On Penis Swords and Parental Responsibility

Recently, an 11-year-old girl explained to me how her 10-year-old brother got a dildo gun and penis sword in Saints Row IV, a video game that was released last month.

A couple of days later my 9-year-old son and his 10-year-old friend came home and shared with me a playground discussion about their friend’s exploits in a “strip joint” in Grand Theft Auto 5.

“She was, like, waving her butt in his face!” the friend explained to me, obviously barely able to even conceive of such an act.

It might strike some as shocking that there are such things as dildo guns and strip clubs in video games. Others might be angry that children are being exposed to them.

After some discussion with these kids, however, there was a much more disquieting issue at play: a complete lack of parental engagement. Continue reading

Values Telus Brings to the Yukon

It’s old news that Telus has begun to provide mobile phone services in Whitehorse (so bear with me as I briefly rehash it here).

As of last Friday you can subscribe to Telus in Whitehorse. The company will sell you a new mobile number in the 867 area code, or move a number you already have to their service.

Right now you can only do that online or by calling their northern “hotline” at 1-866-359-6764.

Before Christmas, though, Telus will open a retail store in Whitehorse, where you’ll be able to try out phones before you buy them. I’ve been told that the store will offer a level of support and service that is unprecedented in the local market. (It won’t be hard to improve on what we currently have, however.)

In terms of actual telephone and data service from Telus, it’ll be virtually identical to what you get from Bell or Latitude. But that’s not surprising, since they all share the same technical infrastructure.

And it will surprise no one that the devices the companies want to sell you are all nearly identical.

Telus does have a very minor cost advantage, though. After evaluating plans from the two southern carriers I’ve found the new entrant’s pricing to be about 10% lower than Bell’s.

So the popular criticism of Canada’s telecommunications industry rings true even in the North: there’s no real competition, just competitors.

The difference, then, will be in the value and values of Telus in a broader sense.

Charity and community is clearly key to Telus’ corporate outlook. The company currently holds the global title of “Philanthropic Company of the Year.”

Locally, Telus has already committed to donating a portion of its sales in Whitehorse to our invaluable Child Development Centre.

And the company topped up local 9-year-old fundraising aficionado, Cole Byers’s, jaw-dropping $15,000 to battle diabetes with a cheque for another $5,000.

All this before they’d even sold a phone here, and they promise there’s more to come.

But I think there’s a more important aspect of Telus that deserves attention and credit. Continue reading