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Gun Videos, Gun Toys, Gun Safety

May07

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I was hoping to get the collective your thoughts. Yesterday my kindergartner got off the bus and told me how one of the older kids (5th grade?) showed him videos of guns on his cell phone. The old boy also held the gun/video up to his head and pretended it was shooting him. Is that OK behavior?

My son has always been a bit timid about violence even the cartoon kind. Most shows, even Disney shows, are too stressful for him. I really like how sensitive he is so I’m not trying to “toughen him up.” So he really hasn’t seen many/any shows that show guns or people getting hurt/dying. We have a no toy gun policy in the house.

Apparently kindergarten is all about the guns. All he talks about are guns guns guns which I HATE. I’m trying to be more mellow because I don’t want them to be the forbidden fruit and have him seek them out.

That being said, I’d really rather him not be watching youtube videos of guns going off (because who knows where that might lead to) but I’m wondering if I’m overreacting and this is one of those things that is inevitable and I have to let go. Should I notify the school, the older boy who did it seems like a nice enough kid. I don’t want to get him in trouble, but I also don’t want my child watching unsupervised youtube videos either. I’m so torn.

And part two, is there anything I could do to lesson his fascination with guns? Should we allow (very obviously a toy) guns in the house? Get them some super soakers for the summer? He loves robots and all things engineering so perhaps show him the physics of how guns work? Something to demystify them but also give him a healthy fear of them. We’ve already had the talk about notifying a grown up if he ever sees a gun (plus I may have promised him 5 lbs of candy if he doesn’t touch it and tells someone). I’m just afraid the lure of a gun will over power his smarts.

TL:DR version. Do I report a kid who is showing other children videos of guns on a bus? What can I do to make sure that if my child ever sees a gun IRL that he doesn’t touch it and tells an adult?

Thoughts/ideas?

All right, so we have two related-yet-different things going on here. First, the issue of a 5th grader with cell phone and unrestricted YouTube access showing god-knows-what to kindergartners. That’s…not okay. The kid might be a perfectly nice kid who just wants to entertain his friends and show them videos he thinks are cool, but I personally would not feel comfortable trusting a 5th grader’s judgment when it comes to what’s appropriate on the Internet. Case in point, gun videos!

Second case in point, go search YouTube for something perfectly innocent (Dora! Disney! Angry Birds!) and start clicking around. It doesn’t take very long to find something that LOOKS like a kids’ video that is most definitely NOT age appropriate.

Maybe the kid was showing your son home movies from a trip he took to a shooting range. Maybe the guns were sci-fi phasers or animated or something relatively innocent. Or maybe he’s figured out how to deliberately turn off parental controls on his phone so he can watch violent videos and show them off to little kids for a thrill. You just don’t know, and I think a call to the school to find out exactly what’s going on here is perfectly appropriate.

You don’t have to start out swinging, like THIS CHILD MUST BE STOPPED AND PUNISHED AND I WANT THIS IN HIS PERMANENT FILE, but just express concerns that hey, I’m not super-comfortable trusting a 5th grader’s Internet-and-smartphone judgment regarding what’s appropriate to show my kindergartner. Perhaps someone just needs to have a chat with him about cooling it with the YouTube on the bus, or ask his parents to set some better guidelines about his phone usage. And maybe suggest that maybe they check his usage history to make sure there aren’t any gun-and-violence-obsession red flags there.

(Unrelated: 5th graders with their own fully-functional, not-just-for-emergencies smartphones? OH MY GOD IS THIS REAL LIFE?)

Now, the second thing — helping young children develop a healthy respect for guns. I’d aim for “respect” over “fear,” as guns are not just the domain of the “bad guys.” Police officers carry guns, for example, and you certainly don’t want him to see the gun and decide not to ask for help if he needed it because he was scared. (Meanwhile the real bad guy doesn’t have a gun, and is offering him candy! UGH, PARENTING IS HARD.)

