14 minute read

What to Do After Your Child Sees Porn

Last Updated: October 30, 2020

Guest Author

Want to write for the Covenant Eyes blog? Share the story of your journey to freedom from pornography. Let us know how you overcame porn or how Covenant Eyes has made a difference in your life or the lives of those you love.

Recently, a mom approached me and said, “Father Kilcawley, I spent some time this afternoon on the phone with Covenant Eyes getting my family set up.” I was overjoyed to hear that they had finally taken this step to protect their family and tried to affirm them in their desire to watch over their children online.

Then, her husband looked at me and said, “Well, we had to.” Just as they had heard in a presentation earlier, even in the best of families—the most careful of families—children are at high risk for online exposure to porn, and their child was no different.

This family has one computer, kept in a public area of the home. They do not allow any mobile devices for their kids, etc. However, their son overheard a conversation about pornography at the lunch table. Not knowing what was being talked about, he went home to google the word “porn” and was exposed. Luckily, these parents are “in tune” with their children and their moods and realized something was “off” with their son. After a quick history check, they discovered his activity and started an intervention.

Here are five points to keep in mind if this happens to you:

First, remember that Jesus loves you—the parent.

There can be a great temptation to blame yourself for what happened to your child. If you fall into this trap you will be in no position to help your son or daughter to know that they can talk to you about anything

Love your child.

A child who gets exposed to pornography is usually innocent. They are exposed by another person, or they are told about it from another person. Most often, it is something that “happened to them” as opposed to being “chosen by them.”

Start monitoring now.

Install Covenant Eyes to be sure you know exactly where your kids go online so you can ensure that their curiosity is not driving them back to more pornography (or even soft-core content on YouTube). Checking the history is no longer sufficient, as most browsers have “private browsing mode.”

Start the talk.

If your child has been exposed to pornography and you have not yet started sex education, you have to start now. There are some great resources available to assist in this process. Good Pictures/Bad Pictures by Kristen Jensen is a great book to educate your kids on what they should do from now on when they encounter inappropriate content. The God’s Design for Sex series by NavPress is also an invaluable tool for getting a conversation going about the true beauty and meaning of human sexuality.

Continue to educate yourself about God’s plan for human sexuality.

There are many good resources on “the Theology of the Body” by John Paul II. No matter what your religious affiliation is, this will be the most profound explanation of human and divine love you have ever heard. I recently started a course in my own city.

My final piece of advice is to spread the message.

Don’t allow shame to prevent you from educating other parents about the importance of protecting kids from pornography. That is exactly what this couple did. You can read their story on CathedralEagles.com.


kilcawley-rev-seanFather Sean Kilcawley is the Director of Religious Education at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lincoln. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1996 with a BS in Middle East Foreign Area Studies. After serving three years of active duty as an infantry officer, he then left the military to begin studies for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest in 2005 and served four years as a parochial vicar and high school teacher in Nebraska. He studied in Rome for advanced studies in pastoral theology, and in 2013 he completed an STL (summa cum laude) at the John Paul II institute for marriage and family.

 

 

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  • Comments on: What to Do After Your Child Sees Porn
    1. Hubert Kaupa on

      Thanks.. I have siblings to educate..

      Reply
    2. Anon on

      Thank you to Covenant Eyes and also to Fr. Sean for his dedication to this essential work. Porn has cloaked our globe in a cover of darkness, and when I think about how vast the problem is, how countless hours of God-given life are wasted instead of invested in good work, when I think about how much innocence is lost because of it, I get depressed. I get angry at men “in general” for not fixing this, standing up against it, and working together to take down the major porn websites.

      Reply
      • Shane on

        You are angry at men “in general” for not fixing this…? How are we supposed to fix it? And why is it “our” fault? Seems that most of the porn I used to watch had men AND women in it… It’s so easy to hide behind the computer and spout blame at every one else. What are YOU doing to make the world a better place? I commend the GUYS at CovenantEyes and the GALS for the hard work they are doing to help keep my family porn free.

    3. Charles Laudia on

      Thank you for the wonderful article, it really helps in preparing our kids facing the threats of this world. Another point that I would like to make is that I hope there is a consent from the parents of the boy used in this article, because of the content of this article would result in deragotory indicating that the boy was watching porn (and, even it is, this is viewed as private issue)

      Reply
      • Lisa Eldred on

        I don’t know if Fr. Kilcawley obtained specific consent, but there are no personally identifiable details in this article. He did a good job of keeping it vague.

      • Shane on

        You must be kidding… And if he didn’t obtain their consent? Good luck proving who “this family…” is.

    4. Fr Sean Kilcawley on

      This story is both particular and universal. It is, in fact, the story of many parents who have approached me in the past two years. The couple who published the blog post has been brave enough to assist me in the work of educating parents, and for that I am truly grateful. I did talk to them before sharing their story with CovenantEyes and our hope is that this may be a call to action for the many parents who are still procrastinating in protecting their families. May God bless and watch over all parents, and especially over our children.

      Reply

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