SO SLOW with pictures that he will give up quick. As for watching movies. Forget it. It’s possible to download porn if you have a year to kill. Of course he won’t be able to watch YouTube.

But truthfully I had dial up for years, and outside of not being able to watch YouTube, there was nothing I wanted to do that I couldn’t do.

Again, you couldn’t watch YouTube or Hula but he could still use it to read and for research for his homework and if he wanted to use the fast connection then he’d have to come into the living area to do so.

But even with this, there’s nothing to stop it. He’ll just take the laptop where there’s free WiFi or just have his friend with high speed download some porn and burn the movie to a CD and he can play that CD on his laptop.

Porn or no porn, at that age I would personally restrict computer access to certain times only. With windows 7 you can set up a limited access user and create a schedule for when he can use the PC. Also, go into your router and place limits on his bandwidth, you don’t want him torrenting the latest movie and slowing everything else down.

At least he wont be able to install anything weird while he’s surfing for porn.

No way will he give up. Dialup is generally too slow for video, but not for pictures. I remember downloading pictures from a dialup BBS at age 12, probably on a 14.4 or something. (Might have been 2400 baud.) You looked through a list of text descriptions of pictures, picked one and then waited a few minutes for it to load line by line.

(And as Mark noted, a modern laptop will have Wi-fi anyway and there are lots of places where he could use that.)

At 13 it’s normal to be looking at nudie pics and porn. The only thing that would give me any pause is some of the freaky fetish stuff that’s out there. I grew up at just the right time to be gradually exposed to stuff. At age 12 I was looking at Playboys and nudie pics from a local BBS. Not too much later we had Internet access, and before I was 18 we had high-speed Internet access and the Internet had become a big thing with everything you can imagine available. I’m not sure what to think of a 13-year-old having access to the whole shebang (so to speak).

Block his porn. Finding porn is how teenage boys develop better problem solving skills. My quest for porn has taught me a lot, and so will his.

I also suspect your Husband is lying.

I can only speak as a former teenage boy whose teenage years coincide roughly with the introduction of the internet to American homes (1995-2001). I used pornography. So did most of my male friends. By the time I got to college, it seemed to be accepted among the majority of male students. So yes, a normal teenage boy will probably start looking for it, even if he’s a good kid and trustworthy on other issues.

Now I was fortunate that I stuck only to the more mild stuff. There are real dangers associated with the topic, those being: (1) Some porn sites will send malware that infects the user’s computer. (2) If someone sends their credit-card information to a porn site, it may be charged for a lot more money than what they signed up for. (3) Because it’s easy to access websites from places outside the United States, a person can download something that’s illegal to possess in this country, which could cause legal trouble. (4) Kids can receive solicitations for sex online, and while the chances of this are probably exaggerated by the media, they do exist.

So with all that in mind, I do think that some effort to control access is a good idea. While Internet Explorer has a few built-in tools for this purpose, and intelligent kid can find ways to work around them easily. A product like Net Nanny costs money, but it works much better.

I don’t understand the philosophy of “they’re gonna do it anyway, so why try to stop them?” If you don’t think porn is a big deal, then don’t stop him. If you do, then do.

It sounds like both the OP and her husband do not think porn is no big deal. Even the husband wants to trust the kid not to do it, not just let him. The hubby’s argument is probably the one that makes the least sense: even if it doesn’t become that big a deal, the kid is still going to be curious. You can’t “trust” him not to look at it, when it’s so easily available.

Incidentally, when I was his age, I looked a small amount of nudie pics (I still don’t like actual porn). The thing is, I used the school-supplied dialup Internet provider. I wound up losing my account*. If I hadn’t, I think I might have gotten more addicted to it. Instead, I’m now very hesitant to get involved with anything like that again. It takes too big a chunk out of your life.

*The story is actually a bit longer: I foolishly set up a teacher with my Internet account at school, since they didn’t have Ethernet connections at the school. I told the guy to replace it with his account once he got through the appropriate paperwork. He never got around to doing that, and a sub wound up using the computer during school to surf porn. Since I thought nudie pics were porn, when they asked me if I’d ever used porn on my account, I confessed. Turns out they thought I had snuck into the room and watched porn during school. When I found out, I’d already technically confessed, and couldn’t get out of it. Now I barely trust my own family with my Internet account.

I know that some amount of porn is normal for his age, it’s the extreme freaky stuff I’m concerned about. I’d rather he stuck with softer-core porn for a couple of years, at least. But there’s no way to block freaky porn only, is there?

If only if it were looking at pictures of naked people - that’s natural enough. 10 or 20 years ago, your kid might’ve somehow acquired a few penthouse magazines. Nowadays the mainstream porn can have some pretty weird shit - the goal with fellatio now is apparently to choke girls to death, women threaten to decapitate you if you don’t F THAT PUSSY RIGHT NOW!!!111111 and spit on them, etc. Letting your kid look at mainstream porn as his introduction to sex nowadays probably can give them some weird ideas. It’s the weird result of one upmanship and the availability of weird shit… now even the mainstream is MOUNTAIN DEW EXTREEEEEEMEEEE!!!111 porn.

