While people are increasingly becoming addicted to the internet – and not just the younger generations, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to protect your loved ones from inappropriate or harming content.
Every second 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography [enough.org]
Take the example of Maria. She was so excited to get a smartphone and her mother wanted to ensure that she could contact her 10-year-old during an emergency.
Soon after receiving one, Maria signed up for a horoscope texting service that all her friends liked. However, one day she received a text from an unknown number that had a naked male picture attached to it.
Uncomfortable, she told her mom and her horrified mother immediately got to contacting the service provider to find out who could have obtained her daughters number. The carrier let them know that the number was likely phished from a horoscope subscription.
Now, Maria’s mother uses an internet filter to protect her daughter with the parental controls available.
Internet filtering and proper use of parental guidance tools wold have prevented this experience from happening.
71% of teens admit to blocking parents with social media privacy settings, using private browsing, disabling parental controls, or having e-mail or social media accounts unknown to parents). TruResearch (2012) Covenent Eyes 2015 Pornography Statistics.
Another example comes from James who is a seventeen year old teenager. He loves adding friends on Facebook and him and his real-life d=friends have competitions to see who has the most friends. To beat them, he decided to start adding people he didn’t know. What James didn’t realise was that he had made his phone number and address public on Facebook, thinking it would be easy for people he knew to get ahold of him. When he started receiving unnerving texts and letters to his house, he started worrying.
Telling his parents, they immediately tried to discover the source but could not figure out how the information was accessed until they hired a professional.
58% of teens don’t think posting photos or other personal info on social networking sites is unsafe. [National teen Internet survey was funded by Cox Communications in partnership with NCMEC and John Walsh and was conducted in March 2007 among 1,070 teens age 13 to 17. The research was conducted online by TRU].
93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to Internet porn before the age of 18 [The Nature and Dynamic of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth by Chiara Sabina, Janis Wolak, and David Finkelhor from Cyber Psychology and Behavior, 2008]
1 in 5 Mobile searches are for Porn. (Covenant Eyes, Porn Stats Annual Report 2015).
Our last example is about Jessica. Jessica had finally found a boy, Joshua, who really liked her and after weeks of texting and flirting, they wanted to get “more serious” by Joshua’s suggestion of sending “private pictures” to one another. Jessica had seen a lot of these images online already by accident and thought that everyone did it.
Jessica had no idea that Joshua was sharing them with his friends, one of whom accidentally uploaded a picture of Jessica onto a well-known website. Most of the school saw it and who knows who else before they could remove the picture.
If her parents had known about internet filtering, they could have monitored her usage and sites that could have been restricted would not have “encouraged” her to think it was okay.
There is a lack of clarity regarding the law around sexting: half of parents are unaware that it is illegal for a child to take a naked or sexual image of themselves and 28% do not know that it is illegal for a child to send a naked or sexual image to a peer. (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, August 2016)
Names have been changed to protect identities.