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sexual content on 10 year old's PC

(17 Posts)
ruby8 Sat 13-Jun-15 13:43:44

I was extremely shocked to open DD's (10) PC to find a word document containing a first person "essay" describing hard core sex (incl oral, some s+m. I was so shocked that I deleted it without reading all, and I don't know if it was copied, original writing or sent to her - it was in normal Word format and sounded like a cheap adult sex novel.

DD is a happy, clever and outgoing 10 year old. I have not noticed any change in her behaviour recently, she's doing very well at school and has lots of friends. However, she is also very good at hiding her emotions so it is not always easy to tell if everything is ok. She does not volunteer information and hates being asked. Like me and my mum, she started puberty early and is tall for her age.

I am pretty sure she has no access to audiovisual inappropriate content (restricted computer time and child safety software, no films rated above PC etc) and her email account looks fine. She does however read a lot of teenage books - I find it impossible to censor all her books! - and I can only imagine these were her source or inspiration, or that she somehow managed to get hold of an adult book in library.

Having overcome my initial shock and feeling of guilt, I waver between

A) not mentioning anything to DD and convincing myself that this a normal part of growing up and satisfying natural curiosity about something she's read somewhere; carry on as normal;

B) not mentioning anything to DD but closely monitor her reading and writing going forward, on the basis that confronting her would most likely result in denial, huge embarrassment and guilt and help drive her behaviour underground; and

C) speaking to her about it with a view to finding out where this came from and how she feels about it.

Reason suggests C) is the best option but DD tends to be quite sensitive and secretive and I am worried I will drive her away.

Any suggestions? Does anyone have a similar experience?

MrsNextDoor Sat 13-Jun-15 16:15:22

Can you look at the history on her PC? Do you know how? Did the writing seem like something she'd be capable of grammar wise?

adoptmama Sat 13-Jun-15 16:17:18

You could always go back to the recycle bin on her computer and read it through first before speaking to her so you know exactly what the content is. It is possible for some viruses to infect computers and download material onto the hard drive. It is also possible she was sent it as an email attachment and simply opened the email and the document downloaded, or she downloaded it from an email in innocence and then didn't quite know what to do about it.

I would definitely suggest you talk to her about it. For one thing, if she did write it, you need to know how she got this knowledge. If it was sent to her by someone grooming her, you need to know. If it was a virus, you need to know. If she did save it on the computer herself, she is going to notice it was deleted anyway.

I would basically suggest a child-friendly version of what you have put here: that you found this document, that you were concerned, you wanted to give her the chance to talk to you about it without her feeling she is in trouble. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open so she can feel she can discuss this with you, including any and all of her own feelings (shock, curiosity, fear etc) without feeling you are angry or judging her.

ruby8 Sat 13-Jun-15 17:00:56

Adoptmama, thank you for your wise words.

The opportunity came up today and I did mention to DD casually that I had seen the text when trying to sort out her internet access and that I was wondering where it came from. I downplayed it and made sure she knew I wasn't angry. She was embarrassed of course but pretty quickly said it was from the Game of Thrones volumes she read recently and she had copied extracts she found "interesting". I did not want to dig further and just offered to talk more, which (predictably) she declined, but I think she was really relieved that I wasn't angry.

I am still puzzled though, firstly because I can't believe such a hugely popular book (targeted at teens and allegedly read by others in her class) should contain such explicit material (I am not prudish - this text was hard core!). Secondly, what her intentions were in copying the worst bits to a word document - I worry that she wanted to send or show it to friends to show off the kind of stuff she is reading.

I also feel hugely guilty as I actually agreed to her buying the Games of Thrones books (obviously not having read or watched any of it). Why is there no classification for books?

Goldmandra Sat 13-Jun-15 17:02:37

Adoptmama is spot on. You need to find a non-threatening way to talk to her about this so she feels able to admit whatever the truth is and you will be more equipped to deal with it.

While you don't know where it has come from, you can't be sure that she is safe.

I find it helps to be quite vague about how you came across information on computers while they are young. If they don't know what you know they tend to come clean a bit more quickly. I let my DD1 think that basically everything she did flagged up on my laptop when she was in her early teens.

gymboywalton Sat 13-Jun-15 17:04:52

game of thrones is NOT targeted at teens. the tv shows are 18 rated and the novels are graphically pornographic! please don't think this is 'teen' reading.
your daughter is 10 anyway-not a teenager and you need to be telling her that this is adult stuff !

