Need info/websites to help with son's pornography addiction


#1

18 year old son can’t stop. We have had numerous talks and this has been going on for a couple years. Now its to the point it is hardcore and almost daily. He is now very sneaky. He has abused these things and I have taken them away or disabled them:

Sony PSP
iTouch
Internet access on his phone
MY PHONE!
Wii
HIS DADS PHONE!!!
Computer

He does these things when I am not home. I keep discovering that he has found new ways to access things. Like today, he asked to use the laptop for homework. I disabled the restrictions for 2 hours so he could leave his grandmother’s early to do homework and he was home alone accessing porn.

I didn’t think he would ever try to use my phone, but did, and when I put a password on my phone, he started to use his dad’s!!! He has even used the Wii!!! Just when I think I have covered my bases, with things like strict filtering on Google (which is a JOKE) Google web search history, (WHICH HE NOW DELETES) he finds another way to do it.Today I looked in the web history of IE and had my corneas burned. He didn’t find a way to delete that.

I have tried every thing to help him. LOTS OF UNDERSTANDING, talking about future with a spouse, paralells with other addictions, I am now just sickened by the filth on MY COMPUTER, and find myself trying embarassing him, shaming him, and nothing seems to get him to stop. I know he is now addicted. I know (from reading heartbreaking stories here) how absolutely devastating this can be to some young men and can ruin their lives much in the same way a heroin addiction can. AND I HAVE SHARED THIS WITH MY SON. He says he wants help, but when I start to talk about it the next day, he is busy, has no time to talk, etc.

My husband is no help, because he watches some unsavory stuff on TV sometimes and it is ME who has to say something. I know he has taken matters into his own hands on occasion AHEM. He gets mad at our son for any little thing. He would not be of any help in talking to my son. He would just make it worse. It’s better he doesn’t know.

My son wants to start by going to catholic websites that can help him understand his problem. I would like him to see a Catholic therapist, but I don’t think we could afford it.

Also, whenever I have had knowledge of my son’s doings, I have taken him to confession and he has gone willingly. I don’t get it. I have been talking to him since he was in 6th grade. TV has been blocked, music downloads, until 18, internet I TRIED, we go to Mass every week. Where did I fail this boy???:frowning:

Help me help him, please.


#2

Hello lovedbyHim,

I would suggest using opendns.com, which makes it difficulty to bypass filtering from computers at your house. It uses user ratings to categorize sites and you can individually blacklist sites that you may find are not yet categorized. If you need help setting it up, send me a PM.

I have also heard (but never used) X3 watch x3watch.com/ is helpful as it allows you to send automated reports to an accountability partner. They have both a free and paid version. The free version is a bit tough to find on their site, so here is the direct link x3watch.com/x3watchfreebuy.html.

Having struggled with this myself, I found several resources to be very beneficial. The first is Christopher West’s Winning the Battle for Sexual Purity. Several of the other posts on this site also had useful advice. If possible, move the computer into a very public area of the house, so it is much more difficult for your son to be sneaky about it.

Your son is in my prayers.

-Martin


#3

These other two are Christian and also of great help.

xxxchurch.com/gethelp/teens/

shelleylubben.com/

May God be with you and my prayers are with you as well.


#4

Here's another Catholic website by a group that made a presentation at a National Catholic Singles Conference:

thekingsmen.org/

However, it appears to me that he is at the stage where I would compare it to stealing from you if he had a drug habit. You may have to lay down the law yourself and put it in terms of him violating YOUR devices and how it can affect you adversely (especially if your devices are used for employment).

If that doesn't get through to him, perhaps there is a priest at your parish that can get through to him (bonus points if the priest can outbench your son or throw a good right cross) or get him in touch with a Sexaholics Anonymous group.


#5

'allo! I'll start with the standard disclaimer: I'm not only not a licensed therapist. I'm actually possibly the worst person to give you advice, because I've been struggling with this general issue for some years now. I offer my perspective in the hope that it will help. I'll count on others who are a little more distant from the situation to offer good advice.

