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March 19, 2004

Innovations in Parenting

Mom on mission after kid exposed to porn at library (Karen Goulart, The Patriot Ledger, 3/18/04) A woman in Boston is very, very upset because her daughter's "emotional safety" was compromised when the 12-year-old saw the dirty pictures another kid was looking at on another public library computer. Which is rightfully upsetting. (What about that other kid's parents - obviously they don't know what's going on.) The mother demanded that internet filters be installed. But the library doesn't receive any federal money, so it's not required to install them. Moreover, the library director doesn't believe they're effective. The librarians do keep an eye on things and take action when necessary, but they also try not to invade people's privacy.

So the mom is having to resort to an extreme measure:

[The mother], who in the past would drop her daughter off at the library to do homework, said she won't do that now.

‘‘My family will not be utilizing the public library system unless I'm with my children,'' she said.

Direct supervision. Of one's own child. How revolutionary.

In the sixth grade, I borrowed Beverly Cleary's Fifteen from my junior high school library. It was a teen romance - the most risque thing was a tender kiss between the heroine and the boy she liked. My mom found the book - I guess I must have left it on a table with my other school stuff, and she didn't like that I was reading this, not one bit. I was astonished - now she was paying attention to my reading, when I had read much worse things the year before, like Sidney Sheldon, and my classmates were reading V.C. Andrews? It must not have occurred to her that I'd have access to dangerous material. I was really offended, because I was self-sufficient with my schoolwork, making the honor roll every term, actually excited to be going to school (yes, I was a nerd, have I mentioned that before?). To be reminded of my lack of independence - in general, as well as regarding my pleasure reading - really pissed me off. Of course, she was being my mom, doing what she was supposed to do. I see that now, but the memory still rankles.

Yours, &c., LC | 04:28 PM | Librariana | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

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Lady C's stories like this help me realize what a great childhood I had. My parents weren't inattentive (well, not more than I wanted them to be) but they let me read and see almost anything I wanted. My father regularly used my brother and I as an excuse to go to the drive-in without my mother to see late 70s and early 80s horror and exploitation films (which I enjoyed and still enjoy.) I started reading Stephen King novels in sixth or seventh grade, and had read everything he had written up to that point by the time Pet Sematary was published. I recall my father turning around to give me an awkward, disapproving look as I gleefully described something out of Cujo to my ten year old brother in the back seat of the family car.

Oddly enough, when I watched movies with my father, he would make my brother and I "close our eyes" whenever there was nudity, but we could watch any kind of violence.

Posted by: Scott at March 19, 2004 04:56 PM

i remember one time when my brother and i were young. my parents were going to watch stripes and we wanted to watch it with them. they said we weren't old enough and should go play elsewhere so they could watch. so we said ok, went downstairs, climbed into the crawl space below the family room, crawled over to the back far right corner and sat under the tv and listened to stripes. it was very cool.

Posted by: marco at March 20, 2004 09:51 PM