Institute for Public Policy Research have revealed that it is typical to view pornography from the age of 13 and that parents must be aware of the increasing risk to their children.

There’s nothing new about the corrupting influence of pornography, especially on adolescent boys, who are discovering their own sexuality and forming their perceptions of, and attitudes to, sex. However, the Internet has made pornography more easily accessible.

The issue of accessible pornography should also be seen within the overall context of society.  It's impossible, even without switching on a computer, to avoid being bombarded with stereotypical images of women – on magazine covers, on street billboards, etc. 

Technology can certainly help parents to filter out pornographic (and other objectionable) content from computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, but it’s essential that the backdrop to this is an ongoing dialogue between parents and children about online safety and responsibility in its widest sense.

We have a top tips list to keep your children safe on the Internet, whether it’s protecting them from pornography, cyberbullying or general inappropriate content:

1. Talk to them about the potential dangers.

2. Encourage them to talk to you about their online experience and, in particular, anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Protecting children from cyberbullies is especially challenging with smartphones as they can be targeted in so many ways, especially out of view of their parents. Deal with cyberbullying as you would in real life by encouraging children to be open and talk to a trusted adult if they experience any threatening or inappropriate messages. Numbers and contacts on apps can both be blocked if they are making children uncomfortable.

3. Set clear ground-rules about what they can and can't do online and explain why you have put them in place. You should review these as your child gets older.

4. Use parental control software to establish the framework for what's acceptable - how much time (and when) they can spend online, what content should be blocked, what types of activity should be blocked (chat rooms, forums, etc.). Parental control filters can be configured for different computer profiles, allowing you to customise the filters for different children.

5. Don't forget to make use of settings provided by your ISP, device manufacturer and mobile phone network provider, e.g. most phones allow you to prevent in-app purchases, so you can avoid them running up hefty bills when they play games.

6. Protect the computer using Internet security software.

7. Don't forget their smartphone - these are sophisticated computers, not just phones. Most smartphones come with parental controls and security software providers may offer apps to filter out inappropriate content, senders of nuisance SMS messages, etc.

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