My tween confessed that he saw porn at a friend's house. What should I do?

Step one: Commend him for his honesty. He knows he saw something he shouldn't have and reported it to you. That's good.

Step two is harder. Talk to the other kid's parents about it -- not to blame or criticize but to make them aware that the kids saw age-inappropriate material in their home.

Step three: Discuss. Talk to your kid about the fact that there is stuff on the Internet that is only for adults. Whether or not they were seeking out porn or stumbled upon it, be careful not to blame or shame your child, as curiosity is normal and developmentally appropriate. But what they saw is usually behind an "age gate." Typing in a fake age to view it is against the rules (both the website's and yours).

Step four: safer searching. Enable content filters (or parental controls) on your computers' Internet browsers. Kids' digital savvy escalates around age 10, and the filters help keep your kids on age-appropriate sites.

Step five: Address sexual curiosity. It's not every parent's favorite subject, but it's important to acknowledge your kid's burgeoning interest in sex. Share your values around sex; the importance of meaningful, respectful relationships; and the fact that pornography represents an extreme that's not usually a realistic representation of true intimacy.

Step six: Find age-appropriate material about sex. Consider getting your kid a book about sex that's designed for his age so he has access to age-appropriate information that is fact-based.

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Comments

Teen, 13 years old written by Theodosia L

You should be clear that porn is not ok for them. Yes, Parental Controls. No blame on the child. They may not know how it can affect his mind and explain. They may have seen because they pressed a random add or a link. After once they may want to go back. I saw it when I was 10. Scarred. Just be careful.
Teen, 15 years old written by Common sense LST

Just praise him lightly for his honesty, and tell hi that he should not view it, it is like a drug, and those kinds of websites introduce harmful viruses on your computer, and it is not normal to view those websites. And once you are on those websites, it is hard to get out of them.
Parent of a 9 year old written by Atsu W.

You should explain to him that it's bad in that forms and that sexually is natural and ok but not in the former that society views it as list. Sex is ok for any child to see, not in its porn a graphic form of course.
Teen, 14 years old written by eric.fernandes.01

This is a really difficult situation because once a boy sees porn for the first time there is no way to prevent him from seeing it again and again and again, ect. Because of this i think you are going to have to lie to you kid to make him stop. Tell him that porn is illegal if you are under 18 and hopefully you can prevent him from watching for another year or so.
Teen, 15 years old written by shrekislove

nah just tell him that porn gives you aids or virus to your computer, and he should run away,,,,by the way i am 15 and i am a porn addict
Teen, 14 years old written by IRBot

I can tell you that I used to not have much fear of the law (and, while I have more than I used to, I still don't have as much respect for the law as I should) so if you told me something were illegal I would probably just find ways to be more secretive and never tell anyone, as I would be afraid they would report me to the authorities. If I were a parent I would probably slip in something about it being illegal, but otherwise I would personally avoid it. I have always known that pornography was illegal, and that was why it took my parents four years to figure out a problem even existed.
Teen, 16 years old written by Sir Darry Koenig

As the article said, you should thank your child for being honest with you, but you should also let him know why it's not appropriate to watch pornography, especially at his age, rather than just tell him that it's something that he shouldn't do because he is young. You should let him know what sex really is and how pornography and the situations in the video are not realistic at all. You should definitely look on how to put parental controls for his devices because porn is not healthy for a child's mind --not even a teenager's (yes I'm a teen talking about this, sorry). I feel like it makes you want these unrealistic situations to happen and makes you have these fetishes that you don't even know about in reality - children think they want something they see in a movie or video, but in reality, they don't know at all how it actually works.