Ways To Protect Children From The Internet
Following the unfortunate Chrisland incident, Chiamaka discusses some of the ways to protect children from adult content on the internet.
A few days ago, I wrote an article about the Chrisland situation. The entire situation and the different responses to it got me thinking a lot and I decided to piggyback on the aforementioned piece, discussing some ways in which to protect children on the Internet that do not include any of the bad advice I’ve seen thrown around. A lot of this advice I found quite disturbing and absurd: not letting children make use of the Internet or downloading bots that copy-write their every move on the Web to an adult’s phone amongst a bunch of other strange advice. These suggestions are dangerous because, more often than not, when children feel overly watched, they respond by becoming even sneakier. They will use other phones and be exposed to the content they seek out by people who do not have their best interests in mind.
The first way to protect a child on the Internet is by drawing an open line of communication between you and the child that you seek to protect. Yes, this includes not harming them even when you feel that they may have wronged you or acted out of order. When you openly discuss topics with your child, they come to trust you in a way that is second to none other. In fact, if something occurs that you are unaware of, they will bring it to you of their own volition. It is important to make children aware of the dangers that are out there while they make use of social media and the Web. Explain to children that pornography exists and also make them aware of why it is harmful to a young mind. Teach them that the things shown are often distorted, misogynistic in nature and geared towards adult viewing. Also let them know that because of their age, they are not mentally capable of giving consent to the acts often shown on pornographic sites. After explaining these things, you can then go ahead to block the sites on their devices. Let them understand that you are blocking the sites to protect them rather than shelter them. Also, discuss with them that they may see the content on other children’s devices, but to be cautious in indulging as regards the reasons listed above.
There is no need to keep them from social media sites. Make them aware of content that is adult in nature and let them develop excitement in seeking out content that is geared toward their age group. They can follow child stars on social media, people who are facing the same challenges that they face too. This way, they find childhood content fun and exciting. They are easily turned off by adult content because it is not sensationalized in the home.
On Netflix, open a kids’ account. If you walk in on them watching an adult movie, be slow to chide them. Do not strike them. Go over why such content is inappropriate and can hurt them in different ways. Put on PG movies and watch with them. Discuss the adult scenes and make them comfortable in their understanding. This way, they view you as a safe space. The line of communication flows easily.
If they commit a grave offence and you must seize their gadgets as punishment, ensure that they understand why they are being punished. Explain why access to the Internet is a privilege that they earn along with your trust in them. When you feel secure in their activities, you leave them to enjoy their social media as they please. This way, they begin to understand more and more the need to take personal responsibility and accountability for their actions.