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Old 08-26-2009, 01:03 PM   #26
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I understand the point of view of checking up on your kids online, but at the same time, just thinking about my own personal experiences.. the internet was a way for me to learn more about my sexuality and myself and I know I would've been very upset and embarrassed had my parents looked at it. Kids are entitled to privacy too. Instead of checking up on your kids or limiting everything they look at, informing them of the dangers of the internet is more effective, imo. That's what my parents did and I'm fine.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:15 PM   #27
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I understand the point of view of checking up on your kids online, but at the same time, just thinking about my own personal experiences.. the internet was a way for me to learn more about my sexuality and myself and I know I would've been very upset and embarrassed had my parents looked at it. Kids are entitled to privacy too. Instead of checking up on your kids or limiting everything they look at, informing them of the dangers of the internet is more effective, imo. That's what my parents did and I'm fine.

Totally get what you are saying here, totally see how it would be extremely embarassing to have your parents know what you are into sexually especially at a young age. Hell, I'm 34 and I dont' talk to my parents about sex.

Have to say though that not all kids heed warnings. Most as a matter of fact, have to touch the stove before they understand that its hot.

As a parent you want to make sure that your kids are getting the correct information, and aren't being taken advantage of. Kids are entitled to privacy, but I think only to a certain point. Safety has to trump privacy in my opinion.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:28 PM   #28
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Totally get what you are saying here, totally see how it would be extremely embarassing to have your parents know what you are into sexually especially at a young age. Hell, I'm 34 and I dont' talk to my parents about sex.

Have to say though that not all kids heed warnings. Most as a matter of fact, have to touch the stove before they understand that its hot.

As a parent you want to make sure that your kids are getting the correct information, and aren't being taken advantage of. Kids are entitled to privacy, but I think only to a certain point. Safety has to trump privacy in my opinion.
I don't think you're giving kids enough credit. Reality is, that with the ability to access the internet so readily today I think it's safe to assume most kids have used the internet by the age of 10 and yet.. not every single kid, or even most, has gotten terrible ideas from it or ended up meeting a stranger offline.

I would say that safety and privacy are both equally important. Giving your kids privacy, in my opinion, is vital to their development. Kids who are smothered by parents when they are young are far more apt to do something stupid when they get freedom when they're older.

If you want your kids to trust you, don't snoop. Kids are more likely to come to you to talk about things if you're not prying through their stuff or giving them a hard time about what you've found. They're also less likely to respect boundaries when they feel like you've crossed theirs. That's just human nature.

I'd also like to point out it's very difficult to completely monitor what your kids are doing on the internet because computers are everywhere.. if they aren't doing it on your home computer they may very well be doing it at school, at a friend's, at the library, etc. Not to mention you now can also access the internet through an iPod, a cell phone, and game systems like xbox.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:45 PM   #29
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In the old days you had to go through the effort of flipping their mattress and finding out what magazines they had stashed under there, or cleaning out their backpack and finding the scribbled drawings and notes wadded up in the bottom........now it is just look in the cache.....

I think no matter how you look at it, a parent's spere of interests will mean that they will stumble across stuff their kids might like to keep hidden. It might be accidental, it might be deliberate, it might be somewhere in-between. Lord knows that growing up I knew never to let any physical evidence of my interests enter my parents’ house, because it was their house and anything in there they might come across.

As a parent now, I’d like my son to have some private domain, but at the same time up until now the things he’s not wanted to talk about have been the things where he really did need help regarding (falling behind in a project at school, issues with a classmate, not understanding a playground game that he wanted to play and not wanting to look silly by asking about the rules, and suchlike). Basically up until now giving him his privacy has meant leaving him to wallow in issues that he doesn’t know how to resolve (grokking how to solve social situations is not his strong suit).

Sexuality issues probably start within months, based on his recent outbreaks of zits, body odor, and attitude. Still struggling to figure out where that right balance of privacy versus protective intrusion lies.

Oh, and TG08, yes, you are doing just fine, but if you’ll pardon my saying so I think you have a particularly self-aware head balanced on your shoulders--I suspect you are a long way from typical in that. I have huge regard for the capability of the average teenager, but a lot lower opinion of their average ability to know the limits of those capabilities. Which is normal, as it is largely by experience that we learn those limits, and few have had that much experience.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:49 PM   #30
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I don't think you're giving kids enough credit. Reality is, that with the ability to access the internet so readily today I think it's safe to assume most kids have used the internet by the age of 10 and yet.. not every single kid, or even most, has gotten terrible ideas from it or ended up meeting a stranger offline.

