Parenting

What Your Children Are NOT Telling You About Porn on Snapchat and Instagram

porn

Today, it’s clear that pornography is reaching far beyond the bounds of obscene pictures in Hustler and Playboy magazine. Tragically, access to porn is only a click away from the innocent eyeballs of our children. Though parents can attempt to block porn on their children’s phones and computers through certain programs, today’s tech-savvy generation can often evade these. And while websites like Pornhub.com are certainly well-known, there is lesser knowledge about the means by which kids can surf numerous types of porn through the social media platforms they use every day, namely Snapchat and Instagram.

Research reveals that teens visit Snapchat over 20 times per day, and 63 [percent] of adolescents age 13 to 17 use Instagram every day.

Studies show that many boys are now looking at pornography as young as 11 and 12-years-old. As one teen said to researchers for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner in England, “Basically, porn is everywhere.”

Though it may sound like an exaggeration, if we take into account that teens currently spend approximately [9] hours per day online, that statement isn’t too far off.

Many parents are concerned that their kids may be surfing pornographic websites in their spare time online, but few understand just how integrated the world of porn is into the most popular social media sites. It’s also more affordable, violent, and twisted than ever — not to mention, it’s as accessible as the swipe of a finger.

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Specific hashtags and “code” emojis can be typed into the search bar on Instagram, which takes users to an entire list of links to images of naked women or women in sexual bondage. These pictures are linked to pornographic accounts, which owners of those accounts use to strategically gain followers. While Instagram claims to have automated technology that identifies and removes images and videos containing pornographic content, the platform clearly has a long way to go.

Snapchat claims they do not allow “adult content,” but many growing businesses and entrepreneurs have been able to work around this restriction by promoting “premium” pornographic accounts. In order to get traffic, those premium accounts link to apparently innocent “teaser” Snapchat accounts as well as Facebook and Twitter. FanCentro is one of the primary companies known for engaging in this practice. Their strategy is to act as a “channel to a whole universe of private Snapchat accounts. [They] boast that if one account is taken down, it will seamlessly set up another and redirect traffic,” according to a report by the Boston Globe. The company also connects links directly from Snapchat to Pornhub within only a couple of clicks.

This all-too-immediate access to porn available to today’s generation of kids has far-reaching effects. Research reflects that the sooner boys start looking at porn, the more prone they are to addiction, toxic relationships, depression, anxiety, and poor performance at school. And our girls are not to be overlooked as they are utilizing social media more than ever to sext and send inappropriate selfies. While they often use Snapchat to do so because they believe those images are deleted, those pictures can actually be archived in a hidden folder on phones. Thus, they are at incredible risk of bullying, sexual harassment, sextortion, and even suicide due to male pressure and “slut-shaming.” Sexualizing themselves in this manner can also lead to eating disorders, declining self-esteem levels, and extreme body shame, according to the American Psychological Association.

Experts are urging media literacy in our school systems as well as increased parental vigilance over their children’s Internet use.

Culture Reframed, a free program that helps adults talk to tweens about porn, was launched last year and it has proven to be a very effective tool. Parents are implored to take action now before waiting until the problem surfaces. Talk about porn in such a way that gains mutual respect with your child by getting permission first, and if he/she says “no,” it’s appropriate to wait for a more ‘teachable’ moment to try again.

Experts urge that it’s important not to shame your kid if they are caught looking at porn. A more effective strategy is to ask questions about their feelings and listen intently. Explain how healthy sex contrasts with the shallow images they are seeing on the screen that are void of intimacy, love, and boundaries.

Regardless of restraints, your kids are going to have access to porn — whether it be through their own devices or those of their friends. Be proactive and start the conversation today.

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Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.

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