Unsuitable Images and Internet Access

My sons are 9 and 6. I therefore think I've still got a few years yet before I start discovering magazines under mattresses or dodgy history on their internet browser



That's what my friend thought too. That is until she left her son alone for a few minutes on her iPad and came back to find him in tears but unable to tear his eyes away from the results of his Big Boobs internet search. "Is she unwell?" was his take on one particular image.

I count my blessings that my sons have their own unique word for that part of the female anatomy and so if they Google "large trampolines" they will either be disappointed by the results, or pleasantly surprised at the large range on offer.

How can we protect our children?

But there is a serious message here, and one that the Government is keen to spear head. How can we protect our children from accessing inappropriate material?

I do think that the internet search companies could do so much more to prevent pornography and obscene images being viewed. I know as parents we can do things to protect our children but it seems that the normal access restrictions that parents can buy for their home computers don't do the job they are supposed to do.

It's good to talk

I know of one dad who has given up on these filters/restrictions, and says the best advice he has is to talk to your children about what is acceptable and unacceptable. It may not stop them completely from being curious, but it is a healthy way to start up a dialogue about such matters as pornography. It also prevents the topic from being completely taboo.

Suitable role model

My husband assures me that he will be in charge of instructing the boys on this matter when the time comes. That is so not going to happen. I distinctly remember the rather large pile of "magazines" that he had in his bachelor pad when we first started going out. Not exactly the role model I was looking for. The boys' school seems to be very good at teaching this sort of thing so we will leave it at that for the time being.

What about magazines?

But it's not just the internet we need to think about - there's TV and magazines to consider too. The Co-Operative recently announced that they will be asking magazines such as Loaded to be distributed in modesty bags to obscure the sexual images on the covers. Personally I can't see how this can work in practice - there are so many magazines out there that have scantily clad women on the front cover, and they are not necessarily men's magazines.

And if you go on holiday to a hotel frequented by Russians, your kids will see a whole lot more than they should anyway, and that's just in the queue at the buffet breakfast...

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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