"DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS". Definitely one of the top 10 rules you instill in your child from a very young age. Looking back on my own childhood, I think of the creepy guy in a car offering candy and a ride. Boy how times have changed!
When my son, Quinton, got a PlayStation gaming system for Christmas last year, I chose games carefully based on the ratings. I was in for a rude awaking when I realized that during the gaming experience other players could verbally chime in with any comment they saw fit. Their audible comments were broadcast into my family room. All my careful efforts were for naught when I realized that the comments of other players were not necessarily in line with the rating on the game.
Not only that, their comments were personal, like "you suck" and "get your f!@#$ head in the game" to name a few.
People, strangers mind you, were invited into my home to berate or harass my child with their unwelcome comments. Have I lost my mind?
Parents beware: We live in an age where we rely on technology and we trust it as part of our day- to-day lives. Would you let a stranger into your home, to talk to your child in an unsupervised situation and trust that everything is as it seems? Heck no!!!
Technology enables our children to have access to the world. They can instantly access numerous resources to enrich their studies. They can maintain instantaneous contact with any friend or family member anywhere in the world. They can search for any want or need and receive instant gratification. Amazing!
Conversely, anyone in the world can have unsupervised access to your child. Anyone can instantly insert themselves into your child's life, posing as whomever they feel will endear them to your child. They can instantly communicate (judge and discount) and respond to your child in a way that is both anonymous and savvy, preying on your child's weaknesses and inexperience.
Now, not only am I concerned about the effects the violence and content that these games can have, (something I feel can be monitored through the ratings on games), I am concerned about the interaction with strangers these games invite (definitely less predictable and more personal).
For now, video games are alive and well in our house, but the sound button is on mute.
MOM on a Mission is written by a suburban Atlanta mother who prefers to remain anonymous so she can be candid and sincere about the everyday trials of the parent child relationship while protecting her family's privacy.