Halloween is upon us which brings all things”spooky” to mind.I was trying to think of something to write about in keeping with that theme. I racked my brain conjuring up images of blood and guts. Nope. Not spooky enough. I’ve had two babies. Once you’ve seen your insides taken out and placed on a table next to you…blood and guts don’t cut it anymore.But then something happened yesterdaywhich got me thinking…you know what really freaks me out? Kids and technology. Major heebie-jeebies.
Avery likes to play games on the computer. She visits a couple of sites regularly, and in fact wehave been strongly encouraged by her first grade teacher to support this habit, within reason. Her dad and I monitor her activity and, quite honestly, she tends to play the more educational sites more often than not.
Here’s how it usually goes down…Avery asks me if she can play, I set her up on my computer, open the web browser, type in the address and let her go. I’ve signed her up on all kinds of sites and she’s sat back, quietly observing, as I do all the initial work. She knows which tabs to click to get to her favorites and with me looking over her shoulder, it’s all relatively safe.
Or so I thought.
So, here’s the thing. I signed on to my email yesterday and was surprised to see a “Welcome to Digital Dollhouse” message awaiting me. I immediately suspected that Jer had signed up for something less-than-genteel.
I ask him, “So what’s up with digital dollhouse, Jer? Hmm?”
He has the nerve to look at me with complete confusion written all over his face. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Oh, right. “Hmmm…digital dollhouse sounds a teensy bitnaught. Anything you want to tell me? Anything you need to confess for the salvation of your soul?”
“Um, no. Except for one thing…I think you’re mental.” With that he turns on his heel and heads back to his own computer (where I’m sure he’s got all kinds of “digital dollhouse” memberships…although I can’t prove it and really haveno reason to accuse him otherthan to keep him on his toes.) Anyway.
So I open up digitaldollhouse.com with one eye closed and the other half-open, anticipating the worst. “Welcome to DigitalDollhouse.com Avery!”is scrawled across the screen. Where I thought there would be a naked lady there was a cute little puppy wagging it’s tail. In place of the stripper polethere was a virtual dollhouse waiting to be decorated. A digital dollhouse.
What?!? I check the email out in further detail and read that she has set up an account, chosen her password, her secret question/answer and her level of computer knowledge. She even entered my email address for confirmation.
I’m dumbfounded. She accomplished all ofthis 1) without me knowing, and 2) all by herself.
Now, you might be sitting there reading this and thinking, “Wake up, Mindy. Times, they are a’changin’.” But, seriously, “a’changin’ times” give me the creeps. If I sit and try to think about how the telephone works it trips me out and sends me into a minor panic attack. This is my baby…making technology her bi-atch.
Now, of course we had the required, “DO NOT VISIT ANY NEW WEBSITES and DO NOT SIGN UP for anything on the computer without asking your dad or I” speech. I’m hoping we’re not too late. Avery has got some considerable knowledge of how this whole computer thing works and the world is at her fingertips. FREAKS me out. I’m expecting to receive our first “Beanie Baby of the Month Club” installment any day now.
Our kids are growing up in a vastly different environment than we did. The expectation for immediate satisfaction, information and entertainment is now part of their DNA and it is up to us, as parents, to have as much control over it as possible. It’s our responsibility to take them down a peg and reintroduce a more innocent life of play and imagination and outdoor fun. (I put Jer on the outdoor stuff because, well frankly, I’m not really into it. I used to be. In fact, I specifically remember spending many a summer riding my “horse” up and down my childhood street, the wind whipping through my hair without a care in the world…that is until my “horse” blew a tire and threwme sans helmet head-first into the concrete. Ah…those were the days.)
So, obviously, the moral of the story is this: Pay close attention to your children.They are MUCH smarter than you think and need your help infinding the safest route between the world and their fingertips. Times they are a’changin’. Dangit.
Love to all, Mindy