For the record, I think the GUNS GUNS GUNS BANG BANG BANG play scenario (particularly for little boys) is a pretty darn normal phase, even for kids who have been completely sheltered from toy guns and gun violence on TV. I don’t know how, but suddenly they all pick up a stick, a rock, a paper towel tube that was once a whimsical telescope and it’s all BANG I SHOT YOU. They figure out that their fingers can shoot and their play becomes all about cops and robbers and PEW PEW PEW.

But this in and of itself doesn’t mean they don’t respect or fear or understand guns — quite the opposite, really, as this sort of play allows them to safely explore the scary idea that people can get hurt and die. That bad guys can be defeated, but also that the good guys don’t always win.

Back when I had one infant child and therefore believed I already knew everything about parenting, I was very staunchly and 100% anti-toy guns of any kind. No water pistols, no sci-fi laser guns, nothing. My husband, on the other hand, did not agree with me. He had a couple (non-realistic) toy guns as a child and felt strongly that they reduced the mystery and forbidden fruit aspect of guns — he played with them occasionally but they quickly just became another toy that was no big deal. His parents spoke with him about real guns not being toys and that he was never, ever to touch one or “play” with the real kind. (He knew what the real kind looked like and were capable of thanks to his much older brother, who — like your son’s 5th grade buddy — had no qualms about letting him watch violent R-rated movies whenever their parents went out and left him in charge. Blergh.)

At some point, the worst-case nightmare scenario that we all dread actually happened to him — he went to a friend’s house and his friend showed him his father’s real, unsecured and possibly-loaded gun. And he did exactly what he was supposed to do — he left immediately and told an adult. OMG.

So I’ve mellowed and compromised on the toy gun issue. (I mean, my kids have a fully tricked-out toy kitchen, and that certainly hasn’t led to them being reckless with the real oven, or mistaking my good chef’s knife for the Melissa & Doug one.) Certain Lego and Playmobil sets (Star Wars, Old West, etc.) come with tiny plastic guns. We have a Star Trek phaser that does absolutely nothing, some pump-action pool water shooters, and a collection of old-timey wooden cork guns from Colonial Williamsburg. Nothing realistic, nothing with potential to hurt or break anything. Anecdotally, I have to agree that my husband was right and the toys have definitely lessened their preoccupation with guns in general — they play with them when they are new, but lose interest eventually and go back to playing without them. When the topics of guns or shooting come up, we reinforce the rule that real guns are not toys, not to be touched, if a friend ever tries to get you to play with one, leave and tell an adult, etc. But for a family chock-full of little boys, guns aren’t a really big playtime obsession around here. (Lately, everybody seems to die from imaginary lightning bolts instead. Okay?)

Obviously, this is a polarizing issue and there are many different opinions about how to approach guns (both toy and real) and proper gun safety with children. Everything from zero tolerance on Super Soakers to buying a BB gun for your 5 year old. We all want the same thing — we want our children to be safe and to make good choices. (So, you know, everybody comment respectfully with that in mind, plz.)

An iPhone on the bus isn’t the same as a gun in a playmate’s parent’s closet, but still: Your main message is getting through, because he came and told you about it. He knew enough to be uncomfortable with the situation because it was out of the norm and involved something that scared him. Sounds like you’re doing pretty good there.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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36 Responses to “Gun Videos, Gun Toys, Gun Safety”

  1. Stephanie May 07 at 4:32 pm Reply Reply

    It must be a boy vs. girl thing because my 5 year old daughter has never shown one bit of interest in guns. I have explained to her the same things Amy suggests, which is if you’re ever at a friend’s house and you see a gun, run and find an adult. 

    I have my own related question: how do I ask parents of her friends about whether or not they have guns? I feel like it’s such a charged issue, but I’ve seen way too many stories this year of children shooting (and killing) other children because adults leave guns loaded and unsecured in the house. We don’t have guns, but I have a feeling that a lot of people in our town do. I don’t want to make them mad and insult them, but I’m terrified that my daughter will go to a house with people who owns guns and don’t secure them.

