Protecting Children from Distressed Material on the Web

Our ten-year-old is increasingly using our computers, including sometimes going on the Web.* We are aware that there is an enormous amount of distressed material on the Web and that the inadvertent viewing of it could be hurtful to a young person. We want to protect him as best we can. We are not sure that parental controls are effective or sufficient. In particular, we don’t want to impose restrictions that communicate mistrust of him and his mind. I would love to hear any thoughts, experiences, and successes you have had in this whole area.

Michael Saxe-Taller
Berkeley, California, USA

Hi Michael,

In my household we have a system that blocks computer games and almost every site that might involve nudity, violence, or pornography. I think parents are well advised to put this kind of control on their computers, and to require that parents of other children, whose homes their child visits, do the same.

I don’t think it’s a matter of mistrusting your child’s thinking. It’s a matter of keeping him safe from damaging material that he encounters by accident or because of his own curiosity. It’s good housekeeping. It’s proper treatment of a toxic substance. It’s a straightforward safety measure. These sites are designed to create an addiction. They are also set up to be difficult to exit from once a child has stumbled in.

The later in life that your child is exposed to the distressed material on the Internet, the better chance he has of shaking off (literally) the damage these sites are designed to inflict.

Patty Wipfler
Former International Liberation
Reference Person for Parents
Palo Alto, California, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of parents

*The “Web” is the Internet.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00