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Son pretending he's a girl online

(45 Posts)
auntysocial Sat 28-Jul-07 18:52:05

My son (8) is a fan of habbo hotel, he's on it quite alot and his profile person is a boy with black shaggy hair and he prides himself on being an "emo habbo".

Anyway I've just come in and checked up on him and whilst I was checking my email he went down to the bathroom so I went on his habbo window and noticed that he was signed in on a different account with a female habbo as his profile.

I asked him about it and he got in a flap and told me to turn it off, made out that he didn't know how it had happened etc...after pushing him a bit he said he had signed up as a girl to check out some stuff that only girls could have and that he wouldn't use the account again .

I'm a bit confused as to why he would do this, am I blowing it out of proportion?

FrannyandZooey Sat 28-Jul-07 18:54:43

I have gone online as a man (not on here) and talked to women to see what kind of different response I got

It was quite interesting IMO

I don't think you should be concerned about this - it's a shame he felt embarrassed about you finding out....why did you feel you had to "push" him about it? Did it matter, that he was pretending to be a girl?

expatinscotland Sat 28-Jul-07 19:00:58

Cool. I wish I had the nerve to do that!

Desiderata Sat 28-Jul-07 19:03:37

I see no problem with this. If anything, I see the opposite. It displays curiosity and empathy.

It seems a shame that he's gone off all embarrassed. Perhaps you could make light of it when the opportunity arises?

pyjamaqueen Sat 28-Jul-07 19:03:55

Quite clever for an 8 year old really.

foxinsocks Sat 28-Jul-07 19:04:27

it's fine I'm sure - especially if there are bits that only girls can access!

I'm a bloke on every other forum (only 2 or 3) I've ever posted on (weirdly)

brimfull Sat 28-Jul-07 19:04:31

pjqueen -that's what I thought too

FrannyandZooey Sat 28-Jul-07 19:04:42

Yes I wanted to say something like "he sounds like a smart boy to me" but then thought it sounded like I was saying I must be smart to have tried it too

roisin Sat 28-Jul-07 19:08:57

It is quite sharp for an 8-yr-old.

8 is very young (IMO) to have unsupervised internet access. I would take the opportunity to point out to him again the dangers of the internet, and that there is no way he can tell the the truth about the people he is chatting to, and go through safe internet rules with him.

roisin Sat 28-Jul-07 19:11:55

Btw did you know you have to be 11, or pretend to be 11, to join Habbo Hotel?

auntysocial Sat 28-Jul-07 21:32:47

Thanks Everyone, he is very smart, especially when it comes to computers.

Part of my concern comes from the fact that quite alot of kids at school call him gay, say that he's camp etc and for the past year or so he's become very pre-occupied with the sexual orientation of his favourite bands and seemed over the moon when he realised the guy from green day was gay, a few weeks ago he wrote to one of his other favourite bands to ask if the singer was gay!

But then he does the whole "urgh!! that man fancies that other man, thats so gay!" etc, I suppose half of me wondered if this "Going online as a girl" thing was connected to this but maybe I'm drawing far too much into it.

I always said I'd be a "cool" approachable parent too

FrannyandZooey Sat 28-Jul-07 21:44:04

Well it does sound like he may be experimenting with gender roles and that this could be because he is feeling that he fits in better with a gay orientation than a straight.

but he is 8 and this is all going to be very tentative and also confusing for him. Hence the "uurgh" kind of thing. I think you appearing not fussed about this whole thing, if you possibly can, is quite important.

Do you think you could have a chat with him about it being fine to want to see what it is like as a girl, and that some boys feel more comfortable doing things that are usually associated with 'girls' than boys, and that it's ok? Have you had chats about it being ok to be gay? I presume it has come up from what you have said in your post.

auntysocial Sat 28-Jul-07 21:49:52

I have, to be honest his father has thought he might be gay for years, I thought he was being ridiculous but maybe there was something there afterall.

I have told him it's fine to be gay, never in an accusing way however (i.e. I know you're gay and thats ok!") but more when he has questioned the green day bloke eg. "why is he gay?" I have responded with "well why not? it's fine to be gay, it doesnt change who you are or how great you are...he still rocks doesnt he?" (yes I too am a green day fan lol). And he's always seemed happy to accept that but still pretends to be disgusted by it. Then again he did have a massive crush on a girl at school for around a year and then he developed a fastination with shilpa from Big Brother...thinking about it maybe its just him "growing up" and discovering all these different feelings.

FrannyandZooey Sat 28-Jul-07 21:55:32

I think aged 8 most children are in the "sex = uuuuurgh" stage, but they can also be developing romantic and sexual awareness and feelings of their own

I am glad you have been able to talk about it and let him know that you don't have a problem with people being gay Whether he turns out to be gay or straight that's a good thing for him to hear. How does his dad feel about it?

auntysocial Sat 28-Jul-07 22:02:33

I think his dad would probably "pretend" to be ok with it but he would make his true feelings pretty obvious. They don't have a great relationship to start with so I think that would be the straw that broke the camels back to be honest but DS knows he'll always be stuck with me no matter what happens

FrannyandZooey Sat 28-Jul-07 22:21:09

Oh dear that is sad to hear about his dad. Are you together? I couldn't tell from your posts.

