To not want my daughter looking at image of concentration camps

(268 Posts)
Coffeeessential Wed 02-Oct-13 11:33:19

My daughter has just started Yr 5, and is studying World War 2 this year. She was already having difficulty coping with the subject as she is so sensitive, but I saw nothing wrong with her being given the basic facts as long as there was not too much detail - She's only nine after all.
When she came home very quiet yesterday afternoon, she told me that the class had been looking at online images of 'Jews in concentration camps', and I am furious. While I understand that we cannot protect children from the world forever, surely nine is too young to even begin comprehending such terrible images?
I would appreciate other people's opinions, before I go crashing into the Headmaster's office!

ReviewsOffers Thu 03-Oct-13 10:02:04

I disgree too Mignonette

It seems to be setting the bar rather low. Shouldn't we be trying to give the impression that atrocities are exceptionally awful, rather than a commonplace aspect of life?
We do try to shield our children from the exceptionally awful, it's not a standard thing that children should suffer this, or even witness.

When they are a bit more mature they should of course learn and bear witness. In a respectful way that grasps the context and the lead in rather than just a helpless horror at the macabre.

But ... I don't know... does it give people an awfully bleak view of the world to know from very young that this has happened, often and may do again? Does it colour their view of people before they can properly contextualise it? Does it actually drill into kids taht this is wrong wrong wrong and by learning we will prevent it happening again, or has that become a bit of a truism? It's not racism is a thing of the past. Tribalism still thrives (I know of course there are other factors involved in that.) Hard to measure, I suppos

mignonette Thu 03-Oct-13 10:05:27

I said learn about them. Please read my post properly.

ReviewsOffers Thu 03-Oct-13 10:09:35

I'm not getting at you if that is directed at me...just disagreeing and expanding....

Peace, smile

<notes irony>

Coffeeessential Thu 03-Oct-13 10:18:40

Just to update anyone interested -
I went in (calmly!) to speak to the teacher after school yesterday - As my daughter's only been in her class a month I hadn't spoken to her before. She looked extremely guilty when I said that DD had been very upset by looking at graphic images online, and said it had been ' a mistake.' Here I get confused, as my daughter is saying one thing and the teacher another. The teacher says that they were all two to a laptop, doing a project on Anne Frank, and in their pairs looking for pictures of her to include in their work. She claims DD must have 'put concentration camps' into the search engine, as the disturbing images some posters have described came up.

DD got very upset when I asked her if she had put those words into google herself and she insists no, why would I want to search for that? She claims that her and her partner had just about finished their work, and the teacher came over and suggested they search google images for 'concentration camps - she was stood over them as DD typed it in.
I don't know how the teacher cannot have been aware of what would come up, although she claimed to have been 'shocked' herself. When I asked whether there were any internet filters in place to protect the children from graphic imagery like that, she said no, and she would 'have to speak to the computer technician about it.'

Obviously now, it is difficult for me to take it further as it is her word against DD's. With DD having so much difficulty coping with learning about WW2 anyway, I don't see her typing 'concentration camps' into google off her own bat. Like all kids she has her faults, but lying isn't one of them. And if it had been the case that she had put it in her herself, the teacher would surely not have even been aware she had done it - She would have felt shocked and guilty and turned it off straight away. It doesn't ring true somehow....

I have talked it through with DD as best I can, and have decided not to mention any more to her for now. Like I said in my original post, I have no problem with her learning about these things. They happened and she has to know that they happened. But this should be done in a careful way, not by searching google when there are no suitable filters in place. She stumbled upon these pictures without any understanding or context, and instead of making her feel deeply shocked but knowledgeable, they just made her feel afraid.

This is actually the second time we have had trouble in that school with their internet filters - Last year, she came home to tell me that she'd put something into google and had to tell the teacher as it came up with '20 ways to a woman.' (!!!!) I think they need to change their technician.....

ReviewsOffers Thu 03-Oct-13 10:19:53

Maybe it was her laptop partner who typed it in?

mrsjay Thu 03-Oct-13 10:21:44

maybe whoever else she was with it came up or perhaps it came on google anne frank did go to a concentration camp so perhaps it was just kids nosiness, I am unsure why the kids have unsupervised internet access I know the settings will be high and all that but

Coffeeessential Thu 03-Oct-13 10:22:06

No - Her laptop partner recently moved here from Poland and is still learning English.

mignonette Thu 03-Oct-13 10:32:39

It was directed at posters who seemed to equate learning w/ showing graphic photos of distressing historical incidents and then made the assumption that I meant that. They are not synonymous. However I believe that we must not shield even quite young children from these events. The skill lies in how it is taught and in that, not all teachers (or parents) are equal.

