In last week's column I accidentally revealed that my four-year-old son had seen Game of Thrones. It was just the opening titles, but it still made people really angry.
I was tutted at by a mum on the street and a caller to my radio show threatened to ring CYF. It's nice to know people care. But what are the rules? What should we hide from our kids and what should we share with them?
My views on censorship were forged in the rugged bush surrounding Prospect Park in Dunedin. I was seven years old when I wandered up an embankment and discovered a couple making love in the long grass. I was an innocent kid, I had no idea what they were doing so I threw rocks at them until they stopped. The male involved was understandably annoyed. He chased me, caught me and hiffed my school bag on to the road where it was run over by a blue Ford Laser.
This is the problem parents face. I wasn't watching a movie or a TV show. The full-frontal, bag-destroying nudity I saw was life.
No matter what you do, your kids will see dodgy things. But does it really matter? I wasn't scarred for life that day. My lunchbox was - but I bounced back fine.
Two weeks later my mate Bubbles and I spotted a teenager burying a heavy bag behind a cabbage tree. We waited till he left and dug up the treasure, 14 pristine nudie mags.
They meant nothing to me at that age but the older kids at the park got very excited. Word spread like wildfire and the next day Bubbles and I made22 bucks selling the mags outside Balmacewen Intermediate.
This time I was scarred for life. I spent my share on firecrackers and a bunch of Double Happies blew up in my hand. The point is kids will stumble across naughty stuff even if it's buried two feet underground.
Parental warnings and movie ratings won't shield them. Hide the world and they'll just dig it up.
The other day I took my son Chaz to a fancy Mt Eden bookstore.
I thought I'd get him something exciting to help with his reading. Within seconds he found a book with the word f*** on the cover. He fell to the floor in a belly-aching laugh that lasted a full two minutes. He's probably not supposed to be reading the f-word at 7 but I'm glad he did. His reaction was very cute and I am pretty sure he's going to pull through okay.
We're told French kids enjoy a nice wine with dinner from an early age and as a result they don't grow up to be crazed binge drinkers like we Kiwis do. The idea is simple.
Drip-feeding children in a safe environment means they don't make up for lost time later with rocket fuel and beer bongs.
It's probably the same with censorship. Maybe our kids should experience more of the things we worry about while we're looking after them so they don't freak out about them in later life.
There are obviously exceptions to this rule. A French man was sitting beside me at an All Blacks test last year. He was not a sophisticated wine drinker. He binged like a mad man for 45 minutes before passing out and wetting himself. Thirty minutes later he woke up, wiped his mouth and tried to grope the lady in front of him.
Censorship is a complex issue. But a child seeing a few things they shouldn't won't turn them bad. A little bit of Game of Thrones won't kill them. It might even give them a head start in life. If you're a nice loving parent they'll be fine. My advice would be, ignore the censor's ratings, swear as much as you like and as long as you're handing out the hugs there's really no need to get CYF involved.