Unrestricted tech time has many implications for kids. A common fear that parents share is exposure to explicit and/or mature content. Among kids who see unsolicited pornography at a premature age, the long-term effects prove harmful, with research revealing three of gargantuan concern. Down the road, many of them perceive a normalization of unsafe sex practices, putting themselves and others in danger. Violence against women is needed as permissible and mild in consequence. Lastly, damaging and dividing stereotypes regarding race are seen as normalized and okay to abide by and accept.
Other studies show the harmful effects of premature pornography viewing in nudes. Among children ages 9 to 12 years old, 1 in 7 have sent photos of themselves naked. A potential product of the pandemic, this statistic is 300% larger than the same reports from 2019. A majority, 62% of adults and teenagers have shared and/or gotten a naked picture. Lastly, over 30% of kids between the ages of 9 and 12 have seen naked pictures of others that were sent without consent.
To prevent child access to mature or inappropriate content, start with open dialogue. Discussing technology’s role in our lives and promoting its purpose of being tools, not toys, reestablishes young users’ relationships with their mobile devices. Position yourself as a counselor, not a disciplinarian, in the sense of being a helping and guiding presence to turn to should your child need help. Lastly, remind them that you’re open and ready to deliberate about the uncomfortable, standing as a guiding light back to comfort should your child lose their way.
Emerging tools offer strong parental controls to assist you in restoring a safer internet for your young loved ones. Some can bar inappropriate videos and images across all sites without exceptions or settings tampering. Others allow for GPS real-time location tracking, making sure that you can be in the right place at the right time.
Ensure your child’s safety, both online and off, and prevent the accidental discoveries that threaten it.