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1st Grader Caught Searching Dirty Pictures Online

by Sarah
(Berkeley Springs, WV)

Should I be concerned that my six year old son is curious enough about the female body/sex to search the internet for it?

For the past few days he had been sitting on the porch or in his room when playing on his NABI. I didn't think anything of it until I did. When I asked him if he had been doing something he shouldn't, he said yes. He then showed me that he had gotten onto "mommy mode" and had at first been trying to search things like "girs tekin a baf" and "buts" but I also saw a search for "but secks song".

Apparently, later he found a function where you can speak into the search and it finds things for you. I told him it was natural to be curious about girls but that there were lots of things on the internet kids shouldn't see. I told him that it was wrong of him to be sneaky and do things he knew he shouldn't be doing.

I am just completely disturbed that this is even an issue already. We have since taken the NABI for an undetermined amount of time and will change the password before ever giving it back. We also removed YOUTUBE from the family's streaming device because he often watches videos of "gamers" on there playing minecraft, etc, and we think that might be where he heard "butt secks".

I don't want to make him feel ashamed or that he can't talk to me but I am very concerned. I plan to ask him more questions when he gets home from school about where he got these ideas and ask if he has any questions about what he saw. I want to be honest with him but completely age appropriate.

What is appropriate for this age? How best to approach this?


Comments for 1st Grader Caught Searching Dirty Pictures Online

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Age Appropriate Sex Education - Part One
by: Annie Desantis

Hi Sarah,
The internet has made things so accessible to kids, even to the point of accidentally stumbling across things. Smart kid to figure out he could find things out himself! However there are of course concerns that kids will come across porn,
rather than information.

All Kids Are Curious

First to reassure you kids are curious. Particularly if he has not seen naked bodies, or had a little sister to see different body bits in a natural setting. And then other kids at school may also have older brothers or other input, such as movies they have talked about that has raised his curiosity.

But in general a child his age will be curious. It might be a good time to have some body books around the house so you can be part of the conversation.

The biggest concern is of course the sexualizing of young children, or making nakedness something sexual. Sadly our culture throws that in our faces all the time, kids are bombarded with advertising that starts to brainwash us into the importance of body image and being attractive for the opposite sex etc. We are seeing more and more cases of pre-teen anorexia, which is very sad.

Online Concerns

The internet is a wonderful tool. But you do need to be keeping a close eye on where it leads him, it is way too easy to end up on sites that if not adult content, are still not ideal for a child.

You can of course get programs that restrict access to adult site, some of them are fairly sophisticated now, some can also be a bit of a pain, but it is added security. However smart kids can figure out how to get around many of the restrictions!

Boys do often love games and many of them do condition our kids into violence, or stereotyped roles, and many of the characters, particularly the female ones are very sexualized - male figures with big muscles, fit and active, female characters tiny waists and big breasts. So limit the time and kinds of games he gets access to.

In general I would expect a child his age to have natural curiosity about bodies, and yes even sex. Our children are little sexual beings capable of arousal. We tend to discourage any sexual exploration, but my personal take on that, is that among peers it is just a normal developmental exploration - you show me your bits and I'll show you mine.

Kids need information, the more they have straight forward information, the less it needs to be sneaky and hidden, which can set up excitement from the forbidden aspect.

However sometimes these things move into realms that are not appropriate - older siblings sometimes share things with younger brothers or sisters that they shouldn't.

Part Two Follows . . .

Age Appropriate Sex Education - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

Search Engines
Suggest Search Terms

His searches for butts and ladies in the bath are most likely just curious. The search for a particular song makes me wonder how he knew to look for that or if it was just him stringing ideas together. But where those searches can lead are more of a concern. And with search engines offering search ideas he can quickly head into areas you would not want him to.

I am not suggesting anything at all about your son, but sexual addiction or porn addiction is becoming a huge issue with such easy access to adult content.

Combining secrecy, ease of access, curiosity, sexual arousal from a young age kids can get almost groomed in into more and more sexual interest.

You are right to give a clear message that it is not OK to be looking for adult content. However, you don't want him to think his sexual feelings or his curiosity is bad or wrong. Making a big deal out of it could even make the forbidden more

It sounds like you have dealt with it pretty well, and encouraging him to talk to you and having books or simpler information means he does not have to be sneaky.

I would not head down the punishment route with him, he has not really done anything wrong, in a way he has been smart enough to find a way to satisfy his curiosity! It really is more that the search engines have opened up way more ideas that he might have expected! The whole incident means it has opened up issues for conversation with you and that is the most important factor. And it has made you more aware of how important it is to monitor what our kids are exposed to.

Age Appropriate = Answering Questions

As to age appropriate - that is not clear cut. I am a great believer in answering any questions. Sometimes that is very uncomfortable for parents - such as, "What is but secks Mommy?" Boy does that raise a lot of issues!

In general keep it simple, and you don't need to go into a lot of detail until he asks for more. It is good to reinforce love, caring, affection in connection with sex.

Online sites he might end up on tend to be very visual and very orientated to physical arousal. Relationships, caring, how babies are made, safe sex etc are not represented at all in what he most likely came across. So emphasizing things like, "when adult people love and care for each other there are all sorts of nice feelings and different people do different things to share those feelings."

Part Three Follows . . .

Age Appropriate Sex Education - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

I does sound to me like you were pretty straight with him about it not being OK to see adult content, and as you say, you don't want him to feel bad about his body, feelings or curiosity, but you would much rather he talk to you or his father about private bits.

Respect And Information

Teaching young boys respect for bodies is really important - both their own, and women's. When he reaches puberty, those sexual feelings are VERY powerful. Boys can easily get into the macho competition conquest type thinking if their peers are that way inclined. Better that he has information and respect as a part of him to give him a base to learn about relationships.

I am still shocked at how misinformed some of our teenagers are. And it is much much harder to bring up a taboo subject with a teenager. Far better that we have casual conversations throughout their life so they have the building blocks of understanding about bodies, respect, birth control, safe sex, relationships etc. It's never too young to start!

All the best Sarah, you are doing a great job!

Annie D :)

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