I sure understand your fear. You're a mom, so of course you are trying to help your son in any way you can. You don't want him to go to hell, and that's rule #1 of being a good mom. You're more afraid for his life and soul than you would be even for your own, and -- if you're anything like my mom -- you'd jump off a bridge if you thought it would help. However, jumping off a bridge won't help. Indeed, (like most moms in this difficult situation), you basically have two tools in your toolbox, and neither of them are working. Because of that, you think you've failed. Don't think that. You haven't failed your son. It's just that the tools you're using are the wrong tools for this job.

First, you're trying to block his porn intake. I state categorically that this is impossible. It used to be merely "bloody difficult." In the 1950s, you still had to buy pornography at a store and smuggle it into the house (or "use" it somewhere else), like beer. Of course, if you've ever loved an alcoholic, you know that the inventiveness of the addict is almost limitless, and, even with those obstacles, it is very, very difficult to block their intake by force.

In the modern era of pornography, it is flatly impossible. I'm actually quite impressed that you've detected as much as you have -- although this is aided by the fact that your son is apparently not even taking the bafflingly obvious step of deleting his web history (or using private browsing mode! Or, I'll hazard, deleting his cookies! Good gracious, he's simple!). We have ubiquitous internet access, every filter can either by bypassed or broken (most relatively easily), and you are several decades behind the technological curve relative to him. When you take away devices like his PSP, at the very best you are creating another small obstacle that he will get around in a matter of hours. At the very worst, you are taking away a potentially valuable distraction. (There've been days when the only thing that's saved me is a six hour round of Team Fortress 2. Of course, that's a bit excessive, too, but that's another conversation!) You cannot stop him from getting to pornography by cutting him off from it. More importantly, even if you succeed at somehow cutting it off, you won't touch the underlying disorder. As soon as there's a crack in your defenses -- or he gets old enough to move out -- the disease will be back worse than ever. If change is to come, it has to come from within him.

Second, you're trying to talk to him. You've been doing so for a long time. You're trying to argue, cajole, and generally educate him out of his problem. This is good and helpful to a certain point. He needs the intellectual tools to understand why he ought to stop this behavior. But it's only helpful to that point. Once he knows, he knows, and, unless he has doubts about the teaching, further reinforcement can only make him dread "those talks." Shaming him certainly won't help. Either he knows that what he's doing is shameful, in which case you are only driving him towards despair (a real risk with a habit as pernicious as masturbation), or he doesn't actually believe he's doing anything wrong, which I hope is not what's happening here.

I'm sure it can't help that it's his mom talking to him about his masturbation habit. If there is a single person on Earth with whom a young man does not want to discuss his ejaculatory habits, it is his mother. That's the most uncomfortable thing in the world. Of course, sons aren't eager to talk about sex with their fathers, either, but it is much less painful. Fathers relate to their sons as only men can, and that is vital when talking about a problem that is as intimately masculine as this. I know that women struggle with masturbation and pornography too, but they do not struggle in the same way. They also don't communicate the same way: that caring, open, sharing, maternal concern you have for him is just the opposite of the deep need he is feeling to be reassured without being pried open. It would be ideal for his dad to talk to him. It would be even more ideal for his dad to actually be a role model for him, but it sounds like that's impossible. Well, tough grits. If his dad's a shameless masturbator himself, you're right: any advice from him would be worse than useless. We will have to count on God's grace working in other ways.

And I'm afraid that's what my advice boils down to: count on God's grace. Have one more talk with him. Tell him that you trust him, that you love him, that you believe him when he says that he's trying to break his habit. Tell him that you've only tried to help him in the only ways you knew, but that you don't really have any power over him, especially now that he's an adult, and if he is to change, it can only be by his choice, his strength, and God's grace. Lift the device restrictions -- all of them -- and tell him that his pornography is his responsibility now. You're there to talk with him, shame-free, if he ever wants a friendly word of encouragement or advice.

[CONTINUED]


#6

Then drop it. Period. Keep taking him to confession. Do it regularly, like clockwork, every couple weeks – not as a reaction when you find out he’s been doing things. Your job is to leave it between him and God unless he asks your help. It may be wise to make it possible for him to attend Mass on his own; it can be very, very difficult for a young man to recuse himself from Communion for sexual sin in front of his parents, knowing that his parents will know what he’s been up to. (Do remind him, during your talk, to recuse himself from Communion when necessary.) Receiving communion unworthily is arguably graver than anything your son’s been doing with the computer.

