Why Are 6-Year-Old Kids Watching Internet Porn?

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    As a parent, I was surprised – and saddened — to learn that kids start watching porn as early as six years old and begin flirting on the Internet at age eight.

    According to a survey of more than 19,000 parents worldwide, more kids are accessing instant messaging and computer games than ever before and porn is readily accessible for viewing.

    Very troubling.

    It’s a societal problem for sure, but it’s also a parental problem. There should be more parental oversight. Six-year-old children should not have access to computers to view porn. A six-year-old can’t drive to a store to buy the computer, or call a company to set up Wi-Fi in the home, so an adult has already set up the system for the child to misuse.

    At the extreme, 3.45 percent of kids covered in the analysis used instant messaging to chat with friends while 2 percent of computer game addicts were just five years old.

    The study results were released exclusively to CyberTruth by Bitdefender. The Bucharest-based antivirus vendor correlated results of an online survey of parents with data compiled from its parental control services, such as which sites parents choose to block, and which sites children access regularly.

    So I’m left to wonder if parents – which includes me – are giving our children too much technology freedom? Perhaps we need to scale back on buying our kids the latest computers, high-tech gadgets and unlimited access to the Internet.

    Maybe we need to go old school for the benefit of our kids and make them spend more time reading books rather than playing video games.

    Almost a quarter of the kids accounted for in the study had at least one social network account at age 12, while 17 percent were social media users at 10.

    Bitdefender found that children lie about their age when creating social network profiles, especially on Facebook, where they are supposed to be least 13.

    “Kids nowadays are acting like young adults online. Just give them an Internet-connected device, and they will find a way to things parents would like to ban forever,” says Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi.

    The survey also found that gaming, hacking and so-called “hate” websites, where youngsters are free to use profanity and express disdain, are hot destinations for kids and teens.

    “Kids lie about their age to get access to something they want to explore, in this case, a social network,” says Jo Webber, CEO of Virtual Piggy, a website that enables kids to manage and spend money within a parent-controlled environment. “It’s no different than my generation lying about age to get cigarettes or into a bar.”

    Webber said this new generation of children was born into an Internet-centric society.

    “The Internet is a huge system that houses good and bad,” Webber said. “Parents need to stay involved with their children and be ready to explain things that their children may stumble upon.”

    Webber is right. But I’ll go one step further: Parents should also take measures to prevent their kids from “stumbling” onto porn – especially in their own homes.

    [Editor's note: Views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Atlanta Daily World]

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