Like most 6 1/2 year old boys, my son, loves the hell out of some tablet time. He likes watching videos and playing all kinds of apps. I try my best to watch what he’s doing but you know, stuff happens. We can’t monitor every single second spent on the tablets. Hell, that’s why we let them play on them. To get them out of our hair and get some shit done. Well, lesson learned.
He’s been super into Minecraft but it’s still just a little advanced for him. He gets super frustrated when he “dies” or is defeated. He asked me a few days ago for a game called “Builder Buddies.” Since I have to enter a password for everything that is downloaded… I looked at it and thought “innocent enough!” Building a world. Cool.
It was probably early in the morning or I was distracted when I agreed to download the game. I didn’t realize it was a “social” game meaning he could interact with strangers all over the world. I didn’t notice you can literally see the chat bar in the screenshot above. Well, in my opinion social games are not appropriate for a 6 year old.
This afternoon he comes and sits next to me with his tablet and this game open. He starts showing me different things that he was building and says “oh no, someone came in and destroyed the door.” I assumed it was part of the game and then I saw the chat bar at the top of the screen. I asked him to see it and I could tell he wanted to hide it. I asked him if he ever saw anything bad in the chat and he said “yeah, someone said fuck.”
I asked if he talks to people on there and he said “yeah! I type to them sometimes.”
I stayed on the chat for just a few minutes and saw people asking if “anyone wanted to role play” or if anyone “wanted to make out.”
My husband and I then looked up reviews for the game on a website called Safer Kid. Sure enough, it’s pretty scary! He was even using his real full name in the chat. URGH.
We explained to him all the different reasons why he can’t play that game anymore and why we deleted it. He cried and didn’t quite understand until we told him that there could be people on there who want to hurt him. He then seemed to grasp our concern and was happy when we found a similar app without the social aspect.
So, I know this is my fault for not paying more attention when he asked to download it but I’m happy he didn’t have it long before we realized. Lesson learned.
It just blows my mind that this little man is finishing up Kindergarten and is capable of READING and WRITING. It’s amazing but a whole new dangerous that I wasn’t prepared for until today.