ForumTouchy Subjects ► Underage People on All Ages Spaces
This is something I've seen come up more on Tumblr than anywhere else but some conversations I've seen on here/telegram have also made me think about it.

There seems to be some expectation with teens atm that every online space is for them and therefore everyone in the space will act accordingly. This isn't to say teens shouldn't be online -- just that they shouldn't expect spaces for all ages to be entirely catered for children. What I'm talking about is kids freaking out because they've stumbled upon a public conversation between adults about sex, for example. Or asking other users to sensor themselves because their parents monitor their internet usage.

Idk I'm mostly after thoughts on this. Because it feels like an odd attitude to me and very different from the fucking wild west internet from when I was a kid (a sailor moon chat room taught me what cybering was 🤢)

Or do people think it is our responsibility as adults to censor ourselves in these spaces that aren't explicitly tagged as safe for kids?

There are some Tumblr posts I've seen discuss this more eloquently which I'll post once I've found them.

Edit: I meant to have "online spaces" in the title
It depends what we're talking about. People shouldn't go around the internet making sexual advances on everyone that speaks anyway, so how often does it matter. I don't censor myself for kids and never will. But it's not like I'm constantly talking about sex or whatever. So it's not much of an issue.

I do assume everyone online is an adult. I figure if someone has the wherewithal to join the same site as me and talk, then they're old enough to talk about anything I've got to talk about. I know there's teenagers about. But literal children who are <13? I guess they're out there somewhere, but it doesn't occur to me that we will ever cross paths. What do people that young do on the internet? I don't play Minecraft.

One thing I've noticed is when teenagers go on the internet spouting an opinion about something, and then when you respond, they're like "oh, I'm just a teenager, why are you arguing with a teenager". Like it's my fault. If you're old enough to voice an opinion, you're old enough to hear one back. Don't play the age card when it suits you.

Also, "underage" has different meanings around the world. In the US, the AoC is 18. In every other English-speaking country, it's 16.
I think for me, it comes down to the idea of reasonable requests. I mean, if I am speaking with an adult and they ask me to avoid a topic or a manner of speech because it is uncomfortable or off-putting, I will. I don't see any reason to change this behavior just because I'm talking with a kid instead of an adult.

That being said, I do find a difference between reasonable requests and controlling behavior. I will be conscious of the request, but at the end of the day I don't owe anyone anything and the only person I am accountable to is myself.

I kinda like that kids seem to be better at setting their own boundaries and speaking up when needed. Especially given that this is a community where people tend to stick around for the long term and are theoretically not entirely strangers, I think it important to set boundaries, especially on an anonymous Q&A website.

Then again, I was raised in a family where you were expected to be responsible for all of those younger than you, so I might be speaking only from a place of culture and not of common practice.
i was joking when i asked for a bad language filter that one time (i swear on occasion as well)
and about the whole censoring thing i just didnt want to make it seem like i left for no reason again
Liv said:
Or do people think it is our responsibility as adults to censor ourselves in these spaces that aren't explicitly tagged as safe for kids?
Sort of no, sort of yes.

Have you ever been to a large gathering of family and extended family? Where you’ll see your cousins and their kids, maybe some young great grandkids, that kind of stuff. Where you’re seeing people you know who are of all ages. Throw a little bit of alcohol and dysfunctionality into the mix and you’ve got yourself a good old family time. Do I censor myself around the kids when I’m there? Around the ones who are like younger than like 12, yeah I’m gonna say not say “fuck” and if I’m trying to talk about something ‘adult’ then I’m probably gonna talk in some sort of code if I know they’re in earshot. Around the ones I’m unsure, I’m usually just look at them and ask them how old they are. If they say they’re like 12 at least then I’m gonna at least test it. I have two cousins on one side of my family who are close in age, one’s like 13, the other’s like 12. The younger one I guess got exposed to some stuff on the internet and has a much better grasp of curse words. The 13 year old I censor myself around more than the 12 year old because the 12 year old seems like he can handle it more than the 13 year old can. Example: the 12 year old laughs at the word “cock” (I remember this from two christmases ago), the 13 year old grimaces. Literal babies yeah I have no qualms cursing around or saying absurd stuff around because they’re infants and can’t understand me.

Think about the telegram chat room for twocans. There’s not a lot of teenagers there and so far it seems none of them are directly opposed to the kinds of stuff that can come out of my mouth and mind. If we got others that don’t like it, yeah I’m gonna try to censor myself if they’re taking part in a conversation that’s happening. If not then I’m just gonna treat it like when the younger kids at family gatherings may or may not be within earshot of the older people, which is continue talking normally without censoring myself and hope they don’t hear (in this case read) the things I’m saying and if they do, well, fuck it because it’s not like I was engaging them with inappropriate conversation/words plus they’re gonna pick that stuff up regardless of whether or not they heard me.

