happy kid with magnifying glassWhat kid doesn’t look forward to summertime? Sun and fun and freedom! Time for playing and exploring. But there may be a dark side to all of the free time kids have in the summer.

What happens when kids are home alone with internet access? According to a TopTenREVIEWS article School is Out, Porn is In,

Google Analytics data reveals a dramatic increase—indeed a  4700% jump—in searches for the term  “porn” in the days immediately following the end of school for most students.

While that isn’t scientific proof that kids are causing this spike in searches for porn, it seems likely.

Father and son talking in living roomWhat’s a parent to do?

  1. If you’ve never talked to your kids about pornography, now is the time.  Once you’ve explained what it is, ask if they’ve ever seen or searched for pornography. Explain why you want them to stay away from it.
  2. Shield your kids with good internet filter software. Yes, it’s true, if a kid is determined to find porn, they can—at a friend’s home or phone or even in some libraries. But taking a strong stance against pornography and then backing it up with filters will protect a lot of kids and send a strong message. Here are some reviews of top filtering software.

3. Limit screen time. I was about to write, “keep kids busy” for number three, but the thought made me tired! Kids do need downtime, but it can’t all be screen time. Limiting time online seems very reasonable.

two-boys-are-playing-by-digging-the-ground_w480_h725I used to take my kids out to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm one day a week. It was a 45 minute drive, but after they did some work, my kids got to explore, play in the dirt, pick berries and feed the goats and chickens. We made so many fond memories at the farm! Maybe you can plan to include time out in nature disconnected from the internet this summer. I hope so.

The beginning of summer is a great time to talk to your kids about pornography. Just do it! Then go do something fun! And let me know how it goes—I love to read your comments.

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.
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