5 Strategies for Monitoring Your Child's Exposure to & Possible Addiction of Pornography

Teen pornography addiction is becoming more prevalent, and as a concerned parent, you should be as aware of this risk as you are of drug addictions and substance abuse. However, it can be even more challenging to notice a pornography addiction than many other types of addiction.

As a parent, here's what you can do to monitor your child's exposure to and possible addiction of pornography.

1. Open a Conversation

To encourage your child to come to you when something's wrong, it's critical to foster open lines of communication. That can be hard when it comes to sexuality and pornography, but it certainly isn't impossible.

If possible, start talking with your child openly about sex and porn when they are young. Talk about the risks of internet porn in particular. Even if you didn't start the conversation when your child was young, now is not too late.

Start talking now, and when your child comes to you with a question or concern, don't get mad. Instead, listen, be empathetic and advise as well as you can.

When you have open lines of dialogue, you may hear about your child's interest in or curiosity about porn well before it gets out of control and become an addiction.

2. Use Tech Tools

In addition to openness, you may want to use tech tools. There are apps and programs that allow you to control which sites your child can visit.

If you allow unfettered access to the internet, consider using a program that lets you track browser history remotely. That way, you can use your own laptop to check which sites your child has been visiting.

3. Watch for Diminished Concentration

Of course when it comes to tech tools, kids are often savvier than adults, and as a result, kids often have ways of getting around tech software. Because of that, you should be aware of the mental changes that often accompany pornography addiction.

Both teen and adult addicts may exhibit symptoms similar to ADHD. An abbreviation for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD symptoms include an inability to pay attention, lots of energy or hyperactivity, and poor impulse control.

If your child is suddenly struggling at school or if he or she doesn't seem to follow conversations at home, that may be a symptom of pornography addiction. Of course, these symptoms may also be a sign of numerous other issues including drug addiction, so you may want to watch for other signs as well.

4. Consider Your Child's Relationships in Real Life

As internet pornography addictions progress, addicts begin to take a reduced interest in real life relationships. Is your child hanging out with their friends less often? Are they less interested in dating than you would expect for someone their age? In some cases, those may be signs of underlying trouble.

The addict's interest in real physical contact may also diminish. If your child is dating, have you noticed them withdrawing from their partner on a physical level? At home, has your child started rejecting hugs or shying away from healthy physical contact? Although those changes may also be linked to run-of-the-mill teen growing pains, it's important to remember that they can also signify a porn addiction.

5. Be Aware If Your Child Is Acting Secretive 

Finally, consider whether or not your child is being unusually secretive. Is he or she retreating into his or her room and closing the door more often? Does it take longer than usual for your child to respond when you knock on the bedroom door? Has your child stopped sharing information with you? Those can all be signs that your child is hiding something, and that may be a porn addiction.

If you believe that your child is addicted to porn, open a dialogue and contact a teen pornography addiction treatment center.