“I let my child watch some rhymes on youtube. A little while later I realized it was silent. I checked on him and he was looking at some advertisement about a toy. When I looked in on him again, he clicked on one of the videos on the sidebar. It was a soft porn video. Why do these kinds of videos show up when kids watch rhymes and toy ads?”
Every now and then in India we see shocking headlines about children and internet pornography. After the initial outrage and hand-wringing by parents, religious leaders and editorial opinions on parenting, moral values and culture the issue gets buried until the next big headline.
There may be two sides to adults watching pornography, but we can all agree that kids who grow up watching pornography develop unhealthy attitudes to sex.
Not every child who lands on pornographic videos or sites goes there intentionally. Many kids hit buttons accidentally and once they get there, their curiosity gets the better of them.
So what can you do to protect your children?
Start by talking to your kids at a young age about treating people with respect. Pornography desensitizes children to the needs of women and treats them as sexual objects.
Education is often the best way to protect children. Talk to your kids about sex before others expose them to it.
Even our children’s talent shows are riddled with sexual innuendos. Use these opportunities to discuss if those are the values your children should follow.
Keep the computer in a more public place so you are able to supervise your child’s online behavior easily.
Have discussions on whether your child or their friends have seen something online that bothers them about sex. This gives you an opportunity to talk about predators who lurk in these sites and how they can convince them that there is no harm in doing these acts.
Remind your child never to give out phone numbers, information about their school, friends or family, after school activities or their likes and dislikes anywhere on the net.
Check the pictures your child uploads online from smartphones and iPad, not only for content but also for information such as location, date and time.
Try to find the reasons behind any sudden changes in your child’s behavior and language, especially about sex.
If you find that your child has been exposed to pornography, don’t blame your child. For most children, their first exposure to pornography is traumatic. Help your child, if necessary, through professional channels.
(This post was written by Janie)