With kids spending more time online while at home, there are increased chances that your child may discover online pornography unintentionally or may go looking for it.
How can I protect my child?
- Set some ‘house rules’ — have an age appropriate discussion about the issue with your children and talk about where and when it is OK to use computers and devices.
- Stay engaged — talk regularly and openly with your child about what they are doing online — this helps build trust.
- Use the available technology — take advantage of the parental controls available on devices and ensure the ‘safe search’ mode is enabled on browsers.
- Build resilience — talk about sexualised content as this can help young people process what they come across online and reinforce the importance of consent and respectful relationships.
- Consider raising the subject of pornography yourself — parenting experts recommend starting the conversation early (by the time they are around 9 years old) to help protect them from the potential impacts of coming across it accidentally. Every child is different, so decide when you think it is right to raise the subject with your child
- Take a long-term view — reinforce that if your child does see something they do not understand, they can come and ask you about it.
What can I do if my child has found pornography online?
- Stay calm — thank them for being brave enough to let you know and reassure them that you will sort it out together.
- Listen, assess, pause — ask your child how they found it, where it happened, who (if anyone) showed it to them and how they felt when they saw it. Resist the urge to give a lecture.
- Reassure your child they are not in trouble — try not to remove your child’s device or online access completely, as they will see it as punishment.
- Be sensitive to how they feel — it is important to talk with your child about how the content made them feel. Encourage them to talk to you about any questions they have.
- Talk about the importance of consent and respect in relationships — talk about the importance of always having permission to touch, hug or kiss another person.