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Nontechnical Strategies to Reduce Children's Exposure to Inappropriate Material on the Internet

By the Committee to Study Tools and Strategies for Protecting Kids from Pornography and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet Content, Youth, and Families Board on Children, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council, National Research Council

Summary of a workshop from the Committee to study tools and strategies for protecting kids from pornography and their applicability to other inappropriate internet content.

Youth, Pornography, and the Internet
by National Research Council, Dick Thornburgh, Herbert S. Lin

"Youth, Pornography, and the Internet" examines approaches to protecting children and teens from Internet pornography, threats from sexual predators operating on-line, and other inappropriate material on the Internet. The National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board explores a number of fundamental questions: Who defines what is inappropriate material? Do we control Internet access by a 17-year-old in the same manner as for a 7-year-old? What is the role of technology and policy in solving such a problem in the context of family, community, and society?

See: Parents Survival Guide to Online Safety Image:

Page updated: May 3, 2017

Internet Safety - Notes from Newark Public School Conference

This is the synopsis of a meeting held at Harold Wilson school in Newark,New Jersey, concerning the subject of internet safety, and protecting children online. The program was well-implemented and well received. Protecting children from pornography on the internet is a concern for both parents, teachers, and school administrators.

Parents shouldn't assume that children will not be exposed to pornography on school computers, but should educate their children about this matter. Children as young as nine and 10 years old, have used school computers to "gather" erotic pictures from Google images, as one example. Other children have found ways to bypass filtering, and import "true-blue" pornography on school computers.

Parents shouldn't assume that children will not be exposed to pornography on school computers

Protection is needed, but also education, teaching children why this is not good, why it can be dangerous, and how they should handle the internet. It truly is a challenge having high technology, with much capability for good, in both the home and at school, when at the same time, some are using this technology for ways that can be damaging. Both protection and educating children and teens in necessary

Notes and Specific Points on Home and School Internet Safety from Conference

The notes of the meeting below are very helpful for all who are involved with the lives of children, parents and teachers.

1. Encourages use of filtering systems for Internet at home and school. Set filter to screen out pornography, specific sites, violence, profanity, certain types of emails, etc. Can select desired level of protection.

2. Filtering system should be a complement, not a replacement for supervision. (with children and youths. Microsoft demonstration site)

3. There are kid-friendly search engines.

4. Use email filters.

5. Teachers: Teach them to always come to you before, use sites only that you've approved.

6. Computer should be in an open area.

7. Teach children to guard against online marketers. Don't give out personal information w/o permission from parents. Also, Online contests.

8. Encourage children to talk to adults if something makes them feel uncomfortable.

9. K.R. "Don't freak out. What will happen if you overreact when they come to you?"

Parents: "They won't come back and talk to you again."

K.R. "That's right, be calm." Talk to them.

10. Teach ethical behavior - No gossiping or bullying. (Story given elsewhere of girl who killed herself because of harassing emails from a boy-neighbor she corresponded with on chat sites or email).

11. As parents take time to talk to your children about cyber safety. Talk about MySpace, etc. 3,000 sexual predators already discovered on social networking sites. A 15-year-old girl was killed in Newark as a result.

12. Some websites for Internet safety:

  • The Cyber-Safety board from Newark Public schools is available to the public.

    There were 32 teachers, parents, principals, children present at the Newark Public School Internet Safety conference.

    End of notes.

    Public Schools Educating Parents on Internet Safety, Media Violence

    In South River, NJ, the public school system sent out an information packet at the beginning to parents which educated them on the dangers of violence in the media and the internet for children and teens. Parents had to sign off on the information and return it to the school.

    This is an excellent example of a simple measure through the public education system that can help parents to protect their children from media violence and online pornography and other dangers on the Internet.

    Pages Related to Internet Safety (on-site)

    How Pornography Effects Children

    How to Teach Your Child to Use the Internet Wisely

    Reviews of the Best Parental Internet Filtering Software

    Youtube and Teens Parental Internet Software

    Free Parental Internet Filtering Software - How Good is it?

    Child Online Safety U.S. Government information page, from Carnegie Mellon University.

    Cyber Bullying - Parents: What parents can do

    PC Magazine Review Brief for bSecure -

    Pros - Wholly web-based configuration and reporting. Accountability option for parents who need self-control. Flexible content filtering. Blocks filter-breaking proxy utilities. Limits access to games and TV/video based on ratings. Can schedule Internet access, monitor IM and social networking. Parental alerts via e-mail or SMS. Option to filter entire network.

    Cons - Media access control depends on vendor's data collection. No daily/weekly cap on Internet.

    Summary - Despite its "don't notice me" [new version], bSecure's latest offering is a major update and a total winner. It does everything you'd expect and adds unexpected features like rating-based video access control, parental alerts via SMS, and optional whole-network filtering.

    "The Internet has changed the way we access the world. This is especially true for kids, who soak up new technologies like eager little sponges. They have access to an enormous array of material, including educational links, sports info, chat rooms—and, unfortunately, pornography. But we must approach our need to protect children with care to avoid placing unnecessary restrictions on the many positive features of the Internet."
    From Youth, Pornography, and the Internet - (Amazon sponsored outgoing link)