Review I didn't mean to target you specifically. An un-ironic peace be with you too flowers.

mrsjay Thu 03-Oct-13 10:34:57

I think the schools interne settings are not right then, I still dont think there is anything wrong in children learning and seeing images about concentration camps but I think it shouldn't be them set loose with google and a laptop iyswim,

FrauMoose Thu 03-Oct-13 10:38:44

I think I would be inclined to write a record of everything that's happened and pass it onto the Head Teacher, requesting a written reply.

There seem to be two issues. The different accounts given by the class teacher and your daughter - who is characteristically a truthful child - and the equally important issue of the school apparently not having internet filters in place.

I would imagine the school must have a policy on safe internet use. Why is it not being adhered to? If it doesn't have a policy, this is something which would be of great concern to Ofsted.

randomAXEofkindness Thu 03-Oct-13 11:04:44

I think that exposing children to the horror of the holocaust at all is misguided. They will have plenty of time to discover the worst of humanity when they are old enough to assimilate it.

Some people like drinking piss or cutting themselves with razor blades during sex, I'm not having conversations with our 12 year old about it, even though it's much less disturbing than the facts of the holocaust.

Just because something is true or will become apparent to them one day doesn't give us the right to attack them with it while they are especially vulnerable and lack the resources to soothe themselves in the aftermath the same way an adult would.

You might be interested in this op: theattachedfamily.com/?p=4131

Coffeeessential Thu 03-Oct-13 11:12:46

Thankyou, randomAXEofkindness - That's a very useful link

ReviewsOffers Thu 03-Oct-13 11:17:03

Thanks for that Randomaxe that link articulates what I am trying to say

VenusDeWillendorf Thu 03-Oct-13 11:21:47

Maybe applying the same levels of censorship to history as we do to all other kinds of media might be an idea.

12A means certain things to us in a cinema setting, maybe that's the system we need.

IMO age 9 is way too young to see images of concentration camps.
Maybe 15 is ok.

VenusDeWillendorf Thu 03-Oct-13 11:25:38

That's a great article random, thanks for linking.

BurberryQ Thu 03-Oct-13 11:33:06

i think she is old enough just about....confused
what rattled me slightly when my children were doing primary school history is that essentially they were told that the only people who suffered in the war were Jews, and mainly Anne Frank.
I thought it was distorted to say the least.
As their dad comes from a country who lost a fifth of their civilian population (Jews included) it was a bit...hmm

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Thu 03-Oct-13 13:22:42

Agree BurberryQ.

I think the more insidious distortion and sheltering is the way it tends to be taught - that they were crazy/just bad people/good people didn't know (see Boy in the Stripes Pajamas with a good child knows nothing, children were forcibly indoctrinated to think it was a right thing to do and it's really hard to ignore the smell and slave labour that came out of the camps into towns usually across the road - it wasn't hidden or considered shameful). And as you said so many groups left out, over half of those who were killed.

It tends to leave out those too similar (the Christian groups, Eastern Europeans often killed just for their nationality) and those considered too different (like the Roma peoples, who lost 90% of their population during the Holocaust, and when they weren't killed straight away they were often housed tied up barns, or that there was another genocide of 10 million caused by Germany less than 20 years earlier in Northern Africa where they perfected the practices then used with the help of other colonizing powers along with millions more by Belgium in the Congo that has affects to this day).

It also tends to leave out the entire system that made the Holocaust happen wasn't built solely on hate, but on racial sciences which were highly supported around the Western world at that time, had centuries of tradition and created to support systematic oppression by the elite of others for the own gain as well as media, religion, all of which helped to pass the laws and economic blocks. That these sciences still have supporters to this day and that these sciences worked further into the media to harmful stereotypes that cause oppression to this day.

I think graphic pictures and Anne Frank can have a place, but they don't really get to the heart of why we need to learn and never forget and sadly are often used as short sharp shocks that fade with little real information.

cardamomginger Thu 03-Oct-13 16:05:57

Well done OP. I agree with Fraumaus - write an account and contact Head, especially if this is the second time there's been what seems to be a cock up with the internet filters.

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