Post # 1
I’m not even TTC yet and every so often I get reminders about things in our culture I don’t want to expose my future kids to.
For example, I got really angry when I found the “unrated” Robin Thicke video (misogynistic softcore porn) after a 10-second search and one click – there wasn’t even a warning message or lame request for me to self-report that I was over a certain age before the video started playing.
The big reason that made me angry is because while we don’t need to have cable at home, my kids will of course need the internet. And that will be right there waiting for them, whether they’re ready to see that and not let it undermine their sense of the world or not (In my 30s, even I wasn’t really ready… I didn’t get through watching the whole video before I clicked away. But if I had been younger, I would have watched the whole thing to see what the hubbub was about and to better understand the world I live in and how other people think. To my detriment).
On the one hand, I really want to expose my kids to the outside world… science, travel, art, writing… and on the other hand, I really don’t want them to get too much exposure to US culture. I’m sure I could find a community of other parents raising their kids in similar ways so they have friends to socialize with, but I wonder, would this lead them to be disadvantaged later on? I think wanting to “hermit” the kids from the culture is a good instinct, to some extent, but how will I know when I’m starting to over-hermit them?
I can only use myself as reference and I was somewhat “hermitted” away from mainstream culture when I was growing up. I *think* it provided me more advantages than disadvantages, but how do I really know? And I’m thinking of distancing my kids a bit more from the current culture than I was as a kid.
Post # 3
I think these days it would be really difficult to prevent your children from being exposed to American culture. I definitely think you can limit it at home, but outside of that I think it would be really hard to keep the boundaries of what you want them to see. Seven-year-olds have smartphones (so sad)! Sure, maybe my 7-yr-old won’t, but lots of their friends will. I feel like no matter what restrictions you put in place at home, they’re going to be exposed to it at school. Now if you homeschool then I think you have a lot more control over things like that. A neighbor of mine homeschools her two boys and she is trying to shelter them from what most kids are exposed to these days. They don’t have cable and their internet use is really restricted. The only thing that bothers me about their situation is that these boys have literally NO friends other than each other. They don’t meet other kids since they stay home and their mother doesn’t try to connect them with other homeschooled children either. I think that is really more detrimental than allowing them just to go to school, but thats another issue in and of itself.
Post # 4
You can try all you want. It will be difficult.
Let me tell you that I try my hardest to keep my children (10 and 6) away from things as much as I can. keep them from being exposed to certain subjects. I don’t like them listening or watching the news. If they hear something (like the Sandy Hook shooting) then I have to speak to them about that.
I have an almost 11 year old daughter. She’s recently been exposed to Googling sex images on Google Images on her iPod. I found a saved image on her images. She clears out her history on the internet. I found the picture and was mortified on the porn picture that she saved.
Where did she hear this from? Her very own cousin, who is a few years older. She told my daughter to google “sex”. If your child won’t hear it from society, it will indeed come from family also, so keep that in mind. Needless to say, I had to have the sex talk with my daughter a little sooner than I wanted to, and she no longer has her iPod and I have monitoring system on her computer.
Post # 5
I think I was more “sheltered” than the average kid, and at the time I HATED it, b/c in school someone would make a pop culture reference, and I had no idea what they were talking about! (You know; worst thing in the world when you are in 7th grade, lol!)
But now I totally appreciate it. And I intend to do the same for my kids.
Post # 6
@joya_aspera: Site blocker will be our best friend when our fetus is old enough to use a computer.
That being said, I’m one of the younger Bees (I’m 23), so I grew up with computers as part of my life. They were in our kindergarten curriculum.
My parents allowed restricted time (an hour or two a day) for age-appropriate internet playing. A lot of websites dedicated to kids are informative and promote learning!
Then she introduced new things to us and gave us more freedom as we got older. When I was 13 and she caught me and my girlfriends reading Cosmo, she sat down and said that it was totally natural to want to know about sex, and that the stuff is Cosmo is not generally stuff that real people do.
Then a book about sex/dating/relationships magically appeared under my pillow one day. And it was WAY more realistic than Cosmo!
Post # 7
I honestly think the only thing you can do is to educate your children. Mostly naked women walking around a fully clothed dude in a music video? Explain to them not only that that’s not ok, but WHY it’s not ok. Have an age-appropriate conversation. I think trying to shelter a child from the society you live in is at best futile and at worst harmful to the child in the long run. Many other cultures (particularly European cultures) have a much more open approach to sex and nudity than we do, and those children are often much better adapted to deal with real life nudity and sex situations, have lower unplanned pregnancy rates, etc.
Post # 8
Isolating your children from mainstream culture can also isolate them from thoughts and opinions different from your own. I believe true growth happens when you are exposed to many cultures, ideas, and ways of life.
I grew up in a tiny town in CT. We had one black kid and one asian kid in my entire school. Not grade. School. Everyone else was upper-middle-class white. It was extremely isolating. When I finally went off to a university and suddenly had an influx of ideas, opinions, cultures, and people that I had never been exposed to, I had a culture shock. However, once I adjusted, I realized I became more myself than I ever had.
I believe that if I had stayed in that small town with small town ideals and priorities, I could have never become who I am today. I love who I am now. I regret that my upbringing was so isolated. I would have liked to experience all facets of my personality sooner rather than just concentrating on what was acceptable in my small town.
