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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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My son, who turned 6-years-old recently, stumbled onto some

Customer Question

My son, who turned 6-years-old recently, stumbled onto some naked pictures of women online about a month ago. The search he was performing wasn't to look for naked women, but somehow he was directed to the site. Both my husband and spoke to him about how our bodies are private, some things on the Internet are inappropriate, etc. Then, we turned the Internet access to the tablet off unless we were using it. Today, he was playing his learning games on the tablet, (or so I thought) while I was driving the car and he asked me how to spell "show". I pulled the car over and asked to see the tablet. I went to history and found that he had looked at a website entitled "kissing private parts" I was mortified. I looked at the site and saw pornographic images of women's faces next to men's penises (not engaging in oral sex) and a woman with her hands on a man's penis. I also saw men and women on top of each other in bed, etc. I have since installed an Internet browser that heavily filters searches, and disabled the regular Internet browser. I realize that this is not 100 percent effective. I also spoke with my son and told him that there are good and bad things online and people who post naked pictures of themselves online are not making good choices. I explained that I changed the browser to protect him and the computer from exposure to pictures that are inappropriate. I explained that the pictures he saw are not of things he should try to do or talk about with another child because our bodies are private. I also told him that if he has any questions about body parts or males or females, he can ask me at anytime without worrying about me being angry. He was caught three times last year pulling down his pants and underwear and showing his bottom to other children during nap time. Also, during the school year, he told me that he and another little boy went into the restroom stall together at school and "smelled each other's butts." We practice modesty at home, and I'm not sure where his behavior is coming from. I am so worried he is going to try to act out what he's seen online with another child at school or tell other children about it. Should I seek counseling for him?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I can certainly understand your concern about your child's behavior and his exposure to pornographic type material on the internet. He is at an impressionable state in his development and you are right in wanting to be sure that he is not being exposed to things that are inappropriate for his age.

Dr. L :

Children are very curious beings. And as you already told him, the Internet is not the source you want him to rely on to learn about sexuality. I'm glad that you were able to lock the system tight!

Dr. L :

It does sound like you treated this episode (and the previous) in a sensitive, caring, and consistent manner....bodies are private and if you want more information come to mom and dad. I would back that up by getting him an age appropriate book about bodies. Here is a suggestion:

Dr. L :

http://www.amazon.com/Boys-Girls-Body-Science-First/dp/1550172360

Dr. L :

In one way, it is important to capitalize on his curiousity and expose him to books that you approve of. This will back up your statement that he should come to mom & dad and that you will be very happy to talk to him and answer his questions. It will also provide him with some information - hopefully what he learns will override any peer influence to "smell each other's butts".

Dr. L :

Teaching our children about sexuality and our bodies is something that is best delivered over many years, with many small chats, and with good books to back up our teaching. And...most of all...with an open door policy that allows them to continue to ask questions without fear of being shamed.

Dr. L :

I would not be so alarmed by the incident in the bathroom. This likely was boy play. But his pulling down his pants 3 times during nap time is more concerning. Did he explain this? Did he say where he saw that before (and therefore copied)?

Dr. L :

As to the counseling. You do not want to make this a bigger deal than it is and in so doing bring negative attention to his curiousity. Like many childhood behaviors, attention on the negative typically leads to more negative.

Dr. L :

What I suggest is that you monitor his behavior over the next month or so. If he makes an attempt to access any inappropriate sexual material on the internet, then consider having him see a child psychologist. As well, see how he handles a good book about the body. Does he become overly focused on body parts? Does he take down his pants around friends or neighbor children?

Dr. L :

Let's see if satisfying his curious mind with good, healthy material and open dialogue with you and dad gets him on the right track.

Dr. L :

I await your response.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

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