Technology has become central to our children’s lives, shaping their learning as well as their play. However, with learning opportunities also comes the potential for our children to access dangerous material. The internet has made pornography easily accessible, making it easy to hide and difficult to stop. Porn is available to youth and adults 24/7 through internet, cell phones, iPads, game consoles and the list goes on. Depending on previous conversations you have had with your child, their understanding of sex and pornography may be limited, but whether exposure was deliberate or accidental, kids will feel a mixture of confusion and curiosity, but instinctually they know they shouldn’t be looking at it.
As a parent in the digital age, it can be hard to keep up with your child and their technology use. We have provided some helpful resources to best inform you, as a parent or caregiver, on how to best protect your child against the dangers of technology. That being said, these resources will be most beneficial paired with good communication. If you don’t want your child to visit unsafe sites, talk to them about your concerns, acknowledging that the subject is difficult to discuss but necessary to talk about.
Here are some helpful talking points:
*No one should make you look at pictures or movies that make you feel uncomfortable
*We should not take pictures of others or ourselves when we are not fully dressed
*What would you do if you saw these types of things? (Form a plan: look away, find a trusted adult, tell a parent)
*Curiosity about bodies and sex is normal, but I would like for you to come to me to talk about these things
In addition to having these ongoing conversations, here are some helpful internet filters to consider for your home, because let’s face it, with the increasing number of devices that kids use to connect, you simply cannot supervise every moment they’re online. Some helpful tools are:
Oh, and what about all the apps? Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram.. the list goes on. Which app is most popular at a given time can be ever-changing, as are the apps themselves. Feel free to check out this link to learn more about the most commonly used apps as well as what to watch out for.
Check out this link to learn about a healthy "tech time" balance for your kids.
And for the parents who feel that they aren’t as tech savvy as their child, here is a “how to” when it comes to setting up parental controls for your specific devices.