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The internet is used for WAY more than just games (obviously), and our kids will want to make use of the rest of the internet as well. The internet is also a pretty scary place for our kids if they are allowed unfettered access. We need to encourage our kids to develop healthy behaviors. Unfortunately, that means setting limits on what they can access, what they can do when they get there, etc.

Any parent will tell you that one of the hardest parts of our job is setting boundaries on our kids and the disappointment we feel when they break through those boundaries and ignore our rules.

It’s really impossible to get things right all the time. They will explore. They will push limits. They will make mistakes. But, we CAN get things off on the right foot.

One way to improve your success rate at getting your kids to help follow internet guidelines is to get buy-in from them right from the get-go. Below are six things to think about while writing up an internet usage contract with your kids.

Get Input From Your Kids

Most kids have at least some idea of what the limits should be. Give them a chance to set their own boundaries and they will be more likely to follow them. Remember, though, that your gathering input from them. You don’t need to let them write the rules entirely. You are the final arbiter of the plan.

What are the rules for where and when they use electronic devices?

There is a time and a place for everything. This applies to internet usage as well. You should be sure to set clear rules for where and when they can access the internet. Some great examples of places you might exclude are their bedrooms, school, church, and the dinner table. You might also place restrictions on the internet after a specific time of day. (Don’t forget to include a start time, too. Our guys skirted the rules by getting up early to watch YouTube.)

Are there different rules for online gaming and social media?

Not all internet use is the same. Make sure that you take the different ways that your kids use the internet into account when making your rules. No fooling – some kids will not view playing online games as “internet time” when it very clearly is. Specificity is very helpful for avoiding problems down the road.

What are the rules about downloading apps and other things from the internet?

There are all sorts of cool things on the internet to download. Your kid is likely going to want all of them. Especially the free stuff. Make sure to include rules on what they are allowed to download and what sort of permission they need to be able to do so. The last thing you want is to have them download some malware that you don’t know about.

What are your rules about posting on the internet?

Eventually, your kids will have social media accounts. This contract is a great opportunity to reinforce social media safety rules regarding what pieces of information your kids can share with others or post on their profiles.

True story. I put my address on the BBS when I was a teenager (That’s weird kind of online chat room). And some of the kids I met on their came to my house to meet me… and freaked my parents out A LOT.

What are the consequences if they break the rules?

No amount of discussion or planning will prevent them from breaking the agreement. You need to make sure that you have clearly documented consequences in place for when this happens. This will ease the sting of administering the punishment (on both of you).

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Yesterday, Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, used a racial slur while streaming a game of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG as it is often called). The internet and even one independent developer are taking PDP to task (and rightfully so) for his use of the N-word. But, it appears that many of his fans have come to his defense. Facebook pages and Twitter feeds that mention the incident are being bombarded by his defenders (among other people) who are claiming that it just isn’t a big deal. Not only do I wholeheartedly disagree with this, I think this is something that parents need to look at closely. This is a teachable moment the likes of which we might not see for a while.

Mr. Kjellberg didn’t set out to turn himself into a role model. He is just a man with a good camera, a strong internet connection, and an interest in weird video games that he decided to share on YouTube. He built a HUGE (57 million and counting) subscriber count over the years. He is a millionaire who was profiled by ESPN Magazine among other outlets. All of this comes with one thing… influence. The term “influencer” might be a marketing cliché at this point, but it isn’t because it’s wrong. People who generate content on the web can’t help but influence the people who consume it. Whether he likes it or not every word he says on camera has more weight to it than the average person’s words.

What makes his use of the N-word all the more troubling is that a huge portion of his audience is made up of children and young teens. They watch his videos. They emulate his style. They dream of becoming YouTubers like him. Doesn’t it stand to reason that the words he uses might have an impact on them too? If something is bad, but not so bad that PewDiePie won’t say it…  does that make it just a little bit more OK?

(Editor’s note: If you NEED some context as to why the word in question is bad it has been written about at length. This is a thoughtful opinion piece that was published in the New York Times on the subject.)

This is an opportunity for us, as parents, to step in and talk to our kids about the fact that words have power. I’m a game critic, so I’d be going way out of my wheelhouse to get into WHY some words are bad and others aren’t. But, some words, the N-word included, are abhorrent and should not be used. Period. Full Stop. Even if you choose not to expose your child to this specific incident, it is an important conversation to be had.

