Blocking software is effective at sheilding kids from porn

 
 

By Laura Schocker

Contributor
 

Using filtering and blocking software on at-home computers can reduce children's exposure to unwanted sexual material, according to a new study. The national survey, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center, found that the inappropriate content occurred in 43 percent of households without any filtering software.

That is compared 32 percent of children exposed to the content in home with pop-up and spam blockers and 25 percent in homes with filtering, blocking or monitoring software.

"We do think that filtering and blocking software is useful," says Dr. David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center. But because this exposure is still fairly common, especially when children tend to use other computers outside the home, he says the software alone is not enough-parents need to continue to have regular conversations with their children about online safety.

Discuss places on the Internet where that kind of material is more likely to show up, Finkelhor suggests. Then help them to come up with a plan about what they should do when they encounter things they don't want to see. Tell them to be careful of what they click on and that you're willing to discuss anything that may come up.

"Initiate conversations about what's going on," he says, adding that parents should reinforce that the children won't be blamed for finding something they deem inappropriate. "A lot of kids will be afraid that their privacy will be removed."

Ultimately, though, Finkelhor doesn't believe most children will be negatively affected by what they see online. "I'm not sure it's that much more toxic than things that you would see watching television or walking around the neighborhood or doing anything with your friends at school," he says.

So instead of focusing on the anxiety of having to totally protect children's online safety, Finkelhor says an open dialogue is key.

"I don't think anyone is going to be successful at completely shielding kids," he says. "The most important thing is that parents just have ongoing discussions with children about values and about their views and beliefs on different kinds of media."

 
 







 
 
 
Copyright 2014 Wednesday Journal Inc. All rights reserved. Chicago web development by liQuidprint