How Early Are Children Watching Pornography Online? [POLL/AUDIO]
It's no secret that children are able to access all kinds of things much earlier than they used to, but a new study by Bitdefender finds that many start watching pornography by the age of 6 and begin flirting online by the age of 8.
"It's super early, it's inappropriate, it's damaging for children when it comes to their current level of functioning and their future and their ability to establish appropriate sexually intimate relationships with others. There's a good reason this stuff is against the law. It's incredibly inappropriate for kids," said Dr. Steven Tobias, Director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown. "The problem is they have the technological savvy to find this stuff. Sometimes they find it accidentally, sometimes their peers tell them about a site or about how to do something and there's a natural curiosity that kids have."
The problem is, when children access some of these sites too early, they don't know how to deal with some of the feelings that such material can elicit.
What Should Parents Do?
"Parents need to not be naive and think that 'it's not my kid' or 'my kid doesn't have access' or 'I can trust my child, I have parental controls' because even if you have a technological Fort Knox at your house, your child's friend's parents don't. So, it's going to be out there and accessible one way or another," said Dr. Tobias.
"Parents have to monitor what's going on both inside their own home and outside the home as well."
Keep the lines of communication open. That way, if a child is exposed, he or she can come to their parent and feel comfortable talking about it.