Safe-Reporting
May 31, 2017

Porn at School? 3 Compelling Reasons Kids Need Safe Reporting Procedures

Originally Posted on Protect Young Minds

If you think filtering systems protect kids from seeing pornography at elementary school, I have really bad news for you. They don’t. Last year, I began researching news reports and talking to parents. I have been shocked to discover how often kids are exposed to pornography at school and on school devices. I have no hesitation in saying that we are looking at an epidemic of childhood pornography exposure connected to schools. So, where do we begin solving this problem? We must start by creating pathways for safe reporting.

Many schools have safe reporting procedures in place for bullying. These procedures, such as “anonymous tip lines or texting programs” are established so that kids will feel more comfortable speaking out against a bully’s abuse. In other words, kids have a way to report bullying incidents without the fear they will have to confront a bully directly. Similarly, kids need a way to report pornography exposure at school without the fear of being disciplined or feeling shame.

Implementing safe reporting practices is a basic first step in bullying prevention. Likewise, implementing safe reporting practices is a basic first step to address the rampant problem of early childhood pornography exposure on school grounds.

Safe reporting procedures can eliminate fear and anxiety in students

When kids see pornography at school, they generally know it’s something “bad” and they are often afraid of getting in trouble. Time and time again, kids don’t tell their teacher what happened. This creates a situation where administrators don’t know a problem exists, leaving more kids at risk for future exposure.

Besides failing to report pornography exposure, some kids naively harm their classmates by exposing them to illicit images. It is not uncommon for a child who is caught off guard to reach out to other kids saying, “Look what’s on my screen!” An unfortunate situation where one child is exposed to pornography can quickly turn into a disaster where many children are exposed.

Giving kids a safe way to report exposure –letting them know they will be praised, not punished– is the best way to encourage kids to speak up when they see inappropriate content.

What should be included in safe reporting procedures?

  1. Whether the word pornography or a phrase like inappropriate content is used, schools must clearly define what types of materials kids need to report. For a FREE pdf of how to define pornography in an age-appropriate way for kids, click here.
  2. Schools should help students understand why it is so important for them to report exposure. Kids should be taught that pediatricians and other child experts make it clear that pornography is harmful for a child’s growing brain. For an adult to deliberately show pornography to a child is considered child abuse and is most likely illegal. (Every state has slightly different laws regarding child sexual abuse.)
  3. Clearly explain what actions kids should take if they inadvertently see (or anyone shows them) this type of material. These actions should include looking away as quickly as possible and immediately notifying a trusted adult. Kids should practice what they have been taught to do when inappropriate content comes on their screen or is shown to them by another person.
  4. Children need to be told that no one should ever show them pornography and that they should never show it to another child.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation is the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more. The organization changed its name from Morality In Media to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation early in 2015 to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.

Further Reading

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