Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 12 Feb 2009

I found my 13-year-old watching a vile rap video on the Internet. Do parents have any idea what their children look at?

Hillary's Advice

No, I don't think we do. We like to think that our web filters do their job and that unsavoury material is being screened out, but there is always some that gets through. Also, children look at the Internet all over the place and who knows whether those outlets are screened or not.

I also think we find it hard to get our heads round the utter foulness of what's available. I'm so old-fashioned that I still think, quaintly, that the f-word is a swear word, so in the interests of honest enquiry I sent this particular link -- a Dizzee Rascal YouTube video -- to my 24-year-old daughter who works in the music industry and is pretty unshockable. Her verdict was unequivocal: “it's really gross, and not for children to be looking at.”

I truly don't know what we as parents do about this, given that this sort of material is all around. Obviously we need to put checks in place, talk to our children about Internet safety, and make sure they understand the values we want them to try and live by. But kids are kids, and violence and porn have a magnetic attraction, especially when available through something as mainstream as rap music.

And I'm fairly sure that it must have a bad effect, especially on the more fragile and disturbed of our young people. Junior minds are fed by whatever goes into them, and if it's filth that goes in who knows what will come out.