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If you’re looking for filtration software recommendations, you’re in the right place.
For every issue today, it seems like there’s a quick fix. Unfortunately, something that has recently been found to be more of a “quick fix” than previously thought are parental controls and other filtering tools to prevent explicit content from being viewed on electronic devices used by children and teens.
Like duct tape to fix a leaky air mattress, filtering tools can work for a time, but a study by the Oxford Internet Institute has found these tools to be generally ineffective in preventing teenagers from viewing pornography. Even so, the study also found that in order for filtering tools to be effective, anywhere from 17-77% of households would need to have them, and that 99.5% of the time, whether or not a teen encountered sexual material on the internet was dependent on factors other than parental control tools put on devices.
Related: For Parents: How To Update “The Talks” With Your Kids To Include Porn
Before we talk about specific resources, we want to emphasize that it’s clear filtration is not a complete and perfect solution by itself. Even the best protection can be bypassed, and porn is very, very accessible. The most important thing any caregiver can do is to make sure your children are educated about the harms of pornography in a supportive and shame-free way and they know they can talk to you if something comes up that isn’t appropriate.
If an adolescent is already involved with porn, then it’s important to help ensure they have access to what they need for continued education about how it can harm and recovery resources, if necessary.
We recommend watching our three-part documentary, Brain, Heart, World, for free to open up family-led conversations, and we recommend our affiliates at Fortify for anything related to recovery from a porn struggle.
The need for filters and conversation
Think about talking with your kids about porn earlier than you might have initially thought. Whether they’re teenagers or elementary schoolers, there are ways to discuss internet porn in age-appropriate ways.
Every day, we get dozens of messages from people all over the world who are looking to navigate successful conversations about porn with their parents, children, partner, friends, or strangers. This is why we’ve created an interactive, step-by-step conversation guide website, Let’s Talk About Porn. If you’re a Fighter, you need to check this out!Conversation Guide
Talking about porn in conjunction with filtering solutions is a smart way to confront porn as a family. Many experts say that internet filters are still good tools when they are used in a mixed-methods approach, rather than as the first line of defense alone.
Combining an internet filter with open communication about pornography and technology, as well as other preventative measures, can help ensure that a child will be prepared when they run into hardcore sites on their device.
Remember: even if your internet is filtered, this absolutely will not stop a child from encountering porn in public places, through friends and peers, or some other way. It’s not an “if,” it’s a “when.” But—there is hope, and help. Now more than ever, parents can prepare and prep them for what to do when they see something.
Fight the New Drug affiliate resources: Bark & Fortify
In an ideal situation, a child would feel free to tell their parents about what they heard on the playground or found on the computer by accident. Often, they can be too scared to say anything, and the issue won’t be brought up.
We think it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about what porn is before they see it for the first time, and keep the conversation open, shame-free, honest, and loving. Instilling a total fear of porn in a young child may work for a short while, but it’s not a long-term help to keeping the lines of communication open.
Related: 20 Mind-Blowing Stats About The Porn Industry And Its Underage Consumers
If kids feel their parents are open to listening to their struggles or questions, they’ll be more likely to approach the subject whenever it comes up instead of hiding their curiosity and searching for it on their own.
And to help curious minds from looking for answers in unhealthy places, Fight the New Drug recommends tech-based solutions for anyone who needs help with web monitoring.
More specifically, this is why we highly recommend checking out our affiliates at Bark—an easy-to-use, smart tool that parents can use to filter and help protect their children online. Bark uses filters and a highly advanced algorithm to block inappropriate content and also alert parents when it detects porn site visitation as well as potential threats or signs of danger or risky behavior, such as:
Bark is a common-sense tool that can greatly help a parent’s efforts to protect their children online—including from self-harm or unhealthy internet habits. Learn more about this software, here.
Parents trust Bark because it uses advanced technologies to filter content and alert them to potential online dangers without them reading through all of their child’s online activities, preserving their valuable time (and sanity).
Kids like Bark because they are free to continue their daily digital lives without their parents constantly peering over their shoulders.Sign Up for Bark
As an added perk, FTND Fighters get a free 30-day trial with Bark if they click through this link and sign up by clicking here.
And for anyone who has already encountered porn and developed a struggle with it, again, we recommend our affiliates at Fortify who offer a free recovery resource for anyone struggling as well as subscription-based resources like coaching and mental health help.
Other filtration resources
For caregivers looking for other options for filtration software, their needs will be unique to their families, lifestyles, and situations. This is why resources need to fit the specific needs of whoever is seeking them. Both Bark and Fortify are affiliates of Fight the New Drug, but there are other filtering options out there for anyone needing something different.
Here are a few more options to consider.
Disclaimer: Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization hoping to provide access to resources that are helpful to those who need support. Some of the following resources are age-specific, others are religiously-affiliated, others use a variety of approaches. Including this list of recommendations does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug. This is not an exhaustive list of other available resources.
Additionally, this is a list of educational resources for parents and caregivers. Some of these resources may lead you to additional filtration software:
The time to act is now
Though it may seem scary to talk about a topic as intense as pornography with teens and children, there are resources in place to help and your kids will be much better off because of it.
Check out our free conversation guide resource called “Let’s Talk About Porn” to help with navigating these tough but important conversations. Also, don’t forget to watch our three-part documentary series for free!
Being informed and then informing your children about pornography and its negative effects can be some of the best ways to help them navigate the internet and avoid porn. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on a filter to do that job for you, but you can be a constant, trusted resource that your kids will feel safe with and rely on for times to come.