Whether it’s a secret double life on social media, a bizarre and secretive digital hobby, or a compelling urge to connect with some of the creepiest folks one can ever imagine, there is no limit to what one can learn about other people by seeing what they do online when they think no one is watching. Here are 50 fascinating stories about some of the strangest things that people have ever caught their family members doing online.
1. Searching for Answers
My stepson is currently seven years old. Recently, while using his computer, I found a bunch of searches in his history for: Dominicans with no hands and feet. Dominicans with no heads. Dominican chests. Dominican torsos. Dominican legs. Dominicans in stores. Dominicans for sale. Silver Dominicans. Black Dominicans. White Dominicans.
I was very confused and at a loss for how to bring it up to him. Thankfully, the next day, we were in a clothing store and he asked me why Dominicans don’t have hands or heads. He then asked me why Dominicans come in so many different colors. I remembered the internet searches and became a little upset. I told him to be quiet because what he was saying could be taken offensively by Dominican people.
He then got frustrated and loudly said “Dominicans aren’t people!” as he pointed to a statue next to us. I breathed a sigh of relief and said: “Ohhhh, you mean mannequins!”
2. A Bloody Strange Thing to Ask
I have no explanation as to what this means or why it was in my 9-year-old son’s Google search history, yet I once accidentally stumbled upon the phrase, “Do girls in England poo blood for a month?” when using a device that we share. It really makes you wonder what the heck goes on in their little minds, doesn’t it?
3. If You’re Going to Leak Your Own Passwords, At Least Do It in Style!
My dad recently opened up an Instagram account and, within ten minutes of having created it, he somehow managed to accidentally upload a screenshot of our home WiFi password to it for everyone in the world to see. Like, I have no idea how he managed to do that. He even put a fancy filter on the photo for some reason…
4. Planning for the Future
I once checked my 11-year-old son’s search history, only to find a number of interesting questions that he had apparently been wondering about. These included, but were not limited to: Do men grow (insert female private part here) when they get older? Will my (insert male private part here) disappear when I turn 18? Will I become a girl? How do I save my body?
As weird as this seemed at first, the explanation turned out to be something perfectly innocent. I asked him about his search history a couple of days later, and he told me that he was worried because some kids in his school had told him that when boys turn 18, they turn into girls and lose their private parts. Those scoundrels…
5. Video of the Year
I have a six-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl who are both pretty obsessed with YouTube gamers. They often narrate their own playing as though they are performing for subscribers, and my son actually figured out how to post videos to YouTube recently. I did not find this out until they had posted a few already.
When I found the videos, they all had ridiculous titles where one of them had obviously just been repeatedly hitting the next suggested word to come up on the phone. They ended up being called things like, “The ghost of the wealthy, but if they didn’t then deserve.” It would then be a video of something like my foot while I was asleep on the couch, and then you’d hear one of them say, “Foot,” before giggling like mad until the video cut out.
6. A New Look He’s Going For
Just the other day, my twelve-year-old little brother posted a topless photo of himself on his public Instagram page, along with the caption “Ladies’ Man.” I guess he forgot that I had access to his account and could see whatever he was posting. I have no idea what gave him the idea to do such a thing, but it was both hilarious and kind of scary at the same time…
7. What a Difference a Letter Makes
My son has autism. He is high functioning, but still autistic. He has been in mainstream classes for most of his schooling and, in fifth grade, one of the boys in his class decided to teach all the others how to search for women’s private parts on the computer. Well, I caught my son in all of his glory trying to follow his classmate’s instructions—except that he was accidentally searching “pagina” instead of the correct spelling of the word.
All that came up were articles about how the word “page” evolved from its Latin root, “pagina.” Poor kid!
8. This One Fell Flat
My kids are too young for Twitter or Snapchat, but they love to watch videos on Youtube. At one point, I started getting notifications a few months ago from people replying to “my” comments on random conspiracy theory videos. This led me to find out that my little son has a curiosity about flat earthers and doomsday preppers.
9. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
I once hopped on my nephew’s tablet and proceeded to pull up the internet browser. What I saw was absolutely horrifying. I found myself staring at a screenshot of an overweight homeless-looking Santa Claus engaged in some adult behavior with what appeared to be a much younger Mrs. Claus. I immediately asked my nephew what kind of research he was doing with his Santa video, and his face turned fire-engine red before he quickly scurried back to his room.
10. A Cheesy Thing to Do
My younger brother thought that when you enter more searches into Google, it automatically deletes the ones you looked up before at some point. So, I look on his iPad one day and see a search for something explicitly adult, followed by a search for cheese. And then one for cheese cheese. And then cheese cheese cheese. And so on. So many cheeses…
11. Story Time
When I was like 12 years old, my dad found some TV cartoon-themed adult fan fiction in my search history and proceeded to read through every single page of it while I hid in the bathroom pretending to take a poop. I remember him yelling my name out and having to mentally prepare to deny everything. I’m scared as can be to have kids of my own someday and discover what’s in their search histories!
12. You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are
I once found a search for “weight loss” on my then 12-year-old daughter’s internet history. Seeing this bothered the heck out of me, as I have always tried to instill a positive body image in my kids and she is by no means overweight. She was just going through some kind of a pre-teen edition of a “baby fat stage.”
After that, we started having conversations about the importance of being healthy and exercising, but also about the importance of always being comfortable with the bodies that we are in. She has since stretched out, but man was I concerned about her well-being when I first saw that! I even took the precaution of looking for signs of starving or other eating disorders, just in case.
Her mom used to struggle with those kinds of issues and I certainly didn’t want my daughter to have to repeat that experience.
13. Thinking Out Loud
I’m an aunt. I was trying to figure out my niece’s age, but it was too late to call my mom and ask. I remembered that she had an Instagram account, and I thought that looking at it might help me figure out how old she is. I looked her up. She had the standard tween Insta bio about what activities she likes and a list of like 15 of her best friends, immediately followed by a heartbreaking quote: “Why do most people hate me?”
She’s 12. She is definitely 12.
14. Young At Heart…Gone Wrong
One time, my cousin got onto the computer when he was about 11 or 12 years old and searched for “naked 12-year-old girls.” I was there when his stepdad checked through the web browser history, found those searches on the list, and (needless to say) had a long and serious chat with my young cousin about acceptable search terms.
15. The Wind in the Pillows
My daughter was six years old at the time of this story. She was supposed to be asleep and I went to charge up her kindle, but I couldn’t find it. I go to her room and quietly sneak in. I find her secretly watching a video under a blanket. Turns out it was a video on popular mechanics and how to build your own windmill.
She had a mock model of one that she was secretly working on hidden in the corner of her room. I definitely wasn’t expecting that!
16. Getting Bus-ted
This was probably around the early 2000s. My buddy and I were off of school for the summer and he would often come by and hang out at my house. Occasionally, when he was over, we would look at inappropriate videos together on the family computer. One day, my dad comes home from work and immediately heads downstairs to where we’re hanging out. He approaches us and says “Hey! You guys missed the bus!”
Naturally, I’m like “Uuuhhh…it’s summer. There’s no school…” My dad then responds by making a pun involving the name of the adult website my buddy and I had just been looking at—which happened to have been bus-themed. That was when it suddenly hit us…we had forgotten to close the browser on the freakin’ computer!
17. They’ve Got it in the Bag
When he was little, my brother once wanted to help us find a cool new purse to order for our mom as a birthday present. So, he searched Google images on our parents’ computer for the phrase “fun bags,” pulling up a bunch of drug-related results. The search was later accidentally seen in their search history by some guests, and my parents had to answer a LOT of questions…
18. This Story Is to Die For!
One time when I was younger, I got into a little fight with my mom that made me really mad. To get my frustrations out, I searched up “how to kill your mom” on Google. My parents later saw this in my search history and, as a result, I had to sit through a lecture by my dad about why it was wrong to kill people and how concerned they were over discovering my search.
Once the whole thing was all straightened out, he got me some new video games to make up for everything.
19. Kithing and Telling
Not too long ago, my 5-year-old son (who has a lisp) searched up “how to kith a girl” on Google, and we stumbled upon it in his search history. My wife and I both thought that it was extremely cute and hilarious. Needless to say, we did not punish him for it and have been laughing about it ever since. We had no idea that he was a Mike Tyson fan!
20. And I Would Have Gotten Away With It Too If It Weren’t for You Meddling Parents!
I’ll give you two for the price of one. I once found both “how to get a six-pack for kids” and “how to get away with murder” in my son’s recent search history on the internet. My son is only eight years old. After a serious chat with him about the situation, I uncovered that he meant how to get away from a murderer.
I still need to always sleep with one eye open now though, just in case.
21. Remembering Her Manners
My daughter is eight years old, and we discovered that she is actually very polite with her Google searches. I found “please show me pictures of puppies,” “please show me pictures of the weirdest cats,” “please show me cat pictures,” and, oddly enough, “John Cena memes.” I guess given what some other people have found their kids searching for, I should probably be proud!
22. Work Hard, Play Harder
My 8-year-old recently discovered the “OK Google” feature on my cell phone. Every search automatically opens up a new window on my phone, so I can pretty much always see his entire search history (nearly instantaneously). Some of the highlights of it have included: “Show me the strongest man in the world,” “What kind of car does the strongest man in the world drive?,” “What is the fastest car in the world?, “Who is Jake Murray?,” and “What is the best playground in the world?”
I don’t know about you, but I really want to know what the best playground in the world turned out to be…
23. This Plan Is a Slam Dunk
My 5-year-old kid really hates the basketball player Steph Curry for some reason. My wife allows the kids to use her iPad and, after she got it back from him one time, she saw that he had searched for the following: “Stef Curry home address,” “Cut off legs,” “How to cut off a person’s legs,” “Stef Curry legs,” “Band-aids for legs cut off.”
He later revealed that he had wanted to try and cut off Steph Curry’s legs in order to prevent him from playing in the NBA Finals. At least he was courteous enough to look into getting him some bandaids!
When my twins were young (around elementary school age), they were looking up The Simpsons and accidentally came across cartoon Simpsons-themed adult videos. The computer was in the living room, so I heard them giggling and turned to see two guilty little faces. It was so hard not to laugh at what I was seeing, yet it was also so disturbing at the same time! What a conversation we had that afternoon…
Oh, and the sight of Milhouse and Lisa going at it is now forever burned into my retinas.
25. If You Want to Know, Just Ask!
My niece was maybe four years old and her internet access was password-protected by my brother. He once decided to check up on her and see what she had been doing online. When he logged in and looked at her search history, he discovered that she had googled, “what is my daddy’s internet password?” not too long ago.
26. Having a Heart to Heart
My son was acting a bit weird, so I decided to look through his internet search history. I found a whole slew of searches along the lines of “what’s kissing like?” “what’s sex like?” “how to get girls to notice you.” At that point, I knew I had to have a talk with him. I sat him down, slapped him on the head, and said “Come on, son! You’re 27 years old! Just go to a bar and get drunk or something!”
27. Lost in Translation
My friend once searched Google for “hot and dirty African slaves” after having learned about the history of the slave trade in school. He was searching for it in completely innocent terms (as in, he was looking for info on those who worked on plantations in the hot sun and dirt). Nevertheless, as you may have expected, his mom took it to mean something else when she spotted it, so she banned him from the internet for a month.
28. Mirror Mirror on the Wall
I checked up on my seven-year-old daughter a few days ago and found out that her recent YouTube searches included “Is the Elsa mirror story true?” I asked her what the mirror story was and she said a friend of hers had told her that if you look directly into a mirror for too long, you get sucked in and trapped forever.
