My four year old has been using and browsing you tube on my phone and he's recently found a few animated videos where Peach and Mario engage in sexual activity.  He loves Mario, he loves Peach, and I know he has no context to comprehend the sexual content.  The videos are visually suggestive, though the language and vocalizations are explicit.  He's chosen to rewatch the videos more than once, though chooses them less often than the other videos he watches over and over.  I was feeling mildly uncomfortable with it, but felt like it would be better to try to understand what made me uncomfortable instead of trying to limit or prevent him from watching the videos, since he didn't have a problem with them himself.

The other night my husband was watching over his shoulder, and turned to me and said, "I don't want him watching this shit." And he wanted me to delete the viewing history (which is primarily how Josh navigates you tube, though he does have and use a list of favorites).
I didn't really know how to respond (or rather, didn't take the time to breathe and feel calm before responding), and I responded out of my discomfort by talking a lot and trying to reassure him (when I don't feel very confident about my own feelings on the subject).  I don't think that helped at all, and my husband dropped it. 

It came up again last night because Josh was imitating the sounds Peach makes in one of the videos (pretty accurately).  My husband asked Josh what he was doing, he said, Nothing, and then my husband pretended to be king Bowser and grabbed him and they started playing and giggling and having fun.  Later that night, my husband and I talked again about the videos, my husband said he didn't want Josh to watch them.
I did a lot of explaining, again.  I explained that us telling him they weren't okay to watch would only give the videos more value than they warranted.  He doesn't understand the sexual content, he only sees peach and mario and the animation style he likes.  If we were to put a restriction on it, it wouldn't stop him from wanting to watch them, or trying to find them.  If we deleted them, it wouldnt prevent him from finding them again.  It would put distance between him and us, and make him feel that he has to hide what he does from us, and I really don't want that.  After talking for a few minutes- it dawned on me that I was being defensive.  Anything helpful I might have to say was undermined, because I was not speaking thoughtfully from a calm place, but rather was dismissing his concerns and trying to persuade my husband to see things the way I wanted to see them, while at the same time, still struggling with my own feelings not matching my intellectual understanding.   

 I remembered my husband's suggestion the previous night about deleting the history.  I offered to do that.  He said yes.  So I saved the other videos Josh had been watching a lot to his favorites list so they wouldn't be lost, and cleared the history after he went to bed.  

Moving forward.  I am going to revisit the "breathing" link tonight to help with talking less at my family, especially when I'm not calm: http://sandradodd.com/breathing.

Both my husband and I were raised with a lot of shaming about bodies and bodily functions.  Even as an adult, my husband received a lot of criticism and shaming for moving in with me (a girl) before we were married.

I'm willing to look at and think about my own discomfort, which I think is based on my worries about Josh imitating the videos (we role play "peach" and "mario" interchangeably a lot), and my own discomfort and fears based around how to redirect sexual activity appropriately and without shaming him (I've struggled with how to do that when he plays with himself and still feel like I'm not finding a good balance between being okay with his interest in his body, and helping him learn to explore his body in ways and places that don't make other people uncomfortable, or that are socially acceptable, within our home).  I think, if I could address my own fears and discomfort, this would feel like less of a struggle, or an issue.
Also, I'm willing to accept my husband's discomfort and be respectful of his opinions and feelings and process.  I'd like ideas for how to move forward - calmly and respectfully of everyone involved- if and when this comes up again.

Thank you

Lisa C

PS - (Side note: For some reason, my computer will only load the links on Sandra's unschooling site through the letter 'F.')?


I would find other videos for your son to watch. I was not raised with body shaming and I was raised in a more open  about our bodies culture but I don't like the idea of my child seeing those videos over and over again.
Watching some cartoons like that  once I am sure the child has not idea , at that age, and it goes over their heads but over and over again does not sit well with me.
My son came across a few when he was around five but moved on and I could see he did not get it.
I made an effort to find him better stuff to watch.
There are sooo much Mario stuff online! There are also the TV shows you can  watch and they sell on DVD very very cheap. Walmart sells them for $5 !

There was a series  made by some young boys on Youtube with plush toys that my son loved it and he played so much with his Mario plush toys that I got for him because of it!
This was one of the channels he loved at 5:

and this is the TV show:


So there are so many great stuff! Much more than my son could find  6 years ago!
I would take my husband, my son's  father opinions and listen to him. 

Do not make a big deal out of it to your son  just bring other things that  he will love and that makes dad more comfortable.  Parents can get in trouble if someone calls social services because they kids are watching porn ( even cartoon porn) online. That is something to take in consideration.

My kids watched Family Guy at that age and most of it went over their heads. They were more implied and not graphic as the one you are describing. It on regular TV too which makes a difference.

My son is 11 and a couple years ago or so he came across a Hentai video and it made him feel really bad and traumatized for  months. He told me about it.  He was NOT wanting to came across anything like that   anymore. 

Alex Polikowsky

Robyn Coburn

When Jayn was very young, she often enjoyed Sex and the City. She liked the pretty dresses and pretty ladies. There is a lot of sex in that show, but it went beyond her. She would tune those parts out, until there was another pretty dress to look at. Later we watched a lot of Family Guy which often includes some out there sexual content, considering that it is on a network. It went right past her.

I think you are right about the idea that forbidding or making a fuss about certain videos will increase the fascination. Calling it "shit" probably won't help either.

It helped at different times with Jayn was to ask "Do you know what they are doing?" and then phrases like "that's a special kind of cuddling that grown ups do together". Maybe tell him that most people wouldn't like to hear those sounds from him, just as you might tell him that there are people who get upset when they hear cuss words.

After some time, with a gradual increase in her awareness, I had the phrase, "that's a sexual reference" for her to understand context, as you said, without any further graphicness. Jayn would usually grimace and not want to know any more.

Then a couple of years ago, she initiated a "big talk" and I figured out at once that she was ready to hear about sex. I think she understood the idea of the genetic joining at the cellular level before she understood the physical mechanism.

We talked, across the table while working on some other things (can't remember what - drawing or something). At the end of the conversation she got this light dawning expression and said "Is that what Quagmire is always going on about?" This is the kinky deviant character from Family Guy, for those who don't know. I said "Yes" and something about him being an extreme character, and that was that.

And now Jayn rolls her eyes and shakes her head at her friend who loves the pop stars and always talks about this cute guy she knows, and appears to have no interest in adding practical knowledge to her theoretical understanding, yet.

Robyn Coburn

Sent from my iPad