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

“The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children.” 
Jim Henson

Jim Henson
Cover of Jim Henson
As a parent you find your ten year old surfing the Internet looking at pornography. After the initial shock there are many steps you can take to deal with the discovery that there may be something behind the obvious problem. Some children (10-20%) have been sexually assaulted at some time in their life.  The other 70-90% are just being inquisitive or have accidently stumbled across the pornographic website.

As this author has advocated, parents would not have to worry about their child stumbling or accidently finding pornography on the Internet if they would install the many software programs which prevent access to sexual theme websites.

Before a parent overreacts to the discovery that their child is surfing pornographic websites, they need to sit down with their child and ascertain ‘exactly’ what happened. If the child admits they were interested and this is a one time exploration then a parent needs to take positive steps to make sure this does not happen in the future.

Parents need to perform daily follow-ups and check the history of what websites the child had visited. Maintaining a sense of what the child is doing when he/she is on the Internet can be educational to the parent. The child may be interested in history and this discovery can assist the parent in finding other websites which will enhance the child’s knowledge about the subject matter.

Child Pornography
Child Pornography (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a parent you wouldn’t let the child watch a XXX pornographic movie, nor should you allow your child to watch the same on their techno gadget. Curiosity is normal but compulsive out of control sexual behavior is a red flag that the sexual acting out must be dealt with immediately.

The steps parents can take when they discover their child’s behavior needs to be closely examined. Most parents haven’t dealt with this situation, so they need to educate themselves in what would be the appropriate steps to take to guarantee that this out of control sexual behavior comes to an immediate halt. Some of these steps may include taking away the child’s techno gadget to taking the child to a therapist.

In order to make your child’s Internet exposure safe and positive let’s turn to the first line of defense for the child. They are:

      1.      The child needs to understand that it is inappropriate to provide anyone with personal information about themselves or their family. Information such as where they live, go to school, hang out, go to church, their birthdate, names of their family members, where their parents work, what times they are at work, when the child is home during the day, if the child is home alone at any time, and any other personal information like telephone numbers and the child’s address should not be provided under any circumstances. The child needs to know that this information can be used to identify them, place them and their family at risk and could create a situation where theft, fraud, assaults, and even murder could take place.
         2.      The child needs to report any suspicious behavior if an individual on one of the websites begins asking the personal questions listed under #1. Threats or scare tactics should be discussed with the child that these types of people can’t hurt them as long as they immediately disclose that the individual is being threatening or scary.
        3.      The child needs to understand that there are individuals on the Internet who will identify themselves as a peer when in fact the person is an adult looking to groom and victimize a child.
        4.      The child should not be left with the decision of which websites they will visit, explore, or continue to search repeatedly websites which are not age appropriate.  
          5.      The degree of the restrictions, rules, and guidelines the parent’s places on the child should deal with several categories. They are:
a.      Violence
b.      Bad language
c.       Nudity
d.     Sexual themes
e.      Suspicious websites
f.        Not age appropriate themes
g.      Movies which are not age appropriate
h.      Music which are not age appropriate
i.        Chat rooms where the themes are not age appropriate
       6.      The child’s passwords and UserID should only be shared with his/her parents. The child needs to learn the need for protection and precaution. The word secretive or secrecy should not become word(s) in his vocabulary. The confusion these two word(s) can cause a child maybe
An icon illustrating a parent and child
An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 word(s) a parent does not want to advocate a child utilizing.
7.      The child needs to know that when the parent is not at home, the access to the Internet has to be limited. Therefore, parents need to physically lock-up their router or change the password to another password e.g. the default settings when the router was first set-up.
8.      The child needs to know that they are allowed a limited time of accessing the Internet. The router can be specifically set for the times it will provide access to the Internet. These restrictions will guarantee that the child is limited in the number of websites they can search.
      9.      The child should be restricted to not touch the settings on the techno gadgets in which they utilize to access the Internet.
      10.  The child should be limited to the livingroom or kitchen to use their techno gadget so that at any time the parent can check the websites the child is accessing.
      11.  The child should be shown that there are parental controls on each techno gadget and that they are being utilized. Further, the child should be told that tampering with these parental controls will result in discipline e.g. taking away the techno gadget for a period of time.

There are many safeguards that can be applied to bring a safe and protective environment. There are no reason(s) for a parent not taking positive and constructive steps to stop their child from being exposed to not aged appropriate themes.  A parent who puts in the effort a few minutes a day to keep their child safe may keep the child from being affected emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually.

Tomorrow, with five articles remaining on this subject, I will turn my attention to what the government is doing to protect children from being bombarded by inappropriate techno gadgets. Further, from websites on the Internet that should require age-proof-identification. As I have written before there are no check and balances for determining the ages of the individual attempting to access Facebook and other social networking websites. There simply is not enough being required by the government of these organizations to take one more step to protect the next generation.

Lawrence W. Daly
Puyallup, WA

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