Violent Sugar and Video Games, Now Add Water

Come in, dear listeners. Have I got some treats for you today. If you’re really good, you can have three in one sitting. But see how generous I really am. I give you permission to laugh at my expense, or maybe you’ll just want to cry. If you don’t have kids, you may telling yourself that when the day comes for you to be a parent, you would do things differently. Fine, fine.

Treat #1 – It’s candy. This could be important information for anyone, not just for my kids who are candy fiends. Did you know that candy comes with warnings? Oh, yes indeed. This would be having to do with “the sours” as I call them. In this case, it’s the “Warheads Extreme Sour.”

Warhead Sour

On the wrapper it states the following:

This is your warningWARNING: Eating multiple pieces within a short time period may cause a temporary irritation to sensitive tongues and mouths. Uh huh. 

So, do you think a kid will heed this advice? Any chance at all? Of course, not.

My ten-year-old actually read this, yes he did, and then proceeded to have not just two back-to-back candies, but four. His little face twisted in knots, his mouth in sour meltdown, his cheeks puckering as sugar filled his veins. Here kid, just have all the whole bag, why don’t ‘cha? He did regret eating so many. If you try one of these candies, remember no back-to-backs. It might send you into a sour shock, or maybe even a sour coma.

Treat #2 – It’s those video games causing all that gun violence. In this case, the game is called “Flutter.” Here’s a snapshot:

Butterflies just flutter about.
Butterflies just flutter about.
http://online.brothergames.com/social-games/flutter.html

My six-year-old has a penchant for gentle games; he’s a tender-hearted soul. The objective of this Flutter game is to raise butterflies. What else? The player raises an egg to caterpillar to chrysalis, and finally into a beautiful butterfly, all to the backdrop of soothing graphics and tranquil music. What could be better, right?

This is the catch. The more butterflies you have, the more nectar you have, and with more nectar, the more stuff you can buy to increase your playing time.

Butterflies = Nectar = More stuff = More playing time

(This game is never over!)

What can kick the butterflying-making frenzy into high gear? Introducing Flutter bucks. Yes, you heard me correctly. Oh, dear. How can I resist buying my child Flutter bucks? And they make beautiful butterflies. Please mommy, please. And they’re only 99 cents. That’s not even a dollar. That’s only point, nine, nine. This purchase, which an adult makes by entering a password and the mere touch of a button, is done in seconds.

Okay, so I rue the day we got this iPad. Truth. I haven’t even once read anything on the Kindle App. This isn’t the worst part. Not by a long shot. The little .99 cent-ers have turned into $1.99-ers. Somehow. And the two purchases I made….All right maybe I made five purchases, possibly ten…This ten bucks is now twenty bucks.

And, apparently, these purchases have transformed into dozens and dozens of transactions. The Flutter bucks have multiplied. One transaction equaling ten Flutter buck purchases has been withdrawn repeatedly from my bank account. You don’t need to do the math to know this is hundreds of dollars worth of Flutter bucks. I know you must be crying with me. I plan to get to the bottom of this. Something has gone afoul in Flutter.

If this isn’t dizzying enough, the thing that really gets me is I succumbed to this notion that by buying my child Flutter bucks, his butterfly could grow faster, allowing him to ultimately grow more butterflies and thus more nectar. Does your head hurt? Let me break it down further.

Flutter Bucks = Speed

Without Flutter bucks his butterfly would grow, only a tad slower. Well, slower by about a week. So, this game is showing him that money can buy time and instant gratification, like a lot of things in this day and age. Instead of waiting it out, as you would in nature mind you, the bucks hurry the process along. This is sneaky, manipulative, and taking advantage of tired, unsuspecting parents. We are done with Flutter bucks! My son will be practicing the art of patience. Me, I need counseling as I’m starting to feel oh, I don’t know, violent.

Treat #3 – How about a little water? So, when do the Tween years formally begin? My son is ten. I think I learned my answer when after he had taken a long, hot shower he said to me with a smile, “Mom, I’m going to take a shower every day from now on.” This, from a kid who resisted bathing even once a week. So, it starts. I can’t wait…

This concludes our treat session. Thank you for your attendance.

