I was reading my friend Daniel's blog this morning http://sayencrowolf.net/2011/09/rules-of-the-road/ . He really DOES post darn near anything. He CAN be edgy at times, typically because he addresses important issues.
Reading that got me to thinking about how so many people work so hard to control what kids can see online. And from there, on how my reading habits helped make me what I am today.
I was, shall we say, not the most popular kid growing up. Socially awkward. First to get boobs. I escaped into reading. Library books at first ... not just the kids section, too, I edged into the Grown Up Books. Then I got older, and started buying magazines at the drug store and grocery store check out. Yes, "Young Miss" was one of them, but I also read my parent's subscription to Time, and bought those little 25 cent booklets on astrology, psychic skills, etc.
High school, and I was more mobile, biking and taking public transportation where ever I wanted to go. I discovered a HUGE used bookstore in Evanston. More books on psychic stuff, into to Theosophy, etc. And I subscribed to Ms. and The Village Voice. TVV was perhaps on odd choice, since I lived in Chicago, but whatever. I totally would have lived reading stuff on the internet if I could have back in the day.
I'm sure that my reading choices we not ones that made my mother happy. She totally freaked at an article on masturbation in Ms. But she never tried to control what I read.
I took that same approach with my Spawn, who had the advantage of the the Internet. Okay, ONCE I didn't let him look up something online. He was in grade school, and was to write about an animal. He was assigned the beaver. I kind of figured that Google would give him a whole lot of results that would be about twats, not the animal. I had him use an encyclopedia.
In middle school, some of his friends got in trouble with their parents for trying to access porn online. If he was doing it at that age, I'm unaware of it - which means he was good at keeping it private. His computer access was in our home business office, sitting 10 feet from his father. I THINK that if we had found him looking at porn I'd have done a quick evaluation and let it alone. He didn't have a credit card, after all, and that was over a decade ago. He'd have seen boobs, maybe full frontal nudity, and that was all.
At any rate - one the whole, I let the Spawn travel the internet at will, reading everything he wanted to, from a very young age. I figure it encouraged reading skills, search skills, and exposed him to more ideas than he'd get from being overly supervised.
I think that's a good thing.