My boys as much as any other school kid.
With less than two weeks of school, S1 arrived off the bus one day and his eyes told me I needed to pay attention to him NOW.
"As soon as my brothers are not around, I need to talk to you and then you need to contact the school," he said.
That got my attention.
I quickly shuffled his brothers outside with food and he informed me very clearly, very calmly, that while on the bus today, a boy had said, "Hey, what do you think of this?" and shoved an ipod or some sort of device in his face. On the screen was a very vulgar pornographic image.
My heart sank. I felt sick.
When he informed the boy that it was gross and went to turn his head, a girl ahead of him who he has class with said, "What? What is it?"
The boy turned his attention toward her. "Wanna see?"
My son caught the girls' eye and shook his head no. She didn't.
I emailed our principal and I emailed the other boys principal to let them know what had happened and what information we had.
The principal's got back to me quickly and told me they would take care of it. What did happen, I don't know; but I do know that for the next two weeks of school, the boys only rode the bus home once or twice.
The evening of the incident, I told S1 he could wait up for his daddy to get home so he could talk to him. He did. I had, of course, already given Jake a heads up. I was busy cleaning the kitchen when my husband arrived home and the two of them sat at the table, my husband eating and my son talking, about everything but what had happened.
When I went to make the bed in our bedroom, S1 talked with his Daddy about what had happened. He hadn't wanted me to worry, or offend me, in what he wanted to talk to a man about. Jake handled the conversation with him well, he is always good at talking at length with his boys.
But what shocked Jake and myself, when I learned later, was that S1 told his Dad that for so long at school he has heard how pornography is so bad, how evil it is. "But I didn't know what it was," he told his dad, "So I had thought about just looking it up just to see what it is. If that is pornography, I never want to see it again."
I had never given that any thought.
My husband is sure it was a completely innocent wondering. He told his son that if he ever wanted to know something, ask him. My husband has always made it a policy that the boys will never get in trouble for asking him something or talking to him about an issue. We started when they were young when they would want to know what a bad work meant. Jake has done a phenomenal job at this.
But when you tell your kids to look up what they don't know (hey, they have to learn to use the computer and look things up!), they don't think that it would be bad to look this up. Just so they know.
Can you imagine?
We tried then to set up some sort of filter on his computer, just to be safe rather than sorry even if we believe him that he would not look such a thing up. He has a little acer computer he uses for email, Goodreads and looking up garden tractors while he listens to old country on an out of town country music station. I could not figure it out a filter. On my Mac, I just click parental controls. On his, I can't find anything to do and I am not even sure what I need to look for.
Anyone have any ideas for us?
I debated whether or not to share this story. As a mom, I would have wanted a heads up if my son was wondering why something was evil. But I didn't want to make my son a target at school either.
On the last day of the school year, of all the boys, my son was given the Principal's Award. I nearly cried. I tried to video it, but I was on my iphone and I thought I was supposed to tip it to record it correctly, but I did it wrong. However, if you want to listen to it, you can.
While I am sick that this happened to my son, it was also a real eye opener. This boy who shoved this image in my son's face? He was only one grade older than my son.
We have to prepare our kids for the real world, but they are kids and I want to shelter them as long as I can. We also have to be vigilant, safe guarding them the best we can.
I am proud of him and how he handled this situation.
Any of you with any helpful tips for us or stories to share, I would appreciate hearing them.
But as the school year comes to an end for many of our children and before the new one begins, perhaps a conversation with your husband and son about this subject would be a smart one to have.