Buxom Banner

There is a particular banner ad that has been popping up on RedHotPawn of late.  It’s a woman in a bikini with an ample bosom and come hither look.  It has inspired at least a couple comments back and forth in the chess games I’m playing.

To my surprise, I noticed one of the flash games sites Linus likes to play on has the very same banner ad.   Actually, I didn’t notice the banner; Jane did, and asked me if that was really appropriate for Linus to view.  When I looked at the screen to see what she was talking about I couldn’t believe it.  “It’s her,” I thought.  To Linus’s credit he seemed completely immersed in his game and seemed oblivious to her charms.  I suppose at age 7 that should be the case, although I forget at what age I started to notice those things and it’s hard to gauge what would be interesting to him at this point.

I started to talk to him about banner ads, and what they were, and why he should avoid them at all costs.  He said he had only clicked on one, which offered him a choice of a new cursor.  He mentioned a banner that had a countdown, and a message that he needed to click the counter before it expired to win an iPod.  He said the counter made him a bit nervous, but since he didn’t know what an iPod was he didn’t click it.

Linus’s proficiency with browsers is growing daily.  I don’t think he knows how to use a search engine yet, but it’s only a matter of time.  I’m not currently concerned about him getting places on the internet he shouldn’t, but at some point we’re going to need a strategy.  It’s relatively easy to end up places kids shouldn’t be, even if they start out at a seemingly innocent site.  My general philosophy is anti-censorship and anti-control, and given that he knows the (very) general facts of life, it’s probably not going to be the end of the world if in the next two years he happens to see a risque photo or two.

But there’s risque, and there’s beyond that, and the internet makes no distinctions.   I have to admit I’m at a real loss for how to deal with this without compromising my core philosophy of choosing education and awareness over sheltering and control.

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5 Responses to Buxom Banner

  1. Dave R says:

    I don’ t know about 7 year olds, but I doubt I’m the only person that will make their way over to Redhotpawn upon reading your post.

    Stimulus -> response. I can’t help it.

  2. kelly says:

    I don’t have kids, so grain of salt. But isn’t “when its appropriate” more about your comfort around his pace, than his pace itself. Americans are obsessed with Porn for example, but Dutch kids who have XXX hardcore porn running on relatively public TV are not only not obsessed with it, many remain disgusted by it (fools).

    So not being a parent makes all of this easy for me to say. But I got to wonder why you’d censor anything on the Internet.

    Now for the realist perspective. You’ll never stop him from seeing something that will give him a woody when he’s 12, no security software, platform, etc. A smart kid will find whatever he needs to satiate that curiousity. Making it Taboo will likely have the opposite effect no?

  3. pipelineblog says:

    Well, I tend to agree. The problem is he’s 7, not 12.

    And, I’m not sure we can learn anything from the Dutch. Have you ever seen Dutch porn? Instead of wearing spike heels they were those wooden shoes.

  4. Jim says:

    I am glad I have girls; most girls don’t actively search for porn. But it is a complicated issue, and one that our generation is the first to deal with. I’d be more concerned about stuff like rotten.com than this; photos of people killed violently are more upsetting. Still, if I caught my kids looking at some shots of someone getting a Dirty Sanchez I’d probably be pretty unhappy about it.

  5. There’s always the “you’ll go blind” ploy, but then he can just look that up on Google and figure out it’s a myth.

    As an Internet junkie I can hardly expect my kid will grow up not knowing how to use the Net. He’s already fascinated by the computer at 15 months. I know a lot of parents use the tactic of only allowing Internet use “out in the open” until they feel their kids are old enough to have their own computers in their rooms. I think that works for a 7 year-old, but certainly not for a 12 year-old.

    I agree, though, it’s not about him seeing some naked people, it’s much more the truly disturbing images that are out there — and there are plenty. The Slashdot crowd used to (and sometimes still does) frequently link to a site that became famous for being just plain shocking — I don’t want to put the URL on your blog, and I don’t know how to describe that image with decorum. But, there is certainly a very human desire to see the forbidden, to know what could possibly be so gross or disturbing as to be “off limits” — and that is especially true for adolescents.

    So, in short: when you figure out a strategy, let the rest of us know what it is!

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