Rockstar's school talk re social media and gaming. They've had maybe 3, this academic year, including when you bring your child's devices in, and what can I say - A ship in the harbour is safe, but it's not what ships are made for; yet nor do ships leave the harbour without checking the weather report... You can't escape technology, it's everywhere especially in your child's world, but you can't exactly say "yes" to it all either, without first availing yourself of all the guidance from the school (because your kid's school should be in the unique position to give you the best picture... There are people who make lots and lots of this information available to you for free, for which they have put so much time and effort researching and preparing materials, so you can get it
on a platter at an after-school seminar, because your child attends the school and you have to y'know, parent your child alongside the tech.)
So anyway, tech talk. All the slides in this post are from Rockstar's school talks by the Learning Technology Specialist, and this is not a post to regurgitate everything (also, not everything is here, not by a long shot :), it's a story of our efforts to parent alongside the guidance and trainings the erm, trained people give you.
Lots of Rockstar's friends actually have serious gaming consoles - beautiful machines hooked up to even more beautiful wide screen tvs - and so, friends who actually know Rockstar might be amazed to know that..... we don't. Yup, "hardcore" computer nerd Rockstar does not have a gaming console. Minecraft and Scratch is what they have in school, and so it's what he gets at home as well.
Oh, think your kid can't get enough "good stuff" if they stick to these? Oh yes they can (unless they're already very used to playing other games). There is a whole smorgasbord of clean and very engaging entertainment out there. When Rockstar visits his friends', he plays whatever they're playing (so yes he gets other games then). When his friends come to our home, they play what Rockstar's playing. And here's an eg of some other entertainment. This is the original It's Raining Tacos:
This is what kids are able to do with it on Scratch:
It's one of the things Rockstar loves to do online, check what other kids can make. (Also, there are Nerf pellets all over our home in places we never knew existed so maybe this is why they don't request the games we don't have :P)
Not... that Xboxes are pure evil like we all know ice cream is (haha no, not really), but it would've been an additional "fight" in our home.
In the same way my erm, idea of your own little "hell" is if you only feel satiated when you eat junk or do stuff that's bad for you (think how beautiful life would be if you liked veggies AND knew they were good for you), I had this obsessive-compulsive idea to enforce the gaming equivalent of. With.... s-ome level of success - Coding tends to revolve around games. So we had to let some in. But well, as the school tells us, all games are not equal.
There's the thing: When your kid is learning (tech) stuff at a faster rate than you can you have to get out of the way, pay attention to the school tech safety talks... And do what they advise. (For eg, no outside accounts the school can't monitor or else you're just asking for it.) The least we could do though was stick with ones the school approves, monitors, or even incorporates into lessons - the kids use Minecraft for number sense, to build virtual worlds to illustrate their understanding of ancient civilisations, et al...
My favourite thing at the Kennedy School talk that evening was re the 3,000-word watch list connected to our kids' school accounts (including variations like "Sh1t") - an email containing any of those words doesn't go to the intended recipient, it goes to the Learning Tech Specialist.
(What I really want to know is how to get them to do this for all the non-school related stuff too hahaha)
I especially liked "anyone can post anything", and "your likes can define you."
There are slides on Xbox controls, Cyberbullying, a horrifying statistic (with references) re 22% of teenaged girls having shared nude or semi-nude photos plus a guarantee that they are pretty much always shared.....
And therein lies the inconvenient truth: there is no more effective deterrent out there than.... parenting. (Sorry). There are so many risks out there, you can't switch the parental controls (ironic name alert) on for them all. You have to instil in your child not to want to do it.
To borrow an analogy from the talk, in a slightly different context: just because you know how to break a window doesn't mean you'd do it. Just because your kid is tech-savvy and literate doesn't mean they have to necessarily be online even when they come of age. There are lots of people who are... legal but don't drink or have casual sex or etc. Being "technologically wholesome" should be another - no, maybe the most important new value we need to include in our parenting today.
Exercising restraint from thoughtless clicking, texting, ripping/downloading et al should be as much a no-brainer of an easy judgement call on our kids' part, as them not going to the actual strip joint, saying those profanities (or other hurtful stuff) out loud, flashing someone for real.
Why? Because the end result is the same. Someone still gets hurt.
ps: Still playing catchup... So much to tell, so little time to get online. Stay tuned dears...