From Disturbing Views to Signs of Drug Use

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Pornography – More Discreteness?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I was walking my dog a few days ago, when to my surprise I passed a house that had a large-screen TV facing the street that was showing pornography. I was curious by what I saw, but I had to wonder that someone would be so blatant about their viewing preferences. If I lived on this block and had children who would be exposed to this I would want to curtail their exposure to this material, but since I don’t I’m inclined to ignore the situation. What do you think about this?


A: Dear Curious:

There are several scenarios that could serve as an answer to your question. While overt exhibitionism is against the law, as long as the first amendment protects pornography then people have the right to their viewing preference. As one parent who finds such viewing offensive lamented, “It is unlikely you could get the authorities to arrest the TV.”

However, perhaps the viewer you observed is ignorant of the fact that someone can see their TV through the window. One option could be to take another route when walking the dog, or a report of this obscenity could be made to the appropriate authorities, who may make a call to the house and try to remedy the problem. As to the curiosity you describe, in my opinion it is natural. If any guilt is felt about such curiosity, however, this could be problematic.

”Drugs – Is my Kid Involved?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

Lately when I pick my teenage son up from spending time with his friends, he seems tired, almost “out of it,” even though when I dropped him off earlier at his friend’s house, he was full of energy. On the ride home I ask him why he is so tired and jokingly say, “Are you on drugs?” He assures me he is not, and says he is just tired. Should I accept his explanation?


A: Dear Worried:

There are resources available that offer literature on how to detect if one’s child is using drugs — the state health department, for example. That being said, initial symptoms may include loss of sleep, lethargy and disinterest in routine activities and pastimes. Grades often deteriorate. Also, in my opinion, there is nothing morally or ethically wrong with a concerned parent going through a child’s room and personal belongings — users become very clever and resourceful about hiding evidence of involvement.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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