Our children consume tons of content from online personalities every day. They aren’t public figures held to ethical constraints by their employers. Professional Athletes can be fined. Journalists can be fired. But, YouTubers are self-employed, are only beholden to their audience, and many of them only care about the advertising dollars they generate. Our children need to taught to think critically about what they are watching. They need to know that sometimes people online will say bad things and that that doesn’t make it ok to repeat them. They also need to know that if someone does say bad things and they continue to watch them, then they are actively supporting offensive behavior.

PewDiePie is a public figure with enough reach, especially amongst young people, that our kids will likely have seen this video or at least heard about it (or him). Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.  Both of you will be better for it.

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Legend of Zelda is a fan favorite for adults and kids alike. In it’s thirty year history it had become an icon in the video game industry.  With its popularity, there are countless bloggers and other resources available to spark the creativity of your child’s ( or your) enthusiasm for all things Zelda.  Finding crafts appropriate for kids can be daunting in the plethora of cosplay ideas.

One source of kid friendly crafts are the range of 8-bit designs.  Many of these were designed to be used with perler beads. The perler beads are a perfect craft for elementary school age children. They are small plastic beads you arranged on a grid base, cover with parchment paper and fuse with an iron once the design in complete.  These same layouts could be used by budding artist to draw on graph paper. A more advanced crafter could embroider these designs in cross stitch, crochet a blanket, make quilting squares or create a full quilt just to name a few.

Link

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325265618/

Link by Urcujiro on Kandi Patterns:

 

Zelda

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325265628/

 

Zelda Perler Bead Pattern:

Rupees

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325240073/

Perler Bead Legend of Zelda Rupee by CalysDesigns on Etsy:

Health Hearts

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/280278776782464981/

Wish | Legend of Zelda Health Life Hearts Necklace Bead Sprite Perler Art:

Navi

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325265623/

LoZ Navi perler beads by perling_pearson:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/277886239480773721/

Navi Perler Bead Pattern / Bead Sprite:

Triforce

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325265619/

Triforce Zelda Perler Bead Pattern / Bead Sprite:

Mixed picture 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325265642/

Zelda Blanket 8-bit images design.:

 

For a different kind of kid friendly craft a  Zelda fan who enjoyed Ocarina of Time may want to create their own Navi.  Below are two which appear to be easy and are a creative way to have a young fan create their own Navi.

 

This first project appear to be an intermediate crafting difficulty, it involves wrapping yarn around a ball and what appear to be pipe cleaners or wire.  There are no directions, the photo is from an etsy.com posting.

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331296116325240102/

Hey, I found this really awesome Etsy listing at http://www.etsy.com/listing/172802808/tael-fairy-legend-of-zelda-majoras-mask:

 

This second project is a homemade pompom Navi. This one has the steps depicted in the pictures.  Again this is not a beginner craft but is more of a hard beginner to an intermediate level, based on the steps involved.  

 

DIY fairy Navi from the legend of Zelda #DIY #fariy #Navi #Zelda:

 

Finally, for one final Zelda fan feature is the Sheikeh.  In this link the crafter is using a wooden door hanger and painting it. Based on my crafting experience with kids, I think this project could be made easily with kids using fun foam for all the pieces including the door hanger. That would also omit the painting step, if that simplification is desired. Foam is an easy material to cut and glue with Elmer’s liquid glue or even a high quality glue stick.  

Sheikeh slate door hanger:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/105764291228564037/

Sheikah Slate Door Hanger, Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild kids craft:

 

These are great crafts for kids to create Legend of Zelda themed crafts.  The difficulty can be scaled up or down depending on the skill of the child and the level of support desired by the adult.  These can be fun ways to spend rainy days and create decorations for their rooms or for other Zelda fans.

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Dear Kaos Trap,

You elude me.  I follow sites and refresh Amazon daily, hoping to encounter your translucent black countenance, and yet you continue to mock me. I can almost hear your odd cadence as you call me “Sky-loser” while I enter yet another Target, disappointed at the empty space meant for you.

I swim through endless piles of water traps and live through the disappointment of a growing inventory of life traps. I do all of this in the vain hope that I’ll encounter you one day. All to no avail. My daughter begs me to find you, to keep looking, and my hopes are constantly crushed as I find your limited inventory (2 per box of traps) with your price skyrocketing faster than a prisoner escaping Cloud Cracker Prison.

You mock me relentlessly, and haunt my dreams with a cruelness that Dreamcatcher could never fathom. Someday I will find you, and with $5.99 you will belong to me. Then with a squeal of joy you will be mine, er, OURS forever.

Always,

Tuff Luck Mom

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