Don’t Let Your Kids Play Crossy Road Before Reading This… I mean it. The experience we had on our summer trip floored me, kept me from sleeping for several nights and left me feeling like a parent failure. I know that Crossy Road is a fun app that children (and adults) enjoy playing, but please read to what happened to us so you can better equip your children for this game.
Don’t Let Your Kids Play Crossy Road Before Reading This…
My son is six and a half years old and he is a bright one. He loves technology and enjoys learning through it. In most instances, his contact with technology is educational, but in a few cases, he gets to use his tablet for 30 minutes a week to play with age-appropriate apps that he likes.
He really likes to play Crossy Road, the popular free app that is causing a sensation. It is, basically, a modern version of Frogger. There are characters that are supposed to cross the traffic-laden road without getting run over. If the character does get run over, no problem, the character has more “lives” and the player continues playing.
Honestly, I saw nothing wrong with it because 1. it taught him great eye-hand coordination skills, 2. my husband plays it, too, so they have something in common to talk about and 3. his time on it is limited to, like I said, 30 minutes a week. Little did I know that such a short time of usage would have such a great impact on his thinking and way of seeing the real world!
Our Horror Story…
During our camping trip this summer, we visited a busy area, full of traffic and tourists. We had to hurry to catch the local shuttle and I did not expect what was coming. We started to cross the street holding my daughter’s hand and my son was walking next to me. I told them to hurry because a tourist bus was coming toward us and we needed to get out of the way. Now, what happened next was completely unexpected. My son stopped in the middle of the road, looking at the bus, unafraid.
I grabbed him to help him cross quickly, but he jerked back and said that he wanted to play Crossy Road! I was shocked. The bus was coming. It wasn’t slowing down. I had to think and act fast. What was he thinking?! I pulled him off the road and asked him just that. He was all smiles and said that he wanted to play Crossy Road for real, not on the tablet.
My heart was pounding and his words made my jaw drop. Seriously? “Why wouldn’t you cross the street? Didn’t you see the bus coming?” He said, “Yes, but if I get run over, I can keep playing anyway.” No way. He did not just say that. It was then that I realized my failure. Yes, I had failed to remember that children need to learn to discern the difference between reality and fantasy.
I had failed to talk with him about the game and how it wasn’t real. It is obvious, I failed to make sure that he knew that the game wasn’t how real life plays out when you get run over. I assumed too much. He knew about road safety. We have had lessons about it, but this was BEFORE Crossy Road. Cross Road changed his way of seeing road safety. It changed how he viewed life and how fragile it is.
What Research Says…
“Research indicates that children begin to learn the difference between fantasy and reality between the ages of 3 and 5 (University of Texas, 2006). However, in various contexts, situations, or individual circumstances, children may still have difficulty discerning the difference between fantasy and reality as old as age 8 or 9, and even through age 11 or 12.
For some children this tendency may be stronger than with others. The benefit of teaching children the difference between reality and fantasy is something that parents, educators, and psychology professionals should take note of.” Source
This is, in our experience, 100% true. I am not saying that Crossy Road is a horrible app and to never play it. What I am saying is to please have a talk with your children about road safety and about reality and fantasy. Don’t assume they will know. Please don’t assume. I did and if I hadn’t turned back to check on my son to realize he had stopped in the middle of the road, I would be writing this from a grieving mom’s perspective.
Please share this message…
When this street-crossing situation happened a few times in a row, I did ban Crossy Road from our tablet for a while and we had conversations about street/car safety often. We talked about different scenarios and the right course of action. My husband and I also tackled the topic of fiction vs reality and explained how Crossy Road is not real life and that we always need to guard life (ours and others’) because it is precious.
Thank you for visiting our Don’t Let Your Kids Play Crossy Road Before Reading This… post!
You might also like: