Internet And Pornography

The effects of constant media exposure among children below the age of 14, continues to be an issue of growing public concern. 

Today, we have the youngest demographic of internet users ever. Over the past 15 years, internet usage among children has been steadily increasing in large quantities. Statistics show that more than two-thirds of 8-year-olds in metropolitan areas go online each day. This is astonishing considering, the average age of internet users is going down as we speak. In the current world, you won’t even be surprised if you were to find a toddler using a phone or a tablet. This is the new normal.

There’s no denying that the Internet has been a boon to people all over the world. Especially the younger generation. It has helped improve the education system and provided a platform for incredible positive change. But, with these pros, there have also come along a large number of cons. 

The Detrimental Effects:

While several experts are pro internet for kids and advocate it’s unlimited usage. There are also a large number of people, especially parents all around the world who ave noticed the detrimental effects of easy internet access on their kids. This has led to both mental and physical effects,

One of the largest defects of the internet today is that porn is everywhere. A kid who might just be googling cartoons or anime would likely come across porn unintentionally. At such a tender age with high curiosity, the kids often click on every advertisement that pops up on their screens. This is alarming as most of the ad pop-ups today are adult content. But, sadly due to the lack of regulation in the industry, literally anyone can access this content. 

This combination of free internet and easy access to porn can cause a great deal of negative impact on children like:

1. Cognitive Development

As a result of how engrossed the children get with the internet world, they often lose the capability of separating reality from fiction. As the internet mostly lacks regulation about what can be posted and what can’t, people are free to post whatever they like. This is a major red flag. Mainly because kids on the internet believe everything they see. 

The educators are also worried that the informal way of communication on the internet has made its way into the exam room. Students find it hard to concentrate in class and often end up plagiarizing from internet sources that are so easily accessible. This has reduced the concentration and attention span of kids all over.

2. Normalizes Sexual Violence 

It is a well-known fact that the media has a colossal capacity to teach. We learn through what we see. Excessive use of media, where the content is gender-stereotyped, violent, degrading, skews the world view of young impressionable kids. It also increases the chances of high-risk behaviour among them. Psychologists also worry that the content they’re watching today may affect their ability to form healthy relationships in the future. 

3. Depression and Social Isolation

Psychologists have also warned that increased internet usage has also lead to high rates of depression and chronic loneliness among teens. The more time a child spends online, the lesser amount of time they’re spending with their friends and families. A survey conducted among high school students in the UK shows that a staggering number of kids today have almost no internet-free hobbies. Be it day-time or night-time, the current generation is always on the internet. 

4. Can Lead to Addiction

Children between the impressionable age of 6-14, are very prone to addictions and cultivate highly addictive behaviors very easily. Plain old internet addiction is already quite dangerous, with porn involved it gets worse. The chances of the younger generation developing a porn addiction at a tender age are very high. Due to the easy continuous access to pornographic materials. 

Porn addiction is a behavioral addiction. It is conventionally categorized by an uncontrollable urge to watch porn. Here the person continues to watch porn or thinks about it despite problems caused by the behavior.

This is a growing problem all over the globe among people of all ages. but, can be extremely detrimental if underage kids fall prey to this problem. 

5. Physical Health

The more time a child spends on the internet, the less time they spend doing physical activities. This creates a sedentary lifestyle that can be very harmful during such an important stage of their life. Furthermore, computer use is linked to both repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel and eye strain. For some children, the rapidly flashing images of certain websites and games can even trigger epileptic seizures. This is why regulation of internet usage is important.

How To Solve This Problem

The Internet is a major part of our life today. Irrespective of age, everyone needs access to it. Be it for work, school, or personal reason. Hence, you can’t stop your kids from using the Internet. Neither can you hang by their sides 24/7 while they use the Internet. So, here are some tips to help you deal with this situation:

Limit the number of hours you child spends behind a digital screen

Based on their age and their educational needs, you can set up daily limits for internet usage for your kids. For example:

  • Children below the age of 2– Experts suggest that children in this age group should not be exposed to digital screens at all on a regular basis. It can be harmful if they get used to smartphones at such a young age. 
  • Children between the ages of 2 to 10 – Approximately one hour for educational purposes and one hour for their personal entertainment is suggested to be appropriate. 
  • Tween and Teens – Kids this age often need access to the internet for their studies and homework. So, it would not make sense to put a limit on that. But, you can ensure that once all their school work is complete, they don’t spend more than 2 hours on the internet daily. 

Install a blocker app on all their devices.

The easiest way to ensure the kids are safe from inappropriate content on the internet is to install a blocking app on their smartphones and tablets. There are tons of apps available on the market for this, you can pick anyone you like. You can use these apps to block certain inappropriate apps and also set time limits on other distracting apps like social networking and gaming apps. Once the child uses up their daily time limit for the app, they will automatically get blocked. The apps will no longer be available.

We recommend downloading BlockerX. It is easy to use and has lots of features that can help you keep track of your kids online activities. Here’s a step by step guide on how to intsall BlockerX and switch on features that’ll block all inappropriate content from your kids phone:

Step 1: Install BlockerX

On your child’s iOS gadget, first open the App Store. Click on the search bar and type “BlockerX”. Select the first option that comes up and click on the ‘Get’ button to install the app on their phone. Before installing please ensure the developer of the app is FunSwitch Technologies.

Step 2: Sign up and create an account

Once the app has successfully installed, it’s time to create an account. On the screen, click the ‘New’ tab and enter your details. You’ll need to enter your kid’s email and then set up a password. Once that’s done, accept the terms & conditions and click the ‘Sign Up’ button. The app should confirm your credentials are valid, only then the account is created.

Step 3: Block porn websites

Now is the easiest step. All you have to do is switch on the porn filter. For the porn filter to fuction properly, you’ll have to allow VPN configurations. You’ll notice a pop-up on your screen asking permission to allow VPN configurations, click on Allow.

Next, switch on the porn filter. Just slide the button and turn it green. Now, you have successfully blocked all inappropriate content from your iOS device!

Step 4: Set up Accountabilty Partner

BlockerX has a very useful accountability partner feature that will notify you if your child were to logout of the app or switch off the porn filter. To set up this feature:

Click on the Accountability Partner button and it will ask you to enter your email address.

Add in your email address and click on ‘send invitation’

Now, open your email and you would’ve received an invite to become an accountability partner. Click on ‘accept invitation’ Now you’re a verified partner!

If your child were to log out of the app or witch off the porn filter, you will now be notified. 

You will recive an email and only if you approve their request, they’ll be able to switch off the porn filter!

Do not just ban your kids from using the Internet. Instead, have open conversations about pornography, predators, and other dangers found in media. Tread with caution and care, in such a situation. Take the time to explain to the dangers of pornography and predators on the internet. Once you’ve spoken to them, the next step would be to download parental controls on all their devices, to ensure their safety. Being rash in situation won’t help. It’s good to have a well though out plan as a parent.

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Bhanu Shree

Bhanu Shree is a seasoned psychologist with over five years of specialized experience in child and adolescent psychology, particularly in addressing learning difficulties and ADHD. A respected mentor in mental health, she offers transformative guidance to adolescents facing various psychological challenges. Beyond her clinical expertise, Shree is an acclaimed author, contributing insightful perspectives on addiction and youth mental health issues. Her work is widely recognized for treatment in the mental health field.