I got the Mean Mom of the Year Award today. Not to brag, but it’s the 8th year running. Today’s award came after picking up the boys from VBS. They reached for their iPads to discover mommy had updated them (nice mommy) and deleted half their games (mean mommy). Here’s the deal. My beautiful boys are amazing at those things. They get to level 125 within minutes of beginning a new game. During the school year they were only allowed to play them on the weekends, but with mommy working all week, Saturday and Sunday were the only days I had to do laundry for 5, clean, vacuum, get the unknown sticky substance off the bathroom wall, and maybe, just maybe, read or stare out a window for 20 minutes. So on the weekends those boys played their iPads, and they played, and they played and they played.
This is not all bad. We live in the age of technology and my children understanding and being native users of it might be essential to future success (this assumes no zombie apocalypse or Y22K, etc). The iPads were a wonderful, generous gift and initially used to read or play a game or two. But their peers at school had them telling me they MUST download this or that game, and like the idiot I can be, I aquiesed. Usually after weaseling a chore or two out of them. Then one day I hear, “You must die!”, “Look bro, I just ripped this dude’s arm off”, “Will you help me kill the zombie?”–I’m sorry, what?! I was fairly good about checking the ages of most of their games and was shocked to find that these bloody, kill ’em now games were age appropriate. Asking a few friends about my dilema I had several responses.
- Oh I hate those too! Johnny plays them all the time, and I just hate it.– and do nothing about it
- I don’t let my kids near those things.
- Lighten up, woman.
So I let it go….(you’re singing Frozen right now aren’t you?)
Then I saw this article: http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/03/justice/wisconsin-girl-stabbed/
My son had just mentioned this character to me last week. I wrote it off as he is constantly talking about one video game or another. Just thinking about it makes my blood run cold.
So today I deleted all their games. I kept the readers, the math games, the tools, the photos, but I ditched the mindless (gross) entertainment. I changed their passwords and I set time limits.
You want to know what happened?
They made a mess.
They pulled out toys, fired up their imaginations, and went to work. Then they went outside and played. So am I horrible? Yes, today I am. Do I need to lighten up? That may be the opinion of some, but they aren’t raising my children, and they wouldn’t have to answer to “why did your son/daughter do this awful thing they learned from a game they shouldn’t have seen in the first place?” I am their parent and the awful responsibility that is parenting is that we are responsible for teaching, edifying and molding these little people until they are ready to take on life on their own.
Now, I’m off to find a place to put my new award.
PS. Anyone know good educational apps? See, I’m not a complete monster.