This comment was originally a reply to this Geek Feminism comment, removed to my own site due to length.

Comment may be triggery, childhood experiences with disturbing sexual imagery.

I don't want to argue about this too much here, it feels a little off-topic, but I more or less agree with Lauredhel in comments on the original post: for a young child, who has been told what you're doing, it may make sense. It might be better still in some sense to sit with them and talk to them constantly, but in the same way that, eg, might make sense to eg, teach them through to high school level yourself rather than send them to school. Some people do do this, but many people compromise.

There are some things that really badly upset me when I found out about them as a child, and my parents were more than willing to talk about them, but all the same I don't think I was a better eight year old for having read women's accounts of rape in detail. There are some things (even consensual sexual things) I just found confusing and frightening because they weren't able to be contextualised for me adequately. And while I know perfectly well that not all that stuff comes from The Bogeyman Online (my first proper experience of sexual harassment including threats of violence came at age twelve, from an age peer who happened to have a bigger sexual vocabulary than me) and it would definitely be better to talk to a kid about their disturbing online conversation once they'd had it, but if it was possible to take open steps to avoid a pre-teen having to come to grips with, eg, visual rape imagery, or sexualised interactions with people they aren't able to fit into some kind of social context (some of whom might be predators, some of whom are probably "having a laugh" at a kid who doesn't know as much about sex, as with my age peer) I think that's better than having to contextualise the exact form violent sexual assault may take.

Or to summarise: I don't think it's possible to keep kids safe from everything, or even most things. But I think a reasonable amount of effort to protect kids from having to process graphic depictions of the things I can't 100% protect them from and understand the subtleties of how likely those things are and why they happen at all, is a good parenting goal for me. Filtering software used when a pre-teen accesses the net and used with their knowledge doesn't seem so crazy in that model.

(Incidently, for readers in general, the thing that bugs me most in these conversations — and I'm not saying Rick did this — is the assumption that just because sexual assault and in particular sexual assault by strangers is somewhat less common than the Fear the Online Bogeyman movement would like to portray it, it's therefore so incredibly rare's safe to discuss them as if they've never happened to anyone in the conversation and never will. This is a feminist blog, and anyone making that assumption needs to do some reading.)