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That appeal doesn’t surprise me, but it does worry me. As much as I think having these virtual experiences can help a kid test out ways of interacting that they can’t in real life, they also can lead to similar disappointments, hurt feelings and in the worst scenario predatory and unwanted behavior.
In the kid-focused worlds this is less of a risk, but many kids are now playing SIM apps that are meant for adults and allow marriage, and for characters to have sex, even though the graphics don’t allow detailed nudity.
So is this any different than kids playing doctor in real life? Is a child pretending to be more mature than their years online really that different from kids playing house, or playing out these scenarios with dolls or Legos? It’s a tricky question, and the fact that when they are online they are interacting with strangers who could be anyone, anywhere of any age, makes it much scarier. But these new playgrounds really are an extension of modern childhood and today’s digital kids are going to use them in much the same way that kids have always used kid spaces to create their own realities and figure out their world. The key for parents is to know what their kids are doing, pay attention to the ratings on websites and apps -– Common Sense Media is a great place to start as are the reviews on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store –- and keep the dialog going between you and your child.
In the meantime, I’m helping my daughter shop for a prom dress in the online boutique, weighing in on the pink hair versus the blue, and being a little bit thankful that this is all pretend for now.
2012 Olympics: Australia, Japan Criticized For Olympian Gender Discrimination
Australia — Men up front, women in the back.
Not so fast, Olympians.Sports governing bodies from Japan and Australia are being skewered following complaints that male Olympic athletes flew business class to the London Games, while the women sat in the cheap seats.
Japan’s world champion women’s football team took exception to flying economy while their male counterparts sat in business en route to the games.
“It should have been the other way around,” Japanese soccer star Homare Sawa, the 2011 FIFA women’s world player of the year, said after arriving in Paris after the 13-hour flight, with just the short hop to London left. “Even just in terms of age we are senior.”
The Japan Football Association said the men’s under-23 Olympic team members flew in business class because they are professionals. The women, however, are likely be the bigger draw at the games. Only months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last year, they brought a sliver of joy to their country by winning their first World Cup title.
The Australian women’s basketball team has also been more successful than the men, earning the silver medal at each of the last three Olympics.
On Friday, Basketball Australia said it would make sure the flight flap doesn’t happen again.”(We will) review our Olympic travel policy with the goal of ensuring there is equity between travel arrangements for the men’s and women’s teams attending future Olympics,” the basketball governing body said in a statement.