Remember way back when, at school, someone (usually a guy) would smuggle one of their dad’s Hustler or Scope magazines to school?
And everyone would hear about it and for a day or two the smuggler would be the epitome of popular as all the dudes tried to get a look at it, and the girls frowned in feigned abhorrence at the giggles and sounds of semi-whispered PHWOAR and OOOHHH and WOAH whilst they too were dying to get a look…
A little before your time maybe?
Okay… Well I remember one or two occasions like that.
Back then- in the old days when I was in high school- a magazine like Hustler and Playboy was only available in “certain” shops whilst Scope was pretty much freely available- and was published with stars on the women’s nipples. When the stars were removed after a few years, the glossy had to be sold sealed in plastic and was soon relegated to the “specialty” shops to protect children and other innocents from the so-called filth propagated by followers of Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner.
I loved Scope magazine when I was a teen. There was an awesome comic published in it called “Axa” and I just loved the drawings. And my dad had lots of them. I didn’t smuggle them anywhere though- it never occurred to me. And they weren’t hidden at home either.
Then last week I got a rather irate email forwarded to me, as a cautionary warning, about a website called waptrik. The website provides everything from cute cartoons to games to music- all downloadable for free. When Damien first told me about waptrik I was naturally skeptical (as was the person who wrote the email I received) since nothing is ever really, free so I checked it out myself. I dunno how they do it and I dunno how legal it is- but it is indeed free. And there’s a HUGE menu to choose from and the kids love it! Damien and I have both played on the site, so I know exactly what’s there.
What the author of the email was incensed about is that there is also pornographic type content freely available on the site- videos and pictures. It’s not blocked or protected in any way and anyone can download it. The person who typed up the email was upset that such things should be freely available to unprotected and vulnerable kidlets.
I agree… to an extent.
In my opinion- if you give your child a cellphone- he or she is going to have access to all the crap that’s out there whether you like it or allow it or not. And even if you don’t activate their WAP functionality officially like you used to have to- they can do it themselves… or if they have a sexy phone like mine it’s done automatically the first time you switch on the phone!At one stage, my darling Damien was costing me a fortune in downloads (porn and music), so I took away his contract sim card and replaced it with a dirt cheap pay-as-you-go sim card so that if he downloaded so much as a wallpaper he would have no money left for anything else. When his contract was up for renewal, I changed it to a limited contract so he could no longer cost me eight hundred Rand a month in downloads.
This worked like a charm, money-wise. He can top it up himself if he wants to. I did not activate his WAP at first hoping to limit access to downloadable crap, but the way phones work now it was activated for him without so much as a by-your-leave from me.BUT…Since the eight-hundred-rand-a-month-porn-and-other-rubbish incident, I reserve the right to go through his phone’s content whenever I want to. I do not read his messages, but since I own the phone and I pay the contract, I reserve the right to see what I am paying for. It’s pretty much a business deal. And if I find porn on his phone, he knows I will take it away from him. He’s allowed to download pretty much anything else he wants to, but when his money is finished, it’s finished.As for Bluetooth… even if he didn’t have WAP activated on his phone he would be getting music and pictures from school friends via infrared or Bluetooth, like he did before he started downloading his own. How do you think videos from YouTube and the like get around the globe so fast? Especially in South Africa where having internet at home is not yet a norm. Say it with me now bunnies… Bluetooth!
But let me be very clear- Bluetooth is not the devil- it’s a tool. And like any tool on the planet- you decide how you want to use it. And it can be abused!
And don’t even get me started on all those bloody five-digit numbers you can send text messages to for “Sexy Love Poems” or “Hot Girl on Girl Videos” for as little as R2.50 each or R25 a week* and and and… if you watch a particular free channel after 10pm, I guarantee you’ll be pulling your hair out with the number of ads that are aired! Its worse than infomercials!!! And that’s not blocked or age restricted either- its just broadcast latish using the logic that most kidlets will be asleep by then…
Ahem, yeah right.
The way I see it, our precious kidlets are going to see this stuff at some stage- my advice would be to prepare them, set rules and guidelines and help them make their own choices.
Or get them a fifteen year old phone that doesn’t have Bluetooth or WAP or infrared on it…
*have you ever read the fine print? Scary shit…