The Issue of Pornography

With more than 300,000 websites pertaining to pornography and new sites uploaded daily, any parent can see that we have a growing problem.  The Internet is the cheapest, fastest way to get pornography out into an open market that is why it is considered the electronic playground.   Before the Internet pornography was found in magazines behind the store counters, on movie channels, and was found in movies.  Take a look at your favorite television show and see how many times a sexual situation comes up.  The "sexual revolution" as some call it has taken off with the Internet.  For example, try typing in and see what pops up definitely not the White House.  Students working on a history paper in school recently went to this site and found pornography instead of history.  What a surprise for the students.  This happens to more people than we think.  If you accidentally click on a porn site several other pornographic sites also show up.  In some cases these pornographic sites contain computer viruses which will attack your hard drive.

At times, legislation drafted under the guise of protecting children, includes adults which infringes on freedom of speech.  In addition to infringing on a legal adult's rights, it also impedes the on the economic gains related to the industry.  Thus, commercialism and the economy are impacted as well.  With the onset of new pornographic websites, most sites are beginning to charge their consumers.  Not only does this lead to economic gain within the industry, but it also assists in minimizing the access of children to questionable material.

What can be done:

Unfortunately, due to the First Amendment pornography websites are allowed on the Internet.  There are types of filtering programs that can be purchased or downloaded  which stop pornographic material from reaching your computer.  Monitoring all sites a person goes on and whom that person speaks to on the Internet is another way to prevent pornography from making it onto your computer.  Tips on how to protect your child from pornography are provided to us by National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families.  The include:

  1. Develop a trusting relationship with your child early
  2. Keep the door of communication open
  3. If you have reason to suspect your child is viewing inappropriate sites, do not overact - approach your son or daughter with respect
  4. Add to online profiles that you monitor your child's use of the Internet
  5. Keep your computers in heavy traffic areas in your home
  6. Know your children's online friends
  7. Use a pre-filtered Internet Service Provider (ISP) - check for help
  8. Check CD's, floppy and zip disks
  9. Check History Files often
  10. Spend time with your child as they surf the Internet
  11. Ask your child to show you what IM (Instant messaging) looks like
  12. Spend time with your child on-line, and have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations
  13. Get to know and use the "Parental Controls" provided by your Internet Service Provider and/or blocking software
  14. Always maintain access to your child's on-line account, and randomly check his or her account
  15. Teach your child about responsible use of the resources on the Internet
  16. Find out what safeguards are used at your child's school, the public library and at the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your supervision, where a child could encounter an on-line predator
  17. Instruct your child NEVER to arrange face-to-face meetings with someone they met on-line and NOT to respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or harassing
  18. Tell your child to NEVER give out identifying information such as name, address, school name or telephone number to people they don't know
  19. Explain to your child to NEVER post pictures of them on the Internet and let them know this has seriously harmed other children
  20. Teach your child to come and get you when they accessed something on the Internet that makes them feel uncomfortable, no matter what it is.
  21. Teach your child that the Internet is a good source for educational, recreational and creative searches, but has intentional landmines placed that could hurt them
Pornography is a very serious issue in which the public needs education on.  Teachers can help students and parents by being safe on the Internet whether it is at school, home, or at the library.

Annotated Websites:

The Police Notebook:  Kid Safety on the Internet
This site provides numerous ways for kids to stay safe on the Internet.  This is one of my favorite sites to use in class to teach about Internet safety.

National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families
The name says it all.  There is a lot of great information on this site on how to keep you and your child safe while surfing on the web.
This site provides information on how to keep your family safe while on the Internet.  This site should be seen by every parent who owns a computer.

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