My last two blogs on the topic of parenting teens and the issue of porn have offered some suggestions about what to do to protect your kids and how to create an environment that is open and safe to discuss this topic. This article is specific to a situation where there is already a porn problem your teen is struggling with. Below are some steps to take if you find yourself unsure what to do next.

Have a candid conversation

Having a difficult conversation is like pulling teeth, especially with teens. It is important to try and understand the extent of the problem. How long has this been going on? How “hardcore” is the imagery or videos that have been viewed? Has the frequency of usage increased over time? Have school grades and social connection been suffering as a result of the porn?

Once the extent of the problem has been identified, the next part of the conversation is to let your teen know there are changes coming. Discuss these together and ask for your teen’s input. If your teen makes reasonable requests, do your best to honor those. There may be a variety of things you need to do. Every situation will be different.

Utilize Internet Filters and Accountability Software

I wrote about these in a previous article. Here are a few additional suggestions:

  • Remove “private” internet access. Having access to the internet late at night, in a room with a door that closes and locks is not the best idea for a teen who is struggling. Move computers to public areas of the house.
  • Limit mobile access. Most porn is being consumed via smart phones. A friend of mine collects her teenagers’ phones at 9:00 pm each night and they charge in her room. This isn’t only about porn, but to limit people’s access to her children during the night. “I can at least give them a good night’s sleep,” is her motto.
  • Remember that you can’t control every aspect of your teen’s life. Nor should you try! But, you can do your best to make home a “porn free” zone.

Have conversations about the realities of the porn industry

It is eye opening to see the effect that working in the porn industry has on the men and women “starring” in the porn. It is helpful to hear stories of how other people have been affected by their own usage of pornography and the effect it has had on their relationships.

There is a website called Fight the New Drug that has a number of stories and a lot of general information about the harmful effects of the porn industry. This is not a Christian resource. In fact they declare themselves to be “non-religious.” It is refreshing to hear this perspective. Much of secular society is trying to tell us that there is no problem with porn. It is nice to see some non-religious people contradicting that pro-porn message. Check them out and see if there are some tools there that can be used as conversation starters.

Set Goals Together

One thing teens are not always good at is thinking beyond the here and now. Helping them to connect the dots between where they are now and where they would like to be is important. Do they want to be married and have a family? Does their porn use help or hinder that? Do they know what they want to be when they grow up? They certainly don’t need to have everything figured out as teenagers, but big picture goals about life, family, education and career are important to discuss together. What might get in the way of them achieving these goals?

Enlist Professional Help if Needed

There is no shame in needing to seek out professional help. A good counselor can help you to navigate some of these conversations. Also, it can give your teen a person to talk with who isn’t Mom or Dad.

A big question people often have is, “How do I know if this is a big problem or an addiction?” There are three indicators of addiction to consider:

  • Has the frequency of porn use increased? Was it every “once in a while” and now used daily?
  • Is there an increase in intensity of the type of porn being viewed? Has the porn changed from nude images to explicit sexual acts?
  • Has porn use begun to infringe upon other areas of life? Are grades suffering? Have friends fallen off the radar? Is your teen opting to view porn rather than engaging with you or others?

I realize there is a lot here to consider. I encourage you, as parents, to take care of yourselves as well. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at the WGA offices if you need some advice, direction, or just a sounding board. We are here to help you navigate these difficult situations.

Roger Jones

Roger Jones

Executive Director

In the spring of 1995, the conflict Roger felt between his faith and his sexuality, as well as an addiction to pornography, led him to WGA. His personal journey has provided him unique insights into sexuality and the pain of adversity, which he shares through his testimony, facilitation of small groups, writing and public speaking. Roger began working with WGA in October of 1996 as the Assistant office Manager. Since that time, he has worn many hats and served in several different positions, including Assistant Program Director and Operations Director. In April of 2007, Roger assumed the position of Executive Director. Roger attended West Texas A&M University, where he studied Music Business. Much of his training has been “on the job,” where he was mentored by the ministry’s Founder, Mary Heathman, and the Program Director, Scott Kingry. He holds a BA from West Texas A&M University. Roger, his wife Jill, and their daughter Julia and son William, attend Celebration Community Church where Jill serves as Associate Pastor.

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