Pray. Be patient; this will take years for him to root out. He may never succeed. Remember that this is the only grave sin that the Catechism explicitly marks off as being reduced in gravity for "affective immaturity and force of acquired habit."Remember that the Lord will “look not on his sins, but on the faith” of your son’s spirit. Trust in His grace and His infinite mercy. Trust that your son will never give up the lifelong cycle of repentance. In the very best case, your son will gradually learn self-discipline, will slowly come to identify the near occasions of sin and slowly develop the willpower to cut them off. He will very slowly step down his behaviors in gravity and frequency. If he’s very fortunate and very faithful, he’ll be free of them by the time he weds.

You might even consider encouraging this step-down. I’m not quite sure what you mean by hardcore pornography, because that term is so flexible, but it’s true that (while all of it is damaging) some of it is exponentially more damaging than the rest (videos involving horses and young women, for instance; rape films; BDSM stuff). As much as possible, you want to get him away from that as soon as possible, because it could ruin his life. So I suggest (very cautiously) that you give him this advice, which someone once gave me, and which has (I think) saved my soul on more than one occasion: If you do fail in your struggle sometimes, and you start looking for pornography, at least don’t go for the hardcore porn. Read erotic stories; watch softcore movies (like sex scenes in mainstream movies, or even that one site where you only see their faces); look at explicit comics and cartoons; just don’t watch real women doing it for real. That’s so much worse. The other options are still not okay, and are still something to struggle against, but this is a long-run battle, and they are so much less damaging in the long run.

One other word of advice, something that’s helped me and might help you: it might be a good time to institute regular family self-mortification. The Church prescribes some form of self-mortification every Friday (not just in Lent), but most Americans do not practice this (mostly because they do not know about it). Outside of Lent, the type of penance is your choice, but the traditional one is giving up meat every Friday. I suggest trying something other than abstinence from meat, so your family doesn’t complain that you’re trying to extend Lent all year 'round, but it should be roughly equivalent to that small burden. If you’re already doing a regular Friday penance, add Wednesdays instead. I give up some small private something every day (something different every day) except Sundays and feast days. Make the purpose very clear, and add an extra prayer over meals invoking that purpose. (To wit, that purpose is to draw closer to Christ in His sufferings on the cross and to remember more clearly that every good thing we have is pure gift from Him.) Learning to keep myself from chocolate on Tuesdays has helped me keep myself from LitErotica on Thursdays.

Therapy is probably not indicated even if you can afford it. I hate to say it, but this is fairly common behavior nowadays. If your son still has a functioning social life, friends, does okay in school, goes to Mass, and seems otherwise normal… he’s probably pretty normal. This is terrible, of course, but there are far, far worse cases out there. Therapy is something that (in my experience) only really as a good chance at working when the patient has already hit rock bottom. If you’re the only one worried about your son, he’s in a bad way, but he’s a long way from rock bottom. I don’t know if that’s true for everybody, though, and I’ve never been in therapy for anything (including this), so I don’t speak from first-hand knowledge.

The bad news is, yes, your son is addicted. The worse news is, against every maternal instinct, the way you can help him most is by doing less. The good news is, you’re not a failure as a mother and his terrible habit does not mean he is going to go to hell or even have a failed life and marriage. It means he faces challenges in his life and his future marriage, and that he faces challenges today that are going to take a long time for him to overcome. The best news is, your most powerful maternal recourse is still available to you: keep praying, both for your son and your husband (who is definitely part of this equation), keep receiving the sacraments, and keep ensuring that your son is encouraged and enabled to do the same.

I hope that helps. You’ll be in my prayers; I hope you will do me the favor of keeping me in yours, in some small way.


#7

I completely agree with the above. It is their fathers who need to address this issue, but if they had fathers who were interactive and encouraged purity, they wouldn't be using porn in the first place, would they...so where does that leave us? On our knees before God...

I still have K9 Web Protection on my son's laptop...which was my laptop before I got a new one. It is a good filter, not 100% reliable but free. He has never resisted it. I am very sorry that I put it on the computer after "the horse had left the barn" so to speak. I just never imagined either of my boys searching out porn. I would advise all parents to assume their kids, boy or girl, are going to either stumble upon porn or go looking for it, so put the filter on and leave it on. The OP said she turned the filter off - why? NEVER turn the filter off! They can do homework with the filter on. The blocking software is a lot better than it used to be - the one thing that is still difficult to block is YouTube, but you can turn that option off because no one needs YouTube to do homework.

