A study about long-term fear published in Media Psychology found that, of those exposed to haunting, horrifying content especially disturbing content on the Internet that they found too frightening in childhood, more than 26% said they suffered negative effects lasting at least a year and into adulthood.
However, is the horror content merely the movies about mutants, ghosts, and violence not real? The article below will help you better understand horrifying content, how terrible and long-term effects of disturbing content on the Internet on children, and how to protect them from this harmful content.
Disturbing content on the Internet – How much is too much?
The brain hasn’t developed to distinguish real from fake
According to William George, Ph.D., who studies child and adolescent psychiatry, a child’s developing brain can’t always tell what’s real and what’s fake, in the exact same adults can do.
It’s perfectly okay for a parent to watch a zombie-related TV show and feel completely normal because you know this isn’t real, however, for a preschooler or junior school kid, this can get extremely scary.
By the time your child is 10 years old, most of your children will understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and if you look at it on the bright side, your child won’t be too scared to see a horror image because you can remind yourself that this is not real.
However, this does not mean that after 11 years of age, your child can comfortably watch horror and ghost movies online without worrying about him having nightmares. Because according to research, besides ghosts, horror content also includes images and videos (possibly real) of violence, accidents, gore, etc. are extremely worrisome for children, and access to these types of content should be limited before the age of 16.
This also applies to pornography.
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Disturbing content is not just ghosts or can scare your kids
Disturbing content includes not only unreal horror movies like ghosts, and violence (Valak, The Conjuring, Saw, etc.) but also images/videos of:
- Blood and gore
- Terrorism, execution, etc.
The second type of horror content often appears densely on social networks or online newspapers and forums, this horrifying content is often overlooked by parents but you don’t know that they can make your child even severely affected.
With the growth of the internet and your child’s dependence on the internet for learning and entertainment, your child is at a very high risk of accessing this harmful content.
As for unreal disturbing content, your child’s developing brain is learning to make sense of the real world, and such unrealistic experiences can distort what they see as normal. Since young children do not have much life experience to be brave enough to face it or put it out of their minds, exposure to things that are too scary not only causes fear of the dark, empty places, and unusual noises but also fear of the dark. doubt, which can lead to obsessions and anxiety that linger years later.
Real scary content such as accidents, beheadings, violence, etc., not only causes the above negative effects, but it also creates an environment where the child does not feel safe and thinks that where they live, the world they live in, the people around them are not safe.
Disturbing content on the Internet – 7 proven tips for parents
Here are 7 proven tips to help you limit exposure to inappropriate material on the internet for your child:
- When watching TV together, you should choose the program that is appropriate for the youngest member of the family.
- Children under 7 years old should not watch anything that has the potential to cause fear such as content involving gore, monsters, zombies, aggressive animals, violence, and haunted houses. This is too much horror for children of this age.
- Children around 8 years old can handle mild horror-level content about ghosts or mysteries. Still, you should continue to choose shows that aren’t bloody or violent.
- Talk to your child about inappropriate pictures: When your child can use the Internet to study, play online games or watch Youtube, ask them often: “Is there anything online that scares you?”, “How do you feel?” , “Is this too scary for you to bear?”
5. Use online content filtering tools: As mentioned, other equally horrifying contents are images of gore, murders, execution, and accidents that happen in real life. Often these images will spread on social networks, online newspapers, and forums so besides, keeping an eye on what your children watch on television, you must also protect them from these materials on Internet devices.
This free porn blocker extension can help to minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment for your child but at the same time, not invading their privacy rights.
6. Also, be on the lookout for unusual signs if your child begins to show signs of extreme fear or stress such as fear of going to bed, being alone, the dark, loud noises, a particular animal, or a specific situation like getting into the water.
7. Make a healthy and intimate conversation environment between you and your child a daily routine because when your child trusts and sees you as positive and instant support, your child will share anything with you that they feel wondering, annoyed, scared, or even the most sensitive issues like sex and in this topic are about horrifying content.
When you successfully gain the trust of your kids, you can better know what do you do when your child sees something disturbing online.
8. Wise modern parents are always proactive in bringing the best for their children. To better protect your child from all porn sites, for all internet-connected devices your child use, you should pre-order Wifi Device, becoming the first parents to own the solution which 24/7 protects your kids from harmful websites. Best prices are always available for early birds!
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