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49 thoughts on “Violent Sugar and Video Games, Now Add Water

  1. Ahh, warheads, I used to love those. never saw the warning, but then never had back to backs either. Keep an eye on those shows, mine will say he has to have two on some days, and when you are relying on the weather to provide water, it can be tricky…

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  2. The Flutter game sounds so harmless. What parent wouldn’t prefer their child raise butterflies than learn how to gun down a gang of war mongers? I’m so glad I don’t have to negotiate this stuff with kids. I would fall for it every time.

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    1. Michelle, I know, just the thought of Flutter bucks. Oh, how sweet and delightful. Yeah, right! It’s tough, because the way it works is that’s it’s “Free.” But then, if you don’t buy anything, basically you can’t play it. It’s quite tricky! It’s time to play board games.

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    1. It can be scary, He Who. I must attention at all times. Everything is so consumer-driven. It’s very easy for kids to get swept up in it. I don’t remember that as a kid at all. We played outside a lot more probably.

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  3. Apple warheads, you made me cry now!
    I used to love those things.
    I bought the iPad to “read” too, you think I’ve read a book in there? No, not even a magazine, I keep geting my paper books, not even blogs I read in there I use it to watch movies and play.
    I’m lucky enough to live with a nerd, he gets me all the games for free, so I can avoid those 0.99 cents becoming 100 bucks.

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    1. Oh, Leo, did you need some sour Warheads? Do they have those in Spain??

      We get these things for “free” but they only so far, and then you must buy or wait…they got us cornered with this stuff. I think I will take it “back” and hide it in my room and secretly read on it when they’re asleep. Movies would be fun, too.

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  4. I’ve always amazed at the ways toy and game creators come up with ways to make sure we keep buying more of the same. I think back to the Thomas the Tank Engine train sets that my boys loved when they were little. More new trains introduced regularly. How lovely for the parent…

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    1. I think they’re quite sneaky, Carrie. These “free” games are little teasers. If you don’t buy something, all you can do later is just stare at the screen! I know Thomas the train had lots of friends, didn’t he? How lovely indeed for the parent…

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  5. is it a flutterbuck scam? Or are you just keeping him in his addiction. In the 1st case, kill the card. In the second, cold turkey with a little Imagination Movers replacement therapy. God love ya’.
    Shalagh

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    1. Shalagh,
      I’m surprised to see you here. Is little Fiona letting you get some rest?

      I’m hoping it’s a scam where I get my money back!! Yeah, my kids are probably addicted. With the weather heating up, we’ll get outside more.

      Hope all is well and your little one!
      Love,
      Amy xo

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  6. Good grief – this sounds like a flutter buck rip-off! It’s amazing the lengths these companies will go to in order to take your hard earned cash from your wallet, through the heart of your child, and into their bank account! I hope you get to the bottom of it and they return your money…

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    1. Rip-off scam. They are taking advantage through the heart of a child. Yes! Flutter bucks or tears!!! Anyway, I was so shocked when I saw my bank account. This must be a mistake. Thanks, I hope so too!

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  7. That’s the trouble with buying upgraded things on those games, your card details stay in there and the kids can keep tapping into it without you needing to do a password or authorisation or anything, it’s scary!

    My son was hooked on an online pool game for a while which is supposedly free, and you can play against others online. Anyway you can buy things like more powerful cues, or cues that enable you to do tricks with the balls, and my son wanted these things of course so that he could compete with others online who did have them – he had to spend his own pocket money on them, so it was his choice, but I kept saying things like “You realise you are paying real money just to have some different digital pixels on screen?” Not sure he got the point.

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    1. Vanessa, I don’t have a card for any of those games. Indeed, I had to put in a password each time and I KNOW I couldn’t possibly put it in THAT many times!! Believe it or not, I haven’t resolved this. Must take care of this. The interesting thing is there’s a record, but what do you do for proof when the record is wrong? And, it’s this virtual, digital space….like the pixels you mentioned. You have nothing to show for any of it. Nothing you can take back. All you can say is, I didn’t buy that!! I hope it works. The online game playing is a little bizarre to me.

