When He Googled 'Cars'...

This is a true incident that a colleague in office narrated a few days back. Her ten-year-old son was surfing the internet for a school project on her office laptop that she had taken home over the weekend.
After finishing his work, the boy who loves automobiles googled ‘cars’. Not satisfied with the images of the cartoon cars he got on the first page of search, the boy googled ‘hot cars’ thinking it would lead him to latest, more sophisticated cars.

'Cars' throws up kiddie stuff, 'hot cars' overly mature images!!!
 The term ‘hot cars’ threw up images of latest and most modern cars in the search. However, it also threw images of semi-clad women leaning sensuously on posh, foreign cars. Attracted to the images (of cars I assume), the young boy clicked on few of the images to land on their respective sites. These car sites which obviously have a huge male user base use not so modestly dressed women to attract this base. One of the sites even had several pop-ups that lead to adult, pornographic sites.
As luck may have it, my colleague entered the room at the very time these pop-ups were causing havoc on the screen. She exclaimed and immediately raged at her young son giving a lesson in morals not knowing the complete truth. The boy stunned and embarrassed immediately ran to his room. Shocked and appalled, my colleague quickly closed all the pop-ups and windows and decided to give the lad a piece of her mind. However, before doing so she decided to check his surfing history to know which sites he had exactly visited. That was when the story unfolded. The kid had googled cars, car wallpapers and car stickers. Unable to get a satisfactory image, he went on to select ‘hot cars’ from Google Suggestions and thus eventually landed up sites that were not suited for his age.
Sorry for screaming at the young boy for no fault of his, she went up to him and apologized for her harsh reaction. The boy who was more embarrassed than hurt listened as his mother spoke.
Being an evolved internet user, my colleague changed the privacy and content settings on her office laptop and her home computer to make sure that such incidents are avoided in the future. She even read up the internet to pick tips on cyber safety.
Here are some good resources that we shortlisted -
Google's recommendations for parents on how to secure family computers. 
Google's tools to keep children safe while researching online
A compilation of websites and resources for parents of Indian children.
Tips to keep your child safe while online
FBI's advice to parents on how to secure children from online predators

As parents, we must remember that adolescents will be adolescents. Their curiosity of the world beyond their family, friends, school and community will lead them to explore. They will sometimes stumble upon the good and a lot of times upon bad and the worst. As parents, we must shield them from the worst and prepare them to face the bad. 


Anonymous said...

Hi Aparna, Great blog. DO check out www.mocomi.com. It's a free website for Indian kids.

Swati said...

Nice article, wana buy more gifts for your kids cars or anyhting just go there http://www.partybounty.com/

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deasy diamond said...

cool article. my kiddo loved cars so much.

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