Sometimes there’s other things to be aware of like if the very young ones may or may not be within earshot and I’m trying to tell my aunt where the weed is, then I’m just gonna grab her and whisper in her ear where it is or I’ll text it to her if I don’t want anyone to question it. There’s one kid on that side of the family who I know would go “cousin antimony and aunt cesium were talking about something called weed” if she heard. If me and aunt Cesium were outside and the kid’s inside then of course I’m gonna talk at a normal volume about it.
In my opinion, it is parents' job to ensure that kids are not exposed to shit they shouldn't be. Unless you're being actively lured or on some very dark parts of the internet, it's probably fine. Or, if it isn't, most of us aren't fine, so it's fine. However, I find myself censoring myself in some ways around kids not because I am concerned about them, but because there's just shit I don't feel comfortable saying around kids. I don't necessarily want to make bukkake or some suicide jokes around children, for example. But that's not because I'm worried about the kids, it's just because it makes me feel gross.
“However, I find myself censoring myself in some ways around kids not because I am concerned about them, but because there's just shit I don't feel comfortable saying around kids.”

Exactly how I feel except sometimes I’ll keep it specific to the kid(s) present if I know enough about them. Like the 12 year old on my dad’s side of the family would get mad if you stopped telling the bukkake joke because he walked into the room. And then knowing him he’d probably make a fuss about it until he prompted you to tell the joke to the entire family.
This may be an unpopular take, being a professional educator, but I'm kind of of two minds about this. At my core, I'm very much against the artificial dividing line of propriety, moralism, and the entire concept of "mature content" based solely on age. I think there are spaces (work, school, church, what have you) where being mindful of certain taboo topics is important, but I don't really remember adults in my youth working extra hard to "protect" me from anything like that. If anything, I have vivid memories of lewd, raunchy, or profane things my uncles or teachers said. On the other hand, I do tend to avoid talking about certain things or avoid entire conversations entirely with my students or other young people I work with because I specifically don't want to be fired, or upset their parents' sense of righteous indignation.

I also think it's very strange that some people work hard to protect minors from any exposure to any knowledge about sexuality in particular. Like, I'm not talking about direct exposure to nudity or sexual contact, because that would pretty strictly certainly be abuse, but just the knowledge that the adults around you even HAVE sex lives AT ALL is taboo, but no such effort is put forth, at least in the US, to protect kids from knowledge of violence or other mature topics. For instance, your deranged uncle can show you his arsenal of dozens of firearms and tell stories about red-misting insurgents in Iraq, but you're not allowed to know that he's boning your auntie? Kind of fucked up. The same is true for things like movie and TV ratings. Violent content often gets past all the family values review boards much more than sexual content or "bad" language. And so, we end up with this really warped view of sexuality in this culture all in the name of "protecting" youth, while also allowing our kids to develop really violent mindsets and urges. And then when they DO becomes sexually active later on, we wonder why we have such problems with sexual violence and assault.

The opposite of abuse is not neglect. In other words, without any exposure to sexual knowledge at all, how are people supposed to grow up with a healthy view of human sexuality? Shouldn't we instead be teaching kids from a young age what healthy, loving, consensual relationships are like? Comprehensive sexuality education for every kid at every age. Then when a minor (say an older teenager who passes as a young adult so the actual adults wouldn't feel the need to self-censor) wanders into an all-ages space, they would have a whole toolbox of skills to determine for themselves if they're comfortable hearing about adult conversations.

Yes, adults have a responsibly not to abuse youth, absolutely. But I don't know that adults have a responsibility to tiptoe around youth and limit their own speech just because it includes certain topics.
I very much agree with that, Scoggles.
Scoggles said:

Yes, adults have a responsibly not to abuse youth, absolutely. But I don't know that adults have a responsibility to tiptoe around youth and limit their own speech just because it includes certain topics.

I agree with you. But in this line of thought, do you think that adults have a responsibility to avoid certain topics around kids when a kid specifically asks? How about when an adult asks on behalf of the kids?
I think the community of adults has a responsibly to thoughtfully answer the questions of the community of children or individual children. I also think there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to answer questions. And I think everyone involved should be afforded the opportunity to make mistakes.
It's always my desire to avoid children wherever possible.
... You have a kid.
She doesn't count. It's different when they're yours.
I feel the opposite. I love kids, the most terrifying one would be my own.
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