When my son was about six and we were just beginning to figure out if he should be allowed to go on the Internet past the Disney Channel, we had an incident.
We went to NYC for a weekend and he was cranky and a bit nuts all weekend, crying at odd moments, and just all around behaving like a pain in the butt.
He was burdened with something but for the life of me I couldn't get him to discuss it.
By Sunday night the secret was too much to bear, and he confessed that he'd gone to a web site (a very benign one) and a picture had popped up of a woman fully clothed and he clicked on it. He was sent to a porno site where naked women did things with naked men, that I didn't ask him to describe. The visible shudder and more tears were enough.
He was so upset that when I was trying to get him to explain what he saw, I asked about farm animals, men with men, and finally it became clear it was at least heterosexual in nature, and not terribly kinky. But for a little boy, who had broken a cardinal use of parental permitted Internet usage, it was a solid teachable moment.
Control Internet Viewing - He's Almost 16, Really?
My son is almost 16 and controlling what he sees on the Internet is a long gone thing. Has he ever looked at porn? Probably. Does he watch it regularly? I don't think so.
A new study in USA Today reported from the American Psychological Association's annual meeting this month in DC, may explain why. Michele Ybarra, president and research director of the nonprofit research organization called Internet Solutions for Kids, based in San Clemente, CA, said that many adult assumptions about what kids see in terms of sexual content on the Internet are just plain wrong.
While parents believe that kids growing up with technology are exposed to a lot of sexual content online, Obarra says the truth is that young people are much more likely to be exposed to sexual material through television and music than they are through websites and video games.
Her research suggests that exposure to sexual material is highest with TV, at 75%, followed by music, at 69%. The Internet is the least common way kids are exposed to sexual material, at 16% to 25%.
Ybarra presented data from a yet unpublished study, which will appear in the journal Pediatrics and was begun in 2006. It includes data from 1,588 kids who were ages 10-15 when the online survey began. The aim is to identify the associations between violence in new media and seriously violent behavior.
To read more about the study go to http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/story/2011/08/Kids-see-more-sex-on-TV-than-online-research-suggests/49843626/1