While the Internet has many advantages it also comes with dangers, especially for children who could be exposed to or groomed for child pornography, another form of gender-based violence.
Child pornography is a form of child sexual exploitation. It occurs when a person or company uses a child to make pornographic material for a reward or money.
Pornography is harmful for children to watch because it stimulates a sexual interest that may not be appropriate for their age, stage and level of development. It may also influence and shape their sexual orientation and activity.
Sometimes adults and older children, who have a sexual interest in children, expose children to pornography on purpose so that the child becomes interested in sexual activities. They also sometimes develop a relationship with the child’s parents, to gain access to the child, or contact children via the Internet.
This is often the start of the grooming process and the child may be drawn into a relationship that becomes abusive.
Parents, take note
To keep children safe, parents should discuss responsible Internet use with them. Parents should also:
- place the computer in a room shared by all family members.
- install an Internet filter which blocks harmful websites.
- set clear rules.
- discuss the consequences of visiting ‘off limits’ websites.
- develop your own internet skills and monitor the websites that your child visits.
- tell children that they should never give anyone they meet on the internet their personal details.
- tell children they should never agree to meet anyone they meet on the internet without your permission.
If you find your child watching pornography:
- remain calm.
- talk openly with your child about your concerns.
- explain why watching pornography is potentially harmful.
- where images of child pornography are involved, explain the process and impact of child abuse. make it clear that children are abused in the making of child pornography.
If you are concerned about your sexual interests and believe you could harm children sexually, call the toll-free Childline Crisis Line at 08000 55555.
If you come across child pornography on the Internet, report it to the Childline Pornography Hotline at 0800 148 148.