    • Katie May 08 at 3:44 pm Reply Reply

      We live in Texas where this is a very real and sensitive topic. I don’t ask IF they have guns, I ask HOW the guns are stored. And I don’t rely on an adult to keep constant watch over the children since that would be impractical. 

      When I’m having these conversations, I avoid discussing gun rights in general and keep it to the specific question of UNLOCKED or UNSECURED guns. My husband and I also have our own definition of what unsecured means – to us a trigger lock is not sufficient to secure a gun.

      I typically say “How are guns stored in your house?” I feel like that lets the other parent know that I am making the assumption that they do have guns (and that it’s not a dealbreaker) but that I just want to know how they are stored.

      There was a CNN story about this that prompted me to start having the conversations (“Before the play date, the gun talk”). So far I haven’t had anyone react negatively when I bring it up.

  2. Cheryl May 07 at 4:42 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Amy on the cell phone/video issue – please tell the school about that.

    About the guns – my husband was a police officer. When our son and daughter were young, we explained to them that Dad (or Mom) would never, ever touch their play guns, and they would never, ever touch Dad’s gun or holster or anything on his gun belt. If their guns needed to be picked up or put away we would make sure that we called them and had them do it. I honestly think that neither of us never touched their guns!! We also taught them that if they saw a gun at a friends house, to leave immediately and tell a responsible adult right away. Any weapons in our home were securely locked up, and the keys/lock combinations were also securely stored.

    This is definitely a tricky topic to discuss with our kids, and I know that each family will approach it in their own way. Mine are both grown now, with homes of their own, and guns play a big part of their lives. They are also securely stored, and I know that when grandkids come along, safety lessons will be a huge part of their lives too.

    • Erin May 09 at 12:05 pm Reply Reply

      Thanks for posting about this topic!  My son is only 1, so I haven’t had to worry about play dates quite yet.  But while my husband and I are not gun people, I know that some of my friends have guns for personal protection & target shooting.  The way you’ve phrased the question sounds really reasonable and respectful.  

  3. Heather May 07 at 5:02 pm Reply Reply

    When my son was 3 & 4 we watched a lot of the show Top Shot.  It is basically the gun version of American Idol, but we watched it because it shows marksmanship (slingshots, crossbows, guns, cannons, etc…) as a skill set, as something that takes dedication and practice, and as (essentially) non violent.

    I like that the show starts with a bold “don’t do this at home” and that you often see guys rehearsing without guns (basically in manly “pew, pew, pew” mode.

    I’ve owned guns before, and for a liberal I am pretty gun friendly, I liked soldiers and cops handling guns respectfully, with appropriate gear, and with intentions towards things that weren’t alive.

    It feels imperative (based on where I live) to start gun conversations early and I found that show to help articulate the best possible aspects.

  4. Jessica V. May 07 at 5:42 pm Reply Reply

    Totally agree about talking to the school about the older kid and his video use. It could be an amazing learning opportunity for him if approached correctly. Hopefully, he just made a poor choice that he can learn from, and be more careful about what he shows other kids (especially young ones). Assuming that his search history doesn’t reveal a deeper issue – maybe he can learn to be more protective of others in the future.

    Good luck!

  5. Wyomom May 07 at 6:41 pm Reply Reply

    I disagree about it being girls v boys, My 3 year old daughter occasionally spouts off with a “bang I shoot you mommy” which gets an immediate, “We don’ shoot people” response, she love to hunt monsters is allowed to “shoot” them (we don’t have any toy guns) we do live in a very pro-gun area of the country an my husband hunts so we own guns which are kept locked up in a closet our two girls can’t get into. We do teach them that real guns are NOT toys and that guns are not to be played with the same way we teach them that they are not to go near water without an adult AND a life jacket. By repitition and example.

