Educating Your Kids on Dealing With Sexually Explicit Content
While the internet is a great place for children to have fun and learn new things, it also has a fair share of age-inappropriate content that your children may unintentionally stumble upon – especially sexually explicit materials.
The following are some startling statistics found from a TOUCH Cyber Wellness survey that polled 836 students (aged 13-15 years old), to examine teenagers’ exposure to pornography:
- One in two teenagers has watched or read sexually explicit materials, with some as young as seven when they were first exposed to it.
- One in three teenagers admitted viewing pornography in the past year, whether intentional or accidental.
- 77% of those exposed to sexual content accessed it through smartphones.
- 5 per cent of the teens who had seen pornography encountered it first in lower primary levels – at age nine or younger.
Here are some tips for you to educate your child on dealing with sexually explicit content:
- Monitor online activities
Use parental control software or check your child’s browsing history in the web browsers to monitor their online activities. This will give you a good idea about where to start when you educate your children on this matter.If you notice they have accessed a suspicious-looking website, take the chance to talk it through with them and let them know how you feel about the website.
- Use child-friendly search engines
Most search engines provide filtering tools that protect your children from undesirable content. Google’s filter, known as SafeSearch, serves to filter out any adult content from the search results by scanning through keywords, phrases and URLs. A child-friendly search engine will reinforce to your children on what content qualifies as acceptable or not.
- Encourage open sharing
Create a safe and comfortable environment for your children at home, so they will voluntarily share their online activities with you. Let them know they can come to you any time and you will not take away their rights to go online. Rather than shunning this taboo topic on sexually explicit online materials, make this a common educational topic around the house.
- Give them useful contact details
If your children still don’t feel comfortable speaking with you about this topic, let them know they can talk to another trusted adult, such as close relatives or their teachers. Have these trusted adults feedback to you about what your children have shared with them, so you too can act accordingly and take the relevant precautionary measures.Alternatively, you can also give them details of some helpline they can call if they wish to speak to someone else in confidence. Here are some useful contacts your children should take note of:
- Help 123 (National Hotline for Cyber-related Issues): 1800-6123-123
- Singapore Children’s Society (Tinkle Friend Helpline): 1800-2744-788