Could you maybe casually let him know about other people whp are gay? There are quite a few "cool" actors and musicians who he might be interested to find out are gay. If he can get the idea that it is no big deal and just part of what makes us all different, it will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life whether he is gay or heterosexual.

You were sounding quite worried about it earlier - are you worried about how life would be for him if it did turn out he was gay?

gringottsgoblin Sat 28-Jul-07 22:37:36

my little bro (he is 25) is a female gnome on some online game, he is not gay, just prefers the clothes the girls have

the thought struck me that if he is into emo or goth stuff lots of boys do wear traditionally girly stuff - lots of eyeliner, make up in general - one of my male friends used to wear skirts when out clubbing and he def wasnt the only one. if he has been looking at that sort of band he may be confused by stuff they are wearing

hippipotami Sun 29-Jul-07 14:59:53

Wow, my 8 year old does not even know what habbo hotel is. Nor does he have a clue about emo's.
Is my son behind or does the OP's son seem ahead of his age??

filchthemildmanneredjanitor Sun 29-Jul-07 15:06:08

well my ds is 7-only a year away from 8 and all this seems way way way in the future.

auntysocial Sun 29-Jul-07 17:47:24

Thanks for the replies, truth is I'm having a bit of a stressful time at the minute, various things going on and when he and his brother get together all they do is fight so I figured it would make life easier...just for the summer hols at least if I let him go on habbo hotel and I know I'm in the wrong and I should've been supervising him.

He also has a myspace page, he was thrown off it once because he put his real age in and then he made up a new account saying he was 15, I did moniter the myspace obviously and still do but I think all this has gotten out of hand now.

He's been going on habbo pretending to be 15 too and whenever I have come in to check on him I have found him talking to girls who are obviously 14+ and think he is too...occasionally he gets out of his depth when they say things to him that he doesn't understand and he then trips himself up and they get wise to him and leave him alone.

Anyway he is sleeping at his grandmothers tonight and I have just come in and checked on his myspace and he has been talking to a 15 year old american girl, started off ok but towards the end this girl was becomming quite 'fond of him' and was signing off with "I love you" and "why are you ignoring me" etc. He doesn't realise how his lying about his age is affecting other people and he certainly doesn't understand why girls start to get "heavy" after a while, which obviously at 8 he wont.

This has obviously gone far enough and he is blatently too young to be going on these sites and messing with peoples heads like this but I know that when I tell him he can't use them anymore he will think his world has collapsed on him, he is obsessed with the sites, doesn't make friends easily offline and I'm worried that me banning these "friend making sites" will really effect him.

I know this is my fault but how do I rectify it? make him go cold turkey with the sites or limit their use more?

Charlottesweb Sun 29-Jul-07 17:58:12

Well, I'm sorry to barge in & be brutal, but he is 8. He shouldn't be on habba hotel, or any site that he needs to be older to chat.

At 8 I wouldn't be branding him as gay either. Jesus, I have an 8 year old nephew who wouldn't in a million years know what gay meant!!! Or be interested in habba hotel! Have young boys stopped playing football or cricket these days??????

forsale Sun 29-Jul-07 18:02:06

you rectify it by cutting out any unsupervised access to the internet. FWIW him pretending to be a girl online doesnt mean he's gay regardless of what his dad says. He's exposed to a lot of stuff 8 year olds shouldnt even know about. What on earth is he doing with a myspace account? dont even know what habbo hotel is but am thinking 8 is a little too young to be dabbling with emo things - surely he still likes Power Rangers and lego?

Charlottesweb Sun 29-Jul-07 18:05:54

Auntysocial, I have just re-read your last post & I see you know he is too young for the sites, so I apologise for stating the obvious.

But, can I also point out that the friends he makes through these sites aren't & won't ever be real friends. Simply due to the fact that he is 8years old & they are 12 or over. In some cases the girls will be flirting with him & perhaps using teenage language that I would not want my 8year old picking up on.

What age is your other son?

FrannyandZooey Sun 29-Jul-07 18:18:50

At 8 years old some children are developing sexual and romantic feelings and for some people who later identify as gay adults, this is the first time they will be aware of their feelings for people of their own sex. There's nothing wrong with being aware what "gay" means or talking about it with your mum age 8.

I think it is very easy for children to get carried away on 'friend' sites and at this age not have much idea what effect their actions have on other people. I think it is good advice to have the pc in a public room that everyone uses and where you naturally walk in and out of a lot, such as kitchen, sitting room, rather than study or bedroom. Then everyone knows where they stand - activity on the pc is public rather than private and there shouldn't be the same need to check up on children, or worry what they are up to when you are not looking.

I completely understand why you have been letting him go on these sites but it seems he has got a bit out of his depth. I would look together to find some sites that are more suitable for children his age, and moderated by adults who are supervising the children's activity and conversations for their safety. Then agree how and when he is allowed to use these sites and explain why you are concerned about him on the internet. If he isn't aware of the dangers of giving out personal info and why then you should explain it to him, IMO.

And LOL at being exposed to emo music. The Horror

foxinsocks Sun 29-Jul-07 18:23:55

club penguin is a good site for his age

if you are concerned about his real life social skills, are there any out of school groups he'd like to join? Sport, woodcraft folk/cubs, karate? something like that?

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