Why myspace isn’t the devil, why I wish Jack Thompson would hush and why I think good parenting will rule the day…

March 14, 2007 at 8:34 pm (General stuff, Movies/TV/Books/Music/Video Games, Poli-ticking)

Part the 1st: Why myspace ain’t the devil…

I’ve been hearing a lot of things lately about Myspace and how parents are basically lauding it as a place for perverts. Now, not to say that Myspace or the Internet doesn’t have its fair share of perverts, however I would like to agree that I believe that news and shows have been overexaggerating cases in order to both instill fear in parents who already don’t approve of technology and to boost ratings. With that being said… 

Here’s an interesting fact for you, do you know that most cases of Child Abuse come from someone a child already knows? Yup, 90-95%  of Child abuse survivors were attacked by someone they knew previously (60% family members and 30% a person in their community ex. family friend, teacher, clergy member etc.) Now, i’m not saying that you shouldn’t ensure that your kid is not prepared to go on the inter-webs, which might be hard for some parents who aren’t as tech savvy as their children (My parents went through the same problem.) Here be some tips for those who are not sure how to approach this problem….
Content Blockers are your friend: Invest in content blockers, along with pop up blockers so that your kids are less likely to run into bad content ex. porn or pop up ads.

Sit down with your kids and talk to them: Continue to keep communication with your teenage kids as open and positive about computers as you can. Keep talking with them about their on-line lives, friends, and activities, just as you would about other friends and activities.

Lay down the Rules: You and your kids can make up a list of Internet House rules that they can abide by.

You can make the difference: Teach your kid about proper behavior on the net. The last thing you want to do is make up the next generation of abusive trolls… 

To Meet or not too meet: Don’t encourage your teen to meet any of their friends offline, at least not alone unless you’re there. Even though most of the time it is another teen or preteen, sometimes it can be a person a lot older.  

Know what’s up: Know what chat rooms and message boards your kids frequent. Also, make sure you know what websites they visit and insure that it doesn’t have inappropriate content or post too much info and pictures of themselves … 

Make it out in the Open: Make sure that you keep the computer in a common area of the house, not the kids room.  

 Straight up: Encourage your teens to tell you if something or someone on-line makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and remind your kids they are not in trouble for bringing something to your attention. (It is important that your teen does not think that their computer privileges could be taken away.)

Talk to your teenagers about online adult content and pornography, and direct them to positive sites about health and sexuality.

Filtering and protection is your friend too: Teach your teens never to give out personal information without your permission when using e-mail, chat rooms, or instant messaging, filling out registration forms and personal profiles, and entering on-line contests. Also, help protect them from spam. Tell your teens not to give out their e-mail address on-line, not to respond to junk mail, and to use e-mail filters.

Buying things: Make sure your kid doesn’t buy anything without your knowledge and make sure that when they do that they buy it from a BBB site and also insure that they know about identity theft.

Don’t forget to also talk to your kids about Child Abuse and abduction: tell them what behavior or talk is right with someone they know Give them the tools to protect themselves on and offline.

 The second part: Why Jack Thompson gets on me and most gamers nerves.

There is a lawyer in Florida by the name of Jack Thompson, if you read the news or are a video game aficionado, you know exactly who i’m talking about.  

He’s launched high level cruisades against RockStar (Against GTA:SA’s Hot Coffee Mod, which actually isn’t in the actual game content, and most people would have to put in a mod to draw it out, and Bully, even before the game came out, which ended up being a game against the forementioned title) , the gaming industry and gamers themselves, and pretty much anyone who disagrees with his point of view that video games are killing simulators and that be the end of it.

I’m a 21 year old black woman. I’ve been playing video games since Atari and Super Nes. I’ve been playing fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter for nigh on 2 decades, I’ve played shooting games like “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” and “Doom” since I had my first computer, which was Win 95, with Dos mind you (Yeah, i’m that kind of geek gangsta.) Have I shot or killed anyone? No, even though most people would automatically assume that I would become another violence statistic just based on where I grew up and my poor economic status alone, let alone the fact that I’m a gamer. I got A’s and B’s and was on the honor roll all the way through College, I have a BS in CIS, I volunteer with my community. There are lots of people like me, and haven’t had adverse affects at all.

 Now, yes video games are a form of escapism, most gaming is. Then again, so are movies, books, and other media. It can take you to a far away place or a place that doesn’t exist. However, I doubt that they are the root cause in what is wrong with our youth. In cases of people perpetuating violence (See Columbine), it seems that folks who use mediums for example video games who can’t tell the difference between fiction and reality had problems prior to their violent acts, and it would not have changed, even if there were no video games or television. It’s a shame that things that are supposed to be expressive such as
Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a lot of violence and sexuality in video games. But, I’m not so easy to peg them for the worlds problems (Bad education, no health care, unemployment, War, etc.). For every video game that has sex and violence there are some used for education, for learning and in a more positive way. It’s like any medium, it depends on what it is meant to do.

 Part the third: Why Good Parenting will rule out most problems…

 Just like safe guarding your kids on the interwebs, in order to make sure your kids don’t have adverse effects due to video games, it comes down to good parenting. Sadly, most folks would rather let the net and TV raise their kids or stop for a second to check if their kids are doing alright. I’m not talking about the parents that are working several jobs or one long job, trying to make ends meat mind you. Well, the kids are not alright, Virginia. In order to assure that your kid is getting

Limit Video game time: I couldn’t play video games unless it was on the weekend, and that I had my homework done and triple checked by the parents. Plus, they wanted me to go outside and get fresh air.

Check the label of your video games: just like you wouldn’t bring your 5 year old to an NC-17 movie (Unless you were covering their eyes and ears most of the time.) or let your youngin’ watch Nip/Tuck, you would not get your kid a M rated game if they’re extremely young. The ESRB is a rating system for games. It goes something like this:

EC- Means Early Childhood. Its ok for kids who are 3 years old and up. An example is the Dr. Brain series

E: Everyone. Everyone can play this video game, its like the equivalent of G rated movies almost. ex. Mario, Sonic and a few of the legend of Zelda games.

E-10+: Everyone from ages 10 and up: It might have more cartoon violence than E rated games, I suppose the equivalent would be Y-7 for tv and possibly PG for movies. Ex. Kingdom Hearts 2 (one of my favorite games btw)

Teen: Content thats appropriate for ages 13 and up. It might be because of blood or crude humor. Equivilant would be of  PG-13. Ex. Prince of Persia: the sands of time.

Mature: For ages 17 and up.  Equivalent would be NC-17 or R for movies and R for Television. Ex. Mortal Kombat, Elder Scrolls IV, and Resident Evil.

Adults only: only 18 years old and up. Ex. GTA San Andreas

Insure that you know what your kid is playing: A problem I’ve seen is that parents instead of getting mad at finding their kid playing an inappropriate video game that they’ve bought with their own money, instead of handling it by going after the store and whatever clerk that let their kid buy a non age appropriate video game, they go after the company that created the video game. A tad backwards. If you find your kid with a video game that isn’t right, you have to talk to your child and explain why they can’t play it til their older, discipline their child then go to the store and handle the problem.

I feel that a lot of bad things could be avoided if some parent’s would give their children the tools that they need to go out there. Video Games are not inheriently good or inheriently evil, even though they can be used positively or negatively, its up to the person who uses it in the end. I’m done with my little rant. Have a good day. 🙂

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