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teenage daughter watching porn - don't know what to do

(39 Posts)
Bobbi51 Wed 05-Jan-11 10:52:22

I was in my 16 year old daughters room picking up stuff to wash. Her laptop had not closed down properly and I clicked to turn it off. It opened at a porn site. I'm really shocked and don't know what I should do about this.

GypsyMoth Wed 05-Jan-11 10:53:20

Parental controls?

dilbertina Wed 05-Jan-11 10:53:24

nothing, would be my choice...

Bobbi51 Wed 05-Jan-11 10:56:10

There are basic parental controls but nothing that blocks porn sites. Oh dear, I do feel out of my depth with this.

Ooopsadaisy Wed 05-Jan-11 10:59:09

Maybe I am too laid-back but I would do nothing.

She is 16. If that is the worst she does then you have an amazing teenager and have obviously done an amazing job as a mother.

When I was 13 (1980s!!!), the novel "Lace" was doing the rounds as it had some rude bits in it.

My Mum found it and I thought I was in for some serious shit but she just laughed and asked to borrow it after me!

At 16 she could be left home, sleeping with a different man every night, doing drugs, sleeping rough, in a gang with knives .......

I know she's your child but I think it's fine.

usualsuspect Wed 05-Jan-11 11:03:58

I would do nothing

ChickensAreFlyingUnderTheRadar Wed 05-Jan-11 11:05:36

I'd ignore it unless it was extreme porn, iyswim. As long as animals/minors/weaponry weren't involved.

BertieBottlesOfMulledWine Wed 05-Jan-11 11:23:12

I wouldn't be concerned at the fact she is seeking out this stuff - it's natural really, especially at her age, I would be much more concerned about the messages she's getting from it - the content of most easily available internet porn perpetuates myths, is entirely unlike normal, loving sex and puts ridiculous expectations on young girls. These expectations are bad enough if they are coming from a boy she's involved with, but if she's seen it for herself and thinks that this is the way to do things, it becomes a lot harder for her to say "no".

How close and able to talk about sex etc are you? It's extremely dangerous (in my opinion) to allow her to get the bulk of her sex education from porn, which doesn't cover boundaries, respect or how to know you are ready, (in fact it actively reverses the messages we would probably want our daughters to have on these points) and not all schools cover these things in their sex education classes. If you think she might dismiss your advice as out of touch, maybe you could get her a book about porn and it's effects, so she gets a more balanced overall view? There were some recommended in the women's rights section recently.

Bobbi51 Wed 05-Jan-11 11:37:29

She doesn't talk openly to me about sex but I don't find this unusual for a teen. I've told her that I'm happy to discuss anything at all with her and I've emphasised the importance of love and respect in a relationship. She hasn't had a boyfriend yet and seems happy hanging around with her friends.

I do sometimes feel I'm out of touch with current thinking as I'm an old mum (59), just the one child, and maybe that's why finding out about the porn has shocked me so much. My personal view is that it degrades women and gives the wrong messages.

Although I did the 'sex chat' when she was about 11 years, I had imagined that she would find out more about sex within a loving relationship and not on a porn site.

usualsuspect Wed 05-Jan-11 11:40:23

Its not the ideal place to learn about sex agreed...shes probably just curious though

Ooopsadaisy Wed 05-Jan-11 11:42:20

I'm not into porn myself but have a friend who is a big fan. (Honestly!!!!)

Porn these days is as much about women as men.

Friend tells me that women in porn are much more empowered and not victimised as they once were perceived to be.

I think so long as she has a rounded attitude to life in general she'll develop her own opinions and know that it's not real life.

singingcat Wed 05-Jan-11 11:43:15

It's just curiosity. I understand about not wanting her to get all her ideas about sex from porn but I really don't think she will if she has grown up in a safe and secure family. If you mention it to her, it will just be the cringiest thing ever

Bobbi51 Wed 05-Jan-11 11:55:27

Thank you for your replies and I do feel a bit more settled now. I don't think that I'll mention it this time (yes much too cringeworthy) but perhaps be a bit more watchful - although difficult when laptop in her bedroom.

I may bring up the porn subject when the opportunity arises (??) and see how it goes.

Niceguy2 Wed 05-Jan-11 13:11:56

Hi Bobbi

I'm another vote for "do nothing". However, if I were in your shoes, I'd wait a bit for the opportunity to arise where you can just slip it in that porn is nothing like what sex is actually like in the real world.

