If I may shift into mom mode for a moment, The March Hare, my 7 year old son has a friend over to spend the night tonight. They are doing what every 7 year old does nowadays – playing Minecraft. It’s either that or watching YouTube videos of someone else playing Minecraft. I am a die hard gamer geek girl and I’ve played Minecraft. It was fun for a couple weeks. What I don’t understand is the appeal of watching someone ELSE play. I don’t mind listening to my son watching DanTDM or even Annoying Orange but occasionally he’ll stumble across the most boring mod showcases from lesser known YouTubers. It is mind numbing.
It is SO hard to navigate as a parent with the access to technology and information kids have. He likes to do image searches for things that he is interested in, as I do. I have safety blocks on his iPad but I’ve looked for harmless images and still had explicit ones pop up.
He really likes looking up Minecraft horror maps on YouTube. Personally, I don’t find 8-bit graphic squares scary, but he just eats it up. We had a talk with him about Internet safety the other night. The reality is that you can have every parental block but if you don’t teach kids to self-filter, it won’t do much good. They will binge as soon as they find a way through the filters. My son wanted me to look up creepy pasta the other night. I did and a fairly common scary meme image showed up and it creeped him out. He told me, “Mom, sometimes there are things you wish you could unsee.” At that, I shared with him that there are things even I don’t seek out as an adult. I enjoy good scary movies but I’m not interested in prowling the bottom layer of people’s twisted minds. I’m content to watch The Conjuring and call it a day.
My parents did not raise me in a religious home. They let me watch things with cussing or violence from a young age with the supposition that I could discern what was ‘too scary’ for me. I was never scared by much and didn’t feel some great desire to binge watch gore films because I wasn’t allowed to see any scary movies until I was old enough. My husband, on the other hand, was raised in a VERY Christian home and although in my age group he missed Michael Jackson and Madonna and all the fun of 80s pop culture because he was only allowed to listen to Christian Rock or worship music. He couldn’t watch scary movies. So, of course, as a teenager he got his full of plenty way more horrifying than anything I’d ever seen.
I’m the end, I try to adopt a cautious but permissible approach to media exposure.