I’m shocked and don’t know what to do [kids and internet activity]

I found out that my 15 year old teenage son has been using an app called discord. I went on the computer and found his account where he has been chatting with friends and using swear words and horrible language. I think he had also been looking at porn and having inappropriate conversations with girls.
I can’t get into his phone as I don’t have his passcode but saw a bunch of snap chat messages on the main screen. Do I demand he give me his passcode?
This is all coming from a boy who never swears around me. I have never seen him being inappropriate.
I don’t know how to approach this from here. I am so upset.
I really trusted him and now I feel stupid and naive.

So, you’re saying you have a completely normal teenage son?
The Discord app is the de facto chat app for video gamers, BTW.

Discord is basically like any messaging ap like Facebook messenger but it’s friendlier to group chats. Gamers and various reddit groups use it a lot.

The discord app isn’t a problem - its just a chat app. No big thing.

The swearing isn’t a problem - mostly. If he’s using SLURS like the n-word, or the c-word, then I would focus my attention on that, especially if he’s using those words directly at or to describe other players/people. That’s gross and racist and sexist and he needs to be better than that.

Otherwise it’s perfectly appropriate for him to use ‘language’ when he’s hanging with his friends than he would when you’re around. It means he understands code-switching and appropriate contexts for using swears and casual language.

The inappropriate conversation with girls needs unpacking and dealing with.

First, accept that he’s a teen, most likely he’s gonna have sexy thoughts about somebody. Sounds like it’s girls. That’s ok. You gotta be ok with it existing.

Your concerns as mom are

  1. safety (ie, legality)
  2. consent

Mom, do you know what sexting is? D you know that snapchat can be used to send naked pictures of one’s self or of specific naked body parts? Do you know it’s possible and easy for those pictures to be saved and then shared around? Do you know (and does your boy know) that any such pics of his classmates and or his friends’ (or his online friends’) classmates are legally considered child porn and that he can go to jail for having them stored on his phone or computer, or sending them on to other people? Maybe have a reminder or ‘just fyi’ chat about those facts with him.

Does he know that most ‘girls’ online in multiplayer games either aren’t girls at all, or are lying about their age (which i would bet he is doing also but somehow they never think about other people doing it too) and that any sexual interactions with them MIGHT be illegal if they’re younger than they say, or if he offers them things in return for pics or them doing sexual things for/with him?

Does he know about safe sex methods and which STIs you can get from getting (or giving, but he’s a teen boy so that’s less likely) oral sex (it’s everything except HIV) and how shitty child support payments are?

Does he know to ASK for things, and to respect and stop pushing when someone says NO (even when it’s phrased as ‘not right now’ or ‘maybe some other time’ or ‘i have a boyfriend’) and that he doesn’t DESERVE sex or a girlfriend just for existing?

Make sure he’s clear on all that, and then just keep an eye on him and trust your previous parenting.

Tell him as his parent you the things he’s doing isn’t appropriate for his age and in your house. He may moan and groan, but he (hopefully) may be understanding. When I was 11 or 12, I used to read “comics” with light nudity(what would be considered short graphic novels now) that my Mom said “Dad and I think your comics contain too much “man / woman” stuff”. I threw them away not because I thought I’d get punished for it (read my thread about child abuse), but because I respected the fact she brought it up to me.

Actually, “sexting”, sending explicit sexual messages or photos to/from a minor is illegal (there have been minors charged in the U.S. and around the world) and your knowing about it and not doing anything may get you charged too.

As for profanity, I got the soap in the mouth treatment once, but the thing that keeps me in check to this day is when I asked my Dad why he never swore (at least in front of me) was that “People that swear, can’t think of anything better to say.” Whenever I slip and swear, I think of what other non-profane expressions I could have used.

Edit: Lasciel beat me to the the point about sexting

I feel like I’m just so naive. I trusted him and like to give him his privacy and then I see this and I got shocked.
Thanks for the replies. I have no idea how teenage boys think these days.

Teach him boundaries about what’s right and wrong. But you have to accept he’s growing up and he’s not always going to behave like a child.

Well, if you’re paying the phone bill, you own the phone. Keep that in mind when deciding how to deal with this. You don’t have to demand the password. Just take the phone. But there may be other ways to handle this.

First and foremost, you’re his parent, not his friend. Your moral and social responsibility is to instruct and guide him when he’s doing anything age inappropriate or illegal. Even “just writing things” has caused deaths through suicide as bullying gets out of hand.

I follow several Asian forums and read about (probably) minors submitting petitions for the death of celebrities that do something they don’t like. I’m waiting sadly for the day when someone carries out the death sentence “Because thousands of fellow followers called for their death!”.

What did you trust him to do? And why did you invade his privacy? He is a normal teenage boy and he thinks the way teenage boys always have. Yes, you are so naive. He uses foul language, looks at porn, has inappropriate conversations with girls (inappropriate to you, not to him or the girls), that’s what well adjusted 15 year old boys do and if he wasn’t doing that then you would have something to worry about.

I’ll tell you now that you are acting the way my mother did. I suggest you stop now if you want to be an important part of your son’s life. If you don’t know that this is normal and typical behavior for a 15 year old boy then you need to educate yourself and learn something about reality.

