Dear Grandparenting: I have a rule against airing dirty laundry in public, but I’ve had it. My grandchildren are into pornography big-time. They may hide it, but I know what’s going on. Granny is not deaf and dumb.
The Internet is a porn lover’s paradise, and I can’t blame them for being curious. But my grandchildren still have a lot of growing up to do, and the stuff on the Internet is way beyond normal. It can only give kids terrible ideas about real love and intimacy.
My daughter thinks it’s a losing battle. Let’s just say she did the free love thing in her hippie days and let it go at that. I have always been a realist. I know I can’t stop my grandchildren from ever seeing this stuff. I just want to balance it somehow. Got any advice? Going Bonkers, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Dear Bonkers: The easy availability of Internet sexual content is unquestionably one of the digital world’s greater evils. Since day one, no other online industry segment has been as popular or profitable as pornography.
Actual numbers are hard to come by, but according to one study, this explicit content is how nine out of 10 children aged 8 to 16 learn about sex. Porn is becoming the new sex-ed.
Many parents have dropped “the birds and the bees” chat with children because the kids are already way beyond not knowing. Other parents go so far as teaching their children the do’s and don’ts of online porn, X-rated and all. Try as one may to monitor their Internet usage or install digital filtering software at home, there’s no stopping them from sharing a friend’s device. It’s become almost inevitable that grandchildren will see explicit Internet content at some point, likely sooner than later. So the larger issue becomes, just what done about it?
There is no magic solution. A good moral foundation certainly helps. So do families that don’t shame children for viewing X-rated material — watching porn does not make one a bad person. Family must step up and become more engaged. Conversations about why porn is unrealistic — and its potential dangers — may be uncomfortable but are essential. Consult online resources, take a deep breath and get moving.
Grand remark of the week
Tad George from Tucson, Arizona learned the good news when he received a text message from son Harry at the hospital: “Great fathers get promoted to grandfathers. P.S. It’s a boy!”