But that is for younger children, once a teen male gets to the point where the OP's son is, he either gets help himself or he doesn't. She has done everything she can do, and the last talk is a great idea but it really has to be the last talk. I did the same with my son and his homework. I told him I will never again nag you about your homework, it is up to you to study and get it done. And I never have. You could tell your son about support groups, let him know that there are many other men who struggle with this, give him the websites, suggest that he get accountability partners.

And then stop checking up on him. When he's in college he will be out of your sight anyway and must make his own decisions. It's hard but we have to let them go at some point. What decisions they make, they will make. It is sickening to think that a son could be looking at women in that nasty way, but there is little you can do now.

May God give you peace, OP.


#8

^ In support of the above: if one does go the route of using an internet filter, I've never seen better than K9 Web Protection. It is circumventable, but it is pretty clever, and it has a lot of good customization options. If you want to block, you can block; if you just want a record of all restricted sites visited, you can get that list. The categories are fairly well-tuned, and the blocked sites list is remarkably good. And it's free! Can't beat free, and if you're unhappy with it after a few months you haven't lost anything in the transaction.

Again, my belief is that, once you're dealing with impurity, a filter won't help and might hurt, but I absolutely intend to install K9 on my home computers when I have kids. That's not so my teen sons will be prevented from sin, but so that my young'uns can browse relatively freely without serious fears of Google Encounters of the Porn Kind.

www1.k9webprotection.com/


#9

You did not fail him.

  1. Kids from good families end up with drug, alcohol, impurity problems all the time. 2 kids might not have any serious issues and 1 does.

  2. His life is not over, it is where he ends up that matters. At lease he seems to acknowledge that it is wrong and wants to stop, even if it appears he is not trying hard. Note this is much much much harder than you might think to stop once some becomes addicted at a young age like your son. Read up on St. Monica, her son had issue at this age too, he turned out pretty good in the end:thumbsup:

If he is going to quit he has to want to. He will likely need some help, but ultimately not from you. He needs to meet with a good priest and go to confession weekly. The priest will know what to say to him. He is not likely to be able to stop cold turkey, he may turn to other sources of stimulation etc. The weekly confession will be very important, the temptation to give up trying will be great, going to a good priest weekly for confession will combat that temptation.

The part you can continue to do is to the best of your abilities keep anything indecent out of your house. Don’t watch TV, movies etc, that do not portray wholesome view of sexuality. (not much out there these days). Get dad to stop watching rated R stuff too and to back you up in this. Oh and you can go to confession often too and go to extra Masses during the week (once a week is a minimum, we can go everyday if want to).

This is something that is hard for a mother to understand. The attacks on young men seem overwhelming and frankly seem unfair and unbalanced. It will be quite an accomplishment for him to get through this, something you will be proud of. Always keep praying for him, with hope and trust in God, do not give in to despair.


#10

You need to set up a DNS filter on your wireless router or LAN switch. Search Open DNS "name of your router" and you can find a guide to show you how to set it up. That will stop him from using your internet to look up smut, but unfortunately he will still be able to use the neighbors wireless unless they have it locked down. There are numerous ways to bypass the filter but that should keep him occupied for a little while. You should also restrict him from using the computer in private.


#11

Have you thought about just taking away all forms of electronics. If he needs to do research for school, it has to be done around your schedule so he can be supervised. Paper’s have to be hand written, (that’ll burn off some unwanted energy). Basically he is not allowed near temptation.

Also ask around your parrish about any free counseling that might be offered for people who can’t afford it.


#12

He’s 18. He’s really old enough to be working on these issues himself, or he will have to suffer the consequences himself too. We parents can’t save our children from themselves once they reach the ages where they have to develop some inner fortitude of their own. Anyway I’m sure he has friends who will give him access to their stuff.

You really can’t take away stuff from an almost-man. Well, I mean technically, I guess she could, since he still lives at home, but then she’s treating him like he’s still 12.


#13

I would agree with you here. However if he is living at home rent free…he has to abide by the house rules. Also the fact he is using their computer, game consloes, and phones is not OK. If he wants to move out, buy his own phone and computer…then correct he should be able to do as he wishes as he is an adult.


