When we speak with parents at our talks to parents associations or at our parent crash courses, exposure to inappropriate content often features in the top three concerns regarding their children spending time online. Yet, when we visit schools, this is often the least explored topic, with many children unsure of what the problem with exposure to inappropriate content really is. Many do not understand why seeing photos of their favourite celebrity scantily clad or playing a gory and violent video game may not be what is best for them.
For many parents, this is a topic that can be incredibly difficult to get to grips with. It can be particularly daunting, given the wide range and masses of content at your child’s fingertips when they are online. This piece will break it down for you – from what inappropriate content actually means, to how to easily and effectively manage this risk within your home.
Inappropriate content is often used as an umbrella term to cover a range of topics deemed unsuitable for children. But there is no short answer when it comes to what constitutes inappropriate content, as it depends on the parent, as well as the maturity and age of the child in question.
At Zeeko we would consider the list below to be inappropriate content for most parents and children:
- pornographic material or content depicting nudity
- content containing swearing, inappropriate or offensive language
- content promoting alcohol and drugs
- sites that incite or encourage inappropriate or harmful behaviour such as vandalism, crime, terrorism, racism, eating disorders and even suicide
- pictures, videos or games which contain or promote violence or cruelty to other people or animals
- gambling sites
- unmoderated chatrooms (no one monitoring the conversation, language used or content shared)
This issue for many parents is that there are so many ways (both accidental and intentional) that your child can end up viewing inappropriate content.
Parents have told us that they find the following tips helpful when dealing with inappropriate content:
- Conversation is the key when it comes to inappropriate content – speak to your child early on about the types of inappropriate content that they may come across and explain why it is inappropriate
- Empower your child to recognise potential threats when it comes to inappropriate content
- Equip your child with specific steps to take if they come across inappropriate content (e.g. flip the iPad over face down and speak with their parent about what they have seen)
- Do not openly panic, regardless of what your child tells you – this will cause them to panic, to retreat into themselves or to internalise the topic they were broaching is a taboo subject that should not be discussed
Our Zeeko Internet Safety Guide offers more comprehensive advice and a more detailed exploration of inappropriate content. You can purchase a copy of the Guide here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zeeko/zeeko-internet-safety-guide
If you would like to know more about our work at Zeeko keep an eye on our social media channels.