I am a computer professional. We have excellent filtering. We keep computers, gaming devices, phones, and other connected devices in public areas in our home. We try to be involved with and have a strong, open relationship with our kids. We are trying to do all of the right things.
Yet some of my children still have occasional issues with porn. The best filters in the world will not prevent a determined user from accessing undesirable content. I know parents who have removed all nonessential tech from their home. Yet they have a child who still finds ways to access porn. That's because this is not primarily a technology issue, but a complex physical/psychological/spiritual issue that isn't easily resolved with blunt force.
Sadly, years of professional counseling, group therapy, and other therapies haven't seemed to help much. We have had kind and understanding church leaders. But sometimes they seem to feed the shame cycle rather than helping to break it.
Through unfortunate experience from my family and extended family and my job, I must say that you should NOT involve the bishop unless there is a clear need for a high level of repentance. Bishops do not have the training or understanding to handle this situation. If you feel it is necessary to involve a bishop, first have your child visit a counselor (consistent with LDS values). They will have the experience and knowledge to help guide your family through the healing process. If repentance via a priesthood authority it required, they will be able to guide when (or if) that is a good option.
My job requires me to act as a mentor for college-age students and I have had to deal with the fall-out of misinformed bishops. (The best bishop that I've met, in this regard, flat out told the student that he (the bishop) was not a counselor and that he could help with the repentance process, but that the student needed to see a counselor for other help.) I've met with too many students who, because of college, have a new bishop each year, and the bishop tries to "start over" every year the counseling process. They would give contradictory information. There are no written guidelines for bishops in these matters.
see "out of the shadows" by patrick carnes, a pioneer in sexual addictions.
see "back from betrayal" by jennifer schneider, a book recommended by patrick carnes
From someone who has been where your son currently is, I hate to tell you this but he is already addicted and yes, it IS that serious.
Filtering out the world is impossible unless you wish to isolate from the rest of the world and live the life of a hermit. All people will be exposed to erotica and mature entertainment. We need to set the example not to adopt the behaviour of the porn milieu. It’s a negative form of escapism, but what one might call porn another might label as artistic. If this child were to be publically embarrassed like this, we need to,decide what actually constitutes porn, and find a better alternative. If we attack this behaviour, there will be resistance and the opposite will occur, e.g., banning certain songs will only guarantee that they’ll become hits. Lastly, we need to recognise that it’s protected speech.
I am LDS and married to a therapist (LCSW). It is my bitter experience that 99% of the bishops are not trained to handle this issue. A wise bishop would refer you to LDS Social Services (or some other agency) so that those who ARE trained can help the parents and child in determining what steps they are going to take. The bishop would be kept in the loop as to what was going on, and if he determined there was a repentance process he needed the boy to work through, then he would also benefit from what LDS Social Services has determined. Meanwhile, put the computer in the master bedroom under lock and key.
There’s another issue: how did the son get past the security features the parents put in place? The answer will shed light on a possible bigger problem.
Email (will not be published)
Daily news, articles, videos and podcasts sent straight to your inbox.