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
You are soooo right. My nine year old niece routinely texts me. (As does my mother, which really freaks me out). And even the four year old one plays online all the time. Weird. My kids weren’t allowed technology til they were tweens. And even at their ages (18 & 16) I know all their passwords ect. So I could check things out at any time. Geez! There are predators out there. But I know parents who don’t have a clue and that’s scary. It’s okay to be all up in your kid’s jello. Seriously, they will respect you for it!!
I have no problem being all up in my kid’s “jello”! =) They are going to HATE me when they’re teenagers! =)
I’m sure it’s definitely an eye opener! We don’t have kids yet and I can only imagine, with Donald being such a technophile, that our kids will know a lot about technology before they can even talk. It’s going to be up to me to get them outside to eat their ration of dirt!
I think the most important thing is to teach our kids how to make good decisions for themselves. As Avery showed you, you’re not going to be able to control it much longer. Embrace the opportunity and teach your kids how to be trustworthy. Good luck!
Yes, we are working on pushing the “trust” thing. Avery now knows, after a long talk, how important it is to follow the rules. I believe in setting an example no matter how young she is.
Angelia Sims says
My daughter’s been on the computer since she was about 18 mos old and discovered the Barney site. *WOW*
It is scary, but I think it’s neat too. I love technology, it’s amazing! If you get a good filter, you should be okay. My pastor recommends one, I can find out the name if you like.
I can’t say I blame her, Dollhouse sounds fun (well and kinda kinky – HA).
Oh, I defintely think that learning to use the computer can be very positive! She really enjoys it and I know that she is learning things. My hubby (super-techie) is working on the filter situation. He works for an internet security company so we should be golden there. I just didn’t anticipate the need coming up this fast! =)
PS – After discovering that Digital Dollhouse isn’t a “naughty” house, I started designing all kinds of rooms. It’s really fun!
Way scary! I remember one time when Bryan was in kindergarten I was buying some stuff online from the Gap. I left the computer and when I came back I noticed he had went into the kids section and added a couple of new hats, a belt, and a coat to my cart. They’re pretty smart!
I remember when Bryan did that. So funny! Wouldn’t put it past Avery either…although she’s more apt to sign up for beanie babies than anything fasihon-related. =)
If I cant figure out something on my phone or my ipod (which I still cant work)I have my nephew do it. I think it is a great conspiracy designed by kids and one day they will implant us with micro chips and control all adults. Sleep tight.
Oh my God…you have now given me something else to obsess over. Your theory makes sense. I’ll be sleeping with one eye open, for sure. =)
It’s amazing that kids can pick up a piece of technology so easily. Consider this: the iPod Touch ships with little to no documentation – you’re just expected to ‘get it,’ and there’s a whole world of additional apps to add to the thing that do even more stuff. Some people who shall remain nameless have a hard with this … but not my daughter who readily goes to Amazon.com and searches for stuff she’s interested in on the Touch!
See? The fact that she would even know to go to Amazon to find Apps…creepy. =)