"I Found My 8-Year-Old Daughter Watching Porn On The Family iPad!"
Diane was checking to see if her daughter's already asleep but what she encountered left her feeling confused and outraged
Porn has been a growing concern over the years. And with the abundance of technology all around us, there's more to be concerned of than just TV nudity and playboy magazines. Additionally, video games have gotten more explicit which raises the concerns of parents on whether they should be more strict with their kids in terms of video games usage.
There are multiple articles on the internet about what a parent should do if they ever caught their child watching porn.
But nothing prepared Diane* when she caught her 8-year-old daughter watching porn on the family iPad. The distraught mum tells us her story.
One Wednesday night, I was held up at work and only managed to reach home at about 10pm, which was way past my kid's bedtime. My husband, Christopher*, was out of town for a business trip and my maid had assured me that my Ally*, my 8-year-old daughter was already fast asleep when she greeted me at the door.
Luna* (my maid) asked if I had seen the family iPad - she needed it to check on her work permit renewal status. Luna had been with us for close to 2 years now, and we had just sent her particulars for the renewal of her work permit. I told her to check Ally's room.
After a shower and a quick bite, I decided to check on Ally and to give her a hug goodnight. She had recently been on the iPad playing a new game she'd discovered. I don't know much about online games, but it was one of those where the female warrior fights off the other warriors. Ally seemed to really enjoy the game, so I let her use it and didn't think much of it.
I could see light streaming out of the bottom of Ally's room door, so I walked in, knowing she was up. She jumped in shock and started tapping frantically on the iPad as if hiding something. Call it mother's instinct, but I immediately grew suspicious and took the device away from her. There were no tabs opened so she must have been quick enough to close them. At this point, my daughter was already in tears.
I felt knots in my tummy as I knew something was amiss. I went on to check the browser history and to my horror, there were links leading to porn sites! Outraged, I questioned Ally angrily, which got my maid running up in shock. Ally started denying and as much as I wanted to believe her, the timings on the browser history proved my instincts right.
Confused, disgusted and still in shock, I stormed out of the room and told myself to let it be for now, and to speak to her and my husband the next day.
Needless to say, I got no sleep that night. So many questions flooded my mind.
How can an 8-year-old be exposed to porn at such a young age? Was I to blame for not putting filters on my browsers and not monitoring Ally's internet activity? How did she even learn about it? Was she enjoying it? Was she masturbating?
Click next on tips on how you should react in a situation like this, and how to talk to your kids about porn
A child's interest in sex is completely normal but it is important to let them know that you are aware that explicit videos are almost unavoidable, and that you’re comfortable talking about it—even if you're not.
If you catch your kids watching porn, be sure to approach the issue in a non-judgemental way. You don’t want them to be ashamed of their curiosity so be prepared to answer every question, no matter how embarrassing.
Here are some tips on how you can have "the talk" with them and educated them so you don't find them watching porn online:
#1 Start simple
Start by saying that you acknowledge that they're watching porn and that you're not ashamed of them. Say something along the lines of “That content is designed for adults and not for children. I’m sorry that it showed up on the computer and we’ll work to block that and other sites like it. Do you have any questions?”
#2 Let them know that there is content online that you’d rather they not see
Although there are various kinds of internet blocking programs, nothing is 100% fool-proof. Saying things like “If you see something on the internet that feels inappropriate, please let me know" will be enough. Telling your kids to let you know if they stumble into something that doesn’t feel right usually does this trick.
#3 Engage, but don't over react
Instead of punishing him, give him an alternative way on how to learn about porn. Human, age-optimal resources such as books that are designed to help kids his age learn about healthy relationships and sex can satisfy his natural curiosity and at the same time help him form a more positive understanding of sex and sexuality.
Technology has gotten so advanced that there's almost nothing we could do as parents to shield our kids from the dangers of the internet. We can however, educate them about the things that may seem harmful to them and always make it a point be there for their questions, as well as providing them with advice and support.
*All names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved
(Story as told to Pavin Chopra)