29. Time for a Bathroom Break
This was not my child, but my cousin’s child. While looking after him one evening at his house, I accidentally caught him secretly trying to search up “giant poops” and “purple poop” on his parents’ computer. He’s only a 12-year-old boy, so the immaturity is understandable I guess. In fact, it’s also kind of hilarious.
30. Thinking Inside the Box
This isn’t quite something that I found them doing online, but it’s close enough and definitely worth sharing! I have two kids, a two-year-old and a seven-year-old. They both love to watch YouTube videos for kids in their spare time. Mostly these annoying “toy unwrapping” type of videos. I don’t exactly know, to be completely honest.
Anyhow, just the other day, I was working on my computer and the kids were playing Play-Doh nearby. All of a sudden, my two-year-old comes into the room and shouts to my wife (while I’m listening) “Mommy! I made this!” to which my wife replied, “Oh! That’s awesome!” My two-year-old then says, “Do you like it? Let me know in the comments.”
My wife and I: D. E. A. D.
31. The Butt of the Joke
I once caught both of my nieces playing an animated game online where the objective was to spank a cartoon butt with a paddle. Every time they’d “swing the paddle” at the butt, it would emit the sound of a woman moaning. They were too young to even understand why the game was inappropriate, and were laughing hysterically while playing.
32. Seven Isn’t Always a Lucky Number
So my daughter, who happens to be seven years old, likes this series of YouTube videos that we call the “Sevens.” Every one of the videos is called something along the lines of “Seven Perfect Angels,” “Seven Twinkling Teens,” “Seven Parents Trying to Get Rich Off Their Kids,” etc. She has a bunch of these video channels subscribed to on my phone and, generally, when I’m at work, instead of watching cartoons, she’ll just turn on a few of these.
One day, while waiting for something to render, I was casually checking out YouTube when I suddenly noticed a bunch of unfamiliar searches in my history, including: “Things that include blood,” “fings that include blood,” “sword in head, “sord in head,” “saw in half,” “neil in hand,” “neil in fingier,” “neil in therapy” (!), and “pitcher of the lady in grey.”
As it turned out, a friend of hers at school had been telling her a bunch of spooky ghost stories, and so she wanted to find videos of them to see what everything looked like. Luckily, I had a moderated search feature turned on, so nothing too nasty popped up on her feed while she was searching. She was, however, banned from YouTube for a while.
33. A Snapshot of His Mind
The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen a family member doing online was when I saw my 15-year-old son using illegal substances on Snapchat. So…not only is my son making lousy life choices, but apparently we’re raising a kid stupid enough to actually create video evidence of it, which is beyond dumb. And it gets even worse! He decided to post the video publicly under “my story.” Sigh…
34. School’s Out Forever
This is not quite a story involving a family member, but it’s still worth sharing. I used to be the sole person who worked in the IT department for a kindergarten through 5th-grade elementary school. Once we actually received enough of a budget to purchase laptops for the classrooms, I was tasked with imaging them all, as well as implementing a web content filter (which we hadn’t had previously, since it was before students had computer access).
Well, upon finishing the setup process, I wanted to make sure that my filter was working well. So naturally, I tested it. My go-to site for testing web filters is always (insert inappropriate website name here), because it’s relatively benign (or at least it was back then, I haven’t checked it in about 10 years), and also because its name should easily trigger a filter block.
The test went perfectly well. The site got blocked, I concluded that the filter was working, and life was good. I delivered the laptops to all of the classrooms and went back to continuing about my job as usual. Then, all of a sudden a few months later, a teacher comes ripping down into my office holding a laptop, breathlessly yelling: “We have a problem! The kids are systematically trying to bypass the internet filter!”
I’m like, “Woah woah woah, slow down for a second. How do you know that this is happening?” She confidently responds, “Because I’ve checked about ten machines now, and every single one of them has (insert inappropriate website name from my filter test here) in its search history! How can that possibly have happened by accident??”
