As a (young) middle-aged mother, I have little interest in video games. In fact, I have almost none at all. Watching my son, I’ve disapproved of some of the violence in these games but beyond the bloodshed, they have seemed to me for the most part to be pretty innocuous. About the worst I could say about them is that they were too absorbing and the overwhelmingly focus on hand-eye coordination rather than logical thought processes. They also keep kids from the physical world, which by the way, isn’t going to go away any time soon. I forced my son to grow vegetables this year in our small Japanese garden and, you know, he’s actually enjoying it.
Recently however a new Pokemon store opened at a mall near us and I got my son something called a Pokemon Plush, which is just another way of saying ‘stuffed character.’ He chose ‘Ampharos,’ which looked friendly and hardly seemed a ‘monster’ to me (the origin of the word ‘pokemon’ is hard to describe: technically it’s Japanese but if comes from the Japanese transliterations of the two words ‘pocket’ and ‘monster,’ which is then abbreviated to ‘pokemon’ or ‘pocket monster’). But most of these Pokemon Plush toys seem more like cute animals than monsters.
There are different facets to Pokemon playing, and a very popular one is from the original- the computer game. I must confess that I have become rather interested in Pokemon recently as they appeal to my curiosity for both science fiction and evolution. I also like computers and robotics. So I decided to have a gander at how to play a game and chose a tutorial from YouTube. I heard Black and White was the latest thing in Pokemon goods and playing and chose one of those. I must say though that as a parent I was shocked and appalled by the 22 year old narrator. His language was very obscene. For adults I have no problem with violence or profanity, but when its under the pretext of a children’s video is where a line needs to be drawn.
I’ve watched hundreds if not thousands of YouTube videos, and I can’t recall a more venomous narration than this. I was shocked and angry as I made a lengthy complaint to YouTube and I realized that this is not confined to Pokemon games but games across the board. As a mother, I thought was harmless children’s content was not the case. I’m sure there are a lot of unsuspecting parents out there who also are unaware of this. I really think that something needs to be done to give these videos a warning label or at the least some sort of rating that would make it easier to identify which ones are suitable for young children.
I am happy to report that I checked out a lot of Pokemon web sites and found most of them innocent and cute. I picked up my son’s plushie and will continue to monitor what my child watches. I urge all parents to do the same.