Parents, Are Your Kids Drowning on the Internet? 6 Habits and Skills to Keep Them Safe Online

by Aug 13, 2015Tech Solutions

No caring parent would allow their child to jump into a pool without first making sure they knew how to swim. But every day children are allowed onto the internet without learning the skills they need to keep afloat (and away from the sharks). Kids can learn how to stay safe if we are willing to teach them when they need it most–as young children before they get enticed by pornography.

Passing My Dad’s Swimming Test

When I was seven, my dad moved to a tiny town in Indiana where he had a 5 acre lot and a small lake in the middle of it. At the sandy beach below our house, my dad roped off a shallow area of water where we were allowed to play without wearing life jackets. If we went out to the diving raft, we had to wear a life jacket. If we rowed out in the rowboat, we had to wear a life jacket

That is, until we passed his swimming test.

Kristen Suzanne Indiana

My sister and I with our lake in the background.

 

Oh, I remember that day well. We all swam out to the white wooden raft (my younger sister and I paddling slowly in our bright orange vests) and Dad gave the orders. We were required to climb up the ladder to the platform, dive in, and swim to shore. It took me a while to get up the nerve to jump in, but with a little coaxing from dear ole dad, I jumped, did a belly flop (ouch!) and then started dog-paddling like crazy.

Meanwhile, my younger sister dove in, swam underwater like a fish, and beat me to shore. Ugh!

Guys (and Girls) Need Skills!

Swimming didn’t come naturally to me, but now I’m a strong swimmer. What changed? I took a class in college where I was taught and practiced the basic strokes. A few decades later I even earned my Red Cross Lifeguard Certification. Now I swim 20 laps three times a week.

Me with my goggles--I love to swim!

Me with my goggles–I love to swim!

I went from dog paddling to swimming laps (and loving it) because I learned skills. What a difference a little learning can make!

OK, so what does this have to do with keeping kids safe from internet pornography?

  1. As much as possible, keep young kids safe and “roped in” when they have access to the internet. Filters, Google SafeSearch, and YouTube Kids app are helpful.
  2. Teach kids NEVER to type in a web address they are unfamiliar with; instead ALWAYS do a search for what they are looking for—this is a safe habit all kids should practice. (My young daughter was first exposed to a porn site when she innocently typed in girls.com.)
  3. Make sure your kids know WHY you have the ropes in place. “The internet is fun and useful, but just like the ocean, there are some dangers we all need to be protected from.”
  4. Teach them HOW TO RESPOND if another child wants to show them something on a mobile device. At a minimum, they should always ask, “What are you going to show me?” I hear of too many stories of 6-year-old kids with smart phones exposing their friends to pornography. It’s happening more often than most parents know.
  5. Teach your kids the skills they need to stay safe. These include learning to recognize and label pornography when they see it and knowing how to deal with the very strong memories it creates.
  6. Check up on your kids and “test” them. As a part of a daily conversation, ask them about what they’ve seen on the internet at school or at a friend’s home. And when you do allow them to use a mobile device, make sure they pass your test and are ready.

I love the water. I can enjoy it because I learned the skills of swimming and water safety. Likewise, your kids can learn the skills they need to protect themselves so they can enjoy the amazing benefits of our online world.

Get Your FREE Quick Start Guide Now!

If the thought of talking to your child about the topic of pornography seems scary or awkward, don’t worry! Protect Young Minds is here to help you every step of the way. If you are new to our website, download our FREE Quick-Start Guide for Proactive Parents.

Get answers to these important questions:

  • Why are so many good kids getting pulled into pornography?
  • How can parents get more comfortable talking to their kids?
  • What are the benefits to tackling this subject early?
  • What EXACTLY do your kids need to know to stay safe from pornography in every situation?

Learn all this and more in The Quick Start Guide for Proactive Parents. Get your FREE copy by clicking on the image below:

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

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