6.01.2012

Understanding Sexual and Technological Addictions. Are You Or Your Children Already Addicted? Part XIII

Cerf speaking at the National Library of New Z...
Cerf speaking at the National Library of New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
“The Internet lives where anyone can access it.”
Vinton Cerf
In the news the subject of how much time a child expends on the Internet is becoming a concern for many parents. This is one researcher’s analysis, “ According to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids and teens from the ages of 8 to 18 spend over seven and a half hours a
 day watching TV, surfing the web (on computers and from their mobile phones), or listening to music on digital media players.”
The amount of time the Kaiser Family Foundation states kids and teens expend surfing the web seems low in the amount of hours.  According to the University of Michigan study, 76 percent of U.S. children have computers and access to the Internet in their homes, and those between 12 and 17 years of age log in approximately five hours a week to use them. Comparatively, they spend up to 14 hours a week watching television. Statistically, time on the computer seems to be less than TV time. The New York Times cites a survey performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation of over 2,000 students. A third of the students had computers in their bedrooms with unsupervised Internet access.

The 33% of students who are unsupervised with having computers in their bedrooms and having access to the Internet is a major concern. Imagine if during the 5-7 hours which the two studies suggest that children and teenagers expend on the Internet were surfing pornography websites. This would bring about a different impression of what the children and teenagers were doing with their free time.

A decade ago the child or teenager would sit in the front room and watch their daily television shows. This was their entertainment. Access to the Internet was something most individuals could not afford or didn’t have the knowledge to access the Internet. 

Today the child or teenager has moved their entertainment from the front room to the bedroom. The difference for the most part has been the lack of supervision of children and teenagers. The supervision which generally is hit or miss occurs because most parents believe the computer is being used for educational purposes.

The studies which are now being conducted will demonstrate in this authors opinion that the amount of time the child or teenager expends on the Internet will be twice the amount of time the two previous studies documented.

In the meantime, what is a parent to do about their child’s or teenager’s behavior when it comes to accessing the Internet using computers and Smartphones? To be realistic there is no way a parent can expend all their time walking in and out of their child’s or teenager’s bedroom to see if they are misusing the trust the parent has afforded them. The Free Dictionary.com defines trust as, Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; custody; care; something committed into the care of another; charge.”

2008 Taipei Computer Applications Show Pre-Sho...
2008 Taipei Computer Applications Show Pre-Show Press Conference: TransAVA T88 TV Phone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Maybe the first step in raising children is to explain to them what trust means to them and what they expect from their child. If the parent can lay the proper foundation just maybe the child or teenager will avoid the pornographic websites, which lead to either technological or sexual addiction or both. Generally, the two go hand in hand, because the individual can’t access the pornographic websites without using techno gadgets.

The child or teenager finds the “pleasure zones” to be a place where they can find sexual enjoyment, fantasies, and so many other sexual themes. It seems that if the sexual oriented websites continue to flourish then safeguards must be put in place so children and teenagers don’t become victims of addiction.

