I had to explain to a 13 year old girl why I couldn’t add her on Skype.
I started off with the obvious… “I’m a 27 year old man“, but bless her innocence she merely responded wih “So?“. At this point it’s just weird, so that was my next response. “It would be weird, sorry“.
Let’s throw a little fucking context in here, eh?
I play Minecraft, don’t look at me like that. I play on a server with the majority age range of about 16 – 30, it makes for pretty good banter. There are of course a few young straddlers that make it through the white-list, usually friends of friends… and the lord, if he existed, would know that a lot of early and pre-teen kids play Minecraft too, so we end up with a handful of kids who couldn’t hold an interesting conversation if it had fucking handles. That’s fine though, it’s a nice, easy, relaxing game and it doesn’t really matter who else is on the server. You can disappear into the snow filled mountains, or stand very still when they try to converse with you, and hope they get so confused they end up wandering off somewhere else. Probably to build something shit with cobblestone because they’re idiots.
Well that’s a bit mean, some of them are cool, and I make it a habit to not even enquire about ones age, you can usually get an estimate from what they’re talking about, and the way they type it… of course. As a general rule though, whenever someone wants to add me on Skype, I have to throw down the age card because I don’t want Chris Hansen knocking on my door. I’m also not entirely sure I could have a conversation with a 13 year old… “I have to go do my homework, my mom won’t let me play until it’s done“… “fair enough, I’m going to do taxes or whatever the fuck it is a grown man does“.. that’s a lie, I’m going to sit there and build an airship for no reason what so ever.
The thing that irks me though, is that I’m still talking to these kids. I have no problem laughing along with them when it comes to a type-interface but the idea of literally talking to them is just… so far apart. The answer is obvious of course, a Skype call is a lot more personal, more direct.
That said, I’ve played MMO’s where the guild leader demands that everyone “voice up”, and I’ve been in the same chat groups as both kids and adults and it hasn’t felt weird, I’m going to go so far as to say it isn’t weird. Anyone who’s played TF2 or CoD or Halo etc, etc will have been talking to kids. Which means, the reason I reject Skype conversations from 13 year olds, the reason anyone in my position would do the same, is because we’d look like massive paedophiles.
I struggle to find logic in this, is it just as simple as societies warp of reality? “It’s okay to talk to them here, but not here“. It reminds me of whenever we have kids come into my workplace for some week long work placement, we get given a sheet of do’s and don’ts. Swearing is to be reduced, or nullified entirely, maintain professionalism, don’t be cunts to them, shit like that. One of the best ones though, the absolute cracker of the lot, is “Don’t be alone with them in a room“.
Now, there’s two sides to this… and they’re both utterly fucking ridiculous. One side looks out for the safety of the kids, and the other is actually for the safety of the employees. If you’re alone with one of them, and they claim that you touched them in special places, you’re fucked… game over. Without a witness to back you up, there’s nothing you can do. The other side, is of course… that an employee might actually molest them, and that would be bad.
I can’t be the only one who thinks both of those scenarios are just completely fucked, why is it always sexual? Is everyone a giant fucking ravager and I just never got the memo? “Oh, sorry… you can’t go in the kitchen to make a coffee, there’s a small boy in there and you might rape him“. I enquired about these do’s and don’ts, with a simple question… “what happens if I’m alone in a room, like making a drink or some food, and one of them comes in?” The answer? “leave“. Leave, of course… because they don’t know about the do’s and dont’s we were given, they haven’t been told to not be alone with us. The only way I can make heads or tails of this, is that whoever was in charge of this specific office-related problem and had to draw up a handy guide in comic sans for adults; breathes through their mouth and has trouble keeping saliva in.
Are children, even of the same sex, that attractive to people that we have to stand up on rooftops and remind others to not molest them? I understand the need for safety but isn’t this a widespread solution for a rare problem? Sort’ve like dropping an ocean on a country because one guys glass of water was running low.
Lastly, and it must be said: I’m not saying I want to Skype with these kids, I’m saying I want to not Skype with them on my terms. Things like “I don’t even call my family, there’s no way I’m going to call you“. See? nothing about molestation!