As soon as she said that, I instantly realized my mistake. I had used the first laptop to check the filter…which also happened to be the very same laptop that I used to create the donor image that I then cloned onto every other laptop in the school while setting everything up. In other words, by total accident, I successfully managed to put the name of an explicitly inappropriate website in as the only address in the search history on every single computer in the entire school.
You’re welcome, parents!
35. The Simplest Explanation Is Always the Best One…
My kid is currently eleven months old. I recently caught her looking up “£!’&jhbsjme sisnjknj,” but Google gives me nothing when I try to find out what it means. It must be some new code that the kids are using when they want to hide things from us. If anyone knows what it means, I’d definitely appreciate the help!
36. Reading Between the Lines
My son is only six years old and just starting to learn about the basics of spelling and writing, but I looked at his tablet the other day and, in the YouTube search bar, I saw the following listed as a recent search of his (I will try to recreate the spelling as best I can): “legos batmen goker fite megedon amb evlo poketm.”
I think the first part of it was intended to say “Lego Batman and Joker fight.” The “megedon” part was probably meant to be a megalodon shark, because he did come out not too long ago telling me all about how interested he was in megalodons. I have absolutely no clue what the rest of it was supposed to be about.
I decided to ask him about it afterward, and specifically about what the story was behind the last section—his response absolutely killed me. He said he had gotten frustrated and given up, then went into this whole rampage about how he shouldn’t be forced to learn to write and spell or grow up and get a job because it would be hard work and he is just too little for all this responsibility. I won’t be shocked if I find him looking for YouTube videos about how to never grow up next!
37. Open to All Types
I once caught my eight-year-old brother looking up the following: “Naked person,” “Naked person with no shirt,” “Naked person pretty,” and, last but not least, my personal favorite, “Naked person ugly.” He’s ten now and doesn’t have any idea that I ever saw any of it. Had I been older and more mature at the time, I probably would have sat him down and talked to him about it, but I was a pretty naive 16-year-old, so I just deleted his browsing history instead.
I still check his history now from time to time though, just in case.
38. They’re At That Age…
My kids are going through their pre-teen years right now. I was on their computer one time and accidentally stumbled upon a series of unexpected internet searches in their history, including: “kissing,” “making out,” and “what is birth control?” I guess all things considered, those are pretty mild things to be searching for compared to what some of their peers already know about…
39. When the Brother-in-Law Is Away, the Nephew Will Play
I received my first computer when I was 15 years old. Before that, my only interaction with the internet was when I visited my older, married sister during the summer. My first experience with the internet was when I was 12. I visited my sister and she left me alone in the house for the day while she and my brother-in-law were out at work.
My parents did that all the time; it was always cool. Then, later that evening after he returned home, my brother-in-law sat me down. He had a little smirk on his face. He thought that he was about to catch me red-handed—but he had no idea what was coming. “Did you know that my computer keeps a record of all the websites you visit?” he asked.
“…..no.. I didn’t,” I replied, which was the truth. He then proceeded to pull up his internet history, only to discover nine hours of activity while he was gone….all of which had to do with the children’s book series, Animorphs. Searching for Animorph websites. Posting in Animorph forums. Reading about Animorphs. Reading Animorph fanfiction. Looking at Animorph fan art. Just. Animorphs…and literally nothing else.
My guess is that he had been expecting me to look up adult videos and, instead of telling me not to do it ahead of time, he thought this could be a fair and reasonable way to teach me a lesson the hard way, and/or humiliate me after the fact. But screw him. As unusual as my online behavior may have seemed, I won. Animorphs is where it’s at!
40. A Night He’ll Forget, But You Never Will
Although it’s kind of the opposite of the way these stories normally go, I once accidentally stumbled upon my dad’s search history. The evening before, he had stayed out late and had a pretty heavy night of drinking, which explains why I found my laptop in the middle of our living room (instead of in my bedroom, where it was usually kept).
Upon locating it, I promptly took a seat and logged myself on, ready to delve directly into whatever rabbit hole my dad had dug for me on there during his bout of intoxication the previous night. I opened the laptop screen and there was my home page. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and nothing new was downloaded. So far, so good.
