I heard dozens of stories this weekend of parents finding children on smartphones, watching hardcore pornography. Children younger than the former average age of first exposure to porn, which used to be age 11. It’s now age nine. These children, in a few gawking, horrified moments, are robbed of their childhood. Their worlds change in that moment. They cannot unsee what they have seen. And they should never have had access to it in the first place.
Don’t give your children smartphones.
I understand that teenagers are more likely to actually need a cell phone. My parents signed for a cell phone for me when I got my driver’s license – not so I could interact with my friends or go online, but so they could contact me and I had a way of communicating with people when I was out and about. My first cell phones had no Internet capability, and I didn’t miss it. I sometimes wish my current phone didn’t have Internet either, because I’m as guilty as the rest of this generation of wasting time on my phone when I could be doing something – or anything, really – more productive. But when teenagers need a phone, they still don’t need a phone with Internet access. A phone that allows them to make phone calls and text is good enough. They don’t need nonstop social media connection, they don’t need SnapChat (a “sexting” app that destroys photos in seconds), and they absolutely should not have access to the twisted pornography that they will almost inevitably find.
Do not give the pornographers the access to your children that they seek. They know that children and teens are most likely to find porn on phones, and that’s why they’ve made a gargantuan effort in recent years to create porn that can be viewed and streamed on mobile devices. They know how to access your children – through a smartphone.
Don’t give them one.