I would say that safety and privacy are both equally important. Giving your kids privacy, in my opinion, is vital to their development. Kids who are smothered by parents when they are young are far more apt to do something stupid when they get freedom when they're older.

If you want your kids to trust you, don't snoop. Kids are more likely to come to you to talk about things if you're not prying through their stuff or giving them a hard time about what you've found. They're also less likely to respect boundaries when they feel like you've crossed theirs. That's just human nature.

I'd also like to point out it's very difficult to completely monitor what your kids are doing on the internet because computers are everywhere.. if they aren't doing it on your home computer they may very well be doing it at school, at a friend's, at the library, etc. Not to mention you now can also access the internet through an iPod, a cell phone, and game systems like xbox.

I think we will probably just have to agree to disagree here. I felt pretty much the same way as you when I didn't have kids. Now that I do, its a different story.

I think there's a huge difference between smothering/snooping and monitoring/making sure that your kids are in a safe environment. I look at the internet history on my computer. My kids know that I do this and occasionally I will ask them who visited what site. Its just not a big deal in my house, they know they can talk to me and they both do talk to me.

Sometimes seeing a site in the browser history can be a way to open a line of communication that the parent otherwise may not have known how to start.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:09 PM   #31
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Agree to disagree it is.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:53 PM   #32
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I think we will probably just have to agree to disagree here. I felt pretty much the same way as you when I didn't have kids. Now that I do, its a different story.

I think there's a huge difference between smothering/snooping and monitoring/making sure that your kids are in a safe environment. I look at the internet history on my computer. My kids know that I do this and occasionally I will ask them who visited what site. Its just not a big deal in my house, they know they can talk to me and they both do talk to me.

Sometimes seeing a site in the browser history can be a way to open a line of communication that the parent otherwise may not have known how to start.
I don't have kids and I totally agree with you...perhaps I just watch too much American Justice.

I remember reading this story about this young journalist who wanted to meet and talk with John Wayne Gacy. The wrote back and forth for a while and then finally Gacy agreed to a meeting. The journalist went in there thinking he had total control of the situation. Turned out Gacy grabbed a pen and about took out the journalists throat with it...he lived by the mercy of a madman.

Point here is that even as adults we think we have control of situations, but we may not. A child's brain is not fully formed when they are going through puberty...part of that being the center that makes decisions. That why younger drivers get in so many more accidents. Lack of experience meet poor decision making skills. All of this stands true for things as terrible as online predators and as simple as thinking two quick licks will make a girl cum.

That being said not all people who are 12-18 are recipes for disaster, but it's a really good idea for a good parent to know what's going on...

Donna, he has your love and support and that's really the best thing you can offer right now until he asks for more.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:53 PM   #33
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I don't have kids and I totally agree with you...perhaps I just watch too much American Justice.

I remember reading this story about this young journalist who wanted to meet and talk with John Wayne Gacy. The wrote back and forth for a while and then finally Gacy agreed to a meeting. The journalist went in there thinking he had total control of the situation. Turned out Gacy grabbed a pen and about took out the journalists throat with it...he lived by the mercy of a madman.

Point here is that even as adults we think we have control of situations, but we may not. A child's brain is not fully formed when they are going through puberty...part of that being the center that makes decisions. That why younger drivers get in so many more accidents. Lack of experience meet poor decision making skills. All of this stands true for things as terrible as online predators and as simple as thinking two quick licks will make a girl cum.

That being said not all people who are 12-18 are recipes for disaster, but it's a really good idea for a good parent to know what's going on...

Donna, he has your love and support and that's really the best thing you can offer right now until he asks for more.

You said this well. I was frustrated because I know what I meant but didn't seem to be able to put it into words. I took my kids school clothes shopping and was thinking about this thread while waiting outside the dressing room.

As a parent it would be totally neglectful of me to let my kids out in the world without any supervision or guidance what-so-ever. Well the internet is a world within itself, and its a world where people aren't always what they say they are. I get that can happen in the real world too, but in the real world a 40 year old man can't pretend to be a 14 year old girl...

