KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: Pornography and violent games are real parental fears

It's Just a Phase

Ruth Chambers

Reporter:

Ruth Chambers

Email:

ruth@itsjustaphase.ie

KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: Pornography and violent games are real parental fears

File photo

My mother-in-law is a traditional woman. She has great faith, adores her family, loves her garden and a cup of tea. She’s what you call conservative and she’s fully entitled to be. I don’t agree with some of her opinions but wouldn’t the world be an awful dull place if we all thought the exact same way.

I always disagreed with her thoughts about the internet and, to a lesser extent, video games. Of course the internet has good and bad points and I think the good outweighs the bad.

When my mother-in-law talks about disliking the internet she’s mainly talking about the fact that porn is now so readily available. Following the tragic Ana Kriegel case I’m now thinking that my mother-in-law is actually right.

After the two boys were found guilty last week I read an article about the kind of porn Boy A watched and the kind of video games he played.

It scared me because what he accessed online will probably be accessible to my children when they are older. It’s frightening.

His search history showed that he had been looking up porn showing scenes of sexual violence, he searched for ‘child porn’ and animal porn.

And as for computer games, well I have to admit, I have always shared the same opinion as my mother-in-law.

I despise computer games, violent ones obviously and any other ones for that matter. I think it’s because, as a child, I was never really in to them. I remember my mother won a Playstation in a draw in the local shopping centre and I tried playing it but I never developed any real interest in it. I’d say I played it for an hour and a few weeks later my mother sold it.

Some of my friends were mad into playing Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Brothers and Micro Machines but I had zero interest. It’s not because I had this perfectly wholesome childhood, it’s because I simply didn’t like computer games and I still don’t.

In fact, I’m completely baffled by adults who are addicted to gaming. Each to their own and all that but I just don’t get it.

And just as my childhood wasn’t totally wholesome, my parenting skills are the same. I’m far from the perfect mother.

My children watch too much television and eat too many sweet things but I’m proud to report that they don’t own a PSP (Playstation Portable) or an X-Box and they won’t either, no matter how much they beg for such things.

They haven’t a notion what Minecraft is, even though Aidan pretends he does when his friends mention it and that’s exactly how I like it.

I’m not a prude and I’m not overly strict but I think there’s better things they could be doing.

I can actually hear parents of older children laughing at me but I’m not for turning on this one.

Computer games and games consoles are something I just despise and don’t understand and they won’t be coming in to my house.

The whole online thing won’t be as easy to control. Sure, I can put parental controls on my WiFi router but when they become old enough to have their own phones, I’m terrified of what they will be able to access.

It’s mad to think that kids aren’t allowed to go to certain movies if they are under 15 or under 18, yet they can just go online and see the most twisted, sick and vile things.

Cigarettes and alcohol can’t be sold to those under 18, isn’t it time we banned our children from being able to view horrific things online? If we don’t, we run the risk of more tragic cases.

Why can’t we at least try and take steps to protect the minds of our children?

Until next week, folks!

You can contact me on ruth@itsjustaphase.ie; Twitter - @_itsjustaphase_; Instagram - @itsjustaphaseblog, or you’ll find more of my musings at www.itsjustaphase.ie.