Warren Binford works to improve the lives of children wherever she goes.
The Willamette University professor taught middle school in South Central LA before Teach for America was a thing. She served abused and neglected children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and she even picked law as a career to protect kids.
But that potential is fragile if it isn’t safeguarded.
One threat that few except Binford are brave enough to discuss: the impact of internet porn on developing brains. It’s a subject she will tackle next month at TEDxSalem 2017.
It’s a tough topic, but Binford doesn’t pull any punches. She’s not talking about your father’s Playboys either, but the kind of porn that includes children, violence, animals and group sex. It’s all three clicks away, she said, regardless of how old you are.
“They see stuff that they shouldn’t even be thinking about at an age before they have even kissed somebody,” she said.
The consequences can be profound for boys as they mature. Overexposure to internet porn can dull sexual pleasure, reduce sexual function, increase risk for anxiety and depression and lead to regressive attitudes toward women and even violence, she said.
But there are steps that parents can take including using filters, keeping computers in a shared spaces and talking to kids about what they do and see online. Binford hopes the United States will also adopt age restrictions similar to those in the United Kingdom, which make it harder to stumble upon pornography online.
“I’m not an anti-porn advocate,” Binford said, “but there should be zero exposure to extreme porn in childhood. It’s like toxic waste, and it can compromise a child’s health for the rest of their lives.”
Binford started the child and family advocacy clinic at Willamette University and has stood up for child victims around the world. Listen to Binford’s ideas on how to protect children at TEDxSalem this January.
Get your tickets for TEDxSalem IV
Tickets are on sale now for Salem’s annual TEDx event Saturday, January 7, 2017. Tickets are $50, $40 for students. The all-day event includes talks, performances, refreshments, lunch and a swag bag. Follow us on Facebook for the most up-to-date news from our community, and check our website regularly for new information. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eight tools to block internet porn from WEBROOT.com
- Set your search engine to “safe search” mode: For Google users go to http://www.google.com/familysafety/; Bing users go to http://www.bing.com/preferences.aspx; and, if you use another search engine, go to the safety settings and find this feature. If you child uses services like YouTube, be sure you have set the “safe” mode on those platforms as well.
- Use the family safety tools provided by your computer’s/device’s operating system: Both Windows and Mac operating systems provide family safety settings. Android and iOS also have family safety tools.
- Use family safety tool services: Sometimes called parental controls, these tools allow you to set specific filters to block types of content you find inappropriate. This isn’t just something to apply to youth; plenty of adults prefer to filter out pornographic and other types of content – like hate and violence. The appropriateness of some types of content will change as children mature; other types of content may always be unacceptable. To find the tools that best fit your family’s needs, search for parental-control or family-safety-tool reviews.Keep in mind that these tools need to be installed on every device your child uses to go online: game consoles, cell phones, tablets, personal laptops and computers. Some services have coverage for all types of devices, others are limited to just computers or phones. You may find that using a single solution on all devices makes your monitoring much easier.
- Periodically look at your children’s browser history. There are a number of phrases youth use to get around pornography filters – like “breast feeding” and “childbirth” – and some fast-changing slang terms that filters may not have caught up with like “walking the dog,” which is a slang term for sex. If you see odd search terms, give the sites a quick look.
- Have your children restrict access to their social networking sites to only known friends, and keep their sites private. A great deal of pornography is shared among private albums on social networking sites.
- Scan the photos on your child’s cell phone once in a while. While the youngest kids aren’t sexting, by the time they’ve hit their tweens they have begun participating in this type of behavior. Let your children know that every so often you will sit down with them and go through the pictures they have stored on their phone.
- Review the applications your child has downloaded to their phone or tablet. Mobile content filters may not catch all the potentially inappropriate apps.
- You are your strongest tool. No technical blocking solution alone is enough to protect a determined child or teen from finding pornography online. Have the “talk” on an ongoing basis with your children and spouse about the content your family finds appropriate and inappropriate; this exchange should never be a one-time conversation.