My daughter is very impressionable and I think typical of most other 9 year old girls. She loves music, making up dance routines and imagining she is the latest X Factor superstar.
She also enjoys browsing the internet for the latest music videos, in between a quick stint on Club Penguin.
Obviously we have the usual restrictions in place to protect the children and have also talked to them about the hidden dangers of the internet.
However we recently encountered a bit of a dilemma. Whilst I was on my computer one evening, I thought I’d have a quick check under History to see what everyone had been looking at. I was horrified to see a whole load of sites which involved numerous inappropriate scenes. We’re not talking hard core porn, but certainly unsuitable for a 9 year old. By searching through the History, I could see how by looking up a song on You Tube, she had gravitated towards these other You Tube pages. If my husband had encountered this, he would have almost certainly called a family meeting and swiftly banned all internet usage until they were 18.
I figured that I should first speak to the two eldest children to just check it was them that had been surfing hoping they hadn’t had friends around at the time. My 8 year old son admitted that he had been looking on various football websites, but thought it was all pretty ‘above board’. My daughter claimed total ignorance and guiltily burst into tears accusing me of always placing the blame on her. As I pointed out, it could hardly have been the 5 or 2 year old and I was pretty sure it wasn’t Daddy – or was it?
I impressed on them that I wasn’t cross, but I just wanted to protect them from utterly ignorant comments and garbage that people put on the internet. Two hours later she tearfully came clean. We talked about it, had a cuddle and it was all over. I’m pretty sure that she will be hesitant and much more responsible about going on You Tube in future, once I’d told her that Mummy gets notified about everything she looks at.
The question is how do we protect our children from all the You Tube nonsense? One minute they’re all laughing innocently over ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ and the next minute up comes a Ga Ga prison scene. Correct me if I’m wrong but I can’t find anything that protects them from this other than hard core parental lecturing and an adult constantly being present in the room whilst the computer is on. We could resort to the school of parenting that puts a ban on all technology but this isn’t our style
I’ve always believed that if we opt for the strict approach, our children will become even more intrigued and perhaps naive about the internet and how to surf responsibly which could be even more dangerous.
Have you had any similar issues with your kids? If you have any views or tips for me on this, please leave a message in the comments below.