No, I haven’t been hacked, you read that title right. It’s the Google search search I found open on the tablet yesterday when I got home from work.
I knew it wasn’t Amber, because she can’t spell that well yet. Not quite.
“Have, er, you been searching for ‘boys willys’ on the tablet?” I asked the Lovely Melanie – just in case.
She gave me the look that says, I know what this is about but wish I didn’t.
Millie. Eight years old Millie.
OK, we both thought. Tricky.
Because the girls use our phones, the tablet and the PC a lot at home they all have Google’s search settings set to “safe” – they should never return any p0rn results, and Millie’s search had brought up pretty harmless results.
But…this is one of those of those parenting occasions where you can’t just let it be; this is the sort of thing that requires nuanced and tactful questioning. This is one of the occasions that requires a mother’s touch…
Damn, the Lovely Melanie is reading bedtime stories to Amber. Looks like this is a job for… (looks around hopefully – nope, no one else is here).
Bugger. Looks like this is a job for me.
Well, the Lovely Melanie and I always swore that we both wanted to be open and unembarrassed with the girls when talking about sex. We don’t make any kind of a fuss about people being naked and we’ve never avoided direct questions about the difference between girls and boys.
So, with the tablet in my hand I went and casually asked Millie if she’d been looking up “boys willys”.
“No,” she replied, not looking at me.
Part of me was triumphant: Yay! That’s that sorted! Let’s go and do something else!
The other, more adult half, sighed heavily and took charge.
I explained that we weren’t cross at all, but that we knew it wasn’t Amber or Mummy. Or me.
Millie still denied it – which worried me, because I wanted her to understand that we really weren’t cross or disgusted or anything like that. So I ploughed on regardless, explaining that the internet is great for finding things out, that almost anything you would ever want to know is on there somewhere.
But the problem is that “somewhere”. There are lots of things on the internet that are confusing or strange or just plain wrong – and there are even things that may be scary.
There still wasn’t much response from Millie, so I pressed on.
“I have a willy, as you know,” I reminded her, “so if you have any questions I’m something of an expert. And Mummy has seen my willy” (it’s true, she has – three times at last count!) “so you could even ask her.”
“OK” said Millie.
And that was pretty much that. I reiterated that being asked questions would never make us cross, and that I hoped Millie would never be embarrassed to ask questions.
The Lovely Melanie, who had been lurking outside, then stepped in: “Is there anything you want to ask us now?”
“No,” said Millie, so I kissed the top of her head and let her run off.
Then I remembered; I’d forgotten to correct her grammar: it’s “boys’ willies” not “boys willys”.