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How to Protect Your Child from Seeing Internet Porn

A recent survey reported the average age when a child first sees porn online is 11 years. 11. This comes as both a surprise and a concern to parents, especially those who believe they have done all they can to monitor and protect their child's online viewing.

How is pornography slipping through the protective net of parents?

An innocent search for school project material through an unfiltered search engine can lead an unsuspecting child to inappropriate material, particularly if their search is hijacked by others who are listing their content so that terms such as 'pussy' or 'fairies' display listings for porn.

Something you may not know: many children’s cartoon shows have been re-made into semi or full-porn animations and are available on YouTube and other websites. When children search for terms related to their favourite show, these listings appear in the search engine findings. Search “Sexy Simpsons” on YouTube or Google without a safe search filter set, and you can see what I mean.

If an adult and child share the same internet-connected device, and the adult has viewed porn and not deleted their history, the child can inadvertently access those sites. Some porn sites download pop-up messages onto computers - these can appear on browsers, or may send emails to the computer that advertise porn.

Increasingly, children are viewing porn at school when other students carry it in on their mobile devices. With the introduction of Bring Your Own Devices policies in many schools, there is an increased likelihood of your child seeing porn at school via another student’s device.

How parents can protect young children from finding and sharing porn:

1.    Educate your child to ask your permission before clicking on any links they don’t recognise.
2.    Educate your child to alert you if they see something that is shocking or upsetting.
3.    Put parental controls on mobile devices that your child has access to.
4.    Set a secret password lock on all your mobile devices.
5.    Set a password to prevent your child using your PC without supervision.
6.    Set up a separate parent controlled log-in for your child on your/their PC.
7.    Set parental controls to disallow downloading new software without your password.
8.    Set up a filter on the parent-controlled account to filter out adult content.
9.    Use “Safe Search” settings available on YouTube, Google, Bing, & Yahoo. Go to preferences on every browser on each device and then to the safety settings. Make sure it is also enabled on mobile device browsers or use a child-friendly browser like Ranger Browser instead of Safari or Google Chrome.
10.    If allowing your child to use a messaging app, choose child-friendly Skype or iMessage, and set privacy settings that don’t allow automatic acceptance of files or approaches by strangers.
11.    Set up a free www.openDNS.com internet filtering account on the family modem so that all devices connected by Wi Fi in your home can be covered by safe search filtering options.
12.    Ask your internet service provider about their family internet safe filtering options.

For more detailed instructions see Leonie’s Keeping Kids Safe Online cyber safety manual.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net