I then decided to open up Chrome and check the internet browsing history. As I braced myself for impact, I noticed that everything in there was just the stuff that I myself had browsed the day before: Reddit, Facebook, my Gmail inbox, the super weird stuff that I like to look up while I’m bored. All me. No traces of my dad anywhere to be seen.
Now, the meek-willed would have been satisfied with this. But no. This did not explain why the laptop was in the living room. I know for a fact that my dad had used it. I thought of Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, and all the other great innovators of history. All of them went one step further to leave their mark on mankind. I was no different. And like a wave, it suddenly dawned on me what I needed to do.
Open the Safari browser. My dad was known to be a safari user on those rare occasions when he actually used the laptop. So, I opened it up and checked the history. And sure as can be, there it freakin’ was! I’m not going to tell you what I saw in the form of a story. Instead, I’m just going to mimic his actions and show you exactly how his thought process unfolded that night.
Step One: Open up Safari, Step Two: Type in “www.googl.com,” Step Three: Type in “www.google.com,” Step Four: Type in “adult videos” into the search bar, Step Five: Click on the first link that comes up, Step Six: Search up the generic phrase “adult videos” on the adult videos site, Step Seven: Stay on this page for a total of 41 seconds, Step Eight: Close computer and go to sleep.
And that was it. Just like that, I had witnessed the endeavors of a primal man with primal instincts. The man who had once taught me how to walk and talk looked up adult content on the internet and clicked on the first link that came up. The man who once taught me how to shave put the phrase “adult videos” into the search bar of an adult video website.
I learned a lot about my father that day. And I’ll be darned if this story doesn’t come up at his funeral. Here’s to you, pops!
41. Smoke Show
My nephew was extremely diligent upon receiving his first phone in getting Facebook promptly installed, along with creating an account. Then, last year on Halloween, I walked by while he was using his phone and happened to glance over and see a video of an explosion. Turns out he liked a page about people blowing stuff up.
Not just any stuff, but specifically the stuff that comes out of our butts. That’s right, poop. When confronted about it, he said it was shown to him by a friend who uploads videos to the page.
42. Making a New Friend
A very old friend of mine has a younger brother with some disabilities, mostly mental. When he lived at home with him, around the age of 16, my friend once caught him searching the internet to find someone who would be willing to meet up at their house and explore some bizarre fantasies with him in the bedroom.
He created a profile on a very intense, fringe kind of dating site, and wrote that he was looking for someone to come to the family house and “punish” him. Then, one day, he used part of his own allowance money to pay for a taxi ride for a woman old enough to be his mother to come to their house for this purpose, and she actually showed up. But don’t worry—the story only gets crazier from there.
Unfortunately for him, she arrived exactly as his parents were getting home from wherever they had been that day. This meant that his guest and his parents had to meet each other, which he obviously had never planned on happening in his wildest dreams (or nightmares). He quickly tried to make up a story about her being a housekeeper, but she was firm and direct with her explanation and told his parents exactly what had really been going on. From that point on, he was given absolutely zero internet access, with his brother even going so far as to physically remove all connection ports and components from his computer to prevent potential hotwiring of any kind in the future.
These days, he lives in an adult care home where he still has absolutely no internet access. Believe it or not, there was actually an incident in 2014 where he stole someone’s smartphone, locked himself in a closet, and frantically tried to access that same website again until the battery died and he was lured back out with food.
43. Them’s Fightin’ Words
When my son was 8 years old, my wife was once looking at his tablet and saw his comments on some YouTube videos. Shockingly, most of his comments were along the lines of “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT YOU DUMB IDIOT STUPID LOSER.” Others included randomly strung together cuss words that normally wouldn’t be used together and basically made no sense.
In the replies to these comments of his, he would get called out by others for the random cussing, to which he would respond and he would say “I’m already eight years old and I can do whatever I want to do. You can’t tell me what to do, you freakin’ [CUSSWORD, OTHER CUSS WORD THAT DOESN’T GO WITH FIRST CUSSWORD]!!!!”
