Parent's Guide 2024:How to Keep Children Away from the Inappropriate Online Content

As parents, we all do our best to give our children the education, well-being, and safety they deserve. We all look out for what they are doing and keep a close watch on them, in this regard, even minor bumps and bruises can hurt us more than they did to our children, highlighting our instinct to protect our children at all costs. However, it's crucial to recognize that the psychological impact of harmful online content can be just as damaging to our children's well-being as the dangers of the physical world. In this regard, online threats should not be overlooked. What do you do to keep your child away from the damages online?

Imagine your child innocently navigating the vast expanse of the internet, completely unaware of the potential hazards lurking behind every click. It's no different than allowing them to wander through a labyrinth without a map, leaving them vulnerable to encountering content and individuals that pose a threat to their well-being. Indeed, the risks they may encounter online can far surpass what we might anticipate. From exposure to explicit or violent content to encounters with individuals using profane language, the virtual realm presents a myriad of dangers that can have profound and lasting effects on our children's mental, emotional, and even physical health.

So, what dangers lie beneath the surface of the online realm? What are the threats awaiting our children?

Potential Harms of Inappropriate Content

  1. Anxiety and Depression
  2. Prolonged exposure to inappropriate content can also cause disrupt cognitive functioning in youngsters, making it harder for them to focus, absorb information, and regulate their emotions effectively. Traumatic experiences or negative encounters online can leave lasting imprints on children's psychology, potentially leading to depressive symptoms later in life. These psychological ramifications may manifest as a spectrum of mental and behavioral issues, including despair, anxiety, and even violent impulses. Moreover, with extensive usage of the internet, children may internalize unrealistic standards portrayed online, leading to a sense of inferiority if they perceive themselves as falling short.

  3. Drug Usage and Smoking Addiction
  4. During the concrete operational stage (ages 7 to 11), children develop more advanced cognitive abilities, including logical thinking and understanding cause-and-effect relationships. When exposed to portrayals of drug usage or smoking in movies without proper context or guidance, they may struggle to differentiate fiction and reality, leading to internalizing these behaviors as normal or acceptable.

    Therefore, if children look up to the characters in the movies who are using drugs and smoking cigarettes, and If they are portrayed as socially acceptable characters, which is mostly the case, the children will be more likely to go down the same road and start using substances, both in adolescence and adulthood.

  5. Addictions to Inappropriate Content
  6. Children may become addicted to inappropriate content on the internet due to its widespread accessibility and the potential neurological effects of exposure. Such content can trigger reward pathways in the brain, resulting in the urge to view it or similar kinds of compulsive content again. What is surprising is that this may even lead to changes in the brain chemistry that promote addictive behaviors.

    Furthermore, repeated exposure to such content can desensitize children to its negative consequences, making them more susceptible to addiction. Statistics show a significant percentage of individuals citing pornography as a factor in their addiction.

  7. Early Sexual Activity
  8. The likelihood of sexual activity earlier in life is higher in children who are exposed to sexual content online. Early sexual experimentation was frequently normalized by media channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, etc. It presents sexual activity as carefree, unprotected, and unrestricted. Undoubtedly, this promotes sexual engagement in kids much before they're emotionally, socially, or cognitively prepared.

  9. Profanity
  10. Research conducted at Brigham Young University found that children who are exposed to profane language in movies are more likely to use it in their daily lives, moreover, they are more likely to be more aggressive toward others. Children may internalize such language by identifying themselves with the characters using profane language, who are generally portrayed as powerful, rebellious people. Individuals who are exposed to profane language, particularly when they are young, may become less sensitive to the emotional impact of words and may become confused about what defines suitable and wrong language use. This may make it harder to navigate interpersonal relationships and comprehend social norms.

  11. Violance
  12. It is a known fact that violence in movies increases the chance of suffering from anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress (PTSD) in children. Moreover, movies often present violence as the primary solution to problems, neglecting peaceful alternatives. This may result in normalizing violence, causing children to act violently and not react when they are the victim, hence, can reinforce the idea that violence is an acceptable means of resolving conflicts, perpetuating a cycle of aggression and harm.

Luckily, we may have some measures to take in order to prevent these risks to our children.

Ways to Protect Children from Inappropriate Content

  1. Set a Good Example
  2. As we all know, actions speak louder than words. Therefore, in a child’s development, healthy modeling is crucial. In this matter, you can consider not spending too much time on your mobile device or TV when near them and mind what you are watching. It's important for you to be mindful of your own technology usage habits and the content you consume since they will follow your lead. By demonstrating healthy screen habits and mindful media consumption, you can instill positive habits in your children and model responsible online behavior.

  3. Engage in Conversations with Them
  4. Setting and agreeing on ground rules before allowing children to watch something or surf online is essential. If you come across inappropriate content while you're watching a movie together, take the opportunity to explain why such content is inappropriate and mention the possible outcomes associated with it.

    For example, you might say: “Kids, let's stop watching since the fighting scene in this movie may not be fitted for your age. And beware, occasionally people fight or dispute, but using hurtful or cruel methods to resolve conflicts is never acceptable. Even in our moments of rage, it's crucial to treat others with kindness and respect. We might feel alone if we treat people badly because they might decide not to be our friends anymore. Besides, bullying and arguing with others can lead to more serious issues as we grow older, such as getting into trouble or injuring ourselves."

  5. Implement Restrictions On Device Usage
  6. It may seem unconventional, but as parents, we often find ourselves facing limited options and little control over the vast world of online content. However, by setting limits on your children's screen time, you can encourage them to focus on activities they're truly interested in and reducing the chances of aimless scrolling or binge-watching.

  7. Stay Engaged with Your Children During Their Screen Time
  8. By being nearby, you can actively monitor their online activities, identify potential threats, and intervene before any issues escalate. This hands-on approach allows you to stay connected with your children's digital experiences and ensure their safety in real time. Even if you're not physically present with them, checking which websites they have visited during their screen time will also be useful. This way, you can plan your approach and take your next action according to it.

  9. Download MuviSafe
  10. MuviSafe uses artificial intelligence to detect any potentially harmful content (such as sexuality, substance use, violence, profanity, LGBT, profane language, etc.) that our children may be viewing and removes them from movies and videos. Through an extension, it removes unwanted and inappropriate content from any movie and video streaming platform with its robust artificial intelligence system, leaving you to enjoy your family movie nights with peace of mind.

In Conclusion

So, as parents, we all are concerned about how to protect our children from inappropriate content online, how to censor what they watch, and keep them away from the harms of adult content they may view on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, etc. Luckily, MuviSafe has our back, allowing us to control what they view and putting our worries to rest. If you are also concerned about the harmful content out there, don't hesitate to take action now.