Innocence Lost: Where Do Parents Draw the Line With Technology?

One child's experience with the iPod Touch is a wake-up call to power-down the handhelds in favor of traditional toys.

Last weekend we were at a Christmas party and as usual, the moms began talking about their latest child-rearing follies, all of which seemed to involve young children and either the iPhone or iPod Touch. With such stories you're bound to hear some interesting tales as the combination of the two is nothing more than a ticking time bomb attached to a Pandora's box of dangerous scenarios.

After several moms related their amazement at their child's web navigating prowess, one mom talked about her 7-year-old son's disturbing discovery.

The boy's 8-year-old neighbor had just received an iPod Touch for her birthday and was anxious to share it with the group of kids. According to the boy, they wanted to hear their favorite song, LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It." She typed in "The Sex Song" and got a plethora of traumatizing images.

What the boy witnessed went against everything his parents had taught him about appropriate and inappropriate touching. The children watched men and women engaged in oral sex.

After sitting on what he saw for more than a week, he asked his mom if they could talk. She was totally unprepared for what she was about to hear, and received a detailed account of everything they had watched.

Horrified, she called the other moms of the children who her son said watched these videos. All confirmed the story after talking with their children and they agreed that the mother of the girl who had been given the iPod Touch should be told.

What was most interesting to me was that not one mom expressed concern that a young child was gifted such a device. Turns out many of their children have these gadgets. And all cover their butts with an addendum that goes something like this: "But we're on top of all the safety measures."

If that were true, this group of children wouldn't have been indoctrinated into the world of fellatio and cunnilingus at an age when they should be nothing more than innocent kids.

At what point do we draw the line in favor of childhood? We contribute to prematurely aging children beyond their years by introducing them to very adult technology and mismanaging it.

Denise Du Vernay December 23, 2011 at 03:54 AM
This is on the parents. An iPod at 8? Argh. At least disable the wifi. Would these parents leave porno mags and DVDs out for their children to peruse at will? Offering a child unchecked Internet access is so much worse. They may as well leave issues of Penthouse with their kids' Harry Potter books.
Randall Gniadecki December 23, 2011 at 09:31 PM
Parents need to take the time to educate themselves and learn how to limit what their children have access to. If you go into the iPhone/pod settings it is very easy to disable YouTube and set limits on what kind of content can be viewed. Also, attach your child's device to your account so you can see what they download and access. The Parents need to take responsibility for how they set up the device for their children. It is possible to make it safe for children if you take the time to learn the technology and set it up correctly.
Nabeha Zegar December 23, 2011 at 11:16 PM
How horrible that the kids were exposed to that! I agree, the problem is that most parents do not know how to disable their child's device from being able to view the adult themed content. It is really simple. Go to settings, general, restrictions and choose the age range. You can also disable specific apps individually or disable wifi altogether. I think 8 years old is much too young to have unlimited access to the internet, so if you are going to give your young child a gift like that then be sure to make it safe by following those few simple steps. This is the reason my kids' only access to the internet is in my kitchen and under my close watch.


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