It hasn’t changed.

Thanks Tripolar I appreciate being judged. I came on here as a concerned mother looking for feedback not to be basically told that I’m a horrible person.

I’m assuming you’re a Mom.

The thought processes of teenagers hasn’t changed since time immemorial, just the means of sharing their thoughts with others (now nearly the entire population of the world).

The greatest and longest lasting messages I’ve retained weren’t though beatings, but through a heart to heart talk with my parents. Growing up in the 70’s, I was in my early teens when Kung Fu movies were all the rage and since my sister had cable in her condo, I’d ask my parents if I could go there to watch them. My Mom was worried that I just wanted to ogle the sometimes naked girls, but I explained to her that I was just interested in the action. She stayed with me to watch the movies (though she couldn’t stand the blood) and later told my siblings that “I didn’t do anything when the naked ladies came on screen.”. I replied, “What was I supposed to do, go “Oooo, Oooo” look!” Everyone got a good laugh out of that!

It’s not just teenage boys and it’s not just now. This how it’s always been. It’s just easier to access now. Every teen I grew up with cussed up a storm and talked dirty and …worse. Sorry but it’s true there’s probably even more you don’t know about. My best friend’s daughter got busted with alcohol in a water bottle at school last year and as part of her agreement to keep out of going to some kind of juvie she had to agree to drug testing. Well the drug test date is next week and she just now told her mom she might fail it because she tried pot a few weeks ago. My friend is devastated, of course, but I had to remind her what we were doing at age 15. It was the same sort of thing. Smoking, drinking, fooling around with boys. Definitely cussing. We never would have done any of that around our parents either. We’re all naive in that way. I know my 13 year old was very private about her computer use and I found that she was talking, not cursing but trolling, on a forum and it was quite aggressive. I was surprised. She’s so shy and passive! But she has that private place she felt free in and I was almost afraid to even let her know I saw what she was doing but I know that sometimes trolling like that can get you in to trouble because my 28 year old got in to some serious trouble trolling 14 years ago.

I don’t know what it is with my kids and trolling! :slight_smile:

I’m sorry if I was too harsh but you should read into my words. My mother acted as you did, she grew up in a sheltered environment as an only child and had no idea what was normal for the three sons she had to raise. My brothers and I would never include our mother in any important decision, or even keep her well informed about what happens in our lives. Even years later when she finally learned something about real life it was too late for her to lose her knee-jerk reactions that countered her previous fairy tale view of life. Please don’t make that mistake. Your legitimate concerns would be that your son is engaged in criminal activity, or bullying, or hate speech. I didn’t notice any mention of that in your OP, and you should be grateful for that.

^^Do this, exactly.
I raised a teenage boy, these things are normal and he is normal, and you are an anxious but perfectly normal parent for worrying. Go have that talk with him. And keep talking, talking, talking. As Moms of soon to be men-let-loose-on-society, it is our job to teach them how to treat women and sexual behavior. Good luck.

My goddamn kid talks like a fucking sailor. I don’t know where the hell he picks that shit up.

What he’s doing is what teen age boys do, and what you are doing is what moms do. Keep in mind that both of you are being normal. If he doesn’t swear around you, that is a good sign - he knows about boundaries and how some things are appropriate in some situations and not in others.

I’ve been a teen age boy, and I raised a teen age boy. Frankly, I would ignore it. Porn isn’t going to hurt him, and conversations with girls are not inappropriate in and of themselves.

It’s good that you are concerned, but it really isn’t a big deal. Maybe have The Talk about condoms and responsibility (if you haven’t already), but check how he is doing overall. How are his grades? Does he seem to get along at school? Does he have other interests besides gaming? Does he get along with the other members of the family, if any?

You handled everything that has come along since he was born - you will handle this just fine. Not perfectly, but parents don’t have to be perfect.

Welcome to the SDMB.


PS - if you are worried about encountering inappropriate language, there are several forums here that you might want to avoid. “Inappropriate” is much of what we do there. Although none of us are minors, even if we act like it.

I thankfully don’t have any children and so may be missing something here, but I don’t agree with “Oh, kids will be kids” or “But everyone’s doing it!”. I’ve always been taught in English classes from grade school to college “Don’t write like you speak”, but while it may not evident from some of my posts here, I have and would say what I posted to someone in person.

Advise him that no one is truly anonymous on the internet and there may well be a real “permanent record” of everything he says and does on the internet that may come back to haunt him. Several years ago, shortly after I accepted a job, a fellow manager related to my boss that he thought he knew me from 40+ years ago. Sure enough we were classmates through middle school and thankfully we got along well back then. Might have been different if I acted as complete jerk to him back then!

At 15, unless he has a clinically diagnosed mental disability is old enough to have a sit down talk about what is and isn’t appropriate not only with you, but his peers. If I were a parent, I’d tell my children at the youngest age I knew they could fully comprehend: “My house, my rules and I’m not going to jail for something YOU did!” Another nugget from my youth: “Dad, what if I go to jail.” “If you go to jail, you’re not my son!” Well said and a lifelong goal to keep on the straight and narrow!

Walk in on him sometime when he’s showering. You’ll forget all about the cursing.