Most statistics on pornography use state the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is just 11 years old. Bitdefender, a company that specializes in security technology, reports that children under the age of 10 now account for 22% of online porn consumption under 18 -years old. Perhaps even more disturbing is their discovery that the sites most visited by children under 10 include porn mega sites like Pornhub. In fact, the under 10 age group now accounts for one in 10 visitors to porn video sites. Furthermore, Google Analytics reports that pornography searches increase by 4,700% when children are out of school.
If you think your child has seen online pornography, these suggestions on how to have and start an age-appropriate conversation can help.
Regardless parents, we want to do everything we can to shield our children from these explicit images and distorted depictions of sexuality. To protect young eyes from seeing things they ought not to see, it takes more than being careful about what you watch when they’re around. But it takes more than conversations and warnings – children are naturally curious, so it’s important to combine conversations with technology tools to limit adult content so that you control what impressions your children have about love, sexuality, and relationships.
Here are ways to block porn as much as is possible.
Turn on Google SafeSearch on all your devices – phones, tablets and computers. When enabled, SafeSearch helps to block explicit images, videos, and websites from all Google Search results. Of course, you’ll need to ensure that Google is the default search engine. The downside that your child likely knows how to disable SafeSearch in Chrome’s settings, so you’ll need to check all devices from time to time to make sure it hasn’t been turned off.
If you have Apple devices, use Screen Time which is built into the device’s operating system. You have two options: put restrictions on your kid’s devices and then lock them with a password known only to you so they can’t change it back; or control their device remotely through Apple’s Family Sharing feature.
You can also ask your internet service provider what – if any – parental controls, content filters, or other screen-time-management features they offer. For example, Verizon’s Smart Family offers parental controls for a set monthly fee.
PC Magazine has a comprehensive list of the best The Best Parental Control Software for 2019, with some excellent choices for as little as $14.99. You can also set up controls through your router, and use tools like Disney’s Circle that offers mobile monitoring of your child’s phone through an app you download to the phone.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.