I'd hate for a young girl to think all men are hung like that and that the girls have to contort themselves into all sorts of positions to please their man!

dittany Wed 05-Jan-11 13:19:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coco2901 Wed 05-Jan-11 13:35:09

As long as it was nothing illegal (ie underage etc) then I would do nothing. I watched porn at 16 for a mixture of reasons- curiousity being a main one but also because I was masturbating regularly (as the majority of 16yo's do) I still use porn regularly both alone and with my DP. I have been in a loving, secure relationship since I was 18yo and totally disagree with Dittany's point above. I think that increasing security controls or imposing your opinions on her will do nothing but push your daughter away and make her even less likely to talk to you about anything sex related. She is showing an interest in sex which is healthy at her age.

slhilly Wed 05-Jan-11 13:51:46

I tend to mildly agree with dittany, if such a thing were possible wink, in that:
- teens form ideas from the media they imbibe, among other places. Some of those ideas can be damaging. The idea that sex is about satisfying your man is prevalent in lots of porn and is damaging. At the very least, I think she'd benefit from visiting the makelovenotporn website, as a counterweight to the specific practices that she may see in porn
- I'd find a way to discuss this with her if at all possible. To remind her of the need to be mindful of context, even when she's got the horn
- I'd remind her that tempting as it may be to get her kit off, user-made porn tends to hang around for a long time and is potentially very harmful to her if the wrong person sees it.

I don't take the same stance as dittany in that:
- "natural" is a term that doesn't work for me (cf harmful, which does). Lots of natural things are harmful. Lots of unnatural things are harmless or beneficial.
- I think that viewing porn is potentially harmful but is not definitely and overwhelmingly harmful (especially compared to the other risk-taking behaviours teens indulge in)

cumbria81 Wed 05-Jan-11 14:43:28

She's 16, was probably just curious and really, I don't think it's a big deal. I'd just leave it.

Niceguy2 Wed 05-Jan-11 14:48:35

The problem is if you confront her, it's likely to cause a huge ruckus. All this does is put her in a corner and you are unlikely to be able to get through whilst she's pretty embarrassed and lashing out.

Porn is ofc not natural, anymore than a horror/science fiction film. There's nothing wrong with a bit of porn when its taken as lighthearted entertainment. In the same way that you watch a horror movie understanding it isn't real or watching James Bond does not mean you can go around shooting every baddie in the head.

It's only a problem when you confuse fantasy with reality. Only OP will know her daughter well enough to see if this is really a danger or not.

auntyfash Wed 05-Jan-11 14:49:04

Maybe you could sit down and watch with her? Then have a discussion about it afterwards.

BluddyMoFo Wed 05-Jan-11 14:52:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThatllDoPig Wed 05-Jan-11 14:53:49

I would be really worried. It sounds like it is just me by everyone else's answers on here. But personally I think porn is normalised too much. 16 is very young still. I would be worried and upset if this was my dd, but got no idea what I would do about it. Talk it through I guess.

auntyfash Wed 05-Jan-11 14:54:17

Maybe make a proper evening out of it? Make biscuits in rude shapes and have willy shaped ice cubes in your drinks. In fact, invite over some other female relatives, maybe an elderly aunt or grandmother.

hobbgoblin Wed 05-Jan-11 14:55:37

Well, if it's too difficult to raise as a subject and not easy to control without her wondering why you are suddenly placing extra controls on laptop use and then feeling ashamed because she guesses you have sussed then I think the thing to do is balance the situation and try and instigate some more general discussion.

If you already engage in debate with her about current affairs, social issues, etc. then you could weave some stuff on objectification of women, sexual equality, and sexuality into such discussions.

You could also buy her some literature with a feminist bias or which discusses porn and the problems associated with it.

BertieBottlesOfMulledWine Wed 05-Jan-11 17:30:29

I keep typing this and can't quite word it right but here goes anyway.

OP, you say you are shocked by porn and feel it degrades women and sends bad messages. (I agree with you, especially when talking about the majority of internet porn)

The trouble is that porn is so normalised in our society now and in her generation, that if you try to talk to her from this angle, she's most likely to write it off as you being out of touch, than listen to what you have to say, because the overwhelming majority view (as seen on this thread!) is that porn is fine, no big deal, it's normal.

And of course there's the added complication that she would most likely be mortified if you brought it up and just say anything to get the subject closed and over with. So you will need to bring it up, if possible, without intimating that you are aware of the fact she has been looking at it.

You would definitely find some interesting/helpful articles or books (or threads!) mentioned in the feminism section on mumsnet, I think. Maybe some which you could share with your DD. Even if you don't consider yourself a feminist it sounds as though you have some feminist principles, so you would probably find it interesting too.

I don't think banning it is going to help, it will just cause embarrassment (and she will probably see it or gain these messages from elsewhere anyway) - so you need to counter it with some other views, and not necessarily directly from you.

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