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PARENTING / APR ‘2018

Porn-proof your children: Keeping them safe online.

Years ago pornography was hard to find and consisted of magazines that were hidden in your father’s wardrobe and contraband videos that you watched when no one was home or that a friend would show you after school. But today, over 80% of 8-16 year olds have seen pornography online which is why we must start having conversations with our kids!

Porn is now harder to avoid than it is to find it.

Words Freelancer

girl and mum porn-proof

Pornography has become increasingly acceptable, accessible and more freely available than ever before. Kids can view sexually explicit material with one click of the mouse, from soft-core (the type of images found in Playboy) to hard-core (material depicting graphic sex acts, live sex show, orgies, bestiality, and violence).

Talking to kids about porn isn’t easy. Most parents feel that they don’t know enough about the topic and are unaware of just how ‘nasty’ and damaging modern day porn really is.

porn-proof protect kids

As parents, it is our responsibility to protect our children to the best of our ability.

How big a problem is this?

 

Pornography isn’t new but the high volume and the way that we access it is! With kids today spending more time online than ever before, the risk of exposure is much greater.

The type of porn that is being viewed has changed, with high levels of violence directed at women who appear to be enjoying it! Porn gives kids the wrong messages about what sex is really about, with some research suggesting that it can create problematic sexual behaviour as well as negative views towards women. It can be addictive and has a negative impact on the emotional and mental wellbeing of a child.

protect by porn-proof

With kids today spending more time online than ever before, the risk of exposure is much greater.

But my child wouldn’t look at porn…

 

No child is safe from pornography, with kids finding it either accidentally, through curiosity about sex, or being deliberately shown it. The average age of first exposure to porn is 11 years of age, with some reporting that it can be children as young as five years.

As soon as your child is able to use a search engine, or is watching videos on YouTube, there is a good chance that they will stumble across porn. Even if you are a technology free household, your child may still stumble across porn outside the home.

The average age of first exposure to porn is 11 years of age.

How do I porn-proof my child?

 

You may not be able to prevent your child from stumbling across porn, but at least you can minimise the potential harm by preparing them for it. And no, you aren’t taking away your child’s innocence by talking to them about porn. That will happen when they come across it unprepared!

Here are some suggestions on what parents can do!

 

  • Warn children

    Warn your child that they may find private pictures or movies of adults doing private things together, they may be naked and it may look like they are hurting each other. We call it porn or pornography.

    Try reading them a book like ‘Hayden-Reece learns what to do if children see pornography’ by Holly-anne Martin from Safe 4 Kids or ‘Good Pictures Bad Pictures’ by Kristen A. Jenson. Books can help when trying to start a difficult conversation.

  • Where images can be found

    Tell your child that they may accidentally find these images or videos on the computer, their tablets, cartoons, video games, YouTube, phones and even books or magazines.

  • What kids should do when they find images

    That if they stumble across these images, that they need to turn it off or turn away and to talk to a parent or trusted adult immediately. Reassure them that they won’t get into trouble.

  • Family rules

    Discuss what your family rules are about using technology ie computer, tablets, and other devices eg time limits, public chatrooms. The computer should ideally be kept in the main living area, with the screen positioned so that it is easily visible. Devices should also be kept out of bedrooms.

  • Internet filters

    If your children are younger, you may want to consider using software filters or child friendly apps (like YouTube Kids) or blocking popups. Just remember though, that your child may still stumble across images in other ways eg through friends and unfiltered computers.

  • Repeat the conversation

    Like all things when it comes to teaching kids, it takes many conversations. Have small frequent chats using simple, straightforward and age appropriate language that your child can understand.

porn-proof

Can I make a difference?

 

Yes, you can! You may not be able to prevent your child from stumbling across pornography, but you can delay it from happening and give your child the power of knowing what to do when it happens.

And remember, the first conversation is always the hardest!

Offspring Magazine readers can download the 5 Steps to Porn-Proofing your Child, from sexedrescue.com/offspring.