Porn Proof Your Child

Porn Proof Your Child

More Than Conversation with Cell Phones
© 2010 Teresa Cook

Girls on Cell Phone
By the age of twelve, three-fourths of children in the United States have their own mobile phone. And these little telecommunicators are getting younger every year. In 2008, the average age children received their first phone was 10.1. In 2009, it dropped to 9.7. Despite the popularity of cell phones among children, less than half of parents take advantage of additional parental controls offered by service providers.1
Cell phones are both a blessing and a curse for parents. They allow us to keep tabs on our children and ease our minds that they can contact us in an emergency. However, some parents do not realize the accompanying danger. Cell phones can open another portal for pornography to reach our kids.

With the development of Internet-capable phones, a whole new market opened for pornography distribution. By 2005, cell phone porn had already developed into a big business overseas. Global sales hit $1 billion that year, up 175% from the previous year.2
The U.S. lagged behind other countries, with fear of consumer backlash holding domestic cell companies back. No more. One research firm predicted the U.S. mobile porn market could reach as high as $1.5 billion in 2009.3 Sadly, the development of parental controls in compliance with wireless content guidelines issued by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association removed the last restraints on cell porn distribution in the U.S. By staying within recommended limits, companies can now deliver porn and leave full responsibility of protecting children to their parents.4

Now that the Internet is available on cell phones, users can access pornography anywhere, anytime. And many believe the chance of their activities being detected decreases with the use of cell phones which tend to be more private and personal than computers.5 Adult entertainment companies are working tirelessly to make viewing porn via cell phones faster, easier, and cheaper. The same technology offered to adults sits in the pockets of many children.6

Aside from the reactionary measure of not giving our children phones, how can we protect them from cell porn?
  • Filter content: All the major carriers provide blocking and filtering capabilities at different levels and costs, from free to $10 per month. The nonprofit Wireless Foundation provides links to compare these companies' features.
  • Protest: When Telus, Canada's second largest wireless operator, tried to quietly instigate porn service in 2007, the New York Times spotlighted the move, and subscribers raised a ruckus. The company quickly reversed its decision.7 Phone companies do listen to their customers.
  • Talk to your kids: As with any other medium, children get around even the most diligent of porn protection. That's why good relationships and face-to-face conversations are the most effective means of protecting your child from cell phone pornography. Use the other articles on this site, such as " The Porn Talk", "What I Wish I'd Known", and "Sexting ", to initiate discussion of porn issues. You can also use the Wireless Foundation's Family Cell Phone Agreement to seal your mutual understanding.
  • Turn Internet off: You can always do what we did and instruct the company to turn Internet features off. This does not disable text messaging and can provide considerable savings on upload and download fees.
Today's ever-changing world demands that parents remain vigilant and wise. Using a cell phone is not child's play.


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