We answer your questions about online safety with the help of experts CyberSafeIreland. Here are our tips for talking to your child about pornography.
As a mother, I have huge fears around pornography. I don’t want my child to be exposed to content that is unsuitable for his age. I am fearful that pornographic videos and images sent through social media will give him a false perception of relationships and intimacy. How can I approach this very awkward topic with my shy teenager?
Thank you for your query. This is an area of concern for a lot of parents and with that in mind, we hope this will help a lot of people. We recently conducted research which revealed that 16% of parents are not aware of what their children search and watch online. It is a very tricky area to navigate as a parent.
In this article we have explored the topic of talking to your child about difficult topics and in that article, you will find some brilliant tips for opening up the conversation which is a great place to start.
Unfortunately with messaging and social media apps comes the possibility of our children encountering unsuitable content. This is a concern for parents with children of all ages. Explicit content is popping up all over the internet and kids are being targeted with this type of content with videos that look like children’s programmes being anything but children orientated.
There have been reports of children viewing unsuitable content but also, viewing content that could be damaging for their health. Children’s programmes and cartoons are portrayed as being “family friendly” but they simulate cartoon characters in adult situations and with extremely adult themes.
Understanding the different platforms and apps is a good place to start. In this section (insert link to social media tab) we have explained how every social media app is used as well as the relevant parental controls and security settings that are available within them.
Know how to check chat logs and history for inappropriate content and let them know you’re doing it. Doing this without their knowledge rarely ends well - if you do learn something then it’s hard to talk about it because first you have to admit where you learned it!
Then you’ll have a whole other argument on your hands. Also, here's the thing - if they know you’re able to see and that you will check regularly, then they will feel safer. Even if they fight you on it.
Being annoyed at you is normal and part of their job. Your job is to do your best to not take that personally. Meanwhile, we can teach children that they have rights: to be comfortable, to enjoy themselves, to pace themselves, to be safe from sexual predators. Remember that sexual predators aren’t always dirty old men, they can be young men, sometimes classmates, and sometimes girls and women. Not all predators want to meet up: more often than not in fact, they want photos and videos.
Here are some articles which may help you to talk to your child about this difficult topic as well as some tips for monitoring your child's phone in a safe and fair way.