Monday, January 2, 2012

Parents, Do Your Research

Every Christmas, I experience the same thing: some parent buys their child something they're really too young to have. It never fails. Whether it's a relative, friend, co-worker or a stranger I happen to stumble across, they'll buy their kid something they can't comprehend.

Gaming consoles
Growing up in the 80's, gaming consoles were a bit different. You had a cartridge, you put it in and turned on the power. That's it. The joystick consisted of a stick and at the most, two buttons. GC's are different now. Maybe not so much the Wii, but the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are completely different. Delicate discs, comprehensive menus and a joystick that consists of no less than six buttons and multiple sticks. Do parents care that some of the games they buy are inappropriate for their kids? No. Do parents care that their 1st grade child struggles to master their games? No. Can some of the kids manage to "button mash" their way through some games? Sure. But, seeing a six year old trying to play Madden is downright sad. A lot of parents don't research to see what game is best for the kid, they just buy the popular titles. My god son is almost 9 years old and I consider him a super-smart kid. When he comes over, I allow him to play my 360. He plays some of the games well, but the more complex games really frustrate him. Well, they should because he's not old enough to understand the rules/concept of the games and/or he simply lacks the skill to play it. Mix in the high price of the consoles and that most kids don't understand care and maintenance and it can leave you scratching your head.

Cell phones
For the life of me, I will never understand why someone not old enough to drive needs a smart phone. To see a 10 year old with an iPhone baffles me. First of all, the iPhone service plan is expensive. I had one recurring bill when I was 10 years old and it was a subscription to Sports Illustrated. And even then, I paid that out of my own allowance. A kid under 16 having an $80 phone bill and something else to distract them from more important things in life just has to be explained to me. I've heard numerous stories from teachers I know who say that they can't compete with the cell phones in class. Can't kids just be kids and do things that promote creativity rather than something that simply deadens their brain for periods of time?

These new old Jordans came out last week and quite a few parents were in line for their kids. Do students really need a pair of $180 shoes? I mean, even if you can afford it, why does your kid need a pair of $180 shoes? Isn't that grooming your child to be materialistic? Aren't there other things kids should be focusing on besides wearing name brand items? I've seen parents complain (locally) about not wanting their kids to be forced to wear uniforms to school. The parents claim that it robs the kids of their identity. When is the last time they walked into a classroom? All of the kids look exactly alike because they're all wearing the same clothes Lil' Wayne wore in his last video.

Look, I know some kids are an exception. Some children are mature enough to be given certain gifts. But, stop getting your kids things simply because other parents are doing it. Parents, do your research. Is your child even old enough to comprehend what you're getting them?

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  1. Q, I recently had "words" with the ex, who allowed my son to "watch" him play Call to Duty. He figured that since he didn't let him PLAY the game - that was all that mattered. I said, "Which part of "E" for everyone do you NOT understand?! "M" for mature does NOT include 7 year olds...and that means even SEEING the damned game being played by a retarded adult." His response? "Oh, I guess I need to re-think that." I'm not a perfect parent, but I DO monitor what goes into my kid's brain via his eyeballs, ears, nose, hands, etc... I sit and watch all of the cartoons he sees WITH him so that I know which ones I don't like - and subsequently get banned. I don't let him on the internet unless I'm sitting right there next to him - and forbid him from going to another website than the one he is on without me switching the site for him. I also watch him play all of the video games he has so that I know which ones need to maybe "wait" a little longer for him to play (even though they say "E" for everyone). Maybe I shelter him a bit too much (I've been accused of that), but I'm deathly afraid of him getting some whacked out notion of something because I wasn't paying attention to something when I needed to be.

    I am dreading when he gets a little older and becomes more conscious about clothes and wanting a cell phone. I'm totally gonna be the wicked mom when that time comes...

  2. @ Reck - At least your kid made it to 7 yrs old without an interest in cell phones and clothing. I know some kids who actually refuse certain clothing items from their parents and have cell phones and they're the same age.

    As for your ex, he should have known better than to let his kid watch. COD is a violent game and although it's not as bad as most, I would definitely have a serious talk with any kid before sitting him down in front of a game that promotes weaponry.

  3. So what is your opinion on Star Wars? How young is too young?

    I may be doing the 'too young' dance for my son's 6th birthday. He wants a Knex roller coaster. It's designed for 9 year olds...

    Oh, wait... that's different? Ok then. :)

  4. @ Idaho - I honestly think a lot of kids can be more mature for their age with the right parenting. But, my faith in today's parenting are about the same as my confidence in Congress. As a kid, I watched more Westerns and cop shows, but it was always in the presence of my parents. I learned do's and don't's from them. I also benefited from a brother who was five years older than me to set an example. In the right situation, a kid can be exposed to some things above their age. Star Wars is complete fantasy, so I don't have a problem with that. Kids can't get a hold of light sabers to cut someone's head off.

  5. OMG - Don't effin' get me started on kids with smart phones. I honestly think it should be a LAW that they should be 14 minimum years old.. AT LEAST. It makes me want to punch a wall when I see a 10yr (usually girl) with an iPhone. Gaaaaa.

  6. @ Lady E - I know what you mean. If someone wants to get their child a basic phone for emergencies, then so be it. But, a smart phone? That's a negative.

  7. Totally agree. Kids should be MAKING shoes not wearing them (of course that's not serious, but you know that because you're smarter than my dumb joke).
    This is why I only buy my kids new potato sacks until they stop freaking growing. Oh, and internet access, that's all that child should ever need, right?

  8. @ Pickleope - LOL! LOL! LOL! Making them? That's the best line I've read in a while.

  9. Agreed. Parents want to blame the gaming for putting the violent or explicit games out there, yet they are the first ones lining up outside the stores to get those same games for their kids.

    As for the shoes, I fail to see how a child who is too young to even walk yet can appreciate anything brand name. Brand name baby booties are out there. I've seen 'em.

  10. @ Vinny - You're right about the violent games. Some parents ignore the warning labels and then get mad when their kid wants to shoot something. As for name-brand infant/toddler stuff, that's just companies taking advantage of parents who think a well-dressed child is good parenting.

  11. Children with smartphones, smh. Please, if I'm a 26 year old and I still get by using a dumb phone, I'm pretty sure your average 10 year old can do the same. Why do they have smartphones? Are kids that young even allowed on Twitter?

  12. @ Tsaritsa - I'm pretty sure Twitter has no standards when it comes to age. I'd be shocked if they did. "Dumb phone?" LOL! Funny.


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