I’ve been doing after school care for my neighbor whose sweet kids go to the same school as Gabe. This means that Tuesday-Wednesday, I have a full car. My mom has always said that she learned everything she needed to know about our lives by driving us around with our friends. I get it now. It has been fascinating and funny. If you follow us on Facebook, you know that last week, they worked together to figure out how old I was in dog years.
The next day, there was a conversation about Minecraft. I was not really listening to it but then I heard this: “It’s not that bad. Not as bad as Slender Man.”
I broke every smooth mom rule by screeching “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY???”
The children went very still like robots powered down into sleep mode. The rest of the conversation happened under duress, a cross between “You aren’t in trouble” and “You WILL tell me”.
Luckily, their knowledge of Slender Man was playground level. The child who brought it up was throwing around a name he’d heard enough to know it was bad. Probably a little showing off. No way did he expect me to lose my mama cool.
Then another child in the backseat said “Well, if you think that’s bad, you probably don’t want to know how many kids at school play Five Nights With Freddie.”
What in sam hill is THAT? I thought to myself.
Five minutes on my phone told me that it’s a “point and click survival horror video game” where you are the security guard in a pizza joint that becomes over run by murderous animatronic animals at night.
The goal is to survive the night. And then the next one. And so on.
This game is described as a “point and click survival horror video game” where the one thing everyone agrees on is that you will be scared out of your shoes.
I’m all for corrective behavior fairy tales. But this is something else. Now the monsters have come to life with Facebook pages and Twitters.
I sat on my phone on the drive home so that I wouldn’t text my friend in the middle of her meeting. There was no good way to tell her our kids had more than a passing knowledge of survival horror video games, especially one infamous for attempted murder committed by 13 year olds in its name.
But I definitely felt like I was sitting at PARCon 4 all by myself.
I know that the kids have got to walk in the world. And I am confident that we are doing all we can to grow them with strong warrior hearts for Jesus.
But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of a world where I am in charge and all parents have to do what I say, like pay stricter attention to the games their children play and follow the age limitations and not let 8 years old have phones and emails and Facebook accounts. Just in case.
The next day it was business as usual in the back seats. My friend’s son has decided to pool all his money and buy donuts for when he and Gabe play their 30 minutes of Minecraft. And not one donut each, either. As many donuts as $20 will buy.
No, he hasn’t run it by his mom. I told him I wasn’t saying no, but he should ask his mom first and then have her come talk to me about it.
Then he wondered if they should get cookies instead, maybe to make it more palatable to the mamas. Or maybe cookies and donuts? Or maybe–
“Hey, what do you call a donut crossed with a cookie?” he asked Gabe.
“A DOOOOOOOKIE!!!!!” Gabe yelled. And the backseats erupted into raucous laughter.
I put my head on the steering wheel and thanked God for the attention spans of 8 and 9 year olds.