You gave your kids permission to play a video game, but now you’re having second thoughts. Is it okay to say “no” to a game or app that you’ve already said “yes” to?
You’re human and you are allowed to change your mind.
I say this not just as a cyber safety expert, but also as a Mom in the trenches, parenting a 15, 14 and 11 year old. Like most kids, my kids want all the latest gadgets and games and I make the best decision I can based on what I know at the time. Sometimes I’m wrong.
Should we allow Fortnite?
When Fortnite was all the rage around here, I felt lucky that my boys weren’t interested. They smiled at the boys practicing Fortnite dances and didn’t care about the details of the game. But about 8 months ago, they started paying attention. Their close friends were playing and kept asking them to play. My kids got curious and wanted to see what the hype was all about.
We researched the game together, read reviews and I watched a few videos on Fortnite with them. It didn’t look that bad.
On the one hand, they would be strategizing with their friends, collaborating and socializing. On the other, the whole goal of the Battle Royale was to “eliminate” (I know that’s a sanitized word for “kill”) everyone else. I had already let them play Minecraft and Plants vs. Zombies. How much “worse” was this?
I decided to let them try Fortnite.
Unlike many kids, they never felt compelled to play non-stop and it didn’t take over their lives. But I was troubled by their conversations during play time and their strategy that included ambushing and overtaking other players. “That kid is trash” was a comment I started to hear. They started to obsess about the game when they were offline.
This “gray area” of what’s okay and what’s not is what’s hard about parenting.
But look at all the skills you teaching your child when you change your mind.
You’re showing your kids:
- You’re not afraid to speak up
- You’re a life-long learner
- You pay attention to that “gut feeling” or intuition
- You’re human and make mistakes
- You’re modeling how to “pivot”. When you know better, you do better.
- You’re modeling how to negotiate and state your perspective clearly
Aren’t these skills you want them to have?