Sunday, January 24, 2010

Can I Get a Consult?

So yesterday, Angus had a friend over. A friend from a family we met through baseball and really like. His sister was also here playing with Eve. For the first little while, Eve and the girl did crafts, Angus and the boy were in the basement playing Wii and then watching hockey, and I was baking cookies. Then the boys came upstairs with the girls and things got very loud. I went up to read in my room, and totally unintentionally fell asleep for about half an hour. I got up, folded some laundry, then went downstairs and we ordered pizza and watched Elf before the kids went home.

Today, I went on Youtube to look for Glee clips. As soon as I started typing in the URL, the history lit up like the red light district in Amsterdam: the words 'hot', 'h*rny', 'lesbian', 'sexy teen', 'f*ck t*t f*ck t*t f*ck' and 'bathroom cam' unfurled in a lurid display in the history column.

The look on my face must have been quite something. For a moment I was completely -- I mean completely -- unable to conceive of how this was possible, unless I sleepwalked down to the kitchen in the middle of the night in subconscious search of a little hot-horny-sexy-lesbians-in-the-bathroom action. Hey, I'll be the first to admit I've had some pretty far-out dreams involving the Indian doctor from ER.

Then I remembered that I have a son. Who uses the computer.
Photo by marsmettnn tallahassee
I called Angus up from the basement and asked him if he'd been on Youtube recently. He said he'd been looking up some stuff about Mario Kart, and when I kept looking at him, he said "what?". I said it looked like someone had been looking at something inappropriate, and he said it was the other boy.
Now, I have to say I'm inclined to believe him, but not because he's my son. In the first place, he just didn't look busted enough. He's a lousy liar, and if I keep looking at him, he always breaks down, and I did, and he didn't. In the second place, he just hasn't seemed that interested in horny f*cking co-eds or anything else of that ilk so far. He happily uses the computer out in the midst of family activity and has never shown that furtive instinct to close the screen or anything when approached, and I've never found anything like that in the website history list before. The other boy is almost a year older, and all I know about him is that I like his parents and he's very polite.
I realize I dropped the ball here. I shouldn't have left them unsupervised at all, and I sure as hell shouldn't have been napping. In my feeble defense, Matt's been away since Wednesday and I'm a little overtired, but I should have considered that before I invited them over. Also, even if he wasn't the instigator, clearly Angus was there with the other boy while this was going on, and he didn't stop him, or come and tell me, or tell me after he'd left.

I'm not totally freaking out. Kids get curious about sex, and hello, here's the Internet with its shiny horny promises of sexy co-eds being all naked and completely unaware of the cameras and suddenly realizing they can't keep their hands off each other. But clearly there have to be limits.

My question is this -- in my place, would you punish Angus? And would you tell the other boy's parents? I'm about to email my husband, but being as he hates conflict even more than I do (if that's possible), I suspect he won't want me to do anything. And I honestly don't know if I should. This wouldn't prevent me from having the boy over again, although my computer-use parameters will be a little different (perhaps involving a padlock and a sign with big red letters). Telling other people stuff about their kids is such a fraught thing.
So, as the Bear in the Big Blue House would say -- what do you think?

8 comments:

suzicate said...

We had that happen when our kids were younger. We sat him and friend down and said that if it happened again then se'd apeak to his parents. Since you like the parents, I'd let it go unless it happened again...some parents get real defensive if they think their kid is getting the blame and not yours.

Mary Lynn said...

Oy, I'm not sure what I'd do either. I think I'm glad I have a few more years to think about it. My kids still have no idea how to get onto the computer without me helping them.

Amber said...

I like the first suggestion - if and when the kid comes over again, maybe have a little chat about it. Otherwise, I'm not sure I'd do anything. It's not surprising that a boy of a certain age is going to want to look at this stuff, and I don't know if making a big deal would help anything.

But, really, this is VERY easy for me to say right now, while I sit here and breastfeed my baby boy.

Julie said...

I wouldn't punish Angus, but talk to him about what is appropriate and inappropriate and how he can let the other boy know that they shouldn't be looking at that sort of stuff. Never too early to get the boy sensitized to objectifying women. ;-) And I think I would go with suzicate with talking to the other boy the next time he comes over. i wouldn't go to the other parents yet, unless they were really good friends.

man, i am not looking forward to that stage!

http://www.blogger.com/profile/06682635497619900645 said...

I'm with suzicate.

I haven't looked into this yet, but would there be some sort of "net-nanny" app you could put on the computer? Maybe hubbie could do this when he returns.

Lynn said...

You should definitely ask XUP. She always knows what to do!

I like Julie's suggestion -- not to punish, but to talk about respect for women, and how you expect him to act, and how he might have handled the situation with his friend.

Also I think suzicate is right, you should mention to the friend if he is over again that the computer is off limits, but OY VEY, do I EVER hate confrontation, and I cannot imagine myself ever saying something like that to someone else's kid, even in my own home, because I am a GIANT WIMP.

So if you decide to just passive-aggressive it and lock up the laptop when the other kid is over, and not say anything, I will totally support that :).

Amber said...

Yeah, tricky. Punish a boy for being curious with the huge world of the internet easily available? Nah. I guess I'd limit exposure to the computer when the other boy is around. It is such new territory, parenting & the internet. I hope by the time my two boys are older you guys will have this all figured out and will tell me what to do.

theycallmejane said...

I have to admit - I got nothin'. I'm lurking the comments looking for advice because I fear my days are just around the corner.