Sunday, September 5, 2010

Technology Natives

Every generation of parents have new things to contend with that make parenting just plain hard. The economy, wars, drugs, alcohol, they have all been around for generations but we are the first generation of parents that have had to deal with technology. I have heard it said that we are technology immigrants but our children are technology natives. Trust me I am sure our parents would have loved to have popped in a DVD for an eight hour car ride or told us to pop in our ear buds to listen to Bon Jovi instead of having it blare on our boom boxes. Doing their monthly budget on Quicken would have been way easier than the legal pad at the kitchen table. We all love technology. As a parent though it can make our lives tough. Our kids can have instant access to their friends 24/7. They can play video games with people half way around the world and text faster than they can speak. As parents there is no way we can read every text, check every email, and screen every game, video, song that comes into their life. Technology is to fast for us. We just can't do it. We had an example of this in Kerbyville this week. My little man found a video game that he wanted. He played it with a friend and told me how it's not to violent, the language is not that bad, and it was really cool. His friend said the same and the he had the game. We have been very busy so little man had to wait about a month to buy this game. He had been checking it out at Game Stop and found a used copy. We were shopping for school clothes after a long week of school so when he asked if he could get it I said okay. I didn't really look at the game because I was trusting the judgement of a friend. Little man got it home and started to play. I always go in to check out his new games and this one made me cringe just a little. Every time he got shot blood splattered on the screen and there was some language. So I picked up the case and looked at the rating. I was rated Teen which is not always bad. This one was rated T for blood, violence, drug references, language, and weapons. Sounds lovely. His dad and I had a discussion about it and decided he needed to take it back. I braced myself for a total meltdown, freak out, fit that most 11 would give when told they had to take something back. I told him we had been thinking about the game and that it really didn't fit with our standard for games. I asked him what he thought and he said well, I like it. I said I know you do but do you think it is a good game? He said probably not and I will take it back. I almost fell flat on the floor. No fussing, no fuming. I could tell he was disappointed and I told him I was sorry for that. I asked him how God would feel about the game and he said I should take it back. So off we went to Game Stop to return the game and find something new. Those guys that work their are great. They helped him find something that did fit our standard and I think he actually likes the new game better. They told me how to get demos of games so I can check them out before he buys. You know, through this whole thing I thought maybe I should just let him keep it. I didn't want to be that mom, the one that is strict and uncool, but something inside me said no, take a stand. I am happy that I did. I have never been prouder of him and realized how much he is growing up and developing his own standards. If I had backed down for fear of a fit or him hating me we would have missed this moment. I would have compromised our whole family. So to all you parents out there trying to navigate this world of technology, it's okay to say no, I love you to much to let you have or do this. It's okay to say, sorry I should have checked this out a little closer. We can take a stand to protect our kids. It's not always easy but in the end it's priceless.


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