Kids and Guns

"Locked & Loaded" by Phae at flickr.com

With which are you more comfortable and why?

Your 11-year old child having a Facebook account? (Note: According to Facebook policy: “In order to be eligible to sign up for Facebook, users must be thirteen (13) years of age or older.) Or that same 11-year old owning and using an air-soft gun?

Do you find the question ridiculous? Do these things concern you at all?

15 responses to “Kids and Guns

  1. Interesting. I guess I’d say I would feel comfortable with neither? Also would not be comfortable with my 11 yr old son stealing my lipstick…

  2. Melissa Sorbello

    I allowed no guns of any kind in my house and he is going to be 20 in January. Yet he is friends with someone that owns a safe with a million of them. wth…

  3. blackwatertown

    No to Facebook for the 11 year old. If even Facebook themselves restrict it, so do I.
    I’m all for networking and trying new technology (not that Facebook is new now), but aware of the pitfalls and time wasting side of it. (Through personal experience.)
    No also to the gun – mainly because of the expense and time commitment to regular maintenance, ammunition and trips to the airsoft range.
    The whole gun symbolism thing I’m less worried about. It was a constant in my childhood – real guns on the streets, soldiers, paramilitaries, police – general upheaval. A very pervasive feeling of threat, need for vigilance, paranoia. And violence was the central feature of most of our childhood games and the setting for most of the literature we read.
    However these days it’s just not such a big deal.The whole guns thing does not appeal to my son’s generation to that extent at all. They’ve got other things going on – football (soccer), cricket, exploring, building. It’s a revelation to me. Occasional trips to laser shooting or paint ball centres seems harmless.
    harmless psychologically that is – not physically. Ouch.

  4. I am NO on both for an 11 year old.
    I am not sure what an Air-Soft gun is. I’d assume its an air gun that shoots soft pellets? This age is to old for just general playing with gun type “toys” and you hear nightmare stories about these being confused for real things. HOWEVER, I’d be happy to invest in paintball equipment and take said 11 year old to a paint ball range. OK backyard practice sessions so I think I’d want one for myself too. Laser tag also sounds like fun. I am not anti-gun, I am pro safety and education.

    As to Facebook? If we allow our children to break the rules and have accounts on sites that specifically do not allow it what are we teaching them? The rule is ok for everyone else but … you, you my child are special? I don’t think this is something parents should give in to. There are other ways to express our children’s specialness and PLENTY of sites that they can enjoy for their age groups.

    A wonderful suggestion would be to allow your child access to your FB account and to friend child’s friends & friend’s parents. (what they are doing on there anyway?) This way you’ll get an early idea of how things are going to go when child is the right age to join facebook.

    Of course my son and his friends beat the crap out of each other with Kendo Sticks on a regular basis in my front yard… it was all fun and games and thank goodness no one ever got seriously hurt. I think this is where you need to draw the line… the level of hurt that can be caused.

  5. I am not comfortable with either. At this point my (brand newly) thirteen year-old is not necessarily going on to Facebook, if I can help it, even tho she is “old enough”.

    And guns? air guns? air-soft guns? don’t even know what it is…..don’t need to know…I am currently wrestling with a request for water guns and ‘super-soakers’ for my childs’ B-day party, which is being planned for August as a BBQ for several 13 and 14 y.o……so no air-soft guns here.

  6. Not a fan of either one… But have to say, I would be more comfortable with the air soft gun being used in my backyard. I can control the use of the air soft gun; the safety is in my hands! I feel that children should not be on Facebook.

  7. S Leigh Schmidt

    Airsoft gun!

    Because… 11 year olds violate Facebooks TOS.

    And… in a controlled, careful environment, I can teach my 11 year old how to respectfully manage and safely handle an airsoft gun.

  8. S Leigh Schmidt

    Also, forgot to mention.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airsoft_gun

    Airsoft guns are replica firearms that propel plastic pellets by way of compressed gas or a spring-driven piston. Depending on the mechanism driving the pellet, an airsoft gun can be operated manually or cycled by either compressed gas such as Green Gas (propane), or CO2, a spring, or an electric motor, but are ultimately fired from a piston compressing a pocket of air.

