Teenagers are biggest users of internet pornography. What can parents do?
“We get asked constantly by our customers about safety on the internet, especially when it comes to children and their exposure or risks whilst online, with this in mind we have created some tips and best practices for you.
Some alarming statistics were released from SafetyNet:
- The single highest group of internet pornography users are children aged 12-17
- 1 in 3 ten year olds have seen pornography online.
- 81% aged 14-16 regularly access explicit photographs and footage on their home computers
- 40% of 11-14 year olds have used their mobile phones to computers to send to pictures of themselves or receive naked or topless images of their friends.
Be involved with Technology.
Some parents allow their children to have technology yet don’t really
understand what it is or how it works, their fear or lack of understanding means they are helpless to intervene or monitor their children’s activity, giving them free rein to do what they want without guidance. Don’t turn a blind eye to technology, if your not sure then ask either the people you bought the tech from or contact a local computer company, they should be happy to help you understand how the device works and how to best protect your children.
Some parents fall into one of two categories when it comes to their children and the internet, either too strict or too soft.
- Too strict and your children will just hide everything they do from you forcing you to become a 24 hour private investigator just to track they’re activity
- Too soft or not being involved and they will do whatever they want (mostly based on peer pressure or worse still manipulation).
You need to create a balance and talk to them about all the pitfalls that come with being online and the warning signs of predatory online behavior. Stick to age restrictions (they are there for a reason) a majority of popular online games use text or voice communication, which on the whole are un-moderated, if you want to be shocked go online and play any of the popular online first person shooters, and the things you hear will shock you!
Use parental control on computers.
Both Microsoft and Apple have good parental control systems, but a vast majority of parents are either unaware they exist, or frightened to set them up because they don’t understand them.
The very least you can do is set up a limited user account for your children to
use, where they require the password of the main account to do any higher level changes. Change your passwords every week or so as kids are amazingly fast at working them out!
Again if you are unsure how to do it, any reputable computer shop should be able to guide you through it, either for free or at a very minimal fee.
Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops.
These devices can be used anywhere, either outside or in their own bedrooms, keeping an eye on your children while they are using them is tricky.
Parental Control – As we mentioned before, laptops, smart phones and tablet also have Parental Control facilities. Contact your phone provider, all the major ones offer it for free. Also both Apple and Android have built in parental control features as well.
Talk to your ISP
Sometimes even if you take all the right steps, eventually everyone who uses the internet will end up being confronted by material that they may not have chosen to see.
Luckily, if you are concerned about inappropriate web content, you can contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) who have the tools to apply a block on the traffic that arrives at your computer or mobile device to reduce that chances of unwanted content being delivered from their network. However try to remember that not only do a minute amount of websites still get through the block, there is also a small chance that the exact website you are trying to reach (despite not hosting what you would deem inappropriate content) has been mistakenly blocked.
To compound this, if you don’t take the advice at the start of this guide to heart, your little treasures will find a way around these blocks unless you show an interest.