An actual letter from an actual Park Slope parent, sent out this afternoon on the "Park Slope Parent" listserv, does all the work for us when making fun of the uptight helicopter anal-retentiveness of this self-fascinated breed! The problem? "My daughter's good friend was at another friend's house for a playdate and the children were left unsupervised in a room with a computer with no software protection on it for inappropriate content... They googled 'naked women and men', were on for quite a while, and you can imagine what they saw (everything, according to the mom, videos and all)." Adds our tipster, "If you Google the search in question, you'll get a Youtube video, a feminist porn site and an essay by Naomi Wolfe." We'll show you the full email and then we'll Google "naked women and men" and "show" you something else!
I am writing both as a warning and a request for information. My daughter's good friend was at another friend's house for a playdate and the children were left unsupervised in a room with a computer with no software protection on it for inappropriate content. An 8 year old, a 9 year old and a 7 year old. They googled "naked women and men", were on for quite a while, and you can imagine what they saw (everything, according to the mom, videos and all). The mom (my good friend) called me in tears to warn me that her daughter may have spoken to my daughter about the incident.
I checked my browser history at home but there's no indication that my daughter, also 8, took the information and applied it here, and she hasn't mentioned anything about it to me, although I may try to get some info when I see her. I don't think she's a sophisticated enough computer user to have deleted the browser history.
So, first a warning:
my computer has always been in our living room and my daughter doesn't use it unsupervised. But she does go to other people's homes and now, along with asking new friends if they have any guns at home, I'm going to have to start asking if they have an unsupervised, unrestricted computer at home. Once your children know how to google, the universe is the limit, so don't assume it's not happening, even at this tender age. No one is saying the children behaved badly, they were just curious, I'm sure, but the ramifications of curiosity are pretty intense in this internet age.
and now an information request:
1. the mom is quite upset. Does anyone know a resource where she can talk about what happened to her daughter and how to deal with it? She is trying to keep communication channels open by remaining calm with her daughter but she herself is a mess.
2. In our case I don't think I'm locking the barn door after the horse is out, fortunately, so even though our computer is in a public space, I would like to hear about experiences with software like net nanny or other monitoring or blocking devices?