Also, if my children were looking at sites that promoted anorexia, or the man boy love site, I would want to know. Those aren't things that kids talk to their parents about, but they are things that can be found online. Parents that don't know about their kids activities are parents that don't know where to start when they find their kids in trouble IMO.
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:51 PM   #34
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So my advice would be to leave it alone for now. Don't tell him that you've been viewing the browser history and PLEASE stop checking up on him like that. Or at least be extremely discrete about it.
I'm sorry you felt embarrassed that your parents checked your browser history. But it bares repeating the internet is not a safe place, especially for kids. Parents have a right and a very real need to restrict, supervise and be aware of what their children are viewing online. It would be neglectful and irresponsible not to.
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:51 PM   #35
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Also, if my children were looking at sites that promoted anorexia ... I would want to know.
What if you found them browsing pro-obesity sites?
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:55 PM   #36
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What if you found them browsing pro-obesity sites?
I'm not Ella, but wouldn't both warrant a conversation?
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:01 PM   #37
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What if you found them browsing pro-obesity sites?

Actually, I'm quite active in the fat community. My kids know that, when I go to a bash or whatever they ask if I'm going to a fat people party.

I dont know that I've ever saw a pro-obesity site, fat acceptance/size acceptance yes, pro-obesity no. But yes, if they were looking at a site that encouraged people to get fat, I'd want to know why.

I will say again, I feel that it is my responsibility as a good parent to know about my childrens activities.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:39 PM   #38
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Im pretty sure my son is gay..I could be wrong but my clues are..he has been looking at gay teen feet on u tube..I see in the history that he watches this alot..I clicked on one and it looks harmless but Im pretty sure he is gay..I actually asked him and he was frozen in fear and couldnt answer me..I didnt know if that was right or wrong. to ask that question.he is 13..he knows that I used to go to gay bars and have alot of gay friends..also he knows that I will support him no matter what..I asked him because I didnt want him to ever feel that he couldnt talk to me about how he is feeling..what do you think I should do if anything..my concern is I just dont want pressure to make him take his life or something..I want him to feel he has me as his rock..I really didnt want this for him because it can be a hard life,just as I dont want my daughter to be fat because it is a hard life but in either case Im here for both of them..does anyone have a gay child..Im bi sexual myself so I understand kinda..also I try to shy away from asking questions like how many children do you want because I dont want him to feel like this is something he has to do..does anyone understand where Im comming from? Im trying to keep in mind that vidio I saw that Mergirl posted about the seminar ...Help please
I understand that you are concerned that your son hasn't come to you discussing the gay issue, even though you aren't sure if it's true or not. Like others have said, Don't pressure him into answering the question. He will let you know when the time comes- when he feels comfortable (that's if he even is gay). At 13, there are a lot of changes going on. A lot of people experiment with their sexuality because their friends are. At 13, you want to stand out and be different from others, but the same as everyone at the same time. You want to make a name for yourself. So perhaps this may be a phase. Maybe he truly is gay. Maybe it's all just a miscommunication. You shouldn't be ashamed (not saying you are) of his preferences. If anything, you can make him feel comfortable by just waiting it out and letting him come to you. Nothing makes a young teen feel more awkward than mom asking if you are gay. It's kind of one of those questions that would make any young man go on the defense. I highly doubt he'd just flick his hair back, pull a boyfriend out of the sky and say in an overly dramatic gay tone, "of course mom, you couldn't tell?!?" Lol i'm just being silly there. But seriously, just let him come to you. That's how it goes with teenagers. They don't want to be badgered with uncomfortable questions. Well good luck with the whole deal...
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:00 PM   #39
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I was thinking about this thread while I was taking a shower earlier.. I see where you guys are coming from, I'd be concerned about my kids using the internet too.. it's just that at the same time, I'd hate to see a situation where a parent was checking up on his or her child and found something they didn't approve of and react in a way that would make the child fearful of sharing things with their parents or shameful of whatever it was. I can see this happening especially in situations where a child is looking at alternative types of sexual material, like a fetish site or gay porn or something. Obviously I don't think a parent would intentionally upset their child but sometimes we say things we don't mean.. especially if the conversation is spur of the moment. Also, I think punishing kids in these situations (and not necessarily punishing in the sense of being grounded or something but simply by putting a net nanny on the computer or limiting computer use, which in effect would be another way of saying that you don't trust them anymore) could make the situation even worse. Also, I think parents tend to be very .. conservative about what they think is okay and not okay for a child of a certain age to be looking at. For example, I'm pretty sure my parents would have been horrified had they found me looking at porn at the age of 14, because I know 14 seems very young but reality is that many kids are maturing sexually during that time and although you may not want them to see those things it's perfectly normal for them to be curious. I think a common reaction would be to automatically tell your 14 year old child not to view porn anymore, but that just makes them feel guilty that they did something "wrong" when I personally don't think it was.. it was a natural outcome of their curiosity and in my personal opinion, not that detrimental. I guess what it boils down to is not the breach of privacy itself but the way the situation is handled. Does that make more sense?

