Online Pornography sites are targeting children indirectly more than ever before. There are countless examples of children downloading innocent Apps and finding Adult orientated sites pop up on their device. Children may never actively seek this content themselves, instead stumble upon it through misdirected links etc. Studies show on average, children can be exposed to Online Pornography from around the age of 11. We are exceptionally confident that this age will reduce dramatically as children are getting unrestricted access to digital devices at a younger and younger age.
Largest Consumers of Pornography
The largest consumers of pornography are reportedly males, between 12 to 17 years of age. We are also seeing a spike in the numbers of young girls that are also beginning to view Online Pornography. Why are young girls viewing Pornography, you may ask. The answer is one which would cause upset to many a parent. They view it because young female teens believe that they have to emulate the behaviour of female in Pornographic online content. This is now what young males expect and believe is normal realistic sexual engagement. Pornography Addiction is real and it is becoming more prevalent than you might imagine.
Unrealistic Relationship Expectations
Viewing pornography can be a very stimulating experience for a child. The dangers are that they are viewing content which they have no real life experience of. This can create very unrealistic relationship expectations. It can also lead to sexual violence with future partners. A problem also arises as people mature, the preference to particular type of the pornography changes over time. What may once have given arousal, may now, no longer satisfy an individual. This leads to seeking out more graphic or violent types of Online Pornography.
It is a sad reality that Online Pornography is freely available, without any age verification on 97% of online sites. Only a very few sites require any form of age verification. More troubling is that the pornography industry are heavily investing in the new Virtual Reality technology. All that someone requires to enter this Virtual World of Porn, is a means to view it. Google Cardboard viewers can be purchased for as little as €19.99. Some large Irish stores sell the items for under €10.
Advice for Parents about Online Pornography
- If you begin to notice pop ups on your own device, this may be as a result of a child previously accessing pornography on the device
- You may see unexpected charges to your credit or debit card. This may mean that the child purchased access to a pornography site
- The child may be displaying more advanced knowledge and interest than they than they should for their age in sexual matters
- A child may be looking at or doing something that they shouldn’t online if they immediately switch screens when you come near
- Parents should always watch their children’s online activity. Start by checking the Internet History to see the sites that the child has visited. If the Internet history has been deleted, then there needs to be a repercussion. This is the second occasion where we will tell a parent to remove a device from a child
- Children are not entitled to privacy on digital devices, or on Apps or Social Media. Parents must be confident that children are mature enough to have developed a resilience to deal with, and avoid harmful content. A parent must be aware at all times, what content their children are viewing and accessing
Start the Conversation
- Have a conversation with your child and ask them if adult content has appeared on their screens
- Discuss what they have seen, do they understand the content, that it may not be how people behave in the real world
- Never blame the child, if you do the child may be unwilling to be honest with you in the future. You need an open line of communication with the child. A child should always feel comfortable enough to be able to approach a parent and discuss their online experiences with them
- Silence empowers all the darker side of what the online world has to offer. Good open, honest communication between a child and a parent removes this
- It is important to encourage positive behaviour in a relationship. Parents should explain what a healthy relationship consists of. Discourage the unrealistic expectations that can form as a result of exposure to Online Pornography
- It is very important to commence the discussion about sexual content online as early as possible. Discussion does not mean educate. Children will be see this type of content. So they need the ability to tell the difference between fact and fiction
- Consent is also an area which should be addressed at an early age. What behaviours are acceptable and which ones are not. It is very important to help children that NO means NO