The problem: My child finds inappropriate content online.

Limit your child’s access.

DO

If your child is seeing and doing things online that you think are unhealthy, be proactive and make sure they don’t continue. Communicate with your partner and your child to clarify what’s appropriate and what’s not. Use parental controls on devices as necessary.

DON’T

Don’t embarrass your kid for being curious and getting into stuff they shouldn’t. Children’s curiosity is one of the natural wonders of the universe. Making them feel bad about this can create lots of shame and make them unwilling to trust you.


Open a nonjudgmental dialogue.

SAY

“I see you found some interesting stuff online. There’s a lot on the internet that’s not really appropriate for kids. If you want to talk about what you’ve seen, you can always talk to me.”


Don’t create a fight or flight.

DON’T SAY

“What the heck have you been doing? Don’t you know that’s not appropriate?”


Why

Though you may have a browser history, you can’t see what’s going on in your child’s head. If you’re really concerned and can’t get a conversation going, ask a counselor what’s normal at your child’s age and what you should look out for.

Parenting Cue Cards

Do you ever struggle with what to do in tough parenting situations? For our Parenting Cue Cards series, we worked with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring you the answers you need. See all scenarios and solutions on our interactive tool.

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Updated: August 6, 2019