When we brought this little discovery of ours up to him, he admitted that he knew they were bad words. He claimed that he was just repeating other vulgar comments he had seen from other comment trolls and didn’t fully understand the harshness of his words. Now his YouTube habits are much more closely monitored by us and, as far as we can tell, he hasn’t done anything like that ever since.
44. Does Not Compute
While I am not a parent, I once helped a family set up their home computer network and, in the course of doing so, I ran into a patently bizarre sort of family feud. At the time when this story took place, I was casually acquainted with a young woman who had, via a process of not-so-subtle suggestion and outright pleading, convinced her aunt (Ellen, we’ll call her) to finally get her children (ages ten and twelve, respectively) their own personal computers.
Why this was such a powerful obsession for my friend is still unknown to me, but I agreed with the sentiment. After all, these kids had been limited to using the “family computer” for the majority of their lives, which had made both school projects and socialization into somewhat difficult tasks. After having finally been convinced, Aunt Ellen bought each of her children a personal desktop computer.
Then, to further cement her household’s position in the Information Age, she switched from the bottom-rung DSL connection they’d been using and upgraded to a respectably fast cable service. The inclusion of television channels and a home phone line may have helped her with that decision. However, she discovered with some dismay that setting up her network was a bit of a daunting challenge. That’s where I came in.
At first, this seemed like it would be a simple endeavor: I’d just set up a router, install a couple of wireless NICs, and be done with it. However, Aunt Ellen had a few special requests. “The most important thing,” she told me, “is an Internet password.” I nodded to confirm my understanding, though I wasn’t completely sure what she wanted.
“Do you mean a WiFi password? As in something to protect your wireless network?” I asked. “Oh, yes, certainly that,” replied Aunt Ellen, “but I also want to keep my kids off the internet if it’s past dinner time. That’s when all the creeps come out.” Well, that was fine. I had some private thoughts on the matter, but I wasn’t there to offer parenting advice or play Internet Educator.
So, I set up the network, put the necessary conditions in place on the router, and moved on.
“Okay, great!” Aunt Ellen said, visibly pleased. “Next, put passwords on each of the new computers.” She didn’t immediately offer an explanation for this, but my assumption was that it was to keep her son (the ten-year-old) from snooping on his sister’s machine (and vice-versa).
“Do you want to have your kids set up their own passwords?” I asked. Aunt Ellen’s answer was accompanied by a look of shock. “Oh, no, no! No, only my husband and I will know them. I don’t want my kids on the computer without permission!” Again, this seemed counterproductive to me, but I held my tongue and did her bidding.
With everything complete, I assumed that my final task was to reconnect the “family computer” to the network and then go about my merry way. I didn’t know it at the time, but this job was about to start getting even crazier. The following day, I received a phone call from my friend. Her Aunt Ellen, it seemed, was having some unspecified difficulties with the new network setup, and she wanted to know if I could stop by to help them out.
I was wary of becoming the family’s personal IT technician, but the fear that I’d done something wrong brought me back to their house. Upon arrival, Aunt Ellen explained to me that her husband had been unable to check his email the night before. “I know you did your best,” she said, “but do you think maybe something went wrong?”
“Well, I can certainly find out,” I replied. “Do you know if he used the right password? Remember, if it’s after seven, you need to enter it first.” Aunt Ellen smiled and nodded. “Oh, yes, definitely! I even tried it myself.” I was skeptical, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt and pulled up the router’s configuration page.
Everything seemed to be in order…except for an extra entry that I had never seen before. It specifically locked a handful of URLs, each of them clearly “adult” in nature, and had the curious label of ‘NoFacebook=NoNakedPeople.’ “I need to check something,” I told Aunt Ellen. “Do you mind if I look at…” I thought for a brief moment before continuing. “May I look at your daughter’s computer?”
