I recently checked our family computer and found that my 7 (nearly 8) year old son has been searching for 'Naked Girls'. Of course I was horrified! I've spoken to him and told him that it is not acceptable and I hopefully came across as concerned rather than shouted or chastised him. He seemed to take it onboard. I asked him if he had any questions about his body but he said no.

I have restricted his online access now with a filter. The question I have is how should I treat him from now on? I understand he is growing up and I don't want to ignore the fact he might be curious, but I don't want to overdo it. Ideally I want him to be able to speak to me and ask me questions when he has them. I have an excellent relationship with my son, and I just want to make sure that he knows about himself and women. I want him to know women are not objects and that it is healthy to be curious and find women attractive, but I'm not sure how to go about it!

Just so you know, I'm his father, not his mother :-)

asked 09 Jan '10, 01:24

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Adrian
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edited 09 Jan '10, 04:12

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Scott ♦♦
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You might find something helpful at this question: http://moms4mom.com/questions/2540/our-nine-year-old-son-saw-a-porn-site-what-to-do

(09 Jan '10, 02:40) Matthew Jones
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Perhaps you could also check to see whether they have had covered anything on the subject of "Reproduction" at school?? That might be able to provide you with an appropriate cue to start talking about it

(09 Jan '10, 09:09) Emi

My advice as a parent (and formerly an 8 year old boy):

First, there's no reason to be horrified. It's totally normal (if not already long overdue) for him to be curious about naked girls, even if he's several years away from puberty making him fully aware of exactly why. Please don't treat him any differently. He hasn't done anything wrong or unusual. You don't need your relationship to be awkward from here on out. No good can come from making him feel ashamed about his curiousities.

It's a good wake-up call to move the computer into a common area -- truly common, i.e. always visible to others in the house -- and to install filters. (Though do remember that in coming years, it will appropriate to increase your trust and remove these safeguards. You don't want him going off to university with no experience self-regulating his internet experience.)

It also may be a sign that he's craving more information about the "facts of life." If you haven't given him a good dose of factual and helpful information about human reproduction, relationships, etc., please do get started. And that discussion should definitely include talk about what kind of stuff is available online -- that there's nothing "wrong" with most of it, but it is meant for adults, and that it is often a caricature or fantasy that can be an extremely misleading view of what healthy adult relationships and sexual activities really are about.

link

answered 09 Jan '10, 15:48

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lgritz
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+1 for moving the computer to a common area, and if I could, +1 again for the mature and responsible attitude!

(10 Jan '10, 14:59) Yuval

Thanks for your advice. It has been very helpful.

(12 Jan '10, 14:37) Adrian

I think that having him know that everything he does is likely monitored is likely more of a deterrent than the filter. Is the computer in a common area?

According to this article, and a quote from Det. Cst. Chris Purchas of Toronto Police's Child Exploitation Unit:

It ultimately comes down to the parents monitoring the children on the computers.

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answered 09 Jan '10, 13:12

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Scott ♦♦
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I have up until now allowed him to use the computer without checking up on him. It is in a public place, but a couple of times he closed the door, which I thought was because he didn't want us to be annoyed at hearing his games. Now I know different! It's a lesson learnt and definitely something that his Mum and I will be monitoring from now on. He is a wonderful boy generally, so it was a bit of a shock for us to discover this.

(09 Jan '10, 14:04) Adrian

When my one month old baby boy had an erection when I was changing his diaper, I realized that homo sapiens have a sexuality, even before puberty hits. There is thus no reason to be horrified. Excellent answer by Igritz.

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answered 10 Jan '10, 11:50

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runaros
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I thought that was so he can aim for your forehead better. ;)

(11 Jan '10, 04:06) Scott ♦♦
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Oh no, my forehead is saved for pooping, in which thorough exercise has gained them an excellent aim :P

(11 Jan '10, 07:56) runaros

Seven going on eight seems pretty young to be interested in that sort of thing (my eldest is nearly eight, but she's a girl, so maybe it's different).

Seems likely that it was an impulse, possibly prompted by someone (perhaps a friend with an older brother) telling him that there is rude stuff on the internet to be found. I would try not to over-react.

He's probably not going to hit puberty for at least another 4-5 years. If he had some books (perhaps factual ones about bodies and growing up), which you've already checked out and know to only contain stuff you're comfortable with him seeing, he might not be bothered to overcome the difficulties you've put in the way of websurfing. The internet does contain some really quite unpleasant stuff, whereas pictures in books of naked girls, just being naked girls, are fairly harmless.

Good luck, it's a difficult area, and one you probably weren't expecting to have to deal with yet.

link

answered 09 Jan '10, 15:04

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Meg Stephenson
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No, I was intensely interested in such things at that age, if not younger. Totally normal.

(09 Jan '10, 15:29) lgritz

+1 for pointing out there is probably an outside influence involved somewhere. It's important for parents to be aware of what kids are learning from their friends and the families of their friends.

(09 Jan '10, 20:55) mkcoehoorn
1

I agree with Igritz: If the internet had been available when I was 7, I would probably have run the same search, just out of pure curiosity. I knew that girls are different, and I wanted to know more about that.

(10 Jan '10, 03:03) Bert
1

I agree with lgritz but want to clarify it's not necessarily just boys. I imagine my parents would have been horrified by what my friends and I discussed in 1st grade. For us, at least, I think it might have been the allure of the forbidden.

(11 Jan '10, 22:48) Kiesa ♦
1

I did ask him if he had been told by anyone to search for it, but he said no. Interestingly, my wife spoke to a friend who has a daughter the same age and it appears she has done something similar. My initial reaction was to protect him, not tell him off, but I've realised that the way forward is to address the issue and chip away at it, instead of letting it fester and be suprised by it again in the future. I did discuss it with him, but he seemed embarrased by the whole affair, but I will talk to him again in a few days. The main thing I've learnt is that he is perfectly normal, but curious.

(12 Jan '10, 14:44) Adrian

Alright - I take it back about being very young. But I still think he probably wasn't looking for the quite hard core stuff he would have found on the internet.

(12 Jan '10, 16:13) Meg Stephenson
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Asked: 09 Jan '10, 01:24

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Last updated: 10 Jan '10, 11:50