Another thread about girls and media that send bad messages (also, advice wanted) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 08-20-2011, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hate to jump on this bandwagon, but my mind is officially blown.

Apparently, all the kids around her over about 5 or 6 have iPod Touches. I don't intend to get judgey about that, as my older child has one too. BUT I am astonished at the popular game the kids play. Kids of various ages, both childhood and pre-teen, so this topic didn't fit particularly well in the forum for either age group.

The game is called Top Girl, and, as I understand it, you get points by doing well at work, which is only accomplished by dressing "hot"; by getting into clubs, also accomplished by dressing "hot"; and by getting boyfriends and making them like you, which is accomplished by going to clubs and buying drinks with them, and the stronger the drink, the more it works. If your boyfriend really likes you, he will buy you a present of "hot" clothes, which is apparently a point-earner as well. All the while, the girls say stuff like, "Damn, he's hot!" The girls she named playing this game are between 7 and 11.

This game is so astonishingly damaging to girls I can't even see straight. Luckily, my daughter doesn't even want the game, though she also said as soon as she saw it she knew we'd say it was "inappropriate", and she's right. Are the parents not keeping track of what apps their kids download? My daughter can't download any apps, even free ones, without my password, which I put in and I get to decide if she gets the app. Maybe the other parents don't have to enter their password to get free apps? I am not an iPod expert so I don't know how it works that well.

I live in a small town in Southern Illinois, a very conservative area. I'm really surprised these ultra conservative parents are letting their kids play this game. I have to assume they don't know what it's about? If I assume that, then I feel like I should tell them. How would I do that without coming across as judgey? I don't want to be like that, but I can't imagine them choosing or being OK with this. How would you want to be approached, esp. our very religiously conservative moms here, as that's who mostly lives here, and I'm a bit of an outsider - I'm afraid coming from the only non-religious, liberal mom, it's going to not go over well. Also, most of the parents here grew up here, and I moved here a few years ago from the Chicago area, so I'm doubly an outsider, although the other parents are very freindly and welcoming to me. How do I ask them about this? I'm worried they aren't aware because I know these moms and it seems so contrary to what I know about them.
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#2 of 20 Old 08-20-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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EEEEEP!  That is my only reaction when I think of the game being played by my DD.  Do you have any close friends in the community that you could run this by?  I would try to bring it up gently and say that I was surprised by the content of the game, then take your cues from what they say.  If I wasn't tech savvy and honestly didn't know what my DD was playing, I would be asking your advice on setting up passwords for the app store and having a conversation with my little girl.  But if they want you to MYOB then it gives them a chance to say they know about it and it's no big deal to them.

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#3 of 20 Old 08-20-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I feel like I should tell them

tell is judgey.

 

can u bring up a casual conversation about games our kids play? just as a comparing notes thing.

 

and then u bring up the game and express how shocked you were all the stuff the game entailed and young girls were playing it. 

 

HOWEVER if that was my dd i wouldnt really mind. coz my nearly 9 year old loves fashion, understands exactly what 'hot and 'boyfriend' ' means - but it does not register for her. she has a healthy body image (inspite of being chubby and being teased as a fat girl), has had 'boyfriends', been 'married' and 'divorced' and decided to stay single now since she cant make up her mind -  and apart from noticing the first time she'd ignore that aspect. that is IF she found the game interesting.  coz really she wants to design 'her' way, not someone elses way so their opinion would not matter to her. two years ago she was begging for a bikini. i got her one last year. this year she found the bikini too exposing and chose a one piece.

 

i think its exposure to ads like that and chatting with me that has helped her see the reality, what its really all about. amongst children she sounds very cynical. 

 

the reason why i wrote my point of view is because if any mom said she doesnt mind i'd like you to understand perhaps why not. 


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#4 of 20 Old 08-20-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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Since you know the moms are generally careful about what their children play and see I think it might be okay to ask them about the game.

You could start a conversation about how the parents handle the kid's ipods in general. Then maybe you could ask about some games that you've heard kids are playing.and what ages they are rated for.

"My dd and I were talking about games that are popular these days. Looking it up on the internet I was surprised to see that Top Girl is rated for ages 12+ but know many girls much younger than that are playing it. I'm concerned about my young dd playing games that have xyz in it. I'd love to get the input of other parents whose kids have an ipod. Have you seen the Top Girl game? Do you think the rating is right? Do you worry about the messages in the game for younger kids?"

 

They can give you their opinion or reasoning and they will be aware that the game might have elements to be concerned about if they weren't aware of it already.
 