We went up to the girl’s room and had a look at the computer in question (after Aunt Ellen made me avert my gaze while she entered the necessary password). Lo and behold, somebody had created a second administrator account, and their browser history showed that it had been used the night before to access the router.
Suddenly, it dawned on me: I had never changed the router’s default password, and Aunt Ellen’s sweet, innocent, twelve-year-old daughter was some kind of computer genius. She had taken it upon herself to passive-aggressively block her father’s access to his adult content. It was, to say the least, an extremely awkward predicament to have found myself in.
Fortunately, I managed to somehow resolve the situation while leaving everyone’s pride intact, although it took a lot more finesse than I had expected the task to require. In the end, the father’s browsing capabilities were restored, the router’s password was changed, and nobody (save perhaps the twelve-year-old girl) was any the wiser…and even though I undid her work, I left the bent paperclip that I saw beside the girl’s keyboard.
45. Evening the Score
The weirdest story I have about anything I’ve ever caught a family member doing online would have to be the time I went on my family’s computer and discovered that my little cousin had left a tab open called “How to get revenge.” Now, I know that there probably must be some kind of perfectly logical explanation for this, but it still makes me stop and wonder what the heck the backstory was there whenever I think about it.
46. Going Green
The weirdest thing I’ve ever caught a family member doing online was when I saw an Instagram post by my nephew where he was posing beside a marijuana-themed poster that said, “crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit” with the caption “had a dope weekend.” He’s nine years old. His Instagram privileges were revoked very fast after that…
47. A Case of Mistaken Identity
It should probably be my parents telling this story, but here goes. So when I was a little youngin and just starting to explore the internet, I would usually just go on the Disney Channel site to play games. Nevertheless, being a typical young girl, I wanted to find more entertaining sites to go to with fun girly stuff on them.
So, of course, my first thought was to just type in “girls.com.” Well, as it turned out, that site was not exactly what I was expecting. That URL took me straight to a site full of naked bodies, and my innocent little self was like “WHOOPS!” and closed the tab right away. Well, apparently my dad had been monitoring our browser history and soon noticed.
So I overhear my dad interrogating my two older brothers one day, asking them who was looking at inappropriate content. They, of course, both insist that it wasn’t them. My dad was persistent with trying to get them to confess until I came down the stairs and confessed that it was me. My brothers both let out the biggest sigh of relief, while my dad just looked extremely confused.
48. Worst Poker Face of All Time
When I was a young man and first discovering that there was adult material on the internet, my family had a desktop computer in the living room that we all shared. It was set up in such a way that the computer was behind and apart from our TV area so you could browse the internet in relative privacy even when others were in the room.
One time, I found some website filled with photos of girls in bikinis (not even any actual nudity) and looked through it in fascination while my dad watched football close by. Then, I had a panic attack, deleted my entire history of browsing that site. Then I panicked even more and did something so stupid, I don’t even understand it. I told my dad that I had gone to a normal site when, all of a sudden out of nowhere, this other site popped up full of bikini girls and shut down what I had actually been trying to do.
So, he came over to the computer, checked my history, and couldn’t find any evidence of it. He probably had no idea what I was saying, and I was probably too paranoid and inexperienced to realize that he never would have had any suspicions or awareness of what I had done had I not freaked out and called him over.
Nevertheless, because of my reaction, I’m sure he knew what had happened. He wasn’t an idiot. But he chose to let it slide.
49. Going Exploring
The craziest thing I discovered through looking at my son’s social media is that he is a popular urban explorer in his spare time. He’s 14 years old and I recently saw some video of him and his friends online, with a ton of views, showing them sneaking into an old air force base and climbing to the top of an air hangar.
50. Getting Mixed Messages
When I was a kid, I stumbled upon an adult flash game website. I would go onto it whenever I had the chance. Eventually, my mom found out and she asked my dad to talk to me about it. My dad and I got into the car and he started this serious talk about how “the internet is a very powerful and dangerous tool.” I felt really guilty.
Then he told me how to erase my browsing history…