Hello, I recently changed my email and my Mothering username, but have been lurking on this site for many years. I really appreciate your input and am hoping some of you mamas can help me.
This morning I went on my youtube app on my iphone and saw that an extremely inappropriate search was in the search bar. I was in the car with the kids at the time and said the search out loud. I asked if they put it in, and they kind of giggled, but I let it go because it wasn't the right time (right before school) or place. I looked in the history and about ten videos, including some very explicit, were there. I did not have any restrictions on my personal phone as I usually am around and give my kids permission to use it. That has since changed
I know the search was not done by me or my husband, the only other people with access to this phone are my 7 and almost 9-year old daughters. I am concerned because:
1. They were obviously curious about what they searched for on youtube, but I think the videos they saw may have been MUCH more than they bargained for. All of their curiosity up until now has seemed very age-appropriate.
2. My kids spend at least part of every weekend playing with the neighbor girls, all around the same age. I am concerned that this may have happened when they were playing with them, giving other kids access to this kind of material. I have no idea when this could have happened, they must have sneaked my phone away without asking.
3. They both got ipod touch for christmas last year, and I set very strict restrictions on those. I often look through their photos and any messages that they send to each other and the neighbor kids, but have not looked in their youtube history. Now I'm thinking that the restrictions may not be enough for them, especially if they're seeking out such material. Is it time to take access to these things away?
I've always been down to answer any of their questions about bodies and sex, and they both have a general understanding of sex. I did a dumb thing and overreacted upon seeing the videos, and deleted them from my history. Now I just have a general idea of what the videos were, and I'm not quite sure exactly what they viewed.
I know it's time for a talk with each of them separately to find out what happened, why they searched on that term (It seems so unlike them!) And if they have any problems with what they saw. I need advice from you ladies. It's going to take a lot of restraint on my part to remain understanding and non-shaming through these talks.
If it seems so unlike them, is it possible that it was one of the girls who visits ideas? Sometimes kids in a group behave differently than they would as individuals. At any rate, I would call the other kids mom and talk about it. It's probably going to be hard to figure out for sure if her girls were involved or not anyways, and she might have some ideas that would be helpful since she knows all the kids. And I'd say chances are good that if at least one of them is interested in that stuff then there has probably been some chatter going on too that might need addressing. If nothing else she probably will want to adjust parental controls on her electronics since the chances are good that if your girls know how to search then hers will too.
If you searched on the same term, wouldn't you get the same videos back? at least you'd have an idea of what they might have seen.
Good luck mama, this is hard stuff but you'll figure it out :)
I'd be careful not to make any talking with the neighbor sound in the least accusatory. It could very well have nothing to do with them. My ds was 9 when he started discovering that typing some very simple words could bring up graphic videos. Access to them is so much easier than when we were young. Anyone can make their own videos and upload them to sites where anyone of any age who can type the right 4 letters with internet access can watch them. However, I'm sure the other mother would appreciate a heads up that she might want to fix the settings on her phone, too.
We did some fact-finding before I spoke with either of the girls, we checked the youtube history on each of their ipods. My older daughter's ipod was clean, several Little Mermaid videos. My younger daughter.....I can't even. Her youtube history was filled with about ten to twelve videos that were even worse than I had on my phone. I was absolutely shocked. This was with all of the age appropriate restrictions set.
I spoke with my younger daughter, she denied it, we have had some problems with truthfulness with her. She knew what we were going to talk about before I even began. I talked for a bit about the when and where (so I would know if I had to make the neighbor calls) and didn't get very far with her. I spoke with my older daughter alone and she gave me the story: apparently it happened while they were alone, there were playing with their ipods in the closet and the younger DD came across the inappropriate videos. Her ipod ran out of batteries and she grabbed my phone to continue.
Speaking again with the younger, she admitted that she searched youtube for "cute bunny videos" and somehow accidentally she ended up on men or boys dancing and singing in their underwear (the internet....ugh. I swear.) she followed those videos until they got more and more explicit. Somewhere in the mix there was a silly video of a guy taking off his boxer shorts without taking his pants off. So the search term I found on my phone was "Naked boy with no boxers on" and all of the videos you can imagine that brought up.
My younger said that she didn't watch a lot of the videos, just clicked through them. I asked her if she had seen anything that was scary or weird or confusing that she remembered and she said she didn't. She really didn't seem upset by it at all until I started talking about her not telling the truth at the beginning of our discussion. We had a very serious discussion about trust and we spoke to both of them about internet safety.
We took youtube and the web browser off of both of their ipods for now and took my younger's ipod away through the weekend. I am still pretty heartbroken that I didn't protect them better, and that my younger daughter may have seen so much. I feel like some innocence has been lost there. She seems very unaffected by the videos, however. I guess you live and learn, but I really had wayyyy too much trust in the filters.