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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!

AngelsLieToKeepControl Wed 02-Oct-13 11:52:41

Could you have a word with the teacher?

My ds is very sensitive about a certain subject, when I found out they were covering a book about it in class I had a word, explained to the teacher and she said if it got too much then he could just ask to go to the toilet. It worked out fine.

boschy Wed 02-Oct-13 11:53:14

The Imperial War Museum's recent Holocaust exhibition does not allow under 14s to go in.

I think 9 is way too young for explicit images. Mine are older now, and DD1 went to the above exhibition in Y10 - she found it very shocking.

I know they see things on the news, but somehow I find that different, equally appalling of course - but maybe it is because the concentration camps were such a structured sort of evil, on such a huge scale, part of the Nazi master plan. That makes it so hard to explain, while it is perhaps more possible to try and talk round the issues of eg Syria, 9/11.

DeWe Wed 02-Oct-13 11:54:49

Ds (age 6yo) is very interested in WWII and has a knowledge of the Holocaust. I think seeing the photos is important because it puts a face to the people who suffered. Hearing about it is not the same, seeing a photo makes them human, real people.
The Nazis got away with it to a certain extent because they portrayed the Jews, gyspies, disabled people (and others) and sub human, not properly human. Seeing the photos brings the fact these were in fact people, with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, likes and dislikes etc.

Ds was reading an article about children in Warsaw. At the bottom was a photo of a 9yo girl at the time in Warsaw, almost certainly didn't survive. She was the spitting image of dd2 (also 9yo).

We lost family in Warsaw, and that really brought it home to us as a family.

Dobbiesmum Wed 02-Oct-13 11:56:31

It's different for every child IMO, I think in primary school the parents opinion should be sought as to how far is appropriate, or at least a fair warning to parents so they can be prepared. In year 5 at our school they studied The Diary of Anne Frank (I think it was year 5) and got onto concentration camps from there. Luckily DS is able to cope with images like the ones that came up and I will be able to prepare DD1 for it in a couple of years as she is much more sensitive.
A recent visit to The Manchester Museum reminded me of that actually, they'd have a copy of 2 of the Pompeii casts there, a dog and a child iirc. I totally forgot they were there and had to deal with her being quite upset (she's 8).

WilsonFrickett Wed 02-Oct-13 11:57:02

I think if 9 yos were let off to do a google search on concentration camps then yes, they potentially will have seen some extremely upsetting images. That doesn't sound like a very good teaching tool. Computers don't have to be brought in to every situation FFS.

I still remember the pics from the history books we used in school, they were memorable and upsetting enough. I imagine much stronger images are available on the web and I don't see the need at age 9, personally.

boschy Wed 02-Oct-13 11:57:04

thinking about it, I'm 52 and there are things I know about the Holocaust which I dont like to think about and would certainly never google for images....

I dont think this is hiding from it, its more a case of knowing and understanding 'enough' of the awfulness without having to see the worst.

Merrylegs Wed 02-Oct-13 11:58:18

Was it supervised googling or were they left to their own devices? Because left to their own devices is not on.

OneStepCloser Wed 02-Oct-13 11:59:25

Im not sure googling images is a good idea, surely the teacher would want to `vet` any images before they are seen by children as some images are extremely graphic.

I gave up PS teaching about 6 years ago, so I am a little out dated, but WW2 was on the curriculum, as i believe it should be, but a lot of thought was put into the resources used, no one wanted to give children nightmares.

There was a exhibition on at the Imperial War Musuem about children during the war and PS were not allowed in there as it was deemed too upsetting for such young children.

squoosh Wed 02-Oct-13 12:00:52

I'm 36 and I wouldn't put 'holocaust victims' as a search into google images.

Coffeeessential Wed 02-Oct-13 12:01:28

Merrylegs, they were pretty much left to their own devices.....There is a laptop to every two children in class. Showing them pictures from an age appropriate book would have bothered me less; it's the fact that they were left to 'google' pictures that has made me mad.