 


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#5 of 20 Old 08-20-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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A lot of parents don't know what they can do and are doing on their phones/computers, etc, especially older generation parents. They assume if it's targeted to kids, it's okay

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#6 of 20 Old 08-20-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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I think it really depends on how well you know the mothers.  I wouldn't want to be approached about my child rearing decisions by someone who isn't family or a close friend so if you are talking about approaching your neighbors then I think you should rethink that.  If it is a friend or family member saying something then I would prefer that they just come out and say it.  Something like "Did you know that Top Girl makes kids earn points by having their avatar drink alcoholic beverages and dress in low cut clothing?"  If you really feel that you must bring it up then I you could try saying something like "I was thinking about letting dd play the Top Girl game but I noticed that the kids have to advance by having their avatar dress in skimpy clothing and drink alcohol.  Is there a better version of the game that is more in line with more conservative values?" 

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#7 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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This is a mind your own children subject.  HOWEVER,  I have gotten into conversations with parents about some of the media that our girls are somehow privy too and voiced my strong opinion over how damaging it is.  It's a major step back if you think about it.  I feel that I can only keep it from my girls and explain why it's wrong and damaging.  There are shows that are blocked in our house.  Mostly DH does the blocking.  And the reasons why they are blocked are explained.  As far as the Ipad touch for a kid... well that's their wallet and their problem.  Though I find it hard to swallow that any parent would allow any media into their kids life that isn't positive.  I guess some people just like any form of babysitting these days.  It helps to know what their parents are doing and watching too.  If they're into that stuff than they really won't understand your point of view. 

 

Real quick, our neighbors spend a lot of time watching reality tv and numerous idiotic shows on TV that they allow their kids to watch with them.  When I signed up for parenting I stopped filling my head with junk.  My girls are too important for me to be to casual with what I put into my mind.

 

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#8 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 10:48 AM
 
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I think it is MYOB too. Although I guess you could bring it up really neutrally. Like "DD has asked about downloading Top Girl. Do any of your DD's have it? What do you think of it?" Of course, what do you do if they don't know about the alcohol use, etc. How can you bring it up if you are professing no knowledge of the game? Maybe say you read a review of it somewhere.

 

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#9 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindberg99 View Post

I think it is MYOB too. Although I guess you could bring it up really neutrally. Like "DD has asked about downloading Top Girl. Do any of your DD's have it? What do you think of it?" Of course, what do you do if they don't know about the alcohol use, etc. How can you bring it up if you are professing no knowledge of the game? Maybe say you read a review of it somewhere.

 

 

 

I also tend to think this kind of thing is MYOB (a person does, after all, have a right to be a horrible parents by our standards) but I like lindbergs idea. Maybe instead of feigning total ignorance, try a bit of innocence? Like "My DD wants to download this Top Girl game, but I looked it up and read horrible things about drinking and dating and hot clothes and I don't know if it's true or if some moms out there are being touchy...you guys heard of this game??" - then, if they DON'T know how bad it is, it might prompt them to look into it...and if they DO know how bad it is and they say things like "oh, it's all innocent fun, I've seen it and it's okay for my DD" - at least you know the mamas you have to "worry" more about when they invite your DD for Awesome Movie Night!! :lol: Meaning, maybe you'll ask "ummm, what movie you gunna watch" - ;)

 

 

I don't even want to get in to how horrified I am that this type of thing even exists. I don't care WHO this product is marketed toward...it's filth. *walking away, before I REALLY get off on a rant!*
 

 


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#10 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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I found the app maker's description of Top Girl. Even more awesome than awesome is the fact you can buy stuff with REAL money.

 

 

Quote:

NOTE: Top Girl lets you purchase in-game items using real money. Turn off in-app purchases on your device if you'd like to disable this feature.
__________________________________________
FROM THE CREATORS OF IT GIRL!

Are you addicted to shopping? Do you dream of being a Supermodel? Love to date guys?

Become the TOP GIRL!

Do gigs, shop, dress, go clubbing, and flirt with HOT guys!

Customize fabulous outfits and maintain a relationship with your new boyfriend! Kiss him, buy him gifts, and take him out on dates! Photos will be saved to your phone capturing the special moment!
__________________________________________
Features:
- 45+ Unique Ways to Customize your Look

- 500+ Unique Garments from Dresses, Shoes, and Purses

- 250+ HOT Guys to Date

- 15+ Different Styles for your Boyfriend

- 30 Different Jobs

- 20 Party/Club Themes

- Walk around Los Angeles and New York City!
 

 

I do not see in what realm this would be appropriate for young girls.

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#11 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My reasoning for wanting to tell them what this game is like is that if my daughter had downloaded this without me being aware of what it was like, I would
ABSOLUTELY want to be told. But I might feel it out a bit. There's one of those parties where you buy stuff coming up, and they'll probably be there. Maybe there'll be a way to gently steer the conversation in that direction.
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#12 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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I'd probably would risk letting the other moms know how uncomfortable I was with the game. And I would discourage the use of said game if I was in charge of the afternoon playgroup.
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#13 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I'd probably would risk letting the other moms know how uncomfortable I was with the game. And I would discourage the use of said game if I was in charge of the afternoon playgroup.


