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.

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.