#14

Add on to above post.......some tough love may be in order. Shape up or ship out. If he won't stop sneaking pron, then maybe he needs to be on his own. When you have to work to support yourself and pay for your own life, it does tend to fill up your free time with porductive things instead of porn.


#15

I’m sorry but I must protest. Absolutely any teen boy exposed to sexually oriented information can get a porn addiction independent of his father’s habits or interaction. Sorry. It can not be exclusively blamed on the father.

Porn is addicting because it’s designed that way. See “The Drug of the New Millennium.” Porn is a serious issue with youth especially since they are more easily addicted than adults. If the addiction is severe, professional help is generally considered a must. Be sure the counselor is well versed in the subject. Some don’t see porn as a problem.


#16

Took me two hours to find a functioning proxy server under OpenDNS’s restrictions – less than the setup time. It did do a pretty job stopping me from streaming smutty video, but that was about it. I could reach all other content with only modest difficulty.

On the bright side, my experience has been that most neighbors are locked down these days, and many of them have even moved away from the hack-vulnerable WEP encryption

I’m a senior in college. The last time I was even allowed to turn in a hand-written paper was seventh grade. The last time I actually did turn in a hand-written paper was fourth grade. I’m still one of those rare ducks who still goes to the library for research papers to get books out, but even for me most of my research is done online and takes me far beyond the bedtimes of my parents, and this has been true since early high school. Electronics are indispensable to the contemporary academic life. It would be technically possible to supervise every minute of your adolescent child’s necessary academic computer time, but, I think, very implausible.

I don’t mean to be the nattering nabob of negativism.


#17

One point I'd like to make in regards to the notion that, for whatever reasons, you can't take away his internet, electronics, etc., is that you absolutely can. If he's using YOUR internet service to access potentially illegal material, you have every right to shut down his access to it. My son's 20 and he's found himself in the same boat. We gave him one too many one last chance and finally shut his internet down for good. If he truly needs to access the internet he can do it at school. I can't speak entirely to his masturbatory practices, but it has stopped him from looking at porn at home (to the best of our knowledge) and his grades have gone up tremendously. I struggled with the same problem myself up until a couple years ago and since then have made it clear to him that certain things are not to be brought into my house, whether in physical or virtual form. It's one rule we don't have too many issues with since he has been completely shut off from the internet at home, and really can't afford to buy any on his own.

As to the comments that the OP's son will have to want to change in order for it to get better, that's absolutely true. I don't think shaming him or dragging him to Confession will work (the shame will breed resentment and he likely won't make a full Confession), but talking to him may. Until he really wants to give it up, though, it won't happen.


#18

I will pray for you


#19

[quote="lovedbyHim, post:1, topic:239366"]
Help me help him, please.

[/quote]

lovedbyHim, keep praying. Sadly enough the society we currently live in makes it so easy for this to become a problem for many boys and men. I know of someone who I love very much, who struggled with this in the past. I asked him for the program/server that he used to block all that stuff from his computer, here's the link: opendns.com/ I'm not sure how it works, but it's probably all in there. He did say this is not something the person with the addiction/struggle should have access to, but that someone else should control this server (a password is needed. He asked his brother to set up the password so he and only he can ever have access to this filtering server thing's settings).

I wish I could be of more help. Try looking into chastity.com and encourage your son to look into the section on pornography there. Find some good Catholic books on sexuality to give him (something simple, nothing too complicated so that it's actually easy and interesting for him to read). It's a wonderful thing that he is receptive when you bring him to Confession and talk to him, that definitely leaves a window open for him to be able to accept help when he is offered that.

I wish you the best of luck. Keep praying and keep striving to help your son. Talk to your priest, maybe he knows of a counsellor that wouldn't charge you as much. Try to see if maybe there's a priest, or just a good Catholic man that could reach out to your son. Whatever you do, don't lose hope. This, too, shall pass.

I'll keep you in my prayers. God bless you!


#20

Log on to www.IntegrityRestored.com, a website specifically designed for Catholic men and teens struggling with pornography use.

On this site, one can learn about the addictiveness of porn, and how porn affects men, women, children and teens. It also discusses the recovery process and how Catholic spirituality is a crucial part of the process. This website has been very helpful in helping men recover from pornography addiction!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.