  6. Sarah May 07 at 7:37 pm Reply Reply

    I have to admit – I don’t understand how gun safety can be considered a normal part of parenting. I grew up in Ireland and live in Spain, and as in most European countries, children will never have access to guns. A very small minority hunts, but I am very certain that nobody in my daughter’s life will ever have a real gun. So, not really an issue for us. 

    As an outsider though, I would like to understand the American viewpoint. What happened in the past to make it rude to ask somebody if they own guns, or to ask them to take care not to kill your child? How did it come to be more important to guarantee personal liberty to make stupid decisions than to guarantee child safety?

    Amalah took on a tricky question, and I hope I’ve been respectful as she requested, but honestly, you guys, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

    • IrishCream May 08 at 10:55 am Reply Reply

      Please don’t assume that there is one monolithic “American viewpoint.” There is a lot of very heated debate on this issue, and people on both sides feel very, very passionately. It does not feel respectful to have a self-proclaimed outsider suggest we reconsider, as if it were that simple.

      • MJH May 08 at 1:23 pm Reply Reply

        I agree with you. I’m an American. I don’t get it, either.

        • MJH May 08 at 1:24 pm Reply Reply

          And that was for Sarah.

    • K May 08 at 1:11 pm Reply Reply

      I think that you really ought to look at some of the American groups who ARE trying to change gun laws and culture.  As IrishCream said, there is not just one point of view.  And there’s a lot of gray and middle ground.  Making cultural or legal change is not as simple as you seem to think.  It’s actually extremely complex.  And there are valid points on both sides of the debate (not counting extreme fringes).  

      Honestly, I don’t think it’s even a little bit respectful to basically ask, “Why don’t you care if someone kills your child?”  Because, guess what!  We do!  That’s why we’re all trying to navigate and figure this out!  This is framed like you’re asking a question, but it really comes across as an extreme judgment couched in the form of a question to avoid being called out.  

  7. Mellynn May 07 at 8:33 pm Reply Reply

    We live in rural Idaho and we are hunting family. We own a lot of guns and all of my kids have handled guns. I personally feel that my children are safer than some adults, but it takes a ton of training and my husband and I are constantly on them to be safe.They know to never pick up a gun without permission and when they do have permission they know to never touch the trigger or point the gun at anyone or anything they are not willing to shoot. The know to look beyond their target to make sure it is safe. This may seem distasteful to some, but my kids have killed animals with a gun, they know what they are capable off and they know they are not toys. Gun safety needs to be taught just like not running out in the road and I think it needs to be more than just, “don’t touch.” If my kids ever came across a gun without an adult around I I highly doubt they would pick it up out of curiosity. I think many children that have no experience with guns find a loaded gun are curious and then end up hurting themselves or others.

    • Kat May 08 at 6:35 pm Reply Reply

      I’m with Mellynn. I grew up in an area where gun use (for hunting and sport shooting) was extremely common. Everyone in my family knows how to safely handle a firearm, and part of growing up was a required gun safety course taught at a local range on top of all of the conversations, lessons and hunting we participated in at home. I think its important to note that guns are dangerous when used or stored improperly, just as cars, knives, hot stoves and a million other things can be dangerous when not used properly. I believe in responsible gun ownership (we have several in our home, my husband is ex military and an avid sport shooter now – all of them are secured in a gun safe in an area of the house that no children (or adults, honestly) are allowed in at any time. I would not be the least bit offended if another parent asked me if we have guns in our home, nor would I be offended if I was asked how we store them. In fact, I would happily show another parent where the safe is and discuss our safety precautions if that was something important to them. I understand not all families are “gun families”, and I try to assume that when another parent asks me about my ownership it’s to ensure that I am as careful about their child’s safety as I would want them to be about my child’s, not as a means to get into a debate about whether I am within my rights to own a firearm. On top of that, we will carefully address the issue with our son when the time comes (he is only two!)

  8. Jodie May 07 at 8:35 pm Reply Reply

    Sarah, I can super appreciate the sociological concerns/questions. Honestly, I’m not sure that asking the group trying to navigate this world why we haven’t gotten around to changing things already is super helpful. It actually comes across as not respectful at all.