ETA: None of my posts in this thread were directed as a personal attack at CP, for the record. I think you handled the situation fine. You've made it clear that your son can talk to you about things, and I think that's the most important thing to do. :]

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Old 08-26-2009, 10:06 PM   #40
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I was thinking about this thread while I was taking a shower earlier.. I see where you guys are coming from, I'd be concerned about my kids using the internet too.. it's just that at the same time, I'd hate to see a situation where a parent was checking up on his or her child and found something they didn't approve of and react in a way that would make the child fearful of sharing things with their parents or shameful of whatever it was. I can see this happening especially in situations where a child is looking at alternative types of sexual material, like a fetish site or gay porn or something. Obviously I don't think a parent would intentionally upset their child but sometimes we say things we don't mean.. especially if the conversation is spur of the moment. Also, I think punishing kids in these situations (and not necessarily punishing in the sense of being grounded or something but simply by putting a net nanny on the computer or limiting computer use, which in effect would be another way of saying that you don't trust them anymore) could make the situation even worse. Also, I think parents tend to be very .. conservative about what they think is okay and not okay for a child of a certain age to be looking at. For example, I'm pretty sure my parents would have been horrified had they found me looking at porn at the age of 14, because I know 14 seems very young but reality is that many kids are maturing sexually during that time and although you may not want them to see those things it's perfectly normal for them to be curious. I think a common reaction would be to automatically tell your 14 year old child not to view porn anymore, but that just makes them feel guilty that they did something "wrong" when I personally don't think it was.. it was a natural outcome of their curiosity and in my personal opinion, not that detrimental. I guess what it boils down to is not the breach of privacy itself but the way the situation is handled. Does that make more sense?
I agree. I think that punishing your child for looking at inappropriate things on the internet is wrong. It's kind of like, punishing your kid for writing mean things in their diary. If as a parent, you are so concerned about what stuff your kid looks up on the internet, then it should be the parent's responsibility to put up some parental controls. But if you don't bother with that, expect your young teen to be curious. Of course teens are going to look up porn and sexual things. OF COURSE!!! And if that option is given to them, then they shouldn't be punished for exploring the opportunity. You have to remember as parents that one time you were in your kid's shoes, and I am sure you weren't as goody-two-shoes as you expect your kids to be. But there's no reason to punish your kids if you let them have endless boundaries in the first place.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:01 PM   #41
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You have to remember as parents that one time you were in your kid's shoes, and I am sure you weren't as goody-two-shoes as you expect your kids to be.
See, whenever these parenting topics come up this is exactly what runs through my mind. I think it's very easy for me to remember being 14.. it was only 4 years ago, but someone who is 35 is a lot more.. out of touch with what it was like to be that age. I think that's natural, but I also think it's unfortunate because I think a true understanding of what it's like to be a kid and what sort of things kids do and think about (and I don't mean what parenting books tell you but rather what you've personally experienced!) can be extremely helpful, even vital, to being a good parent and really "getting" your kids.

Like, I know I turned out fine.. I'm confident in my ability to take care of myself and be successful in the world, but it's like.. if you were to pick apart the things I do/have done, the average parent would have been very concerned. I know that if I were to catch my kids doing some of the things I've done in the past I would flipped.. and believe me, my parents definitely did at times. I turned out alright though.. it's like, I just wish there was a way to differentiate for sure the badgood vs. badbad.. badgood meaning things that are "bad" but aren't bad in the sense that they need to be punished for or whatever and badbad being things that are inherently detrimental to them that need to be dealt with immediately or else. I guess it's just that I know kids make mistakes.. everybody does things they later regret or that may not have been the best choice at the time.. but it's hard to tell at the time whether these are normal mistakes/regrets or ones that are going to be a serious issue that needs to be rectified. I think part of what makes it so .. murky is that every kid is different and has a different maturity level and what is "okay" for one may not be okay for another (okay in this situation being not completely terrible.)

