Friday, August 2, 2013

Loss of innocence

My step daughter just turned 9. She had been begging for a tablet. Her mom, my husband and I, and grandma went in on one together to get her one. She was ecstatic. She could now enjoy all the Monster High she wanted, play all the dress up/make up apps, and now be able to text her mom or grandma or my husband and I when she wanted. It had never crossed my mind that it would be used for anything like what I discovered last night.

At 9 I had boyfriends and kissed boys in the corner of the playground. We snuck holding hands but never once did sex cross my mind. I have heard how kids younger and younger know way too much about sex. We see it all over tv, movies, magazines, ads on the internet but I suppose I never stopped to think that all this sex everywhere would make a 9 year old curious and search for it on YouTube.

We had just finished watching the new Footloose and she was wanting to learn some new dance moves. She loves entertaining. So, we got on her tablet and I started typing in Footloose choreography. In the search bar, it drops down to your previous searches and there it was. "sex vidios". My stomach dropped. I just went on with the search for dance videos while my brain began to process what I just saw. I would have assumed parental controls had been put on the tablet prior to giving it to her, but I was wrong. Our boys have a tablet for kids games and learning apps, and the first thing I did was install Kid Mode to keep them from downloading anything and only being able to access their stuff.

But now the issue of how to gently handle the situation. Do I talk to her mom and my husband first and let them sort it out, definitely not a confrontation and make her feel bad, even as I type this I am a little shakey still. I would much rather her mother have this conversation. I will, no doubt, be giving the same speech to my sons someday.... I told her to leave her tablet downstairs charging for the night. She asked why and I told her that she needed to go to bed as it was almost 10.

While the kids were outside playing I decided to do a little more investigating to see if she had gone looking for anything else. Sure enough there was an app installed called "Adult Sex". I text my husband at work to let him know what I had found. He suggested taking it away but was not much help otherwise. He naturally goes to an extreme...guess that is why we are together. I tend to sit on a situation for a minute and go through several options and choose the least damaging. I opened the app, it said  to enter an age, so I clicked on it and I did not have to enter an age. She had accessed it. Just as the app opened and sex sounds start coming from the tablet my 3 year old walks in the room. EXIT! EXIT! Damn this app is slow! EXIT!!!! I felt like I was in that scene from Because I Said So where she had clicked on the "adult friends" ad.

While my nerves are still a little rattled I am going to talk to her mom. Surely we can both be uncomfortable and come to a solution, other than the obvious of putting the parental controls on the tablet ASAP and talking to A about what it is she is trying to find.

Signing off,
Completely Rattled L.