    More globally, not even all of Europe is in the same position you are with lack of access. Half our family still lives in Switzerland where every home has a serious rifle (ak47 I believe.) Access to and exposure to them hasn’t caused an increase in violent crime which is what you’d expect if access to them was the main cause. One might argue in fact that access plus education has helped keep it down.

    I think the issues around gun violence though have a lot more to do with economics than access in general and that’s a pretty big change to affect across such a large country.

  9. Olivia May 07 at 9:55 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have anything to add, really. I guess it shows my age (or rather the young ages of my children), but I’m so surprised a 5th grader has a fully functioning smart phone, too. My kids have a children’s tablet that has games and books that are age appropriate and LOTS of parental control. I can’t imaging just handing all of the internet to a 10 yr old.

  10. Trish May 07 at 11:07 pm Reply Reply

    Stephanie, I have the very same question! It is a certainty that our neighbors and acquaintances (some of them, at least) have guns in the house. Eventually, my children will be old enough for solo play dates. I am not against gun ownership but I don’t own one, and really have no interest in owning one. So how to broach this topic, especially with people who feel very strongly about the 2nd Amendment?

  11. Jeannie May 07 at 11:29 pm Reply Reply

    Canadian here, so no experience on asking play dates parents about guns, but if I had to guess, it’s “rude” because by asking, you might be implying that they are not smart enough / responsible enough to keep the guns safe — because if they are responsible, you wouldn’t need to ask, right? Just a thought. 

    As for the kids and guns scenario — my son (now 8) went through the phase like most boys and many girls, and I (anti-gun, pacifist) found it hard. But I also didn’t want it to feel “forbidden”. I had a boyfriend once whose mom was super strict about stuff like that and yeah, as an adult, he *loved* all things military so … Maybe not directly related but still. Anyway, with my son I explained why I didn’t like guns, and we had a firm rule against play / pretend shooting people — he could shoot all the imaginary things he liked. And eventually the phase just went away. So FWIW, I wouldn’t take a hard line. Work with your kid, explain your feelings. Chances are this along with many others is a passing phase. 

  12. Mary May 07 at 11:34 pm Reply Reply

    I was adamantly against play guns for my first boy too, and he also picked up anything he could find and made a gun out of it. I ended up taking him to a local shooting range for a gun safety class. It was sponsored by the NRA (I know! and yet it was useful!) and talked about never touching a gun without permission, and so forth. Then they got to shoot them, carefully, with lots of safety and supervision. It was a great class, he really liked it, and I think it demystified them a bit. My brother is a cop, and sometimes he’ll take my boys to shoot at a range. They really like it, but as adults now, none of them have felt the need to own their own weapons.

    • Kate May 12 at 8:07 pm Reply Reply

      You know by and large the members of the NRA are pretty reasonable; it’s the leadership and a vocal minority that are so extreme they seem crazy. (and I say this as someone who is vehemently opposed to guns)

  13. Heather May 08 at 12:21 am Reply Reply

    Really fascinating to see the different viewpoints. My husband is in law enforcement, so we definitely have guns in the house. My son is about to turn two and just in the last few weeks was exposed to the idea of play guns — a stash of water guns brought to daycare by one of the older boys. The lead teacher ran an impromptu safety course: don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot, don’t point it at people, don’t put your finger on the trigger until you intend to shoot. He was really into reenacting it all for a few days and then stopped completely.

    We haven’t yet really asked friends about guns. At two my son only plays at my friends’ houses and I know from other conversations who has guns and how they are stored (it’s a parenting topic among law enforcement families along with potty training and that biting phase). I am not looking forward to those conversations as he gets older, both in having to ask others about their practices and having to discuss our habits myself. I agree with the poster who suggested it implies we think other parents aren’t responsible with the direct quizzing, which is really uncomfortable. I also don’t ask to inspect my friends’ skills at adjusting car seat straps or quiz them about plans to offer popcorn or other possible choking hazards. I know this will get trickier as he gets older and has the temerity to pick his own friends.

