Our vast online world provides an endless amount of inappropriate content for our kids to see – inadvertently or otherwise. Parental controls and filters can help somewhat, however the unfortunate reality is that at some point they will see things they shouldn’t – no matter what you do to protect them.
It’s therefore much better to have a rounded approach to tackling this issue, which we’ll cover below.
One of the biggest concerns I have as a parent is the ease at which kids can access pornography or inappropriate material on devices these days. It only takes one friend who doesn’t have any parental supervision, filters or controls to share or show pornographic content with others – and when a child sees something like this for the first time, it will impact them. Pornography at such a young age will damage kids brains. Viewing pornography can reprogram a child’s brain and potentially initiate an addition that is often harder to overcome than drugs or alcohol.
Most kids who have seen pornography know immediately that it feels wrong. They feel ‘strange’, embarrassed, confused, or even sick.
So what can you do as a parent?
The best approach is a rounded one.
First off, ensure that you set up some protection on your devices at home, so that they don’t accidentally see anything inappropriate in the first place. See the page on this site for more info.
Have open conversations about the internet
The most important thing to do is have a conversation early with your child. Talk to them about the fact that there’s all sorts of information, photos, videos and images out there on the internet, and sometimes they might accidentally see something that upsets them, makes them feel uncomfortable, or just ‘not right’. Ensure that they know it is OK to talk / tell you when this happens, and that you are not going to be cross or upset with them. It might be a violent or graphical image or video.
Ask if they have seen any inappropriate images
In some situations your child may have already seen things that have made them feel uncomfortable. Let them know that if they do see anything inappropriate that you expect them to come and tell you, and that they won’t get into trouble for doing so.
It’s really important to keep open with your kids so that they can come to you in future.
Keep the dialog open
Discussing violence & pornographic inappropriate content needs to be an ongoing conversation with your kids. It will increase their awareness and will then empower them to make safer choices when a scenario does eventually occur.