There is a vast amount of pornographic material easily available on the Internet. Although many pornographic sites demand credit cards for full access, there are lots of free sites and “sneak peeks” available online.
Trying to control porn in a global medium like the Internet is difficult at best. Most Internet pornography, while offensive and distasteful to many users, is not illegal.
A research study shows that the older the kids, the more likely they are to pay purposeful visits to pornography sites (the figures almost triple between Grade 7 and Grade 11 for boys). Teens are more prolific and diverse Internet users than younger kids – and they are less likely to be supervised – which means they have more opportunities to encounter this sort of content through their online activities.
To contextualize pornography, we have to recognize that today’s children and youth live in a highly sexualized media culture where the lines between pornography and popular entertainment have become increasingly blurred.
Perhaps more importantly for most parents, is the reality that frequent unintentional exposure to pornographic sites is unavoidable. Once again, making sure your children know how to handle this is crucial.
A recent British study determined that the average teen there spent 87 hours/year, looking at porn on the Internet. That's an hour and 40 minutes a week.
What should parents do?
- Banning all access to the Internet is one solution. Unfortunately, this draconian approach carries with it a huge educational disadvantage; the Internet today is the greatest single educational reference resource available. More information, from more sources, is available here than in any library in the world.
- Personally supervising all Internet access is another solution. This is great, if you have the time.
- Installing a software filter, to provide a technology fix, is another possiblity.
- Block pop-ups, which are commonly used by pornographic sites.
- Set up the computer in a busy area of your home – never in a child’s bedroom.
- Use kid-friendly search engines and Web browsers or adult search engines that provide filtering options like Google. Test the different search engines to see which ones give the best results.
- Talk to librarians or teachers and create a directory of good kids’ sites by bookmarking them on your computer. But be aware that porn distributors often purchase expired domain names, including those of kids’ sites.
- At a minimum, make sure your children know your feelings about it, and what your expectations are for their behavior.
Source: 'Super Kids'
Useful links and resources:
* Exposure to pornography
* Internet porn stats: should parents be concerned?
* 'Safe Families.org' helping you keep children safe online.
* PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL PREDATORS ON THE INTERNET