What the Tech: Teens and adult content
A study by Common Sense Media found the average age of kids who see explicit content is just 12 years old.
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A new study finds a vast majority of teenagers say they’ve stumbled upon adult content online by simply visiting social media sites. Many say it was found during school hours. The study by Common Sense Media found the average age of kids who see explicit content is just 12 years old.
So how can parents protect their kids from seeing inappropriate images online? Consumer technology reporter Jamey Tucker says there are tools to help - but it isn’t easy.
If a kid is on their phone in their room, they can see pornography even if they’re not looking for it.
One of the key findings of the Common Sense study is that a vast majority of kids say they were exposed to pornographic images and videos by accident. Before you say “yeah, right” look how easy it is just using Snapchat.
They get a friend request and accept it even if they don’t know them. Within seconds of accepting this friend request for this story, I received five pornographic images and videos from the user. Fortunately for parents, there’s a way to limit this from happening.
Smartphone apps such as Bark and Aura, filter and block pornographic content. If you don’t want to pay for an app, you can try to check for it yourself.
Even if you check their phone regularly, you could easily miss it. Apps can be hidden from the home screen. How-to videos are all over TikTok.
They can also change the app icon to something else. So, if you prohibit them from using Snapchat, they can use shortcuts to disguise Snapchat as a music app. To see every app on the phone, swipe left past all of the screens and tap “app library” to see a list of every app on the phone. And look for secret lockers where kids can store photos and videos and other things they don’t want you to find. These are often disguised as calculator apps and require a secret equation to open it.
And if that isn’t sneaky enough, some secret locker apps have a super-secret locker with a different equation to open it. So, if a parent finds out about it and asks to see what’s in the locker, the kid can give them the first locker where they won’t find anything, while the other locker contains what they’re hiding from their parents.
The Common Sense Media study also included looking at how kids stumble across explicit content on computers and online gaming platforms.
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