The other day I sat next to my son as he was on his Nook. He was playing MineCraft, which I actually like because it encourages creativity and may influence him to become architect in the future. Anyway, I glance over and to my surprise and there are several guns pictured on the screen. This was not Minecraft! It was Pixel Gun, a game created very similar to Minecraft. I was heated. This is NOT OK.
As a parent, as an aunt, as an educator, I’m losing the battle. I’m losing the control I have over what my child is exposed to and when. With school shootings and teen suicide being a battle in the US why are there games like Pixel Gun, Call of Duty being marketed to our youth! Exposing our boys to this fantasy world of firearms and war fare. As a parent I feel defenseless. Do I take his Nook away and force him to do everything the stone age way? No, I can’t becayse I don’t want my son being “That Kid”! The kid who can’t carry a conversation about the current events because he’s “Not Allowed” to…fill in the blank. I believe in balance and there lies my battle.
I’m losing the power of influence to the modern day social media influence of YouTube and Instagram. We want to give our kids the world but at the same time protect them from the things ‘OF’ the world. For an 11 year old an electronic reader or notebook of any sort is almost essential. It’s even encouraged at school for reading purposes. The issue is the ‘all in one’ capabilities. I purchased my sons Nook with intentions on reading being the main purpose and video games being the exception. I knew there would be games loaded, I know my son. While I will admit that I could have monitored his down loading more closely. I should have also forced him to sit on my lap with each use. NOT. Lol That being said, there has to be a better way!
I feel as though the minute we give our children an ipad/notebook/tablet of any sort we lose power. The first thing many tweens do with any electronic device is download YouTube if the app isn’t preloaded already. There is no consent needed to download an app of any kind.
There has to be some sort of accountability for these social media giants as well as app and game creators. Instagram is suppose to be “safe” for tweens but nude woman can pop up in the explore feed. (based on users following) who are all tweens!
There is no comfortable level of parental control available on any of the social networking sites. There is a need for a social outlet that is closely monitored. I have parental locks on my tv. Which seems pointless now when most television sitcoms or series can be found on YouTube along with countless other unregulated programming posted by amateurs trying to achieve a moment of stardom. Once we give our kids the privilege of creating a profile we must understand that it is in that moment we lose control. They are now vulnerable and exposed to whatever is trending that moment. I don’t like it one bit but I feel helpless. Sometimes I feel like my only option is to move away to an Amish Farm like community in an attempt to keep my child innocent as long a time will permit. Unfortunately this isn’t an option, however, we can always take a stand and use our untapped power as parents to pressure the FCC into giving our kids a chance. There is nothing more fragile than a child’s mind and it’s our duty to protect it.