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October 4, 2010

A Hacker Is Born?

So the Little Man is now officially becoming a computer user and more importantly (and scarily) an internet user.  Me, being the always clever chap, decided we’ll limit that usage by using the standard password feature of Windows so he can’t access it without the password.  No Club Penguin or drooling over the Lego sets without some parental supervision. 

Naturally next time he wants to get on the information superhighway, he comes to me and asks what is wrong with the computer.  I explained to him the concept of a password as a key to lock things and that he’d need mom or dad unlock it to use the computer.  Of course, the normal protest stomps that follow every time the Paternal Dictator gives an unsatisfactory answer, but we all seemed on the same page. 

Fast forward a few days later and I walk in to find him using the computer.  When I inquire if his mother said it was ok and he said he was just checking on some new Lego set.  When I pressed on how he got on, he replied with an innocent smile, “I figured out the password, it was easy.  I tried my name, mom’s name then your name.  Now that I know it I can get on the computer without bothering you.”

April 22, 2010

Common Sense (From Phineas & Ferb via My Seven Year Old)

So Who’s Your Daddy had big plans for you in this next post.  I had visions of a hilarious viral internet video speeding around the globe.  I’ll spare you the dirty details but the high level was that I planned to make a parody video of “Pants On The Ground” from American Idol fame.  I enlisted the Little Man to help me film my masterpiece and once he understood what I was planning, this conversation ensued:

 “Dad, are you sure want to do this?” he says.

 “What do you mean?  This is going to be hilarious!” I answered.

 “Ok, but remember, once you put it on the internet, it stays there forever.”

 [Dramatic Pause]

 “Where did you learn that?” I curiously asked hoping he would reply that it was my sage advice coming back to me in some cosmic boomerang.

 “Phineas and Ferb taught me that” came the deadpan reply.

 And there it was.  Irrefutable evidence that cartoons may have occasionally redeeming value beyond mom and dad getting a few precious minutes of extra sleep.  Consider my world rocked.  See the PSA here to find out about Internet Safety for kids from Phineas and Ferb.  And this is what it has come to, getting common sense reality checks from my seven year old.

 The video project remains on hold…

January 20, 2010

YouTube and Facebook and Twitter, Oh My!

I must be approaching middle age.  It now is a daily occurrence where I think to myself, “he can’t be old enough for that, can he?”  The latest installment of “Dad is getting old” came during the morning scramble to get ready for school and out the door. 

The Little Man stopped cold as if a thought had switched some hidden button I still haven’t found and announced that his best friend had received a computer for Christmas and was getting “computer lessons” after school.  Further digging revealed that the child’s parents (not Bill Gates) were teaching him how to use his new computer, but still.  The Little Man was clearly angling for something along the same lines.  Can they be old enough for that?

As countless parents have thought to themselves in one version or another, “I remember when I was just reading him stories about lions and tiger and bears and now he wants me to teach him about web, internet and email!”  While I can’t be sure if he’s ready for the digital world, I am quite sure that I’m not ready for him to be in the digital world.  That same day, I just happened to run across a Dad-o-matic blog written by Jeff Sass on “Having ‘That’ Conversation With Your Kids…” so it must be destiny.  Just like everything else, I guess it’s never too early. 

Our iPhones have apps for toddlers, so why wouldn’t a seven year old want to jump into the digital sea and take a swim?  So I guess I better figure out how to work those parental control setting on the computer and think about my approach for “that” conversation and how to tell a story of YouTube and Facebook and Twitter, oh my!