Page 1 of 3
It was halftime during Super bowl XLV (2011). We were with extended family at our home. During the second quarter, my brother-in-law logged onto our family computer to catch up on business emails. When logging out, it's his custom to clear the history from the computer so his company's passwords are not saved. In doing so, he brought up the recent history and found some websites that troubled him. He alerted my wife (his sister) and they both viewed several extremely graphic pornographic websites that had been saved in the computer's history. They discussed it for a few moments and decided to pull me away from the game to confront me about what they had found.
I am in my mid-40's, a father of four children. Based on the ages of our kids and the graphic nature of the websites, they assumed the websites were connected to me. After we settled that it was not me, I proceeded to view the websites and knew we had a big problem. These sites were not just topless women or partially nude couples, but included sites with violent sex, orgies, and graphic sexual positions. Although I was shaken up by the content, I was determined to find out who in our family was drowning in this stuff. I don't really know why, but I suspected that it was my youngest; my 10-year old son.
During the rest of the game I was in and out of the family-filled TV room, pacing, praying and thinking of words to say...words that would both confront and also leave the door open for honesty. Near the end of the game, families began to pack up and head out. It was a school night and our family was starting to fade. My 10-year-old son poked his head into the office where we keep our computer. He said "goodnight" and I said the same back. He said "will you be up?" and I said "yes." Before he hit the stairs I got up and said to him..."Hey, have you been looking at anything you shouldn't be looking at on the computer?" He quickly, and with confidence, replied: "Me? No, I haven't at all." I said, "OK, good." He then started upstairs, but I gently stopped him and asked him to come back down into the office. He did. I said to him, "I'm going to ask you one more time; think before you answer... have you looked at anything you shouldn't have looked at on that (pointing to the desktop computer). He paused, looked away from me, then to the floor and said "yes." When I tell you I have never seen a look of shame and guilt so clearly, I am being totally honest. I did not feel anger or disappointment. I reached out and embraced my boy, whom I later learned had been sucked in by the power of Internet pornography for a long time. I embraced him; he wept, I wept, and we rocked as we had done so often when he was an infant. During the next several hours he confessed his daily habit of viewing pornography at certain "safe" hours (when our daily family pattern would allow him time on the computer while others were out of sight). Other times were with friends at sleepovers, where they would use their iPod Touches, Internet capable game consoles or smart phones to surf pornography websites. Through his tears he described how bad he felt about himself and how powerless he felt in trying to stop.