Research shows that 70% of boys have viewed porn online by the age of 12 and that by the age of 15 nearly all have.  Increasingly they are also downloading porn onto their mobile phones and sending nude photos of themselves to each other.

Experts agree that viewing pornography can be harmful to the healthy development of young people. For girls it brings up issues of self image, and the pressure to look and behave in a sexualised way. For boys it can create a false view of what a relationship is all about. Their expectation is that their girlfriend will be happy to behave like the porn stars they have been watching.

Author Meldina Tankard Reist and Right2Childhood speaker says that:

What is urgently needed is explicit content on radical concepts like love, intimacy and authentic human connection. Girls and young women describe cold, soul-less sexual experiences in which they are expected to be service stations for boys, pressured to ‘put out’, with no concern for her emotional wellbeing.

Melinda Tankard Reist will be talking about porn and its impact on young people at the Right2Childhood seminar being held in Sydney on 19 October.

Tips on to protect kids from online porn
Don’t give in and put the computer in your child’s bedroom: make sure it is in full view where adults are around, after all what can they access in the bedroom that they can’t access in the kitchen or lounge? Keep a casual eye on what internet sites are being accessed.

Boundaries and safety nets: although children like to feel they are free to explore the world around them they also like to feel safe and to know that their parents are in the background keeping them safe. So don’t be afraid to set boundaries and let you child know what they can and can’t access online. Be their parent and not their friend. They will thank you for it later.

Smartphone, dumb choice: internet access is very easy with smartphones this opens up all sorts of problems when trying to protect children from accessing pornography. There is nothing wrong with an old fashioned mobile, even if they lose street credibility with their peers.

Get other parents onboard: talk about your concerns with other parents and if possible come up with a shared strategy. This is important because although you can control the computers at home, children use the internet while visiting with their friends. So for safety and peace of mind it is useful to know which are the ‘safe’ houses that have filters on computers and parents that are aware of the dangers of online porn and encourage your children to play there. Be sure to include other computers your children may use when setting the rules of use for them (school, library and friends computers).

Filters: The simplest way of protecting your kids against porn is to filter the web content. Don’t get put off or lost in the technology of installing filters; there are many web filters available online that can be downloaded for free or companies can do it for you. Here are some examples of what is available.

Modem Filters: The best, most fail safe way is to register for an account with the internet filtering company OpenDNS. They have a program called Family Shield which is free to download. As per their instructions, you then simply change the DNS settings in your modem over to the ones they provide you with. This then diverts the traffic to your modem through their DNS before it gets to your child’s computer, filtering out any sites, or searches that you have set as undesirable.

Computer Filters: another way, to protect your kids is to install a filtering software like K9, Net Nanny or Norton Online Family onto your child’s computer.

Google safety settings: turn on the safety setting on Google search on each computer and browser that your child uses. Make sure you do this on their particular login to the computer they use. Log into your Google account and go to www.google.com/preferences and slide the filter slider to strict. You can also LOCK the settings to ON for older kids who might find out how to get around this setting, and then log out.

Filtered browsers: for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch include Olly which provides all the features of Safari plus the ability for parents to turn on “safe browsing,” which filters out millions of porn sites. Parents give themselves a four digit numeric password that enables them to not only turn Olly’s safe browsing mode on or off, but to add additional sites to the filter list. There is also an American based service called McGruff SafeGuard.  It is an easy-to-use service designed to help parents manage their Childs’ online activity.

User names and passwords: keep the filtering and blocking process a secret. Don’t let them know the user names, ID’s or passwords to any of the filters and parental controls that have been put into place. Teenagers are very net savvy and depending on their ingenuity it won’t take much for them to work out how to remove unwanted restrictions.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: Mcgruff. News.com.au. Olly.