Travel with your kids. Expose them to diversity and culture. Let them interact with people from all different walks of life. Opportunity in this situation outweighs the danger of them seeing unsavory things.
Just to note: I still haven’t watched the Robin Thicke video and have no desire to.
Post # 9
@rickhurst35: Ugh. Cousins! One of mine told me “You know, you’re going to bleed from your vagina when you get older” When I was like 7! So OBVIOUSLY I was horrified, but never said anything to an adult. Luckily health class was when I was 9, so I only had to be terrified for two years… Luckily, my baby will nearly be the oldest cousin (one cousin 9 months older, one two months younger)
Post # 10
I think the intention is noble but in reality it is difficult and possibly detrimental to be over-sheltered. I do believe it’s important to be exposed to different opinions, view points, cultures, and ideas. I also believe it’s important to be able to explain to your child that certain things they will see and hear are unacceptable or inappropritate and why they are.
I’m not going to lie- I’m terrified of what my daughter will see and hear in mainstream media. Women are told over and over and over again that we are never pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough. I can only hope to be able to communicate to her that Bratz dolls are inappropriate because they objectify women and that we as a society should find our self worth not in our bodies or shapes or clothes, but within ourselves, our morals, our inner beauty. I know I have my work cut out for me, but it’s important and I’m up for the challenge. I know I can’t protect her from the world, so I can only hope to be able to adequately prepare her to live, to thrive, in it.
Post # 11
@adoc86: + 1
I think you can try to provide other interests at home that won’t be focussed on mainstreem culture, and it’s a very good thing because it allows your child to be interested by other things and grow a culture of his or her own. However you cannot ”prevent” your child from the culture surrounding us. Anywhere we look we see it. I don’t think it’s a good thing to try to ”hide” things from children, they are smart and they will learn about it nonetheless. But you can absolutely offer an alternative to this mainstreem culture when you’re at home.
Post # 12
And I voted ”other” because even though I was immersed in the mainstream culture, my parents educated me well, we could discuss about anything and my parents always offered me alternatives and helped me develop critiqual thinking.
Post # 13
I think you need to give your kids the tools to cope with mainstream culture. I was a good kid, and I still went on the internet to find things I shouldn’t have looked at. A lot worse than a raunchy music video… trust me.
You need to equip your kids with good values and then it’s up to them to cope in this world. If you shelter them, they’ll still find out one way or another, and that’s usually worse.
It’s like how many European parents allow their kids to have alcohol in a safe family setting long before they turn 18 (I know US drinking age is 21, but it’s 18 in a lot of places, including here in Canada). If you ban alcohol and make it a taboo, you bet your teenagers will drink with their friends secretly, and likely completely overdo it… and that’s where the real problems start.
I sometimes shake my head at today’s world… more at things like playing video games vs. playing outside, though. I think women have a lot of power these days… and I’m not too bothered about them flaunting their sexuality (to a point). I don’t see that sort of thing as misogenistic at all.. to me, having to cover up the female body is worse. As long as you let your kids know how to treat a woman, and you and your future husband role model it, kids aren’t dumb. Them seeing a silly music video won’t turn them into pimps or whatever 😛
Post # 14
I think it’s all about finding a balance. My parents fully embraced all things Disney during my childhood, but we also had annual trips overseas where I could meet family in Europe and have more cultural experiences. I never had a video game system, but I could play at a friend’s house if I spent the night (I just needed reminders on how to use the buttons lol). I had a few Barbies, but I also had Raggedy Anne and dolls my dad brought back from some of his other trips that didn’t look anything like my friends’ dolls. I had this one rag doll from somewhere in the Caribbean that I loved that was reversible (It was a lot like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Jamaican-Topsy-Turvy-Doll-14-in-Excellent-Condition-/261232370776). I also read a TON of books growing up, and they weren’t usually “girl books” or “princess books” I was into books by Matt Christopher who wrote about all kinds of sports or the RL Stine scary books, and yeah the Saddle Club books, who were all girls, but I just liked them because I also rode horses.
Post # 15
Having been raised in NYC, being sheltered from mainstream culture was never an option. Everything was everywhere! I don’t think it was detrimental though. I knew what words I wasn’t supposed to repeat out loud, what behaviors I wasn’t supposed to mimic. My parents didn’t restrict me from watching scary or violent movies. After nearly 30 years I still have no criminal record.
After moving to the suburbs I started coming in contact with kids at school every now and then who had been sheltered and it was uncomfortable. They got bullied a lot because of how they were raised, always out of the loop, difficult to hold a conversation with because they had no idea what anyone else was talking about. What made it worse it that when people like me and my friends would try to be nice and invite them to hang out they wouldn’t be allowed.
Having said all of this, the Internet did not come into play until much later on. No one was expected to even own a computer. So you have to do your best to monitor that. Teach your kids not to be stupid.
Post # 16
Honestly I think you should provide guidance but most definately not shun them from the world. A sheltered child is worse than a child who has had some exposure to the world. Life happens and as a parent it is our duty to instill what is right and what is wrong.
For example the internet use, a parent should be sitting next the the child up to a certain age while they are online so if per chance the Robin Thicke video shows up than you take that chance to explain or turn them off to that kind of video.
Because sheltering all they are going to do is when they are with a friend’s house is go look at that video and watch it anyway. It is better to explain to the child in terms they understand why that kind of video is not really cool.