11.16.2013

Setting filters on tablets, PC's, and phones

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Time to revisit the parental controls on Google search and youtube filters.

As many of you know, I provide counseling for children. One of the issues I often hear is the inadvertent discovery of something disturbing online. I wish computers came defaulted to the strict filter setting, but they do not. Many parents neglect this step until after the fact.
We are talking about powerful and intense imagery that is overwhelming and scary, simply more than tender gray matter can interpret; it burns itself into a young child’s mind. 

Believe it or not, children often enter therapy when they have seen something that has been traumatizing. Sometimes kids are earnestly researching a topic; and  sometimes they just sit at the keyboard plugging in random letters.  It’s a lot like fishing – exciting and mysterious. Boys are especially drawn to this type of curiosity.
Once a child stumbles onto a porn site, they may panic and try to close the window, only to find it locked up and frozen. This is by design of sexually explicit sites. And, if an image is actually downloaded, it can be impossible to delete.
 Once a powerful sexual image has been discovered online, a child may carry that experience in his mind, and suffer for months, in shame and worry, of being discovered or "caught."
These are very recent examples of innocent Google searches that have been brought to my attention: “Black Eyed Peas,” “Virginia,” and BBBH.”(This latter site shows elderly men physically engaged).
The curiosity is normal - never shame it. Please be clear...we are not talking about being anti-sex education here. In fact, I'd recommend providing age-appropriate physical/sexual ed materials for tweens and teens, to be kept in your child's room to review on his own.
These important filter settings/changes will need to be done on your Ipads, tablets, PC’s and phones.
Make a special point of setting both:
*google search filter 
*youtube search filter