    And.

    Safety concerns

    See also: Legal issues in airsoft
    Airsoft is safe with proper care. The projectiles expelled from airsoft guns travel at fairly low velocity and are too light to penetrate the skin. Since some heavier projectiles made of copper or other metal can penetrate skin, they are banned at some Airsoft events. Also most states in America require an orange marker on the tip of the muzzle so that it is not mistaken for a real firearm. The weight of the BB is typically 0.12 – 0.30 grams, but heavier, more application specific BBs exist that can weigh 0.43 grams or more.
    However, many high powered airsoft guns (shooting at, or over, 400 ft/s) can penetrate the skin at shorter distances (about 10 feet).[citation needed] This is usually countered by such high-power devices either being disallowed or restricted from being fired within a minimum engagement distance.

  9. The problem is, things you ban become a lot more interesting to children. They need our help to learn how to navigate through the real world, in an age appropriate way. I can’t say when that is for facebook or for airsoft guns for your kids. I’m not too comfortable with facebook for my 11 year old. He’s not really ready to handle the subtle social aspects. I am comfortable with the concept of airsoft guns. I think he does know the difference between fun target practice and real violence, and right and wrong in the sort of more concrete world of guns. Safety would still be an issue, and I don’t like that this one is so realistic…

  10. The air soft gun…I can supervise whom he’s interacting with there, but not with FB. However, if you check city ordinances, in many cases you’ll find they’re banned within city limits (even in a fenced yard). So you have to find a place to use it. I’d feel the same way if we were talking about my daughter, BTW.

  11. Hmm… It’s like a modern sticks-n-stones vs. words. Both hurt. I wouldn’t be comfortable with my 12-year-old having either.

  12. When I was growing up we had holsters for our cowboy or cowgirl cap guns. Supposedly they were dangerous too! But we played with them. I feel with proper supervision and understanding of the purpose of a gun it’s okay. (Don’t aim at people!) Violence is bad……and guns do foster the wrong ideas without proper adult supervision. This picture is terrible. It shouldn’t be printed. This child looks like a terrorist. I don’t want another Columbine!

  13. While I am trying to stave off the FB account for as long as possible, [luckily my 10 year old has NO interest in it right now], and I am not sure what a soft air gun is, I think we have bigger fish to fry, so to speak. Boys will always find ‘weapons’ to play with. They always find sticks to make swords out of and some kind of shield. Boys will be boys…[at least mine are!]

    • Jennifer:

      I know you said you didn’t know what air soft guns are. Check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airsoft_gun – since your boys are so into weapons, you should probably know about them, as they will likely soon discover them and start begging for them. I can’t go with the “boys will be boys” argument here. Kids can turn sticks into weapons. Okay. But handing them spring-loaded weapons is a whole different category that requires a different level of explanation and, initially, supervision. I can’t be sure that the rules we establish for safety at my house are the same at someone else’s house. For example, you really want kids to wear protective eyewear with these suckers. Well, last week, I was at a house where the kids decided the goggles were “bothering them” and took them off. I wasn’t diggin’ it.

      To me, Facebook opens kids up to even more sedentary computer screen time. It also opens them up to the wonderful world of cyber bullying, and I’m not digging that either. Folks under the age of 11 years old aren’t supposed to have accounts, but many parents allow their children to create them. I don’t dig encouraging my kid to break rules that, I believe, are there for good reasons.

  14. As a 19-year old male, Facebook is a great way to network and keep up with your friends and meet new people. In my opinion, an 11-year old should definitely NOT have a Facebook account. There is no need for someone that young to have a Facebook account because they’re most likely not mature enough to have one. I think it could be extremely dangerous for a kid that young to have one because of online predators.

    Also, 11-years old is much too young for a gun of any kind. When my friends and I were 17, we would play paintball for fun, but it could get pretty dangerous. I think a kids should wait until they are 16 or 17 to get air soft or paintball guns, as long as the parents think the kids are mature enough to handle it.

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