Since ‘Stay at Home’ orders have been issued, your kids are probably accumulating more than their normal amount of screen time. Child Protection League would like to help you prevent your children from accidentally encountering Internet porn and other dangerous online sites. According to Jaco Booyens, a leading expert on how children are groomed for sex trafficking, the average age young boys are first exposed to porn is 8 years old!
Internet porn is free and incredibly easy to access, even when using school issued Chromebooks and devices. It usually happens by mistake. You can read more about the porn industry tactics here: The Pornography Industry’s Aggressive Marketing Tactics, Explained.
Please talk to your kids about what to do if they accidentally stumble upon porn so they know it is safe to tell you what happened. It’s critical to establish this open line of communication with your children so you can help them make sure it doesn’t happen again and to help you address any potential lasting impact the images may have had.
Below are helpful tips and resources.
1. FILTERS: The Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires school districts to have internet filters. They generally filter out a lot of bad stuff but may not be up to your family’s standards. Home networks generally don’t have strong internet filters either. You should install trusted home filters on your home internet ASAP if you haven’t already done so. Below are some safe filter options.
- Bark Internet Safety App FAQ
- Covenant Eyes
- Review of 5 Different Filters
- Videos and Internet Safety Guide from Shared Hope International
2. SCHOOL ONLINE RESOURCES: Minnesota school districts commonly contract with eLibraryMN (ELM) either directly or through others. Minnesota legislators and some school districts have been notified about the pornographic material accessible through EBSCO eBooks and GALE resources which are contracted through ELM and paid for with our tax dollars. See CPL Investigates MN eLibrary and EBSCO webinar for details. Unfortunately, when a student logs onto these databases, they act like a VPN portal and the school network filters do NOT work. Sites with known pornographic and obscene materials:
- eLibraryMN (ELM)
3. PUBLIC LIBRARIES: Public libraries are FULL of inappropriate materials and should come with a “parental guidance” warning. The American Library Association protects its offerings of pornographic, books, online materials and research materials under the First Amendment.
4. TRACKING: School districts may be collecting and tracking all activity on a home computer when a student is logged into their school Google account. This article, Schools Reduce Children to Unprotected Data Points During COVID-19, has some additional tips on how to decrease the school’s tracking abilities, “An example you can follow for your own child’s protection is refusing to have your child’s face/photo/voice utilized or recorded through Google or ANY digital platform at the school.”
5. FREE STUFF: Many free online tools are being offered right now. It is impossible to know about every site that is “bad” and parents cannot assume that if it’s not identified as a “bad” site it automatically means it is a “good” site. Two KNOWN bad sites are BrainPop and Discovery Education. When you find pornographic and obscene material on other sites, would you please notify us at email@example.com.
6. A GOOD RESOURCE: GOOD PICTURES, BAD PICTURES: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen A. Jenson, MA and Gail Poyner, PhD is a good resource book. You can order online at our CPL Store.
Note: For more good practices concerning Internet safety, please visit our web page at Child Exploitation: Internet Safety.