How should teenagers deal with “inappropriate” websites?

moonfur asks: My best friend isn’t allowed to talk to me anymore because I found an inappropriate website and told her about it, and then continued to go on it, and her mum found out about it — so my bff was forced to say that I showed it to her. We are like sisters! How do I survive this?

Hi moonfur –


Wow, thanks for asking such an open question.


What hits me the most about it is one word:  “inappropriate.”  I want you to think a minute about what that word means, because everything I say will be about that.


“Inappropriate” is a word that people use very freely, and often… well… inappropriately!  It means something that’s not suitable for a particular occasion:  It’s appropriate to yell out “Goooooooooal!” at a World Cup match, but not at a church service.  It’s appropriate to laugh loudly when a movie comedian falls down, but not when your teacher does.  It’s appropriate for…  well, you get the idea.  But I hear lots of people say something’s “inappropriate” simply because they don’t like it!  “It’s inappropriate for you to point out that I was lying,” for example.


So, given that, what makes the website you saw “inappropriate?”  Was it something only older people should look at?  Or something that really no one should look at?  Or is it just something that others call inappropriate, but you don’t really agree?  What do you believe?


I’m not asking all these things to make you feel judged.  What I want is for you to make up your own mind about what you think about that website and its appropriateness.  Because my advice to you is that the best way to win your friend back will be for you to talk to her mother.  Yes, and I know that sounds scary!


What do you think her mother was upset about?  Was it that her daughter found out that websites like that exist?  Or was it that she doesn’t think she can trust you any more, to be the sort of friend she wants her daughter to have?


You see, if you decide that that website really shouldn’t be seen by kids your age, and you tell her mother so, her mother will see you a certain way.  And if you really think that, now that you’ve had a good look at it, it’s not something that you ever want to look at again, that would be interesting to her too.


But hey, I’m just a dog here.  I don’t know.  Maybe the website is absolutely great, and you want to look at it and hundreds of others like it.  If so, then maybe what was “inappropriate” was your sharing it with your friend, who didn’t feel comfortable at all about it and then told her mother about it.


This is one of the really hard things about the Internet.  Material that used to be hard for children to see is now completely available all the time.  So kids are being forced to make decisions that they never used to have to make.  Really, it’s not fair.  You shouldn’t have to be in this position.  But you are.


I’m going to guess that the website had a sexual nature to it.  And if so, there are so many issues involved.  How do you feel about nudity, how do you feel about people (especially women) being shown as objects, how do you feel about how other people will be affected by seeing it, how do you feel about the morality of whatever the people on that website were doing?  It’s a lot to have to think about, at any age.  And especially when you’re young.


I’m really glad you wrote me about this, moonfur.  It shows me that you’re a mature, thinking person.  So what I’m saying to you now is to take those exact qualities to the next level.  And make up your mind exactly what you think about that website and others like it.


And when you do, the most appropriate thing you can do will be to call up your friend’s mother, and tell her about what you’ve done, and what you’ve learned.  And I’m only guessing here, but I would guess that she will be extremely impressed with what you say.  And I hope that she will be so impressed that she welcomes you back into her daughter’s life with open arms.
But of course, I could be wrong.  Sometimes a parent can be so bothered by something a friend of their kid does that they can never forgive them.  But even if her mother is that way, I’ll bet she’ll be impressed deep down that you gave the matter so much thought.


Plus, it sounds like you have nothing to lose!


So please, moonfur, write me back and tell me how it goes.  If this works, that’s great, and you’ll be more mature for the experience.  But if it doesn’t, maybe I can offer some other ideas.


Good Luck!




About the Author

Leave a Reply 0 comments

Leave a Reply: