Monday, March 26, 2012

Mom the technotard

When I was in high school my parents didn't talk much about the dangers of the internet. Once I think they saw something on the news and said "don't meet boys from the internet" and them promptly forgot the internet existed. We didn't have a computer in our home, only one (yes 1) of my friends did, kids never had cell phones and the few adults who did definitely never had a web browser on them. the need to teach internet and technology safety didn't exist for my parents. Lucky damn bastards

The technology that did exist I used against my parents every chance I got. My parents saw caller ID was a way to verify that I really was calling from my best friends house, it took my friends and I  5 minutes to figure out how to defeat caller ID with the aid of three way calling.

So now I have kids and the technology my parents had no need to fear is everywhere. Heck we have a computer in our dining room! In two years when my eldest hits grade 6 he will be given  a laptop by the school. How the hell do I control his internet presence when the damn school gives him a computer? OK sure they can't access facebook on the school computers but you can get in plenty of trouble without facebook. Heck I remember going to my friends house (you remember me talking about that one girl that had a home computer) and playing on ICQ. In hindsight it was just sheer luck that we were not raped and murdered. Oh my god, we would be sitting there at 3 am talking to random internet guys while her parents snored away in the next room.  Internet safety was something we taught each other.

How do I keep my kids from endangering themselves? Yes we have talked about not disclosing personal information with strangers,  but how do I know he is listening? Right now he is ten and I have manged to convince him I am more computer savvy than I actually am. For example we have a rule. If you delete the computer history you loose all electronic privileges for month. That,s a great rule ... if I knew how to access my computer history. My husband does but I don't.

I am a technotard. I know just enough to grasp all the dangers and pitfalls but not enough to ensure my kid stays away from them. So with that said does anyone have any suggestions?

All suggestions are to be made in plain English. Any and all suggestions made in tech talk will result in the commenter being called extremely unflattering names.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

You're reading letting them read WHAT?!

What do you mean Harry Potter will warp my child's mind? I just heard your kid talking about Jersey Shore.

It is often difficult to judge what is appropriate for your child to read,watch, and play at what age. It is always a balancing act and in the end there will ALWAYS be someone who tells you that you are too strict, too lenient., or in my case downright crazy.

My boys are coming up on 10 and 2. My ten year old loves  zombie movies, games and books. Now there are a lot of parents who feel that zombies are inappropriate for their 10 year old, that's fine their kid their choice.

Until my kid could grasp the basic concept of real vs make believe (about 4) he was limited to blues clues and elmo. He only watched shows that his reenacting wouldn't cause issues. I was often called crazy and over protective but I felt at 2 and 3 he couldn't yet differentiate between spider man beating up the green goblin and him beating up his best friend. That part of his brain that housed common sense hadn't developed yet.

Over the intervening years what he is allowed to watch has expanded greatly but my basic rules for censoring his screen time varied greatly from that of other parents.

I could care less if he watches a movie with nudity or even consensual sex (not porn mind you I am thinking more like Titanic) my reasoning being that I assume and even hope that one day he will have consensual sexual relationships, but the Simpsons are off limits. This has a lot of people shaking their heads at me but I don't allow TV that glamorizes sexism, racism, and stereotypes. 

Killing zombies is ok, that is self defense, killing people for fun is not cool. That is why my kid owns land of the dead but we had a big fight when I told him he couldn't watch Saw even if all his friends had, I don't approve of torture porn.

My kid plays Call of Duty, Gears of War, and Left 4 Dead, I get a lot of shit for that but it doesn't really bother me since I am comfortable with my decisions. there is a legit reason for the killing in those games so I let him play and use them as a teaching opportunity to discuss why it is ok to shoot an invader but not the bully down the road, what makes it different and where our personal line in the sand is drawn. I am still the meanest mother in "all of everywhere" though because I refuse to let him play Grand Theft Auto because it glamorizes a lifestyle I disagree with.

It is a balancing act for every parent trying to find the line between over protective and exposing your child to potentially harmful material

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Does your family have a zombie plan?

Talking zombies with your kids in important. Unfortunately in mass media there are rarely kids to drag behind you in a zombie apocalypse so many people don't think to have that talk.  However as your kids get older and spend more time away from you and you may not always know their exact location as "at the mall" is somewhat vague, it is important to have a plan.

Now I know what you are thinking "Hold up, I have real problems to discuss with my kids, sex, drugs, and drinking for example. Why should I waste my time on pretend ones?" and you would have an excellent point. However have you noticed how your teen or preteens eyes glaze over when you talk to them about serious issues? Since zombies are pure foolishness it is easier to engage them.

So talk with your kids and make a zombie plan. What would you do if it happened and you were spread all over the place? If your route home was blocked off by packs of ravenous undead?

See while zombies will never happen we cant say the same about war, civil unrest, natural disasters, or other craziness. It is important your kids know how you will react, where they should meet you, in what situations they should stay put and wait for you. How to survive for a few days on their own if it happened while you were out of town shopping.

Do your kids know that the water in the back of the flush is clean and drinkable? Do they know to eat the perishables first and save the canned goods?

Zombies are fun to talk about precisely because it will never happen. Kids can make suggestions with no repercussions. Hopefully your kids will never have to actually fortify the house against a treat but it would still be good if they had some basic ideas for how to go about it. Knowing where to find supplies to board up windows and keep out zombies could be equally as useful in the event of a severe hurricane.

My family has a zombie survival plan, does yours?