September 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – It’s a situation too many parents find themselves in nowadays: they stumble across their child’s web browser history, or walk into his room and catch him in the act - viewing porn.

The great conundrum is: what to do about it? For many parents the next step might be to install some quality blocking software, have a good heart-to-heart talk with their child about sex, and put the family computer in a public place.

But one father has taken a very different approach.  After discovering his 13-year-old son’s porn habit while repairing his computer, the Reddit user going by the name of IrrelevantNinja penned a letter telling his son that he “couldn’t be more proud” of him, and suggesting some “safe” porn sites that wouldn’t infect his computer with viruses.

The father then uploaded a rough draft of this letter to the social media site Reddit to get the opinion of other users, before leaving an edited copy on his son’s computer for the boy to find.

“Listen, I was 13 once too and it wasn’t so long ago that I don’t remember,” the dad wrote to his son. “I’m not mad or anything. It’s life and I did it too.”

“I’m not going to put a child lock on your computer or punish you in any way because as I said you did nothing wrong. … I love you and I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

But in one heartbreaking section of the letter, the dad did suggest his son might want to ease up on the porn habit. “I would like you to not be back here so much though,” he wrote, before concluding, “You literally spend all of your time back here. I’d like to see you more often. I like doing stuff with you and miss it.”

The dad’s letter has since gone viral, sparking an impassioned debate among Reddit users, with many praising the dad for his relaxed approach to porn, and others lambasting his response as irresponsible, and probably illegal.

“Everything in here is cool, and you rock for being a progressive parent,” wrote one user.

“[This] is like telling your son it’s ok to use heroin, just make sure and use a clean syringe,” said another.

“I think the letter is fine, but also think you should have a face to face talk with him, however awkward that may be,” wrote another. “He’s still quite young and impressionable and porn can be quite addicting and give someone an unhealthy view of sex.”

Patrick Trueman of Morality in Media, an expert in the effects of pornography who also runs the Porn Harms website, told LifeSiteNews.com that in his view the father’s response simply amounted to “sexual abuse.”

“Giving a thirteen-year-old pornography is a form of sexual abuse,” he charged. “A child’s brain cannot handle that, and when the authority of the adult is behind the distribution of pornography to the child, the child feels that this is a safe thing to do.”

Rather than sending the boy off to look at more porn, the best response “would involve the parents protecting the child and schooling the child on why pornography is wrong, why it depicts sexual abuse and how that is harmful,” said Trueman, who pointed to the dangers of addiction, as well as the risk that the child might be tempted to “act out” some of what he learns in pornography.

Trueman suggested that, depending on the extent of the problem, the child might require some form of therapy: whether simply some good conversations at home with his parents, or with a professional therapist. At the very least some common sense steps like installing blocking software are called for.

“No good can come from giving a child pornography,” Trueman said.

Another expert has pointed out that, putting aside the effects of porn on the boy, giving a minor links to porn sites is probably illegal.

Hemanshu Nigam, a California attorney and online safety expert, told the Huffington Post,  “It is possible for a father like this, as good intentioned as he was, to end up becoming part of the legal system.”

After his letter began to go viral, the dad posted two updates on Reddit. In one he reported that his son had come to him and talked to him in person. “Although it didn’t last for more than five minutes I think it was productive,” he said.

“He thanked me for not getting mad or telling mom. I also talked to him about porn not being like real life and that women aren’t objects like they are portrayed in porn.”

But with controversy over the letter heating up, the dad has since deleted his Reddit account.