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No Easy Solution to Protecting Kids from Internet Porn

Parents hoping for an easy solution to protecting their children from Internet pornography won’t find it, according to a recent report by the National Research Council.

Perhaps the most comprehensive study to date, “Youth, Pornography and the Internet” concluded that “protecting children from pornography on the Internet is too complex a problem for any one single approach to handle,” according to ABCNEWS.com.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Richard Thornburgh, who led the project, predicted in the preface that the report’s conclusions “will disappoint those who expect a technological ‘quick fix’ to the challenge of pornography on the Internet,” the New York Times reported.
The report pointed out that the Internet is both a “source of promise for our children and a source of concern.”
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study last year, among the 95 percent of all 15-17 year-olds who have ever gone online, 70 percent have accidentally stumbled across pornography online—23 percent “very” or “somewhat” often.
The U.S. Customs Service estimated that there are more than 100,000 Web sites offering child pornography, Red Herring magazine reported.
So there is not a quick fix for protecting kids from online pornography. But parents, educators, law enforcement agencies and the government want to know what they can do.
The NRC report indicated that the best weapon against Internet pornography is a combination of public policy, social and educational strategies, and technology.
“Public policy can go far beyond the creation of statutory punishment for violating some approved canon of behavior to include shaping the Internet environment in many ways,” read the report. Public policy can be used for regulation, promoting media literacy, supporting material that is educational and attractive to children and supporting self-regulatory efforts by private parties.
Adult involvement and supervision may be the most effective and important social and educational strategy, the report stated.
Peer assistance, acceptable use policies in families, schools, libraries and other organizations, Internet safety education, and public service announcements and media campaigns are also effective ways of combating pornography on the Internet.
The report included technology in its list of solutions. Filters, age verification technologies and monitoring—which could mean remote viewing of what’s on a child’s screen, logging of keystrokes and recording Web sites the child has visited—also help.
Click here to access the full report!
Also visit www.protectkids.com for tips on developing a Family Internet Safety Contract, specific questions to ask kids about their exposure to pornography, and information about how to establish safeguards in the home.