MummyofIsla Wed 02-Oct-13 12:01:45

I don't think that there can be true understanding without seeing it. Genocide is far more prevelant than we would like to believe and imo if upsetting our children so by that they never want iy to happen again is what it takes to prevent it then its a small price. Our children are the future after all and history has a way of repeating itself.

VioletHunter Wed 02-Oct-13 12:02:50

I'm surprised at the teaching method. I'm a teacher and every school I've worked in has had a firewall on google images, so the fact that the kids could access the pictures at all seems odd to me. Even if they could, it's not appropriate. The teacher carefully selecting pictures in advance for the pupils to see - fine. The teacher letting them loose on google images - not fine. Tbh I'd be more concerned about that.

MollyHooper Wed 02-Oct-13 12:02:52

It didn't read to me like they had been left to their own devices, more they googled it as a class.

I do hope your DD is alright though, Coffeeessential.

Just chat to her about it and let her know she is safe.

MollyHooper Wed 02-Oct-13 12:03:06

x post

FreckledLeopard Wed 02-Oct-13 12:04:11

When I went to the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum it was simply 'advised' that children under a certain age may not want to go it. I know this because I took DD in (aged 6 at the time). Flame away, but I think learning about the horrors and atrocities in the world is crucial and we should be grateful we're not living through these horrors as other young children are.

Laquitar Wed 02-Oct-13 12:05:28

I dont think 9 is too young. They do form opinions at this age so i think they should be exposed to reality andif the reality is upsetting them then at least you know that they wont become racists and bigots.

bababababoom Wed 02-Oct-13 12:05:43


valiumredhead Wed 02-Oct-13 12:06:59

At year 5 it is age appropriate. It's awful, shocking and upsetting, how could it be anything but?

Bonsoir Wed 02-Oct-13 12:07:43

I lent the film Sarah's Key to a 49 year old friend of mine recently. She returned it, telling me she hadn't been able to watch it as too distressing.

DP and I watched that film with DD (8) earlier this year. We did it in two goes as we were aware it was grueling. But, in our eyes, very necessary.

I am afraid I get impatient with adults who won't face up to human horrors.

Dobbiesmum Wed 02-Oct-13 12:08:03

Was it just a general googling of images? I would have thought that the pictures of the piled up luggage, glasses and other personal items would have given the children as much information about what went on rather than graphic images, or using aspects of online museum exhibits like the ones on the Yad Vashem website.

FrauMoose Wed 02-Oct-13 12:08:05

I would assume the school's computers have some sort of 'safe search' filter so that certain images would not come up. However I think that a more structured, carefully prepared-for approach in which only a limited number of images could be found and discussed, would be appropriate for younger children.

I think I would want to approach the teacher and find out more about the lesson, and how the children had been introduced to the topic.

I am the child of somebody who was a refugee from Nazi Germany. Many of my maternal relatives were in camps. I think because it's such an important topic, it needs to be approached with particular care.

Dobbiesmum Wed 02-Oct-13 12:09:20

X post, sorry x

Lweji Wed 02-Oct-13 12:09:23

I'm thinking of my son, 8.

IMO children shouldn't be too sheltered from life.

Those images are harrowing for anyone, and that's how it should be.

I think it is important that even children have an understanding of how horrible those camps were and WWII itself.

Do you think your DD will be severely affected?

It's a good thing that she talked to you. I hope you were able to discuss all her feelings about it.

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Wed 02-Oct-13 12:09:50

It depends.

Would I like my children seeing the films of bodies being bulldozed or more graphic details that I saw when studying Jewish history at Uni? no.

However, pictures of the people in the camps are just a small window into the utter horror of what happened. You can't teach about the 2WW without covering it. Children lived through it. At some point they need to learn about how horrible life can be.

At 9yo it's perfectly reasonable for them to see pictures of people in a concentration camp. It's an important lesson.

buildingmycorestrength Wed 02-Oct-13 12:10:07

But how can we help children deal with the upsetting nature of this and other awful events? Talk about it, join the right campaigns, take some action, donate to the Red Cross or whatever, light a candle, reassure them it won't happen to them...? What do people do to help children with the fear and terror that these things can bring?

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