How to Respond to Your Child Finding Inappropriate Content Online

How to Respond to Your Child Finding Inappropriate Content Online

On social media, anyone can publish and distribute movies, images, or thoughts. As a result, kids could witness things they don’t want to. Images, videos, texts, or posts that concern, frighten, or upset them are examples of inappropriate content. For instance, material that is intended for older children or adults, sexual or violent material, or anything that encourages your child to act in a risky way. Also, some content is forbidden. Images of youngsters that are fully or partially clothed as well as explicit sexual messages are included.

What can you do if your child stumbles across inappropriate online content?

1.  Keep your composure

If you just learned that your child has viewed objectionable stuff online, you probably feel a range of emotions. In particular, if they unintentionally viewed it, you might be scared or angry. Additionally, you can experience astonishment, rage, disbelief, guilt, or denial if they were looking for offensive stuff. These responses are common, but it’s crucial to make an effort to remain composed and encouraging for your youngster.

Give yourself time and space to calm down if your emotions are volatile before speaking to your child. For instance, discuss the incident with a family member so you have time to vent your own feelings before speaking to your child calmly.

2.  Consider your child’s emotions

Depending on the kind of content they have viewed, different children will experience different effects from seeing improper material. Some kids will be alarmed or disturbed by what they see, while others won’t be.

Some kids could be perplexed and unable to comprehend what they have seen or experienced. Some youngsters could be inquisitive and wish to learn more. They might feel frightened or distressed if someone sent them something personally.

Consider how challenging it would be for your child to discuss what happened with you. If they have found the content by accident, they may find it difficult to tell you because they feel overwhelmed or guilty. They may feel ashamed of what they have witnessed or are going through as a result of this.

3.  Decide when to speak and pay attention to what they have to say

Many parents refrain from speaking to their children out of fear of saying anything inappropriate. Find some time to consider your next words, wait for the proper opportunity, and then talk to your child about what they saw and how it made them feel.

In the initial discussion, you should:

  • Ensure them that you are there for them no matter what has occurred. Make sure kids understand that you will never hold them responsible for anything that occurs online.
  • To establish the facts, pay attention to what people say. Did they receive it from someone or did they unintentionally come upon it? Were they just inquisitive and went seeking for it?

If it was a mistake, reassure them that it was not their fault and express sympathy.

Have an open discussion about their motivations whether they looked for it or generated it.

Explain that this is not acceptable, that the sender has acted improperly, and that there are steps you may take together to report it if they received it.

Don’t give up if your youngster won’t talk to you but you’re still very concerned. Find a different approach to start the conversation or try again another time. Remind them that they have other trusted adults they may talk to.

4.  Choose your course of action together

You should decide your course of action together. Instead of punishing them for what has happened, these steps should be supportive of making them safer. You might want to stop giving your child access to the internet, but think about the consequences first. As a result, it’s very probable that your youngster won’t go to you about any future issues for fear of losing access to their online lives.

Discuss how to make themselves safer and lower the likelihood that it may happen again. Putting parental controls in place, for instance, helps weed out inappropriate content.

Try to report stuff as a group if you must. Your youngster will feel more in charge of the situation as a result of this. You can report the majority of inappropriate content to the platforms and websites. Advertising, motion pictures, television shows, and video games with sexual or violent material can often be reported to organisations in your jurisdiction.

You can notify the Internet Watch Foundation if the content contains an image of a child who is naked or partially naked. It is anonymous and confidential to report to the IWF.

You or your child might require further assistance and support. For instance, you might talk to your child’s teacher or the person in charge of safeguarding at their school if you are concerned about improper sexual behavior for their age.

Author bio: Charles Green is an ITAD Business Development Manager for Wisetek UK, a leading provider of IT Asset Disposition services such as hard drive disposal and data destruction.