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Internet Pornography 101 – a guide for parents

Any child with unrestricted internet access is just a click away from viewing--either intentionally or accidentally--sexually explicit material online, from “adult” pornography (“soft-core”) to prosecutable content (obscenity) depicting graphic sex acts, orgies, bestiality, and rape.

The 4 Types of Pornography that can be Determined Illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Indecent material includes messages or pictures on telephone, radio, or broadcast TV that are patently offensive descriptions or depictions of sexual or excretory organs or activities. It is often referred to as “sexual nudity” and “dirty words.”

  • Material harmful to minors (HTM) represents nudity or sex that has prurient appeal for minors, is offensive and unsuitable for minors. There are “harmful to minors” laws in every state.

  • Obscenity (“hard-core pornography”) is graphic material that focuses on sex and/or sexual violence. It includes close-ups of graphic sex acts, lewd exhibition of the genitals, and deviant activities such as group sex, bestiality, torture, incest, and excretory functions

  • Child pornography (child sex abuse material or CSAM) is material that visually depicts children under the age of 18 engaged in actual or simulated sexual activity, including lewd exhibition of the genitals.

How Does Pornography Harm Kids?

  • Has a detrimental effect on children's emotional and mental wellbeing

  • Teaches "Adult Entertainment" to be acceptable, realistic, and attractive, which promotes sexual "mis-education" and is a substitute for romantic love and connection.

  • Fosters sexual aggression and contributes to sexual dysfunction

  • Desensitizes the audience and whets their thirst for more severe, violent, or deviant forms of pornography

  • Images remain permanently in their thoughts. It can result in people seeing others as objects (rating of females by appearance, obsessive fetishes over body parts, increased sexual callousness toward women)

  • Pornography addiction may develop and can delegitimize rape as a crime and can lessen the brain's prefrontal cortex's gray matter, which regulates reason, judgment, and emotion.

  • Children may be inspired or aroused to "act out" sexually towards other children as a result of what they have witnessed.

How to start the conversation with your child

It is crucial that parents talk to their kids about the dangers of pornography in an age-appropriate manner. Children will be helpless against the menace of the predatory pornography industry enticing them if they do not feel like they have a reliable adult to talk to. Be the dependable, compassionate adult they can talk to about sex since kids are inherently intrigued about it. Have you ever come upon something online that intrigued or unnerved you? Have you unintentionally viewed explicit images online? How did that come about? How did you act? How did it affect how you felt? Has any of your social circle ever viewed porn? Accidentally or on purpose? Query your kid: If your kid has been around porn, then: Don't overreact or shame the youngster; instead, talk to them so they will come to you again if it happens again. Recognize that children desire and require adult supervision. Teach your youngster about respect for themselves, the opposing sex, and healthy sexuality. Help your youngster replace false messages with ones that promote positive and safe sexual behavior. If your child is traumatized by images or you suspect a pornographic addiction has taken hold, you might need to seek professional assistance. Spend time online with your kids, and foster a trustworthy environment. Never disclose any personally identifying information (PII) with anyone, including your child's date of birth, address, full name, school, or any image that may be used to identify or locate them. Remind them not to open attachments or click on strange links in banner ads, emails, or pop-up windows.

Be on the lookout for warning signs that your child may be viewing pornography, such as: Has unusually high sexual interest for his or her age; Signs of Premature Sexual Activity; Unusual or Unexplained Credit Card Charges; Increased Pop-Ups or Inappropriate Emails on Your Computer; Computer Screen Changes Quickly When You Enter Room; or Noticable Changes in Behavior, such as Increased Secretiveness or Defensiveness.

Setting age-appropriate filters, keeping track of activity, and time management software are all crucial software tools.

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