Goldmandra Sat 13-Jun-15 17:08:06

Sorry OP. Just realised I crossed posts with you.

exexpat Sat 13-Jun-15 17:08:06

I think you need to read reviews and do a little bit more research if you have been buying her things like Game of Thrones - the TV series is rated 18 and has attracted a lot of controversy with rape scenes etc so it is not hard to work out that the books might not be appropriate for 10-year-olds. The fact that they are not in the children's/young adults sections of book shops might also be a clue.

gymboywalton Sat 13-Jun-15 17:09:06

this is the common sense media description of the series

Parents need to know that Game of Thrones (based on the novels by George R.R. Martin) is big-budget fantasy series that frequently depicts brutal battles and graphic, detailed acts of violence (including those against children and women), as well as lots of nudity and no-holds-barred sexuality. The latter is portrayed in an especially iffy manner, with explicit discussion and depiction of incest, adultery, and rape. Strong language, including "f--k," is frequent. Although the series is well produced, even the most sympathetic characters make plenty of iffy choices, and the over-the-top content is questionable for all but adult viewers.

just because something is popular doesn't mean it's suitable for children

Athenaviolet Sat 13-Jun-15 17:09:19

Absolutely option c.

10yos watch porn these days, even if it's not on her pic she could have seen it on a friends phone/iPad/PCI at school or at a friends house.

It's your responsibility to talk to her about this. Silence is dangerous.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sat 13-Jun-15 17:18:43

Game of thrones is very graphic, I can't even watch it.

MrsNextDoor Sat 13-Jun-15 17:23:29

GOT is not aimed at teens. It's a very adult series. You need to be more aware of what your DD is accessing.

adoptmama Sat 13-Jun-15 19:38:38

I recently had to tell one of my Year 9s she could not bring her copy of Fifty Shades to class to read smile Her dad had bought it for her, a fact I find far more questionable than her reading it! Even younger age children are hugely curious about sex of course. But they do not have the emotional maturity to process such graphic material, nor make sense of what is often very misogynistic portrayals of sex and sexual relationships.

OP, as others have said, Game of Thrones is really not even aimed at teens, although many of course read it. I would suggest a further conversation(s) with your DD where you need to explain that you have have made a big mistake in letting her read these books as they are not suitable and will have many story lines, themes and characters that she is not ready to read. It can be actually quite disturbing for children who are just hitting puberty and getting curious about sex to read such violent and - basically - perverted ideas as they feel that this is something they may be 'required' to do in later life. As I said, they do not have the emotional maturity or life knowledge to process it. You need to talk to your DD about issues of consent and what a normal, loving sexual relationship involves. Girls (and boys) need to understand when they come across these very violent depictions of sex that it is not normal.

Did you perhaps mix up GOT with the Hunger Games books, by the way?? Either way you are definitely at the stage where you need to be scan reading your DDs material before letting her read if you are not certain of the content.

Good luck OP. You've faced something that is not that uncommon a problem. Keep her talking & don't let her embarrassment - or your own - shut down conversations that need to be had so that she has an understanding of normal, healthy sexual behaviour and an understanding of what is age appropriate. Make sure she always knows she can come to you with her questions and that you will answer her honestly and non-judgmentally.

holmessweetholmes Sat 13-Jun-15 19:47:01

Game of Thrones is absolutely not suitable for that age. My dd is nearly 10 and I would be appalled at the idea of her reading or watching it! It is very graphic. If you don't vet which books she reads then of course she's going to have access to all sorts of inappropriate stuff.

ruby8 Sun 14-Jun-15 12:41:21

Thanks everybody - I will certainly have a closer look at DD's book choices and should have done so earlier. However (not an excuse, just a comment!) I do find it difficult to judge a book just by the blurb on the back. I checked and GOT series has no age restriction or warning on the actual book, so parents actually have to make enquiries or read it first. DD reads about 4 books every week, many from the main library section incl autobiographies, classics, non-fiction etc and I always encourage her reading. We have no TV and I am very strict on films.

But she clearly tricked me with GOT and from now on I'll check every book she borrows or buys!

I just hope no major harm has resulted from what she's already read. I did try to explain to her that, like the violence, the sex descriptions were very remote from real life, but of course she immediately blocked any further conversation and is generally very embarrassed. I fear that further attempts to discuss this will just alienate her. Instead, I am trying to find positive examples of loving relationships in books, films and real life which hopefully will balance the awful depictions she has read.

SavoyCabbage Sun 14-Jun-15 12:53:54

You could maybe ask at the library for advice on books. They are great at my branch. Very knowledgeable about what my dd might like and what is suitable.

I haven't watched Game of Thrones as it was too violent and I wouldn't even want my 11 year old to,walk through the room when it was on.

MrsNextDoor Sun 14-Jun-15 14:27:07

Books don't generally have warnings. That's because so much of what people think is suitable is very personal....one parent might be fine with a ten year old reading The Outsiders for example whilst another may not....literature is hard to pigeonhole.

The way I work it out is to skim read...but there's not a lot I won't allow my DD (also ten) to read...I draw the line at anything with tonnes of sex included...especially S&M.

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