Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Our six year old had a sleepover guest last weekend.  We usually stretch the rules for sleepovers, let em stay up later than they normally would.  So.  About ten p.m., Hux is asleep, I go upstairs to check on them.  They're very quiet, their faces are ashen, they're glancing nervously at each other.  The computer, conspicuously, is out in front of them.  My little one finally says, "We saw something we shouldn't" and bursts into tears, very upset.

I pull up the history on the computer and see they've been doing Google searches on "naked boys" and "penis" and, my favorite, "naked boys penis stiken out."   I should point out right up front they didn't see anything.  I've got a program called FoxFilter that's pretty good at filtering sites.  So while they didn't see anything, their guilt at even looking up those terms was overwhelming.  I calmed them down, told them there was noting wrong with being curious.

They didn't get into trouble.  I'm not gonna punish my kids for their curiosity.  Curiosity should be celebrated.  And they confessed right away.  And the internet filter did its job.  So it's all good news.  I was even impressed at their spelling (except for that "penis stiken out" bit).  But the unsettling thought remains, that we are leaving the calm, quiet waters at the shores of parenthood, and every day stepping out to the faster, more dangerous currents beyond.


meno said...

Oh boy, and so it begins.

Remember they lose IQ points in a group so that they do stuff they would never do alone.

And hooray for internet filters!

Irrelephant said...

Sounds like you had a very level-headed, very calm reaction in a potentially life-changing time and that, sir, is commendable. By not flying off the handle or freaking out or whatnot you kept the situation from turning into guilt producing trauma. Bravo!

slommler said...

Now entering dangerous waters!! You were so right in telling them that curiosity is fine. And that you had the forethought to have a good filter!

Anonymous said...

Good handling, Papa.

It's funny how we joke a lot of the time about how the internet changes things. But sometimes it's easy to forget how much it does.

When I was young, I read ahead of my age level. Aside from models in science museums, I read about penises and sex and so forth long before I ever saw one or saw about the act. I think it made the whole concept more responsibly real for me: novels treat with sex in context, with emotion. I like to think it made me a lot more ready to grasp the concept when it finally came around.

Gordon said...

Great response, Dad.

Hilary said...

You couldn't possibly have reacted better. You're a great Dad. And you've got a good kidlet there. :)

Clowncar said...

So it begins, meno. Hooray for internet filters, although it won't filter the computers of her friends, or her friend's parents. I'm resigned to it. Part of the modern American childhood landscape now.

I was calm, Irr, because freaking out would send the message that sex is bad, curiosity is bad, computer are bad. And all those things are good. Very good.

Thanks SueAnn. Gonna be a bumpy ride, I'm thinking.

Hey Ms. Rue. It does change things, and mostly for the better. I'd put the internet, and the ability to search it, up there with the opposable thumb in terms of human evolution. Really.

Gordon! Nice to hear from you. I thought I did well too. But I'm perhaps overly fond of pattting myself on the back. Just ask my wife.

Thanks Hil. She is a good kid. And will be smart enough to figure out how to disable an internet filter in a scant couple of years. Yikes.

ArtSparker said...

Both parties acquitted themselves well. Everything in the big scary world should be resolved this peaceably.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

You have no idea how fast.

Get life jackets now.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Sebastian said...

Ahhh, switching from white-on-black to black-on-white comment box! My eyyyesss... (is it just my eyes that balk at such abuse?)

I came in, via Eric.

I thought it interesting how you seemed to imply 'confessing immediately' as good/important.

Glad the filter did its job :)

Clowncar said...

Important, Sebastian, because the stress from even looking it up made her cry. Confession relieved the guilt.

I think the Catholic church uses a similar template.

Not that I'm a big of those guys.

Sebastian said...

Ya, though it really comes down to what one (gawd, I always turn on the posh words around writers!) should feel guilty about :)

Closely tied into ethics and morality, I guess.