You may be wondering about the risks of your child being exposed to inappropriate content. Or perhaps they shouldn’t be exposed to certain things at a younger age.
Here we are going to discuss the effects inappropriate content can have on your child and the consequences. Also, why they shouldn’t watch inappropriate content, and how to establish some guidelines for your child.
How Can Inappropriate Content Affect Children?
Anyone can be affected by disturbing content. As an adult, I have seen some things that have rocked me to my core. If exposure to these things can affect you as an adult, what kind of effects could it have on your child?
The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) gives us some information about what kind of effects can take place. Violent content can cause your child to become scared, feel unsafe in the world, and even make them very anxious.
In the online world, they can be exposed to cyberbullying and hateful content. They can also be exposed to fake news or hoaxes. Some things also promote self-harm or suicide.
Inappropriate content can cause mental health issues, give them nightmares, and even change their behavior.
Consequences of Exposure to Inappropriate Content
Research shows that exposure to sexually explicit material could potentially have the following consequences for your child.
- Sexualize a child prematurely.
- Make a child want to experiment with the behavior to understand it.
- Make a child desensitized to risky behavior.
- Change and shape their expectations in relationships.
- Increase a child’s risk of victimization.
- Cause issues in healthy sexual development.
- The risks of STDs and STI’s could also be increased.
- Pose a risk to other children if the child tries to experiment with them.
This type of content can also have effects on tweens and teens. According to Protect Kids Online.CA, it can pose the following risks.
- Porn can create certain expectations, beliefs, and attitudes about what to actually expect in sexual interaction.
- It can make sexual violence look okay. Or that no actually means yes.
- It enforces stereotypes like guys saying what gets to happen and the women are for mere sexual entertainment.
- It can also make people more like objects to be used.
What Can We Do if Our Child is Exposed to Inappropriate Content?
Most children with online access will at some point be exposed to some type of inappropriate content. Experts agree that the following list is a proper way to handle the situation.
- Be calm.
- Whether your child was accidentally exposed to something inappropriate or was purposely seeking information about it, there can be a wide range of emotions. How you deal with the situation will shape their view of whatever it is, and it is your choice if this is negative or positive.
- Put yourself in their shoes.
- Seeing inappropriate things can have various effects on different children. They could also feel embarrassed by this. You don’t want to make the situation worse.
- When you are calm, discuss it with them and listen to them.
- As their parent, you need to support them. When they are exposed to explicit content, ignoring the situation will not bode well. Let them know you are there for them.
- Talk about what actions should be taken.
- These actions should be geared toward their safety. Being supportive is the best approach. If you handle it negatively, your child will be less likely to talk with you the next time.
- Keep talking about it.
- Not immediately of course, but the continuing support and regularly checking in is beneficial for your child.
- Review the actions taken.
- Decide if the actions you took have been helpful for your child.
We all want to ensure our child’s safety. Although we cannot control everything, we can support them with any difficulties that arise from being exposed to inappropriate content. Having an honest conversation with your child without shaming them can help.
Being supportive will help you and your child’s relationship and they will be more likely to come to you with issues in the future.