    As to why do we have guns? The husband’s a cop. He also shoots competitively, both to further his professional skills and because he likes it. Honestly, I do find it a little unnerving, but someone has to be a cop and if he’s going to have to be able to shoot in the line of duty I would just as soon he’s good at it.

    Incidentally, when I studied for a year in Spain my host father was an avid hunter who brought home birds, small game, and a deer during my stay; in retrospect that variety of game probably means he had more than one gun. So it takes all kinds the world over.

  14. Frances May 08 at 1:53 am Reply Reply

    I’m urban Canadian and can’t imagine the sort of access to guns that Americans have, but I’ve lived in rural areas where many people hunted (I actually like target shooting with a 22, I do).  I saw two strategies there that I think were useful:  some hosting moms simply told the parents of any child coming over for the first time that there were guns in the house and how they were stored, thus negating the need for the question; and other visiting moms phrased the enquiry along the lines of “Johnny has zero experience with guns, he might be curious, and I’m a little worried about that…have you any he might come across?”, thus putting the responsibility/lack thereof on your own shoulders.  Of course both require the gun owner to be sensitive to others discomfort but it seemed to work.  At least here where there are no First Amendment rights to worry about and where children being shot accidently is a vanishingly rare thing.

    • IrishCream May 08 at 10:59 am Reply Reply

      I like that approach to feeling out the host family’s policy on guns…much less potential for confrontation or insult. Thank you for that. 

  15. Karen May 08 at 2:28 am Reply Reply

    The bigger picture that I see here is the phenomenon of our kids’ peers becoming more of an influence on them than we are. My daughter is just in pre-k, is this something that happens beginning in kindergarten? 

    To me it really doesn’t matter whether there is a policy about smartphone/YouTube usage on the bus, or what individual family’s attitudes are about guns, the real issue is trying to figure out how to continue being the primary influence on our children’s development rather than their friends being the primary influence. I want my kids to have rich peer connections, but I dont want those to substitute for our roles as parents.

    If anyone else finds this fascinating, I recommend a book I just read called “Hold On to Your Kids.” I don’t have any connection to it, just found it interesting and thoughtful. 

    • Julie Beth May 08 at 3:42 pm Reply Reply

      I second the love for that book. Changed my perspective about a lot of common problems.

  16. Jackie May 08 at 10:42 am Reply Reply

    I have no input on guns, but I can tell you that 5th graders with fully functioning smartphones is definitely a thing–last year in my daughters’ fifth grade class, the majority of kids had smartphones–one group of kids even posted pictures of their Christmas presents on Instagram!

  17. Wyomom May 08 at 12:02 pm Reply Reply

    Wow holy typo’s batman, sorry about that I was in a hurry on my prior comment. Just wanted to note that here, at least among my friends, discussions of how to safely store guns were common once many in our group started to have kids. We regularly discuss how guns are stored, how/when we will teach our kids more about them, and I wouldn’t have a problem asking, or being asked about how guns are stored in a persons home. Any responsible gun owner will know that safe storage is part of the deal. If someone got upset about me asking them how they store their guns I would be VERY hesitant to let my child play at their house.

    • Kate May 12 at 8:11 pm Reply Reply

      That’s pretty much exactly the way I feel; if they’re offended by my asking than I don’t want my kid at their house. What it comes down to is that their idea of safe could be that the gun is hidden in the closet on a high shelf and I’m not comfortable with anything other than unloaded and locked in a safe. 

  18. Amy M. May 08 at 3:03 pm Reply Reply

    It is interesting to see different viewpoints! I am of the never had a gun/probably never will have a gun people. I have 2 neighbors who are cops. When my son started showing more of an interest in guns, I asked one of my neighbors to teach both kids about them. I had hoped to stem some of the curiosity and get the safety talk over in one fell swoop. His informal talk was great & I learned more, too! My son asked a bunch of questions, learned how guns work, and what to do if he finds one (don’t touch!).

