It's not often I get serious on here. In fairness it's not often that I allow myself time to think about the scary stuff in the world let alone write about it. Which isn't a very grown up attitude I suppose but it's hard to focus on your beautiful children and hopes for the future amidst a world which allows the kind of unsavoury things ours does.
The news isn't on in front of the kids in our house. We've even ensured that the clock radio alarm in Tilly's room goes off at ten past 7 and on Radio Two to ensure she has nothing more terrifying than ELO to wake up to.
It's all on my mental radar. I know it's coming. But I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready to stray beyond basic mentions of bad people (who so far in our house are pretty much all deemed to be burglars).
Touching on "stranger danger" was bad enough (I was caught off guard with a Topsy and Tim book) and goodness knows I know how important that one is. Especially since a very unsavoury encounter I had in Boots at age 11. That's Boots the Chemist not the footwear (and I should add was nothing to do with the shop itself). I didn't think you could get to Clarks the shoe shop as fast as I did that day.
We talk about violence and war if it comes up, but cover it up by mostly discussing it all with a historic bias. I guess it's a bit like lying but it's all for their protection of course. I wonder though if I will ever think they will be old enough to understand.
So I wasn't ready to move on to the darker stuff. But clearly I'm at odds with the government approved curriculum because last week my eldest daughter (6.5) was shown a video in school that made it clear if you chat on a computer you might be talking to a bad man.
I didn't know it was coming. The first I heard of it was when she came downstairs at 9pm sobbing at the thought of a bad man being unmasked and the possibility of him entering her room. We bumbled through trying to comfort her with how unlikely it is, how we don't have chat rooms turned on (she doesn't use the relevant sites anyway) and that the imagery shown is all about shock factor to make you remember. She has slept with the light on ever since but never mentioned it again so I must admit I'm not sure the video did what it intended to. Especially since most other children in the class didn't even mention it to their parents. Good that they weren't scared, not so good that it didn't merit at least a comment at home.
So I'm investigating E-Safety and starting with you. What do you do that I don't? Our girls play on CBeebies website, Purple Mash and a host of IPad apps, all vetted by my husband. They don't google anything without a parent.
What should I do now? What comes next? Where is my rule book on this kind of thing? Gah being a parent is an endless round of brain and heart ache isn't it?