Posted by: whimsigal | August 29, 2007

It had to happen

Things were going along so smoothly here. All was copacetic in our little world, until yesterday. See, the kids have this obsession with You Tube and especially with any movies made about Mario and Luigi. Well, the problem is, as you can well imagine, some kids and grownups make these characters say and do some obscene things. Stuff I would find funny if my 5 year old weren’t the one pointing it out to me and yesterday it all came to a head. Sean and I have been wrestling with how to handle it because we didn’t want to ban You Tube outright but the kids know how to do their own searches and are finding things that would make a stripper blush. So yesterday the hammer came down on You Tube. It was every bit as bad as I expected. There were tears, glares, stomping feet marching up to their rooms, slamming doors. There were hushed conversations between siblings discussing their evil parents. Ryan, my precious, chipmunk cheeked 5 year old called me a murderer, because murderers don’t let anybody do anything fun. That one made me chuckle.

Seriously though, I just didn’t know what else to do? The amount of disturbing material on there far outweighs the beneficial, at least for now. If they were older, it would be easier for me to put it into context because we’ve tried that and right now it just doesn’t work. Am I wrong to keep them from going on to You Tube? Sean likened it to letting them go downtown at 2am by themselves because we trust them to behave but it’s other people’s actions that come into question. I’m just curious about your opinion. Was there a different way to handle this?

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Responses

  1. I agree that you made the right decision.

    Our four year old is equally obsessed with You-Tube, and what Rod has done is that he and Jack search together, and when Jack falls in love with something appropriate (at the moment he is obsessed with KPop and break dancing), Rod links it to a special page he has created for Jack on our server. Jack can watch anything on that page but he’s not allowed to click on the movie (which would take him to You-Tube).

    If we hear anything that we don’t recognize, at any time, Jack forfeits two days on the computer. Because Jack is compliant and the computer is in the busiest room in the house, it works.

  2. Hey Misti!

    Thanks for your comment. We have been trying to establish something similar to what you have done. The boys already have a game page that they can use for things we consider okay. Now we just have to do it for videos, too.

    I signed them up for a website today called http://www.clubpenguin.com and they have REALLY been enjoying that. So things were not as dark today as they were last night. 🙂

    Thank you again for your comment and the suggestion!

  3. Oh good! I’m very glad that you found something that is working for your family!

    I mentioned to Rod that he might want tio write up what he had done and he said that it wasn’t working anymore because YouTube now puts a string of “related” videos (many supremely inappropriate) right on Jack’s web page.

    *sigh* You tube is rapidly becoming a “with parents only” activity. Thank goodness for Peep and the big Wide World! (http://www.peepandthebigwideworld.com/videos/) That he can watch unsupervised and it’s “edutainment”. I can feel not too bad about it. 😉

  4. OMG Don’t you just LOVE Peep and the Big Wide World? Quack is my favorite. You know, when my oldest went to school in 1st grade, he was stil watching Blues Clues and the other kids there picked on him for that so he quit watching it for a while. Now that he’s home we don’t have to worry about him getting teased about it and he still watches Blues Clues and Peep!

    You’re so right about You Tube and, just to be clear to others out there, it’s not that I don’t want to sit and hang out with my kids while they do an activity, but they don’t always want me around. It’s unfortunate that there are so many incredibly inappropriate things out there without having a way to filter them for the very young.

    For the most part, I try not to worry about the “quality” of what they watch believing that even Scooby Doo can offer something to them. When it comes to some of the more offensive material on You Tube, putting their favorite characters in graphically sexual videos, I just feel like I have to draw the line.

  5. Well, either my comment was not approved or I flubbed it.
    I don’t imagine that it was offensive, so I’ll resend it. If it WAS on purpose, just delete this one, too!

    What I said was… did you ask the boys?
    I would probably call a family meeting, and say something like “these are my concerns… that you may run into stuff that makes you uncomfortable, or else stuff that is really too adult for you to understand. I would like to protect you from getting in harm’s way, so I’d like to know if we can come to a decision that makes everyone feel that they are getting their needs met/empowered. Any suggestions?”
    You get the idea.
    Have you asked them what they think about it?
    a shushed steph

  6. Steph! I never got your comment. That’s weird! I was wondering why you hadn’t commented on this topic.

    Yes, we did try talking to them about it first and we explained that this was only a temporary thing until we could figure out a way for them to see appropriate things. My youngest and most temperamental is the one who had the hardest time with it. He only wants things as they have been, no changes at all. Now that things have calmed down somewhat, everyone is able to be a little more reasonable.

    In the meantime, I hooked them up with a new site called clubpenguin.com. It’s just for kids to meet with other kids and there are parental controls in place that help insure that all the conversations stay above board. Iain has been loving it as has Ryan. Ryan actually came to me yesterday and said he liked it more than YouTube.

    We always try to get their buy-in first because we want to empower them and make them a part of the process. This time they just couldn’t see beyond their immediate desires enough to understand our concerns. I think we have reached that point now and this weekend we’re going to try and talk about what we can do to make everyone happy.

    I would NEVER delete one of your comments without letting you know I was disappointed with it, not that I could ever imagine such a thing. I put this post up because I wanted counsel, whether I agreed with it or not!

    Thank you for reposting your comment. I would have been worse off for missing it.

    Evie

  7. Well that’s good! (that I messed it up, I mean. Sometimes I get the little letters at the bottom wrong, and it doesn’t go through, and I accidently leave the comments box and don’t know to resend it.)Anyway – “worse of for missing it” nothin’! You handled it great, I think.
    I’m most often amazed at the solutions Trev comes up with. Sometimes he’s at a loss, and just says what I think he thinks I want him to say :/ but mostly he is great with coming up with inventive and helpful solutions.

    YOur boys are brilliant – I am sure you guys will find a solution – or invent some sort of new-fangled magic shield to protect yourselves!
    🙂 Steph

  8. Evie,
    YouTube is one of the places that they go to only with hubby or I. Sometimes it’s beyond their reasoning as to why we say that…but the more trust we show them, the more they are able to give it back (eventually) when we put boundaries out there. But I totally see where you’re coming from. The more desensitized the world gets, the more sensitive I get with it around my young kids.

    I’ve heard great things about club penguin. The Golfer hasn’t been on it because he’s got another website he’s loving right now:
    http://www.miniclip.com/games/en/


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