“Safe” Searches

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Dylan, who is now five and a half years old, left a window open on the computer yesterday, an image search for “pee”.  The results were not filtered, which has now been rectified; from now on, the settings will be set to “safe”.

I suppose it all started back in the spring of 2008, searching youtube for Sesame Street sketches I remembered from my youth.  Dylan would laugh, yell, or yawn depending on the content presented, making his own digital entertainment choices.  A year or two later, and we wrestled with the decision of whether to let our three year old play games on the computer (and for how long at a stretch).  Middle ground was reached, the approved websites were allowed in parent approved doses, and the ability to point and click was hard-wired to our toddler’s brain.

Perhaps the next step was encouraging the boy to seek out answers to nearly all of life’s problems on the internet.  What does a baby eagle look like?  Well, let’s google it and see!  How do you solve the cloister of trials in Final Fantasy X?  Google it.  I have told him on many occasions that the internet knows almost everything because the internet is made up of all of the people connected by it.  That’s a lot closer to the truth than what I told him about Santa Claus.

So this morning, when he asked me for some privacy while he used the computer, I asked a few questions and assured him he could search for whatever he wanted.  It turned out he was searching for information on “poo” and ‘pee’ once again, this time with the filtered results.  There is a temptation for me as a parent to steer his searches away from such content, but I am aware that a stifled curiosity is likely to pop up anyway when I am not around to answer the questions that come with access to the world wide web.

We have now reached the more difficult part of his digital development, the ability to separate the trash, noise, and marketing subterfuge of the internet from the information, beauty, and utility of a connected humanity.


  1. Yes, Lukas, this is tough stuff! As parents we can only do the best we can at any given moment in time. A focus on the big picture – instilling an awareness of and respect for the values and moral foundation that are the fabric of the family unit is about the extent of parental “control” in the long run. Thank goodness parents have a few years to “steer and suggest” resources that will have accurate answers to the perplexing issues in young people’s lives!

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