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Explaining the dangers of the Internet to an intelligent nearly-12-yr-old and how do you explain abut pornography/sexual abuse etc?

(5 Posts)
Steadycampaign Sun 05-Jul-15 18:21:40

Now my dd has finished primary school and we have started the holidays (prior to starting secondary school in Sept) I am focusing on on-line safety again with my soon to be 12 dd

We've always talked about basic dangers (since she was about 7/8 yrs) in an age appropriate way and have set up rules and guidelines at home (which we've more or less stuck to with several blips along the way )but:

dh and I discovered recently that she had been chatting via Skype to a stranger whilst playing a horse game on-line (this is against all the rules we've laid down as she is only allowed to chat to friends she knows in rl whom we know too).

Dh spoke to this person's mother and fortunately it turned out (as far as one can ever ascertain) that dd had been speaking to a genuine child. Dd understood that she had broken the rules but doesn't still, I think, really understand the danger she had put herself in.

Also:

- she has now grown out of the materials that are appropriate for very young children

- I don't want to patronise her but at the same time she can be quite an anxious child so I don't want to scare her either.

- she's quite intelligent and likes to find out things for herself rather than just accept what she is told so I am in a bit of a dilemma as to what I explain and how far to go

ie she knows about stranger danger but not about what sexual abuse actually involves. She has very little idea (I think) about pornography.

However, its very difficult to explain on-line dangers without explaining these things. But how far do you go? I'd be very interested to know what everyone else does please?

So I'd appreciate any hints or advice about how to explain these sensitive subjects to a pre-teen and could any kind person perhaps point me in the direction of some age appropriate resources that we could look at together (she often responds better to outside resources than me and dh laying down the law).

Thank you.

Steadycampaign Tue 07-Jul-15 11:39:30

Thanks to some kind people on another thread, I can now answer my own question!

If anyone is interested the

NSPCC and CEOPS have some brilliant age appropriate information available on line, two examples:

here

and

here

RustyParker Tue 07-Jul-15 12:49:11

Thanks for the links op.

I've very recently had this chat with my 8 year old DS.

One of the things I stressed to him was that if he came across something which upset him or made him feel uncomfortable to tell me or his Dad straight away and he won't ever be in trouble or told off.

I also told him that writing something on the internet was forever and it's just like standing in Tesco and handing it out / giving his information to strangers walking by.

We've been through everything now in an age appropriate way and he seems to understand and he trusts that we are on his side and why we are having the conversation.

It's horrible though isn't it? You want them to be safe but want to keep their innocence for a little longer... We decided that ultimately, it's better for him to be informed and hear what might be out there from us than coming across it himself then dealing with the fallout. I guess it's just keeping those lines of communication open and talking regularly (and keeping an eye on what they are upto online).

PerspicaciaTick Tue 07-Jul-15 12:52:47

I was coming on here to recommend CEOPS - but am glad to see you've already found it.

Steadycampaign Tue 07-Jul-15 12:57:03

Thanks ¨Rusty - I agree with you about keeping the line of communication open - or else there is a danger (if one displays too much annoyance about a rule that they've trangressed) that'll they'll just go off and be more secretive about it in future. Agree it is really important that they know they can come to you and ask about anything and everything.

Also, someone said to me in rl yesterday, important to stress to the dc that it is not their fault if something horrible pops up on the screen that they weren't expecting.

We also stressed the 'forever' point and I like the Tesco analogy!!

But yes, the whole thing is horrible. I can't help thinking, or at least hoping, that we are at the 'wild west' stage of the Internet, and by the time our dc have children of their own, that things will be a lot more regulated.

And we came to the same conclusion, ie the price you have to pay to keep them safe is removing a bit of their innocence sad

It's been quite an eye opener this week I can tell you, and not just for dd!

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