Now, I know we are the NON-Apple house, but I’ve said it before…. we do have an iPod Touch that my kids use. I got the device for free via a sweepstakes I entered, so it’s not like I purchased something with that ugly little rotten apple on it. My children LOVE to play the “talking games” There is Talking Tom, Talking Perry, Talking Roby…. the list goes on and on and on. Since our iPod Touch doesn’t have an internal m. icrophone, they use headphones with a mic to make those guys repeat them.
I was sitting on the couch next to my daughter as she was playing one of the talking games and I heard a naughty word coming out of the headphones. I immediately sat up and went… what the heck is going on? First as a disclaimer… my husband and I do not curse. So never before have my children heard us say these words. So I checked out what she was listening to. Apparently you can record your own Talking Tom videos and upload them to YouTube. Where the system breaks down though, is that you can view videos other people have uploaded. Let’s just say not all of them are kid appropriate.
We haven’t let our daughter browse through YouTube for a long time now. While there isn’t adult content on YouTube, there is definitely rated PG-13 and even R content on YouTube. We since found a great alternative called KidZui.com. She is able to browse through funny videos, and I don’t have to worry about the content, as it’s filtered.
So, back to my friend Talking Tom. There is a filmstrip looking icon on the top that you can click that immediately takes you to videos others have uploaded. This is a huge oversight on the part of Outfit7. This game is definitely a favorite of kids. It’s so easy to use, and they love to have the character make sounds. Having such easy access to videos that can be extremely inappropriate is definitely a concern. It should be a concern for you too, and it should be a concern of theirs.
Let’s round out this story with the aftermath of such access. Of course, right after I heard that, I had a discussion with my daughter about bad words. We’ve talked about it in the past with other words that she hears on TV that we do not say, including “Stupid” and “Shut up”. We spoke about the fact that the F word is a bad word that we do not say. This was a few weeks ago. She knows it’s a bad word. Then I spoke with her kindergarten teacher yesterday. I knew she had gotten in trouble on Thursday, but I didn’t know what for. She always “forgets” why she got in trouble in school, but she does tell us that she did get in trouble. So when I saw her teacher yesterday, I wanted to ask her what happened yesterday. Apparently she said the word. THE word… TWICE! She was sent to the office. MY SIX YEAR OLD! We had discussed that it was a bad word. She knew better, and yet it happened. She was definitely in trouble when she got home, and will not be having any fun this weekend.
I’m not one to blame video games on things like this. There is a parental responsibility to check out what your kids are playing and watching to make sure it’s appropriate for their age. It just caught me off guard that something so inappropriate would be so easily accessible from a child’s game on the iPod. This week I’m going to dedicate to helping keep your kids safe, yet not sheltered from bad content that is just so easy to find now. Get ready for some serious posts. I’m extremely technically savvy. My devices and my children’s access is extremely locked down and secure, and yet it can still happen. ALWAYS be on the lookout.
Needless to say… I expect to be getting some phone calls similar to this…
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com