For every issue today, it seems like there’s a quick fix. Whether it’s ordering food from Grubhub when you don’t have time to make dinner, or using mass amounts of duct tape to repair just about anything, there are many convenient ways to solve issues even if it’s only temporarily.

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, filtering tools can work for a time, but a new study by the Oxford Internet Institute has found these tools to be generally ineffective in preventing teenagers from viewing pornography.

But never fear—there are even better solutions than filtering software. Let’s dive in.

Evolving technology in this evolving fight

Technology changes quickly, and it seems to be impossible for these different filtering tools to keep up with the changes.

The study 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

Considering data says about 1 in 10 visitors of hardcore pornography sites are under ten years old, this is real cause for concern. So if internet filtering tools are proving to be ineffective, what should parents do to prevent kids and teens from coming across porn?

As to be expected, none of our answers are quick fixes, but rely on continued research, communication, and investment. Here’s a short list we compiled to guide a parent through preventing their children from encountering explicit content on their devices.

1. Open, ongoing, honest conversations.

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.

For younger ones, consider children’s books on the topic, such as Good Pictures Bad Pictures, authored by Kristen A. Jenson and Gail Poyner. A junior version is also available for younger children.

2. Be informed and have a plan.

One of the biggest ways to help prevent your kids from stumbling across porn or going to look for it intentionally can be to have information ready on the many negative effects of pornography. Be prepared to have these conversations, when the time comes. If your child encounters explicit material either accidentally or on purpose, it helps to have a plan and appropriate resources for talking them through the incident.

3. Make “screen time” as safe as possible.

Consider keeping computers and other screens in places that are open, rather than in private and behind closed doors, and make sure to keep up on checking browser history. Likewise, consider proofing any games or apps being downloaded beforehand.

So does this mean I should get rid of my internet filter?

Absolutely not! Many experts say that internet filters are still good tools when they are used in a mixed-methods approach, rather than as a first line of defense. 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 them 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 them and prep them for what to do when they see something.

Related: Help! My Ex Lets Our 12-Year-Old Son Look At Porn To Learn About Sex

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 downloadable parent resource called “The Guideline” to help with navigating these tough but important conversations.

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.

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There’s no replacement for honest, open, and ongoing conversations. SHARE this post to remind other parents that there are resources better than filters out there!

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