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  8. I had no idea candy came with warnings now! I guess I’m usually too busy ripping open / discarding the packaging in my haste to get to the goods!
    WOW – those are some pricy butterflies! It seems like they should fly over and make you a sandwich for that… maybe tidy up a bit…
    If I was a ‘gamer’ I’m sure that is the sort of thing that would happen to me, too!
    🙂

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    1. Whoa, Robert, easy on that candy!! Do you like the sours? They’re too much for me.

      Yes, pricey butterflies. They’re pretty, but not THAT pretty!! This virtual game playing is really strange. A sandwich an a maid might do the trick. Perhaps, I should negotiate this.

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  9. “Me, I need counseling as I’m starting to feel oh, I don’t know, violent.”
    So that’s where the gun violence comes in.  Shootin’ those dang virtual butterflies. 😉

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      1. What kind of game?  A scam game?
        Off course, I’m able to program a butterfly shooting game for ya’.  Not nearly as pretty, but for free.  It’s a bad thought, given threatened/endangered status of the real ones, so I probably shouldn’t of gone there.

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      2. Truthfully, I don’t want to shoot any butterflies. We could catch them instead. This game is all about watching them grow. Somehow it’s exciting enough, at least with more flutter bucks! Wow, you could do one of these games? You should get into this business. I heard on the radio today that they were making an iPad game for cats. The cats would swipe (with their paw) at fishes and birds!! What will they think of next??

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      3. I’m not sure about Zombie cats? I’ll have to look it up. There’s always something new. How many Apps can you put on your phone anyway? Maybe you’ll be creating Apps some day, since Win32 is obsolete (I don’t know what this is!).

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  10. Oh, Amy, I feel your pain about purchasing those flutter bucks. Once my kids got hooked on this icee carnival game that required tokens to keep playing and we somehow ended up with a $35.00 bill over the course of two weeks! No more. I’m done too. They are back to playing the Wii.

    As for the candy, my kids would love to pop those sour warheads in their mouths! But, I’m such a sugar cop. The only thing they get as a treat is chocolate covered raisins. Unless, of course, dad is supervising then anything is game!

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    1. Anka, at least you realized the cost at $35. I think something malfunctioned over at Flutter land. In any case, I will be paying A LOT more attention. Still hoping to get my bucks back! I keep hoping they’ll tire of all this sugar. Who am I fooling?

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  11. Mazel tov on your showering son! May he have many years of cleanliness. Meanwhile I once got some serious tongue burn from eating too many Sour Patch kids. I mean, I ate a LOT of Sour Patch kids. They’re addictive. I think I would also find that butterfly game addictive, believe it or not. I think I’d find it very soothing and zen. Except for being poor from buying so many Flutter bucks. Who invents these diabolical schemes, anyway??

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    1. Weebs, since my son has said this, he has NOT showered again. But the seed of thought has been planted. I think it won’t be too long.

      Tongue burn…ouch. Just the sound of it…sounds pretty bad. People who like sour stuff seem to REALLY like it. My kids are addicted for sure.

      You know the game seems innocent enough. It’s actually quite a pretty game, and zen, yes it is. That’s why I’m such a sucker, Weebs. There seems to be lots of gentle games that take your money, ever so delicately.

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  12. Those in-app purchases can be killer. My daughter once racked up over $300 worth of “gems” on some game she was playing. It all seemed so serene but I was quickly typing my ranting email about kids not comprehending when they are being extorted. (Or, actually, when they are playing and unknowingly extorting their parents). Anywho, it all get settled in the end, and the in-app purchase feature is permanently closed. No candy from that store any more.

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    1. Oh wow, Tania. Well, I’m not too surprised your daughter racked up all those “gems.” I think it’s quite manipulative on the part of gaming companies. They know exactly what they’re doing. This game was serene…of course, I’ll buy you flutter bucks. I learned my lesson. There is no such thing as free!!

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  13. Ruined my mouth with Lemon Heads. Dr. told me to eat sour candy to try to stimulate a salivary gland. No warning from Dr. or the bag of candy!!! Not fun…

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    1. Oh, Ly, I sorry you ruined your mouth with Lemon Heads! You were just trying to follow Dr.’s orders after all! Is your mouth better now?! I hope so! I guess these candies really can be dangerous.

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