To rely specifically on trust is a mistake a parent shouldn’t make. Let us look at some reasonable and logical steps parents can take to assist their children from becoming technologically and sexually addicted. There are ten suggested steps a parent should consider implementing. They are:
     1.      Decide if you believe it is necessary to have access to the internet at your home. Some of the information is educational and legal, but some of it is not.
      2.      Without local, state, and federal laws to protect children, steps must be taken to assure the child or teenager doesn’t enter into a situation on the Internet where they are bullied, sexually exploited, or possibly commit a crime, although the Supreme Court has sided with those who have pornography on their websites. This situation may change someday, but right now it should be a major concern.
       3.      As a parent you must teach your child or teenager steps to keep them safe. Generally, it isn’t one thing which teaches children the rules which will keep them safe. The Internet is no different. Establishing boundaries is a must and trust between parent and child has to be discussed and practiced until the child or teenager understands it.
      4.      Children learn how to surf the Internet on their own by their peers. It is vital that as a parent you teach your children how to properly and cautiously surf the Internet. The dangers are at every corner as the pornographers advertise, have pop-up menus, and so forth. When viewing Facebook, they sell advertisement to sleazy companies and they have pictures of women with phone numbers telling the viewer that they are looking for a relationship. This is prostitution and the opening of a doorway where your child or teenager will become trapped.
      5.      Children suffer from what is called “social withdrawal” as the excessive Internet use affects their time doing their homework, outdoor or social activities, and withdrawing from the family. Children have become sedentary and later in life their decision to play today will result in them paying tomorrow.
     6.     The Internet is just the beginning of the child or teenager finding their way into a new world. Human trafficking is a 32 million dollar business and is the second growing industry in the world. Children do not know how to protect themselves because they don’t understand who to trust or who not to trust. Trust is a learning process and as discussed above parents must take the time to educate their child or teenagers what can happen if they begin giving out personal information to individuals who use email, chat rooms, bulletin boards, social websites, and any other ways to gain access to the child or teenager. These predators are everywhere. They have had success in the way they do things and children are victimized on a daily basis because their parents did not take the necessary time to protect them.
       7.      When children know how to locate and use their parent’s money, credit cards, and other financial methods to pay for usage of accessing social networks, pornography, the problems have just begun.  Generally, the child or teenager is caught after a month or couple months of usage. How many times do individuals receive their monthly statements and not peruse their bill to ascertain who is charging their accounts.
      8.      It is important to identify any and all emails that your child or teenager has access to. There is Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, and so many other free email accounts available. Your child may have up to ten email accounts obtaining them by using different names and passwords. Their memory of which accounts they have, the passwords, and what they use the individual accounts for is something they can do with ease.
      9.      IMs have become very popular. A child or teenager can send an instant message or text within seconds and the response takes about the same amount of time. IMs and text are a replacement for notes in the classroom. Decades ago, children would pass notes back and forth. Now they IM or text one another. Some teachers have had built-in wall units constructed where students have to put their Smartphone into a cubby hole upon entering the classroom. This worked for a while until the students figured they could bring to school an old Smartphone they once used (which no longer works) put this in the cubby hole and keep the new and working Smartphone.  Parents must assist teachers in keeping their child or teenager controlling their technological behavior.
    10.  The inadvertent exposure to pornographic sites generally occurs when the child or teenager is performing a search using a specific search engine. The Justice Department states the 71 percent of the unwanted exposures occurred while youth were surfing the web or using search engines.

The above ten steps parents need to take when it comes to protecting their child or teenager from becoming vulnerable should begin after the parents find out they are having a child. Unfortunately, there are evil individuals in society who prey upon children and take advantage of their innocence. Therefore planning today for tomorrow will limit the heartaches today’s parents are facing.

Planning ahead today, will be as successful as planning for your child’s college fund. Teach them the definition of trust and how it plays a significant role in protecting not only you as a parent, but your child or teenager’s safety. If you don’t take the time to plan and protect your child, they may fall victim to becoming the next child technological and sexual addict. If you don’t believe it is possible, the average age of those who surf pornography sites when it comes to children is 9-11 years of age. Thi
OLPC: XO internet access
OLPC: XO internet access (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
s should be a warning to you that many problems lay ahead.

If you don’t have a plan for your child or teenager’s life course, take the necessary and needed time to read magazine articles, journals, books, listen to the experts, counselors, life coaches and consultants. Become an expert in how to protect your child or teenager from the potential dangers which lay ahead of them. If they do not understand what will take place they may open the wrong door and step in. The decision to evaluate and protect is a parent’s responsibility. It takes much time to be a protective and caring parent. Don’t allow you or your children to become the newest victim. You only have one opportunity to do it right the first time.

Tomorrow, the saga continues with researching and finding new methods and techniques to protect your children from becoming technological and sexual addicts. It isn’t too late to begin today. Make it a point to take inventory of the steps I have outlined that parents need to examine, evaluate, and change whatever their child or teenager may have done, is doing, and may do. Remember, today’s child or teenager is having fun surfing the Internet, tomorrow they may become a technological or sexual addict. What category does your child belong in?



To learn my own simple framework for creating a more enjoyable life, see my books Battles of The Flesh 2ed, It Could Happen To You and Code of Conduct on Amazon/Kindle.   
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