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Protect Your Child From Social Media Porn

Guess what? Those parental restrictions that you put on your teen’s phone won’t keep them from viewing pornography. Today’s porn isn’t like sneaking a peek at dirty magazines as in yesteryear. It is often violent sexual acts that your child will view. Some of the biggest culprits are websites teens visit multiple times a day that you might not suspect, like Snapchat and Instagram.

These are two of the biggest social media accounts that teens use. With Black teens being online more than whites and longer, you have to know how to prevent them from looking at these sites. Just putting a simple emoji in the search bar can yield porn results on Instagram. Once your child reaches these Instagram accounts, they can easily access the porn companies websites as well.

“Having an understanding of what is and is not appropriate to watch online and having clear consequences to violations is the best place to start.”

So how do you stop it? According to an article in the Boston Globe, “Ongoing conversations you have with your children may be the best way to protect them. Having an understanding of what is and is not appropriate to watch online and having clear consequences to violations is the best place to start.”

Consider your discussion about Internet pornography as part of the traditional Talk. “Tell them that at some point, they’ll likely see images online that may be disturbing…You may see videos of naked people having sex or doing strange things. If that happens, I want you to tell me. I promise I won’t be mad. A lot of what’s out there is nothing like what most people do; I want to be able to talk with you about what you saw so I can answer any questions or tell you what is and isn’t realistic,” says Jill Whitney of Green Tree Professional Counseling. “As awkward as this conversation may feel, it helps to inoculate your kid from the inevitable time they see porn. You’d much rather have uncomfortable talks with them than have them thinking what they see in porn is realistic.”

In addition, research shows that children exposed to pornography at a young age can develop several types of social-emotional disorders and less empathy for victims of rape. Don’t look at The Talk as a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing conversation. The likelihood of your child running into pornography on the web is high. How you handle it as a parent makes a difference. Ongoing conversations you have with your children may be the best way to protect them.

‘Having an understanding of what is and is not appropriate to watch online and having clear consequences for violations is the best place to start. Using digital contracts like those at thesmarttalk.org helps kids to be involved in the rule-making process so that there is no confusion about what the expectations are while they’re online,” said Stephanie Humphrey, tech life expert. You can also use a monthly subscription service like Bark to monitor your child’s social media. This service checks for adult content, bullying, depression and more.

Setting a good foundation where your teen feels comfortable coming to you is the best practice to protect your child from Internet porn. Don’t react negatively when they share thoughts and comments with you about sex. Develop a comfort zone to encourage conversations. Your teen should always feel comfortable coming to you about sexual content they might find online by accident.

March 2019

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