A mom turned her Xbox into an XXXbox.
She started by live chatting with him, moved on to phone calls, etc. etc., then made a visit to his home while his parents were asleep. You can guess what happened next. If you can’t, don’t ask me because I’m just too sick to explain. I hate it when moms turns to the dark side.
So how do we keep this from reoccurring? Simple: No more Xbox Live.
That’s right. Get rid of it. Ban it. Close the whole shebang down right now. If we don’t it could happen again, right?
You know, having kids and internet access under the same roof isn’t always easy for a parent. Take my nine year-old son. He lives and breathes roller coasters. Last week he found a super cool, family-friendly website where he could download computer-simulated coasters he’d created, share them, as well as view and comment on other people’s coaster creations. How fun! To download coasters he had to join the site. He asked me if he could, I checked the whole thing out, saw it was fine, and said, 'yes.'
A few days later he got his first comment on one of his roller coasters. He couldn’t wait to read it. Then he did. Oh, boy….
I won’t go into details, but the message ended with the commenter calling my sweet, loving boy something that begins with an ‘F.’ It wasn’t ‘friend.’
When my son showed me the comment, I hit the roof. What kind of website was this? How could comments like this be allowed? I was one inch shy of pulling the plug on my son’s membership right then and there.
Then I thought about it. The problem didn't stem from the site.The problem stemmed from the kid who commented.
With my son at my side, I shot an email to the site’s administration and explained the situation. They immediately shot back an apology, saying the comment - which they deleted - somehow slipped through. The commenter? Penalized. They also said a feature allowing users to instantly report comments would be instituted ASAP.
Justice in action. Sweet.
Looking back on it, I’m glad I didn’t just rip my son off the computer and cancel his membership. Instead, he learned a far more valuable lesson -- and skill. As he gets older it’ll be harder and harder to shield him from the a-holes of the world. I can, however, show him how to deal with a-holes when he meets them. I have to say, he took no small pleasure when the commenter got the equivalent of an internet spanking. I also have a feeling he’ll think twice should he ever feel inclined to make a similar comment to someone later on down the road.
So I’ve changed my mind. We don’t have to get rid of Xbox Live, we just have to get rid of moms on Xbox Live. Let’s face it, it’s unnatural, and I'm too lazy to make a Chat Room Dream Date from Hell: Mom Version.
But seriously, folks, no matter how friendly or safe something may be -- a roller coaster site, Xbox Live, the Starbucks on the corner -- there's always the risk of encountering jerks or flat out scary people.Know how to deal with them. Report them if need be. Sooner than later you'll be on your own and life will only be as safe as you make it.
So be smart, be aware and, while I have you, don't be a potty mouth. It might get you into trouble when you least expect it.