My feeling is that I'd recognize it as normal curiosity and assume he has questions about sex and sexuality so I'd look for healthy ways to give that information, such as the book It's Perfectly Normal. Also that I'd talk to the friend's parents and troubleshoot together how to keep the kids safe on the internet while they're together, which might mean having some kind of net nanny program and/or putting computers up until and unless the child is sitting next to me. Or something like that.
But I'm not sure exactly what I'd do. I'm wondering if someone else has faced this or if you've thought about it. I don't know if it'll help my SIL as she'll probably make up her mind soon but I thought it's an interesting conversation and not something I've thought about as much as I should have.
My dh strongly.feels that the stuff he was exposed to as a kid gave him a whole lot of uneccessary baggage. He feels frustrated his parents didn't protect him, or at least warn him, better. Porn, again,.from what he says, taught him to objectify women and idolize immediate gratification. It made him feel strong and important. So, all that was brought to our marriage.
We are at an incredibly healthy place now, but it was rough for a while. He was never outright mean to me, but he could be cold and selfish about our relationship. It was mentally.sorting through all that he saw and felt as a preteen/teen, that allowed him to finally have a healthy view of things.
So, he already talks to our older two about what a healthy relationship is, and about how looking for an experience in other ways will cause a lot of hurt and pain. He does this age appropriately, but he doesnt want then blindsided like he was.
Our views come from a Christian standpoint, but the application is there for anyone: our children need the opportunity to think ahead about healthy sexuality BEFORE it is defined for them by a peer, porn materials, pop culture, etc.
After the fact, I wouldn't be upset or punitive, just kicking myself.for.not discussing it sooner. And then I would get busy discussing. I don't know that I would ask the other parent to add controls, but I would.mention the incident so that they could handle it how they would like. Not upset or judgey, just a "hey,just so you know." After that, I would let my child decide how to handle it. Just because I give them advice, doesn't mean they have to follow it, and I want to encourage talking about things openly, especially this type.of.thing.
I would discuss and find out how my child feels about it. Make sure they understand that sex is normal, its totally fine to want to have it and it's equally fine to never want to have it, and also stress that porn isn't an accurate portrayal of sex or sexuality. I think it's really important to make sure the child understands that porn is not how normal relationships go, that it's not okay to treat people or to be treated the way that most porn goes.
We haven't been there yet, but I really hope that my child knows about sex, sexuality, and healthy models of relationships by the time they're 10 or even 7. We may even have discussed porn and how it's fantasy and not real life, so it's okay to enjoy it but don't take it as how you should treat real people or be treated. I don't know at what point I'm okay with a child looking at porn. It's not an easy thing to think about... And, honestly, you don't have much control over it. I guess, mostly, I'll hope that by the time they figure out how to get around parental controls to access it, they'll be ready to handle it emotionally.
I'm coming from a non-Christian, sex-positive view and agree with you 100%. The views of sex that our culture, and especially porn, teach are toxic. I'm not opposed to porn, but it is not an acceptable way for people to be introduced to sex without guidance about how to interpret it. There is some porn that works to be non-problematic and a fairly healthy model of sex and sexuality, but it is quite rare and I doubt that it's what most kids are looking at.
You can talk about sex, even the deeper issues of sexuality, earlier than 10 to try to ensure your child's first introduction to the topic is from you. I know it's an uncomfortable conversation (my mom didn't bother having it, she just gave me a book) and I'm not sure how it'll go, but I know people who read pregnancy books and discussed where babies come from with their 4 year old, and I certainly believe that as soon as a child can talk you can start teaching about consent. Not in a sexual way at first, but teaching a kid that their feelings and autonomy matter and that they also need to respect others' in non-sexual areas makes it stick better when you teach it about sexuality.
before my child comes and tells me she saw something inappropriate - first i'd explore my own feelings. what exactly is inappropriate to me. is it age appropriate.
i have a 11 year old now and i find my definitions of inappropriate has changed so much. there is the usual sex, porn but then there is the 'other' so much more. certain concepts that dd doesnt need to know now - certain intensity of emotions.
at our house we have to be v. careful. dd is mature, started her periods earlier, is a good reader - so she knows a lot of stuff. and many moms might find her inappropriate. for instance apart from rap i dont really limit dd's music choices. so she listens and has listened to songs that others consider inappropriate for her. one of her favourite artists is pink. pink has quite a repertoire of songs.
dd and i have talked about what is inapprop. or not inapprop for her. she understands the nuances of what IS indeed inapp for her. she really, really wanted to read Girl with the Dragon tattoos. because we have communications open i have told her there are a few things the book introduces that she doesnt need to know quite yet. so while i wouldnt stop her i wish she wouldnt read it quite yet. she got it. and hasnt read it. but then its coz i let her read twilight. i told her i wasnt quite ready for her to read it, but if she REALLY wanted to she could. but not beyond in that series. thankfully she read two pages and didnt like how the book was written.
she is aware of all the hoopla about the twerking. even knows what is it. but its kinda silly so she doesnt follow it.
my point is - i've been open about sex. we've discussed it. i've even now brought up the emotional aspect of sex.
my definition of 'inappropriate' for dd relating to sex is probably way more relaxed that other parents. if she saw some porn i wouldnt be freaked out. she is aware porn exists. i dont know how to get to that stage when it happens. the 'pleasure of sex'. instead we've had the no one forces you. you do it when YOU want to - talk.
to me there are other concepts that freak me out way too much that i dont want dd to be aware of. she loves science fiction. i find more concepts inappropriate there than sex. certain concepts of war, the depth of hitler's torture... no i dont want her to know yet.
but if sex is not openly discussed in your house, if nakedness is viewed as something to be hidden - then yes i can see the shock level. but then any parent keeping a 10 year old 'clear' from anything related to sex and puberty - is really asking for trouble. perhaps the mom is not aware of the talk that goes on on the playground.