Apologies, readers, for the euphemism in the headline — by “improperly”, we’re meaning “hey the Host Kid is looking at websites with the letters s – e -x in the title”…..
Host Parents and Au Pairs are aligned in a main childcare goal– keeping the children safe. “Safe”, of course, has a lot of different meanings…usually we think about physical things, like car seats, bike use, and the like. The Au Pair whose email is below has a different kind of safety on her mind– psychological safety.
Her Host Kid has stumbled upon websites that most parents would find inappropriate for a child in grade school.
What should the Au Pair do?
We’d like your suggestions on how to broach this topic with a host parent, especially in ways that will not accuse the child of any deliberately bad behavior.
Au Pairs and Parents can be real partners not only in keeping kids safe but also in helping parents reinforce their values and shape kids behavior to support those values.
Dear AuPairMom –
I have a dilemma! I have the sweetest two host children, boys aged 5 and 7. I’m super close to both of them and they are wonderful.
The 7 year old kid really likes ‘minecraft’ – its this thing like pokemon that kids love but also some weird adults love too. The older host child watches game tutorials on youtube about minecraft — like how to get past levels — on the family ipad. He’s allowed to use it just 2 days a week.
The other day i went to use the iPad after he’d used it and I discovered that it was open on a YouTube video that said something along the lines of ‘XXX minecraft sexy!!!’ ‘SEX!! in school’.
My eyes popped and so I had a look at the browsing history. I found lots of other stuff that he searched on the internet like that, some of it fairly graphic and creepy! There are obviously some weird game-obsessed creeps online who dont realise kids find this stuff.
Anyway, after looking I saw that my host child had only stumbled upon this stuff in the past week or so, having re-searching that kind of thing around 3 times. It started when he was looking at tutorials and from the ‘suggestions’ on youtube one of them must have caught his eye.. so curiosity for the word ‘sex’ must have got the better of him.
When he uses the ipad he is always with me/ around the parents, and as he’s on youtube and playing games I thought i was ok. I don’t leave him alone with it or let him take it to his room. I don’t think the parents know.
What do I do?
It’s a super awkward situation! He’s obviously just curious – all kids are, but I guess when we were that young we never had computers so didn’t have to deal with all that until 13 or so when you’re better at coping with that stuff.
This kid is so sweet and young, if I tell his parents I KNOW his dad will go the complete wrong way about it and completely bollock him. The child might end up having more curiosity and looking more on google which will give much more graphic results.
But on the other hand – it’s not really my place. At the end of the day he is not my child.
I want to approach this in the right way without accusing the child of anything. He’s obviously a normal kid but with access to the horrible vastness and darkness of world wide web!
The child seems so young to me to have to deal with this situation. I don’t remember being that young and even being aware of sex. I also worry about what the 5 year old may see it/talk about it with his brother too.
Any suggestions of how I should go about this?