With Visual Stimuli Everywhere How Can You Educate Your Son About Online Triggers

With Visual Stimuli Everywhere How Can You Educate Your Son About Online Triggers

Thanks to the internet, we now live in a time of unprecedented and boundless flow of information. The sheer amount of online content available sometimes boggles the mind. While some of this content presents an enormous range of positive materials and educational experiences for our children, some of it can be quite damaging.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Online triggers come in different forms. Other than porn, your son can also encounter content that encourages or glorifies violence, hatred, racism and even alcohol and drug abuse. The consequences of consuming such content varies from teen to teen and is dependent on the type of content viewed and the duration of exposure.

Even content that isn’t meant to be harmful can have unintended outcomes. For instance, the bragging that happens on most social media platforms is generally considered harmless. However, studies have found that social media culture sets unhealthy expectations for teens and contributes to the increasing incidence of depression in adolescents.

Constant exposure to peers touting their ‘perfect lives and bodies’ can lead to low self-esteem and negative body image among teenage boys. Similarly, porn and other sexually explicit material can give your son a skewed view of love, women, relationships and sex too. Let’s also not forget that aggressive behavior in teens- characterized by bullying, fighting and defiance towards authority- has been linked to viewing violent content in online and offline media.

Solutions That Work

Being more vigilant and protective about what your son sees online can go a long way towards minimizing his exposure to harmful online triggers. However, in spite of your best efforts, your son will eventually come across negative content. The best way to fight this is by preparing him to recognize inappropriate content and giving him the skills to neutralize any potential harm. Here’s how:

  • Educate your son. Teaching your son some basic internet precautions will equip him to recognize inappropriate messages and what to do about it. Let him know how hate-group recruiters or sexual predators operate and who to contact in case it happens. Having these skills will make your son less vulnerable online.
  • Create an environment that’s conducive to open communication. Talking about your life and experiences with your son helps him to understand and verbalize his own feelings. Furthermore, cultivating a close father-son relationship by being an active participant in your son’s life will give him the confidence to approach you about any issues he encounters.
  • Be a role model. Modelling appropriate behavior ensures that your son has a positive male figure to emulate and this will stand him in good stead when faced with negative online triggers.
  • Seek help. If your son has developed emotional or behavioral problems as a result of what he’s been exposed to online, a stay at a residential treatment center can be immensely beneficial. Contact Liahona Academy for more information on this and other teen therapeutic programs.

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