The internet has opened a whole new world previously unreached by children. Specifically, we’re talking about pornography and how easy it has become to visit certain websites. Even with preventive measures set up, all children have to do is click the “Yes” button in the preliminary questions for pornographic websites and they get an instant pass to the adult world.
So how exactly can you stop your child from visiting domains such as this? If you’re a concerned parent who wants their child to live a childlike innocence during their younger years, then following are some tips on how to get this done:
Use Safe Search and Blocking Software
Most search engines like Yahoo and Google have automatic safe search methods, immediately eliminating pornographic results from the search. As a parent, you can try turning these on or intensifying the limitations of the search. You can take this one step further by employing website blocking software. The software is capable of preventing pornographic websites from showing up on the browser. Typically, you have the option of specifying what websites you want blocked or simply using key words that the browser will recognize. The good news is that parental control software today is available for free.
Tracking and Monitoring Software
If you don’t want to completely stop your child from browsing the internet, using monitoring software would also work. This software basically makes it possible for you to find out exactly what your child is visiting online. What websites he goes to, how long he stays on those websites, and more. This goes beyond the typical “checking history” option plus, it can work even if your child goes on Incognito Browser mode.
Explain the Situation to Children
There is nothing more frustrating than children not being allowed to do or see something and then not having sufficient information to understand why. As a parent, simply laying down the law isn’t always effective because children are more likely to break them. Hence, take the time to explain why you’re giving all these rules with regards to their internet use. Why do you want them to visit only child-friendly websites? What is pornographic content? Why is wrong to watch pornographic content at their age?
Keep in mind that as a parent, your goal shouldn’t be to protect the child from porn but rather, prepare them for it. At some point, children will encounter pornography during their course of growing up. It is important that before this happens, your child is already a well-rounded individual capable of seeing but not taking pornography seriously.
Supervised Computer Use
For young children – around 4 to 5 year olds – the use computers can be mind-building. As a parent however, you should make sure that you’re always there to help them with internet navigation. Show them how to properly use the computer, what websites is fun to visit, and what to do when they encounter an unfamiliar file. Chances are they wouldn’t stray from those websites until they’ve reached a certain age. At the end of the day, don’t forget to ask your child what they’ve been doing, what domains they’re visiting, and encourage conversations.
Although it’s likely that your child will encounter pornography outside the home, you can still make sure that indoors, there’s little chance of this happening. Do so by putting the computer somewhere public like the living room. This way, the child wouldn’t be tempted to start checking porn websites because there’s a high chance of someone walking in on them.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
Lunch time and dinner time are perfect moments of family life where you can catch up with your child and find out what they’ve been doing the rest of the day. Children who are confident about talking to their parents are more likely to tell about anything unusual or unnatural they’ve seen during the day. Even better, this increases the chance of them asking parents for explanations, giving you the perfect opportunity to handle the problem in a calm and rational manner.
Sad as this might seem, but there’s a very real chance nowadays that children become the victim of pornography as well. The internet makes it very easy for predators to gain access to your child. Hence, it’s best to educate them about the dangers of talking to strangers, both offline and online. If they’re on Facebook or any kind of social media site, make sure that they know exactly what they can and cannot upload. Video chats, online chats, and meets ups with online friends should be supervised or limited.
For most parents, the problem is how to explain pornography when their child eventually sees it. Expert advice reveals that children are more responsive to how parents approach the problem instead of the answer itself. For example, if you start to panic or grow agitated when explaining about pornography, then chances are the child might take it badly. Approaching the problem in a calm manner however would mark more with the child, allowing them to view pornography in a more rational perspective.
Asking the child about what they felt when watching pornography is also a good starting point when tackling this conversation. Allow them to expand on what they think about the situation and go on from there. Basing from your values, build on what the child thinks/feels when making your explanations. This way, you would be able to correct any misconceptions about pornography.
Note that most children are exposed to pornography by the time they reach 11 years of age. At the age of 3 or 4, pornography rarely makes an impact on children, but it should still be handled correctly. This might seem a bit too young but as a parent, you have to learn to work within the modern system. An “accidental click” online could lead to websites that you’d prefer your child didn’t know about until they’re of legal age. Hence, make sure your child is properly informed prior to reaching this age. Preparation is usually better than protecting them completely. At the end of the day, a strong and supportive adult is the most important tool against pornography.