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Should I be concerned about internet porn?

By Geraldine Bedell

 

Can my child come across porn accidentally while using the internet?

Fortunately, the days have gone when unwanted sexual content arrived in your inbox or from mis-typing a search term. Your child isn’t very likely to come across porn on the internet by accident.

So I don’t have to worry?

Unfortunately, young people do often go looking for porn – perhaps because there’s a craze at school (‘have you seen this site?’), perhaps out of normal curiosity. Adolescents are interested in sex and kids love exploring, particularly places they’re not supposed to go. Even if you have parental controls on your computer at home, they might easily have seen porn on a friend’s mobile or at someone else’s house.

So how much should I worry?

Internet porn is hardcore porn. There is growing evidence that watching too much of it can distort people’s views of relationships. Porn can also give the impression that other people – especially women – are sex objects. And over time it can shape ideas about what is desirable - and some of it is pretty weird stuff.

What should I do?

If you don’t talk to your child, the only people who will be talking to them about this are the porn industry and other children. See our tips for how to broach the subject.

These include suggestions on how to start a conversation that most parents would dread. Try asking:

  • I've heard/ I know that some young people talk about sex and even share sexual images online – what do you think about that?
  • Has anything ever happened to a friend online that's worried you?
  • What things do you do to keep yourself safe online?

 

Image: Summer Skyes 11, CC BY