Increased tech usage has an enormous impact on our lives. Productive tech usage can stimulate and improve our little ones’ personalities and characters. But tech overuse can be a reason for our kids to face inappropriate content.
But what is inappropriate content exactly? Any material or content on the Internet that contains violence, nudity, aggression, or discrimination is considered inappropriate content for children.
Kids are often curious, so it’s normal for them to look up inappropriate things online. In this article, we’ll go over the risks of exposure to inappropriate content and the ways to ensure your children’s online safety.
The Risks of Exposure to Inappropriate Content
Statistics show that about 54% of children get exposed to explicit content before the age of 13! Inappropriate content can affect our kids’ behavior in two different ways:
- They copy and imitate the content;
- As a result of the inappropriate content, they develop fear, stress, anxiety, and such;
When children are exposed to inappropriate content at a young age, their mind isn’t capable of fully comprehending the content.
So, as a reaction to the seen content, your child may develop panic attacks, fear, addiction, depression, and such.
Furthermore, exposure to this type of content can cause behavioral changes in your child. Your child may start imitating that content and start showing aggressive and violent behavior.
Last but not least, exposure to inappropriate content can lead to addiction. Addiction can later on cause physical problems such as obesity, vision and posture problems, and immunity problems.
Parental and Caregiver’s Role in Children’s Online Presence
You can be your child’s most significant help. In a modern world, where children spend most of their time on the Internet, it’s crucial to supervise your children’s online presence.
But how can you monitor your children’s online presence? Of course, you can do this by manually checking your children’s devices, but a better way is to use parental control software like Qustodio, Google Family Link, mSpy, Norton Family, etc.
Maybe a bigger problem is how to talk to your child about inappropriate content. Well, try creating healthy and honest communication with your child from a young age. Let your children know that whenever they’re confused about something they’ve seen online, they should come to you.
And if you see that your children aren’t telling you that they’ve come across inappropriate content, you should politely talk to them about the topic.
Educating Children on Online Safety
Children should know about online safety, and we should be the ones that educate them. You can’t give your children a phone if they don’t know the digital safety rules.
So, let’s suppose you give your child a phone at the age of 6. You can’t let your child use it until you’ve taught him/her how to use it safely.
Firstly, you should teach your child what content he/she should avoid. This includes violence, nudity, hate speech, etc. For example, you can teach your children how to distinguish inappropriate from normal content by using flashcards with thumbnails of different YouTube videos.
The next step is to teach your child how to report this type of content. Show your child the blessings that are the block and report buttons on every platform.
Last but not least, agree with your child that you both will use these tips and filter out any inappropriate content online. This can encourage and motivate your child to develop a healthy online presence.
Legal Implications of Exposure to Inappropriate Content
Exposure of children to inappropriate content, and also the participation of children in the creation of this content are strictly covered by the law.
For example, statistics show that more and more countries introduce laws banning child pornography and online exploitation. Also, every social media platform has strict guidelines and policies against this type of content.
But for laws to work, people should report those that break these laws. You must teach your children to report any online user that spreads this type of content. There may be more serious cases where your children come across serious crimes like murder and child pornography. This content should be reported to the local authorities.
Not reporting this type of content can only help in spreading it. So, report inappropriate content to make it an extinct species on the Internet.
The Role of Schools and Communities
You are not alone in the fight against inappropriate content. Know that schools and local communities are very much interested in this matter.
So, try talking to the parents in your child’s class, and also reach out to the teachers and school board to organize interactive presentations about recognizing and reporting inappropriate behavior.
You can only prevent your child from facing the consequences of inappropriate content, but schools can help many children avoid this type of content.
Another great way to spread awareness about inappropriate content is by organizing community events with your neighbors.
You can gather together and teach your children about online safety. Educate children that although it is normal to be curious, this content must be avoided.
The Internet is a vast library filled with different types of content. A lot of this content is inappropriate and unsuitable for children. But children are curious and often look up inappropriate things online.
So, we as parents, must take a friendly and polite approach on this matter, make sure our children believe us, and educate them about the risks of looking up inappropriate things online.
If you want to monitor your child’s online presence you can use parental control apps and fish out inappropriate content. You can even take part in or organize community and school events that raise awareness of the risks of inappropriate content.
After all, our children’s online safety is really important in this modern digital world.
What is considered inappropriate content for children?
Anything that contains nudity, violence, discrimination, and aggression is considered inappropriate content for children.
What are the signs that a child has been exposed to inappropriate content?
Your children might avoid using tech (even though limiting screen time is good), isolate themselves, and show signs of anxiety and depression. Some children might imitate the content and start growing aggressive or violent attitudes
Can exposure to inappropriate content have long-term effects on children’s behavior and attitudes?
Yes, it can, especially if you don’t act quickly and block this content from your child’s device.
What are the legal consequences of failing to report illegal activities involving children?
The maximum penalty can be up to 2 years in prison unless the judge rules out that you have a valid reason for not sharing that information.