  19. vanessa May 09 at 9:03 am Reply Reply

    i am about as anti-gun as you can be and think that people who are not staunchly pro gun control are complicit in the murder of children. period, end of story. 

    that said, though, there is a LOT of evidence that war and weapon play is actually good for kids–check out Penny Holland’s work on this. the difference, obviously, is that you never let kids have access to REAL guns. 

  20. Jennifer May 09 at 11:59 am Reply Reply

    Being rude or pushy isn’t going to matter to me.  The study discussed in the news report below provides good evidence that kids are going to touch unattended guns–even if you tell them not to.  I like the ideas presented above, like “how are guns secured in your house” and “will Johnny come across a gun.”  But the most important thing is to ask and know if there are guns and that they are secured.  http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/hidden-camera-experiment-children-drawn-guns-found-classroom-22258370

  21. JMH May 09 at 1:06 pm Reply Reply

    I am an Elementary Technology Teacher (K-4) This has nothing to do with guns, but I have kindergarten and first grade students with smartphones and/or ipods/ipads. I would love to say that they all have parental controls, etc, but I *know* the parents have no clue what the kids are doing on the devices. Kids come to me and excitedly tell me about sites they are visiting and YouTube videos they have seen and I am shocked. You wouldn’t believe how many first and second grade students that have Facebook accounts! The parents actually set them up for the kids and turn them loose. Makes me crazy. I teach Internet Safety, Digital Citizenship, etc. in my room which leads to very interesting discussions. Anyway, I think the OP should let the school know what is happening on the bus. Just my 2 cents

  22. DontBlameTheKids May 09 at 8:21 pm Reply Reply

    My four year old daughter just started doing the gun pew pew pew thing. Hate. But I hope that, like the princess stuff that also turns my stomach, it is just a phase.

  23. J May 09 at 10:04 pm Reply Reply

    If we start to think about all of the things that could “kill our children” as it was so sensitively put it, we’d be down to living in a locked closet all alone. It’s all about education and information on guns (or any weapon) having knowledge on how powerful and destructive they can be, being diligent in keeping an open line of communication with your children so they know they can always come to you if they encounter a gun, or a knife or ANY other object being used in a violet manner. It’s not a little boy vs. little girl thing. As cheesy as this sounds, it’s a “The More You Know” thing. Whether people like it or not, guns are currently a real part of our world, and sheltering our children from it, or anything else you may consider undesirable, will only leave them unable to navigate what to do should they ever find themselves in that situation.

  24. S May 12 at 5:19 pm Reply Reply

    This isn’t going to have a lot o anything useful in it. I understand asking about guns/are the guns locked up… But you wouldn’t ask if the knife drawer had a safety latch on it? More of a gotta teach them the best you can and let them go. Cant trust them? Keep them home. Same with a swimming pool. you wouldnt put a kid in shorts on an 90 degree day next to a pool and say, ” now sweetheart, DONT touch the water.” Then wAlk away. Take responbility and teach them something! Guns are big part where i live, it’s not a question of if they are in the home it a matter of how they’re kept.
    Sorry about all the typos, im online on my phone.

  25. ErinA May 18 at 11:24 pm Reply Reply

    I wanted to add a few points in response to Sarah’s question. The gun issue can be very conmplicated for Americans for few reasons. The right to own guns is in our country’s constitution, and that’s considered by many to be a vital protection to the people against tyranny. Because of this, it’s not taken lightly. There are many Americans who are passionately and vocally opposed to this right, and just as many passionately committed to protecting this right. It is a hugely politicized topic in our country. I think, for many of us, we would like to just be friendly and get along with the parents of our kids’friends and we REALLY don’t want to open a can of worms by unintentionally starting a debate on the issue by failing to ask these questions diplomatically. My fellow Americans, would you say I’ve accurately explained the issue here?

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