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4yr old ds just cried himself to sleep afraid of the nasty people on the internet coming to get him...

(43 Posts)
TickledPurple Sun 13-Mar-16 19:21:36

I am all for e-safety and preventative work early on, but feel concerned that my son doesn't even know what the internet really is and therefore to instill fear before he even has a concept of it isn't helpful?
Its not a major 'I'm going to throw all toys out of pram and march into school' issue, but I do feel a little irked that he has been made to fear something he doesn't yet understand and so instead imagines all type of horrors of people 'pretending to be nice just to trap him and do nasty things'. May well be our issue as he doesn't have computers, tabs. etc at home, just feels too much too soon maybe? Prepared for others to disagree.

LittleRedSparke Sun 13-Mar-16 19:23:00

what has he been told?

Believeitornot Sun 13-Mar-16 19:23:58

We need more context. Ie what happened?

ctjoy103 Sun 13-Mar-16 19:24:03

Maybe explain more? Who has told him what?

tibbawyrots Sun 13-Mar-16 19:24:58

It's Sunday night... Would have thought he would have been scared on Friday tbh confused

Princesspeach1980 Sun 13-Mar-16 19:25:45

4 seems very young for Internet safety lessons. Surely they aren't really at much risk until they can type, and therefore have conversations and find web pages without help? Was it an actual lesson or maybe an assembly that was aimed more at the older kids?

TickledPurple Sun 13-Mar-16 19:26:53

From what i gather it is about not talking to people you don't know on the internet as strangers pretend to be nice to 'trap' children to take them away and do bad thing - his interpretation/ version sounded like some terrifying child snatchers Charles Dickens type characters. However he is a very logical child and takes everything quite literally, so without understanding or having any real experience of the internet he has altered this into a real world scenario rather than virtual.

motherigloo Sun 13-Mar-16 19:29:39

4 year olds will need e-safety lessons. They play apps, don't they. They need to know how to stay safe.

However the esafety lessons for children of this age should not be at all scary!! The ones I have taught are very relaxed and we certainly wouldn't suggest bad people might be able to get them!

TickledPurple Sun 13-Mar-16 19:29:43

Apologies - context - this was at school on Friday. He'd had a wonderful day today but was shattered and so easily upset and then this came out after a story we read about two polar bears making friends - they were strangers then made friends - hence stranger link etc. things coming out a few days later etc isn't unusual - he definitely is one to mull things over.

maddening Sun 13-Mar-16 19:30:38

But who told him this?

maddening Sun 13-Mar-16 19:31:08

Cross posts

Believeitornot Sun 13-Mar-16 19:31:10

Pretty much all four year olds take everything literally.

I would have tried to explain that mummy would protect him from the Internet by using it with him and he wouldn't be talking to anyone. Only looking at pictures and reading words.

TickledPurple Sun 13-Mar-16 19:31:18

Not sure if lesson or assembly. DS doesn't play apps at home (sometimes at school), but I accept that we are relatively uncommon in that.

ctjoy103 Sun 13-Mar-16 19:33:24

I think it was good that he had that lesson tbh. However he's 4 and his mind will take it literally. You have an opportunity here to further explain this in a more appropriate way, give him examples and just reassure him.

Buzzardbird Sun 13-Mar-16 19:34:37

TBF, he has to learn this lesson early these days. You just need to reassure him that with the proper caution this won't happen.

TickledPurple Sun 13-Mar-16 19:36:24

Thanks - we did reassure him of course etc and will talk more tomorrow - he is totally crashed right now. Not sure I think 4 yr olds should be worrying about this but if school are tackling we need to be on board with that.

Sophia1984 Sun 13-Mar-16 19:57:34

I think it might be worth talking to school about it to give your feedback. It may be they're doing the right thing but going about it in the wrong way. I doubt it's only your DS who got scared - poor little thing!

grannytomine Sun 13-Mar-16 20:03:55

I'm a bit old to know what is going on with 4 year olds at school but shouldn't 4 year olds be supervised on the internet? I would have thought the dangers of the internet are with older children. I would have thought most 4 year olds can't read or type well enough to engage with internet grooming. I think its good for kids to be aware of danger but don't think you need to go into that much detail with a 4 year old. As I said I am older so maybe I am underestimating how much time 4 year olds are engaging with other people on the internet.

notagiraffe Sun 13-Mar-16 20:07:34

OP would you really prefer your son not to know and not to be scared but to run the risk of unwittingly befriending someone? Far better to shake them up and make them aware of dangers, even if it upsets them. the key is to reinforce how to be safe, not to reinforce a sense of danger.
FWIW, I made our teens watch the documentary about Breck Bednar and one of them couldn't sleep afterwards. I felt bad for him but far rather that than him innocently trusting internet charmers with horrible motives.

redcaryellowcar Sun 13-Mar-16 20:15:24

I'm with you, I think it seems young, my ds is four too and as parents we were invited to an Internet safety thing for parents, we had an hour long presentation on things which we felt were t likely to present themselves until he was 8 or 9 years old, including him tying to set up s Facebook account! He does use apps on my phone but we have set up guided access so if he's on CBeebies app he can't leave it without us keying in our code. I'm not sure he would find Facebook all that much fun!

theycallmemellojello Sun 13-Mar-16 20:18:14

It's a tough one. I do remember receiving a comic book leaflet about "stranger danger" from school as a child and being absolutely terrified - not really understanding what the danger was, of course. I think that fear is kind of ok though? Obviously I understand why you're upset to see it. And agree that four is a bit young for internet safety - seven seems more like it.

Mistigri Sun 13-Mar-16 20:23:55

This sounds very inappropriate for a 4 year old and you are right to be concerned.

I'm all for teaching children to use the Internet appropriately but this sounds way off the mark in terms of age- appropriateness. If they don't understand what they are being taught it's hardly helping to keep them safe!

WinterIsNeverReallyComing Sun 13-Mar-16 20:24:42

I work in an infant school. As part of a school council meeting I asked a group of 12 children aged from reception to year 2 about their e-safety workshop session. It came up that 10 out of the 12 have their own tablets, and the other two are allowed access to a parent's. This is why young children need e-safety sessions. They shouldn't be scared with horror stories, but they should know what do do if anyone tries to contact them, or if they accidentally end up seeing something that scares/upsets them - it is very easy for a child to click on an ad accidentally and a lot of parents may not be as vigilant as you.

starry0ne Sun 13-Mar-16 20:27:44

I remember my DS coming home from reception unable to eat certain foods as they were bad.. I had to explain to him about balanced diet... I also told him I took care of his diet at his age but he did need to know what foods were the healthiest.

My Ds did not have any internet access at home at that age..He did at school.. I think because of how many kids do have access it does have to be early.. I think all you can do is expand and put it into context..

dodobookends Sun 13-Mar-16 20:33:57

A child of 4 is possibly going to misunderstand this and think that someone or something can literally come out of the computer screen and hurt them, in the same way as their imagination can run riot about monsters under the bed, or being afraid of the dark. Poor little mite, I bet he's scared out of his wits.

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