Maybe you should help the kid along and tell him where to get some nice, normal, non-hostile homemade porn with people who don’t want to hurt each other.

As said, you can certainly download pictures with dialup. And there’s plenty of written erotica out there.

I don’t believe you can solely block the weird stuff unless you specifically enter in the addresses of the weird sites into a blacklist. That’s a hell of a research project. If you opt for a more general filter, you’ll likely block enough content so as to give your son an incentive to circumvent it. In the course of doing so, he’ll probably know how to manipulate and track your browsing habits better than you do his. I did. On the other hand, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

On the subject of teenagers and soft-core versus hard-core versus oh-no-porn, I can only say that I was naturally disturbed by hard-core and really weird stuff. I’m not an expert on any of that so…

The best thing you can do for your kid is to teach them good practices. Use Firefox or Chrome as a browser, have an antivirus program running with real-time scanning, know how to manage your security settings and, whenever possible, use a pseudonym and unrevealing email address as your primary means of communication. Tell your son that, for the foreseeable future, virtually everything he writes or uploads will be known to anyone who cares to and knows how to look for it. That goes for school mates, teachers, love interests, future employers, scammers, everybody.

Not to sound mean but I highly doubt your experiences and mindset are typical.

As a parent myself. I’m currious, what damage do you think looking at porn (Even the freaky stuff) will cause your kid?

I basically just told mine. “I know you’re gonna do it. Don’t be looking at uderage girls. Understand that stuff is make believe. It doesn’t work like that in the real world. And if I find out you’re being disrespectful towards girls; I will knock you into the middle of next week.”

His response: “Jeez! I know Dad.” :rolleyes:

I never understood the whole worry about teenagers getting “addicted” to porn. I hang around a lot of people with addictive personalities (including myself) and I’ve never known a single person to sit at home looking at porn all day in the same way that a pothead might sit on his couch getting high all day. If somebody out there is doing this, I think I would call it a really strange hobby / obsession as opposed to an “addiction”.

Please excuse my honesty here - prudish people, please look away. I’m assuming that I’m not “abnormal” in the way I use pornography as a tool to help relieve sexual tension. Most days, I’ll look at a few pictures for a couple of minutes, then fire up a video and go to town. Ten minutes later, I’m finished and no longer have a desire to look at porn for at least some amount of hours.

It’s the same exact routine I’ve had since I was 12 and discovered the joys of pleasuring myself. Except, back then, it was with the lingerie section of the Sunday newspaper Sears ads as opposed to something I found online. My point is, regardless of the means I had to view erotic images, I never fell deeper and deeper into some depraved chasm that I couldn’t pull myself out of. If my computer were to blow up tonight, I’d either use my imagination or go back to the Sears ads. I certainly wouldn’t be shaking and sweating on the bathroom floor because I couldn’t get my fix.

Your boy is 13, and whether you’re ready for it or not, chances are he’s going to be like almost every other sexually functioning man in the world. He’s going to look at it whether you block it or not - believe me, these nanny programs do not block everything. It’s a cat and mouse game and thousands of new sites are popping up every day. If he knows it exists, he’s going to want to see it. He’s probably already seen it from friends at school anyways.

I wouldn’t even talk to him about it - the porn talk from parents is freaking traumatizing. I remember being made to feel ashamed for appreciating the female form and I honestly think it had a long lasting psychological toll on me. Conversely, if my dad had popped in a porno and watched it with me, that would’ve been as equally traumatizing.

I think you’d be doing everyone a favor if you just let him discover what he wants to discover at his own pace. They’re just pictures and videos. I’m a relatively “conservative” viewer, and I still wouldn’t even think about attempting a lot of the stuff I see. It’s just entertainment that helps facilitate a biological process.

I never blocked anything at all. She looked at porn. She showed me some. I was more uncomfortable about it than her.

What negatively affected my daughter wasn’t the porn, it was the gross-out games kids play with shock images. She said the day she saw chunks of person all over a road she lost her innocence and wished she could take it back. I’ve heard boys aren’t as affected by violence but I wouldn’t believe it’s always that way.

Hilariously accurate.

I don’t get the “He’ll do it anyway, so quit while you’re behind” approach. Is this method applied to everything else? Don’t tell your teenage kid not to drink, smoke weed or have naked-fun-time because any rule you attempt to impose will be circumvented? I’m not a parent, and gods know I never will be, but isn’t there supposed to be some effort to tell your kids what they shouldn’t do, and create some measures to stop them from doing what you forbid? I don’t want to start a discussion about what’s (un)natural or (un)necessary about porn, but to the extent a parent does not want her kid to look at it, shouldn’t that parent make an attempt to *prevent *her kid from looking at it?

Perhaps my perspective will change when/if I eventually have kids, but I never have and doubt I ever will understand the obsession of setting up filters and blockers on the computer to “protect” kids.