And even worse, it was my daughter’s boyfriend! How on earth can I talk to them about this?
Our elder suggests some ways to tackle a tricky conversation.

 

Dear EWC

I’m 48, married with two children, a son aged 18 and my daughter of 15. She is dating a boy who’s 16. They webcam and make videos and he posts them to his YouTube or Facebook and whatever. Well, my daughter’s laptop has been acting slow so she asked if she could borrow mine. I allowed her to use it as long as she didn’t move it because I was a very expensive laptop and I didn’t want something spilled on it or it to break somehow. So she started to use it for two days after school to get on Facebook and chat.

Well they get out of school at 3:45 and arrive home an hour before I get off work. It was Friday and she got home and got on my laptop and started making videos with her boyfriend. It had been one of those long stressful days at work and I couldn’t wait to get home to relax in my PJs with a glass of wine. When I got home I opened the door and called out to my daughter to come bring in the groceries I bought. I remember her saying, “Hold on, I have to help my mom really quick, don’t stop,” and zooming past me as I walked to my bedroom but didn’t think about it. I entered my bedroom and being exhausted I immediately shut the door behind me and started undressing. Completely. I walked around my bedroom looking for my PJs. I walked up to face my dresser mirror where my laptop was sitting and I put on aloe vera to soothe sunburn. My daughter knocked on the door and I told her, “One second please” and I put on my PJs and let her in. She went to my laptop and said, “You didn’t stop right,” and when she said that I then noticed the lil tiny webcam light on and then it turned off.

I didn’t know what to do or say. My daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend recorded me stripping naked, putting lotion on my body and getting dressed. I’m not saying anything but if I was a bad looking woman I’d just imagine he shut it down or deleted it but I consider myself an attractive woman and I have caught him glancing at me. Like a teen boy would stare unknowingly. I always laughed it off.

But now I have no idea what to do. I’m thinking all different types of thoughts, like what if he posts it online or shows his friends or simply keeps it and like a teen boy masturbates to it. The reason I think like that is because I have large breasts and I have caught him innocently staring before and I ask him how his day was and he corrects himself. So because of that it’s in my head that he’s masturbating to the video. Am I crazy for thinking that? How could I ever have him over at our house again? I think I’d feel I don’t know. And do I allow my daughter to continue dating him? Do I tell her? Do I talk to him? What should I say? What should I tell my husband? I imagine he’d be pissed to hear his daughter’s boyfriend recorded a peepshow with his wife… I’m here because I’m far to embarrassed to tell anyone I know. Thank you so much for you help.
 

William replies

I think you have to confront both your daughter and her boyfriend on this issue. Your privacy was violated, maybe accidentally, but more likely on purpose. There’s nothing wrong with walking around naked in the privacy of your own bedroom while getting ready to change into casual clothes for a relaxing evening. You did nothing wrong. You have the expectation of privacy in your own bedroom with the door closed and, in my opinion, you can’t ignore this or something comparable will probably happen again.

I wouldn’t get too upset about this, or more properly put, I am not suggesting you provoke a family fight over it. My advice is to find a time when you can sit down privately with your daughter and her boyfriend and have a calm, but adult talk. Tell them that you know what happened, and that they broke your trust when you let them use your laptop. Don’t accept any excuses such as it was an accident or the like. If they go down that road, suggest they look up the definition of voyeurism and the consequences of such actions. All three of you know what happened. It’s your computer and it was a favor to allow them to use it. It seems they took it too far. Ask them how they’d feel if someone did a similar thing to them.

At a minimum, you need them to delete any recordings they made, and you might want to suggest he’s on “probation” in terms of continuing his relationship with your daughter. Ask them if they made copies, and if so, tell them they need to delete them ASAP. Make it crystal clear that if any of it was put on social media, they are to get it off right away. If it were me, I’d ask to watch as they deleted them. You’ll never be 100 percent sure that all copies are gone, but I think you’ll find they’ll be as embarrassed at being caught as you feel being recorded. I doubt they will argue with you or try to defend what happened.

Assuming that goes well, and that they are contrite and do delete everything and promise to never violate your privacy again, let it go. You can’t change what happened. I wouldn’t suggest trying to terminate their relationship unless you get feedback suggesting they think what happened was funny and not to be taken seriously. Just let them know a line was crossed and you won’t accept it happening again. You are the adult here, and you need to assert that.

As regards to telling your husband, only you have the best idea of knowing how he’ll react. The dicey part is he might find out anyhow, and it’s better he hears it coming from you, although if you believe he’ll go ballistic, this may be one of the cases where what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Remember, you did nothing wrong. If you are fairly certain you can contain this information to yourself, your daughter and her boyfriend, then I’d lean toward keeping it that way. What are the odds of him finding out, and if he does, how would he react? If the chances of him becoming aware of the situation are quite low, it’s probably best to let sleeping dogs lie.

Finally, regarding the boyfriend sizing you up. Don’t worry about that too much. He’s a young fellow with hormones coursing through his veins, and he’s going to look at an attractive woman. That’s just biology and there’s not a lot you can do about it. He hasn’t acted on any urges or curiosities he may have. I’d suggest you let it go. If he ever does make any sexual suggestions or gestures beyond glancing at your breasts, nip it in the bud by telling him to cut it out. It hasn’t gone that far and I doubt it will because of the age difference. Is it possible you are oversensitive to these things because of the recording? As I said above, that line was crossed and that needs to be dealt with. Casual glancing at your body is not in the same category as the recording, seeing as he hasn’t gone further.

Finally, don’t let anyone else use your computer again. It’s yours. You may or may not have personal information on it, but it can be used for other things. Ideally one should be able to share most things with family members and their friends, but in my opinion a computer is too personal and has the potential to be abused, as you have found out.

Take care. I don’t know that my advice solves all of the problem, but I do hope it’s another perspective that gives you some options to consider. I wish you well, and I’m confident you will sort this out with minimal hard feelings on all sides. All the best!

Best Regards,

Elder William

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