The internet, being like a double-edged sword, requires cautious and responsible use. There’s no denying that it has a long list of pros and advantages. However, we shouldn’t allow these to outweigh the possible risks and dangers.
In this modern age, kids tend to spend more time in the virtual world. They are often glued to their cell phones playing games, watching videos, browsing social media, or chatting and hanging out with friends. Hence, there’s always a possibility of them bumping into explicit or inappropriate web content.
How Pornography Impacts Young Minds
A survey involving 330 men shows that, on average, they first got exposed to pornography at the age of 13. Additionally, it appears that 87% of university students engaged in online or phone sex.
Pornography is addictive in nature. This is because an adolescent brain gets easily motivated when presented with perceived or tangible rewards. In the case of watching porn, the reward could be in the form of pleasure or sensation. When certain parts of the brain – the nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental area, and the prefrontal cortex – are stimulated, dopamine is released into that reward pathway, creating a cascading effect of memory and motivation. These feelings trigger cravings that could lead to addiction and impulsivity.
Dopamine, also known as a chemical messenger, isn’t a bad thing as this promotes a good mood, enjoyment, and motivation. When released specifically due to pornography interaction, however, the results could be detrimental as the brain tends to laser-focus on pornography, disregarding everything else.
More than the addiction, parents should worry about the bad side effects of porn on their kids’ behaviors. Since this explicit content has become easily accessible with just a few clicks away on their Android or iOS devices, kids could have the impression that it’s normal to view or watch porn.
Pornography is initially created for sole entertainment purposes. However, since kids’ brains aren’t mature enough, these are more likely to happen:
- They could engage in unprotected or unsafe sex.
- They enter into premarital sex, leading to teenage pregnancy.
- They perceive sex as violent and aggressive.
- They are more inclined to not consider rape as a serious offense.
- They could focus on the “dopamine rush” instead of the intimacy of the act.
- They’ll find it harder to keep real-life long-term serious relationships.
- They don’t appreciate real-life pleasures.
- They develop a distorted version or definition of love.
- They end up abusing or disrespecting their partners.
- They develop sexually aggressive and permissive behaviors.
- They question their body structures and, eventually, their sexual performance.
- They develop unrealistic sexual beliefs and values.
- Their brain growth could be suppressed.
What Parents Can Do
Pornography is deeply embedded into the internet and in almost all multimedia platforms. Explicit content is no longer limited to porn sites, they can be found on social media sites, gaming platforms, or mobile apps.
Instead of grounding your kids from enjoying their gadgets or socializing online, you could try to practice being more understanding, supportive, open, and a role model.
Don’t judge your kids. Their curiosity plays a big role in their mental and physical development. Sexual exploration, per se, is natural and healthy. So, be a little bit more understanding when your children are curious about themselves.
Exploring and discovering their true identity are essential parts of growing up. Be supportive, not in their new hobby of watching porn, but in their interest in learning new things.
As you understand and support your kids, be sure to initiate open and positive communication. When you think it’s right, have “the talk” with your child to education them properly about sex, relationships, and their physicality.
Be a role model.
Above all, be sure to walk the talk; practice what you preach in all aspects of your life. You could also start alternative family activities to pull your kids away from excessive technology and internet use.
What Parents Can Control
It appears that about 4% of all websites are sex-related and 13% of web searches are related to erotic content. While parents can’t control the release and production of this explicit and inappropriate content, you can control your kids’ access to porn on their iPhone devices.
Built-in iPhone Parental Controls
iPhones have built-in parental controls, so be sure to utilize these first.
Limit Content Ratings & Explicit Content
- Go to Settings → Screen Time → Content & Privacy Restrictions → Content Restrictions
- For each content type like Movies and Apps, adjust the settings to your liking.
Limit Adult Websites
- Navigate to Settings → Screen Time → Content & Privacy Restrictions → Content Restrictions → Web Content.
- You can either choose Limit Adult Websites or Allowed Sites Only. If you choose the latter, make sure to input websites that you only want your child to access.
Use Kid-Friendly Browser and Apps
Moreover, it’s best to initially filter and validate which apps your kids can access. Monitor what apps they download and use, and double-check if these are kid-friendly. Additionally, see to it that their default search browser is kid-friendly. Opt for alternative safe browsers, instead of the usual ones, as these are designed for safer browsing, blocking a great majority of adult content and sites.
Cell Phone Monitoring Software
Then, of course, there’s the option of using reliable and trustworthy cell phone monitoring software. Such apps are programmed to monitor your kids’ phone activities, track their phone interactions, and ensure their safety. Spy apps aren’t only meant for spying or controlling Wi-Fi access and screen time. In fact, these are reliable tools to block porn on your child’s device using inclusive features such as web browser monitoring, content filtering, web search tracking, and keyword restrictions.
With billions of viewers, including children, it’s no surprise that porn is now a billion-dollar industry. It’s probably too late and too unrealistic to wish for a porn-free world for your kids. It doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t do what you can to prevent them from watching such content.
Related Article: How To Block Porn On Your Child’s Android Device