 

I would bring it up but as a conversation about me -- and only for parents that my child plays with. "I know that some kids are playing Top Girl. I really don't want my child playing that and I'd appreciate it if you could have the girls do something else while they're playing."  If they ask why, you can explain. But sometimes just stating what your boundaries are works.

 

I've had to have this conversation with a neighbor about violent video games. This neighbor is OK with 1st person shooter games rated M for boys  (their son was 9, ours was 7 when we first met). I am not OK with violent video games for kids, and I'm really not OK with first person shooter games ever.  The way I phrased it was "I don't want my son playing these games. He's free to play sports games or anything rated E." I never explained why. I didn't have to explain my quasi-pacifist stance with them or the research on violent video games and kids. Now, thankfully, ds also isn't interested in these games. He's never been interested in violence or pretend violence (he's the only kid I know who never pretended to make guns or swords; when the neighborhood kids played 'city', which was basically a version of cops and robbers, ds chose to be the bus driver). So, it's not a fight I had to fight on more than one front. But I would have sat ds down and explained exactly what our values were and why we weren't going to let him play those game. When dd's friends find Top Girl, we'll do the same for her.


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#14 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 05:29 PM
 
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The game sounds horrible. I would probable casually mention it if you think there is any chance the parents don't know. I think a lot of parents don't review games/content closely if it if labeled "children."

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#15 of 20 Old 08-22-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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My mind is officially blown as of this week, too.

First, a mom at my son's gym told me I'm lucky to have a boy, b/c the moms on the girls' team are so catty to each other and encourage their girls to be that way too, in the spirit of "competition." Um, they're on the SAME team, why would they compete with each other instead of supporting each other? Then she told me that at age 5, her daughter was rejected by a few of the other girls in her class b/c she wasn't "one of the hottie girls." They apparently were the kindergarten equivalent of the mean girls and sashayed around talking about how hot they were. The woman's daughter was devastated that they wouldn't be her friend. At five years old.

Today DH sent me a pic of our niece's new Facebook photo. She is all of 13, dressed in a belly-baring top, shorts that DH called Daisy Dukes, but I watched that show and these shorts were about an eighth the size of what Catherine Bach wore on the show. The only saving grace is that she is wearing sneakers, not hooker shoes. Several of her friends' moms (why is she friends with her friends' moms on FB?) commented how "cute" the pic is. It's not cute. It's sexy. Until you realize she is only 13, not 17. Ugh.
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#16 of 20 Old 08-23-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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OP, thank you for posting this. My DD is almost 9 and my mind is also blown! I'd casually state that the game is crazy ridiculous.

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#17 of 20 Old 08-24-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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just.... puke.gif

you should be very proud of your media literate child, though, mamazee!  awesome that she knew it was awful. 

i would absolutely address it with the other parents, though shame on them for being so unaware of what their children are being exposed to. 

i think i am going to go write an angry letter to the designer.


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#18 of 20 Old 08-24-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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Well dang, I downloaded top girl on a really awful drive home from Chicago two weeks ago.  I never really looked at it because my neighbor told me it was just about dressing up the girls and selling stuff in the store.  Thankfully my dd can't read, I guess I need to be more cautious.

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#19 of 20 Old 08-25-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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You know I only have to worry about my little DD, she's the only one who ever seems to be concerned with fashion.  If my older DD is anything like me and my sister... I'll still be telling her to wash the juicestache off her face until she's 16...

 

I have to check my phone often due to these easily downloaded apps.  Top girl is not the only one you have to be careful about.  On line there are numerous girl game sites that are completely inappropriate.   But just like TV it's pretty sad, there are numerous shows on Disney that portray shallow girls as being "Oh, well she's still so cute".    And the jokes about under achieving are pretty pathetic. 

 

I sometimes feel no matter how hard I try to keep this crap out of our lives it will find a way in.  Again still hoping my older DD will be just as clueless as I was...

 

 

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#20 of 20 Old 08-25-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Ugh, this makes me so sad. I don't have any girls, at least not yet. But I am a pretty conservative mama, and OP, I would absolutely WANT you to come and tell me what you had found out. Maybe they honestly don't know. I know there is no way I would be ok with this for my child, and I would be grateful to someone for pointing it out to me. I don't see that as judgey. Judgey would be, "What is wrong with you that you let your child download that app?!?" But if you just came to me and brought it up and talked about the game and what was going on, I would be appalled that my child was playing it and thankful you told me.

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