I am trying my hardest to keep up with them but I know pretty soon they will both overtake my limited technology knowledge and be hacking into the Government data frame (does that exist?).
One of the Mums on a FB group I am a member of recently asked if our older children had instagram accounts as her nine year old was asking for one. Heck I don't even have an instagram account! Isn't it more about taking photo's and people commenting on them? Another member of a FB group I am a member of; posted a picture of her dog on her instagram account and was then upset when some nasty troll told her it was ugly and should be put down.
One way I get round checking what the children use or download is by using one account for all of us. I've set up safe searching and haven't loaded my card details so no sneaky purchases can be made. I get emails when they download games and apps.This has worked so far for our Android products, but now Apple™ has arrived too giving me another set of complications.
This week I have been proud of the nine year old, he's been asking me if he is allowed to download a game on his iPad. He's been describing it in detail to me in the car every morning. I'm not keen on the sound of it. At least one of his friends has it he says. So this has prompted me to re-search the game. It's not a blood and gore game but I found this description on the website Common Sense Media
"Terrifying psychological thriller is too much for kids." "Parents need to know (game name) is a horror game that uses tension and jump scares in place of blood and guts -- and, as a result, is a lot scarier than many other titles. The sense of being trapped and defenceless in a small office quickly becomes real -- and when the animatronic characters jump out at you, you'll jump (and maybe scream). This makes the game much too intense for younger kids -- and teens should know what they're getting into."
I didn't know if app games ran by the same rules as games & videos do. It turns out there is an Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). They provide guidance about video games and apps so that consumers, especially parents, can make informed choices about the ones they deem suitable for their family.
ESRB ratings have three parts:
- Rating Categories suggest age appropriateness
- Content Descriptors indicate content that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern
- Interactive Elements inform about interactive aspects of a product, including users' ability to interact, the sharing of users' location with other users, or the fact that personal information may be shared with third parties
I have also learnt that I can set restrictions for apps through the iPad too and will be nabbing it off the nine year old when I get home to do that. That's if the five year old isn't watching Barbie reviews on YouTube.
Unfortunately in the eyes of the nine year old I am the big bad Mum who says no, he can't understand the reasons why I wont let him play the games his friends do but hopefully when he's all grown up and maybe a parent too, he'll also be fighting these battles on behalf of his children.