Protecting Kids From Porn with Sean Clifford

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Guys, we all have a story about the first time we saw pornography. 

For me (and maybe you too), it involved finding a Playboy in the woods.  Or someone snagged one of their dad’s or uncle’s magazines and brought it to guys’ night when you were in high school.

It might’ve felt pretty harmless at the time–but for our kids, things are VERY different.

How different? I read recently that 50% of kids have seen pornography by the time they’re between the ages of 11 and 13, and that twice as many adolescents have seen more porn than their parents realize. Of those kids, more than half saw pornography unintentionally.

As someone with a 12 year old boy, this is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot–and it’s why I needed to chat with Sean Clifford.

Sean’s the CEO of Canopy, an online parenting app designed to help kids lead a safer existence online. Installed on over 2 million devices worldwide, it uses AI to identify nudity and pornography, can help prevent sexting, and makes it easier for parents to keep tabs on their kids’ screen time without rendering the internet unusable. He’s also a father of four, so he’s deeply invested in all of this.

In our chat today, Sean and I talk not just about protecting our kids from pornography, but how to raise children who can make sense of (and resist) all the addictive content out there in our modern world.

Some of the topics I discuss with Sean Clifford

  • What is Canopy, and why should parents care about it?
  • Why is content (including pornography) more addictive than ever before–and only getting more addictive?
  • Why Sean mostly doesn’t let his kids use devices as home–and how he and his wife are trying to model acceptable device usage.
  • At what age should we start talking about pornography and problematic content with our kids?
  • Why is it so dangerous to completely disengage from what our kids do online? 
  • Why Canopy is not a silver bullet–and why that’s okay. 
  • What happens when you take screens away from your kids? 
  • What we learned from taking screens away on our six week road trip.
  • How do we deal with dopamine hits, serotonin, and feeling fulfilled?
  • How can you do a digital reset for yourself and your family?
“These tools are meant to help. They’re not meant to babysit.” - Jon Vroman Click To Tweet “Just because you can’t avoid everything doesn’t mean you can lean into it.” - Sean Clifford Click To Tweet

Sean Clifford Links & Other Resources

Sean Clifford’s Bio

Sean Clifford is the CEO of Canopy, a husband and a father of four young children. His passion is to build products that give families the good of the internet without the bad. 

Sean founded Canopy in 2019 to help build a world of healthy tech users, starting by protecting children from pornography. 

Prior to that, he served as VP of Baron Public Affairs, where he advised leading tech ventures, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofits at the intersection of culture and policy. Sean earned his BA from Williams College, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and an MA in the Great Books from St. John’s College.

Sean, his wife and their four children live in Austin, Texas, where they enjoy exploring local trails and relaxing on tech-free Saturdays.

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Disclaimer: The transcription you’re about to read was produced digitally. It’s 95% accurate, however at times, the system interprets words incorrectly. [/read]

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