No doubt about it, parenting is hard. No kids for me thanks.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:41 AM   #42
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A few of you have said that educating kids is an important means of keeping them safe on the internet. I think a lot of adults would struggle with when was the appropriate time to do so and how much a kid would understand. Also i think there is a fine line between educating kids of dangers and completely freaking them out disproportionatly.
How do you educate a child on the dangers of internet pedophiles for example in a way that isn't going to confuse them and at what age? I think as soon as kids are old enough to use the internet they need to be taught about the possible dangers of people not being who they say they are. Shit, and thats just the chatrooms covered.
I think though this is like a now version of the police person comming to your school with a sock puppet telling you not to go away with strange men with puppies.

I think at 14 your curiosity will get the better of you regarding your sexuality. I didn't have internet when i was that age but read books and called the gay and lesbian switchboard at 15 and they basically told me where the gay pubs were! I think at least today Queer/curious teenagers have internet sites where they can talk about their feelings with other kids. Loads of kids have parents who are really open and cool about stuff and some don't so i think the internet is an invaluble social tool for learning and for exploring their identity.

I can see both sides. Protection of your children is of paramount importance but your kid will see privicy and exploring their sexuality as of paramount importance to them. I can see why parents monitor the sites thier kids are on but some kids at that age just arn't ready to 'come out' but they do want to explore their sexuality. Hmmm tricky.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:17 AM   #43
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I was thinking about this thread while I was taking a shower earlier.. I see where you guys are coming from, I'd be concerned about my kids using the internet too.. it's just that at the same time, I'd hate to see a situation where a parent was checking up on his or her child and found something they didn't approve of and react in a way that would make the child fearful of sharing things with their parents or shameful of whatever it was. I can see this happening especially in situations where a child is looking at alternative types of sexual material, like a fetish site or gay porn or something. Obviously I don't think a parent would intentionally upset their child but sometimes we say things we don't mean.. especially if the conversation is spur of the moment. Also, I think punishing kids in these situations (and not necessarily punishing in the sense of being grounded or something but simply by putting a net nanny on the computer or limiting computer use, which in effect would be another way of saying that you don't trust them anymore) could make the situation even worse. Also, I think parents tend to be very .. conservative about what they think is okay and not okay for a child of a certain age to be looking at. For example, I'm pretty sure my parents would have been horrified had they found me looking at porn at the age of 14, because I know 14 seems very young but reality is that many kids are maturing sexually during that time and although you may not want them to see those things it's perfectly normal for them to be curious. I think a common reaction would be to automatically tell your 14 year old child not to view porn anymore, but that just makes them feel guilty that they did something "wrong" when I personally don't think it was.. it was a natural outcome of their curiosity and in my personal opinion, not that detrimental. I guess what it boils down to is not the breach of privacy itself but the way the situation is handled. Does that make more sense?

ETA: None of my posts in this thread were directed as a personal attack at CP, for the record. I think you handled the situation fine. You've made it clear that your son can talk to you about things, and I think that's the most important thing to do. :]
I saw this post last night, and I meant to respond then and I got side tracked by the Princess Protection Program (gotta love the Disney channel).

I wanted to say you are absolutely 100% correct, you can't punish a kid for their sexuality. I looked at porn when I was 13, my dad had a huge collection of magazines and video tapes and whenever my parents would leave out it would come. Kids do that, its normal and its totally natural. I could pretty much bet my son is looking at porn on the internet and I wouldn't punish him for it if he was. I did punish the little shit when he downloaded $400 worth of Girls Gone Wild to his cell phone though.
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:21 AM   #44
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I did punish the little shit when he downloaded $400 worth of Girls Gone Wild to his cell phone though.
God! I know that shouldn't be funny..but it made me laugh!! I think its one of those things you will be able to make fun of him for in about 20 years time! lmao
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:58 PM   #45
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I saw this post last night, and I meant to respond then and I got side tracked by the Princess Protection Program (gotta love the Disney channel).

I wanted to say you are absolutely 100% correct, you can't punish a kid for their sexuality. I looked at porn when I was 13, my dad had a huge collection of magazines and video tapes and whenever my parents would leave out it would come. Kids do that, its normal and its totally natural. I could pretty much bet my son is looking at porn on the internet and I wouldn't punish him for it if he was. I did punish the little shit when he downloaded $400 worth of Girls Gone Wild to his cell phone though.
400 DOLLARS haha oh my god, that's ridiculous! But yeah, I agree about not punishing them for sexuality related stuff. That's sorta what I was trying to say but you were a lot more concise haha.
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