Thursday, August 5, 2010
I'm being a terrible influence. My eleven year old niece wants so badly to be a digital kid. Her mother and my mother (her mom and grandmother) aren't comfortable with computers or with internet safety, so they won't allow her access to Facebook or to chat programs. I'm a geek. My niece shows signs of wanting to become a geek. It is incumbant upon me to encourage that tendency in the child. As a result, I've shown her World of Warcraft. She wants an account. I'd get her one and bring her into the server I play on so she could be 'shepherded' by a group of adults, but the internet connectivity where she lives bites. Hard. So, no WoW. She wants a Facebook page. Her mom and grandma flat refused. The smart girl came to me. We discussed the dangers of Facebook and I told her why her mom was afraid to let her have an account. Silly adults. We think kids are innocent - that they aren't aware of the dangers in the world. We're wrong. (Which isn't to say that kids don't need help and guidance navigating the internet and the perils of social networking - they do because there's a huge gap between what is *known* and what is *understood*.) The girl knew that people predate other people and that some people hunt via the web. So I offered to talk to her mom and see if we couldn't set up a Facebook page without a photo, an address or email info. The kid just wants to play one of the zoo games with her friends from school. We're still negotiating that one. But my win? IM. My niece wanted to be able to instant message people and have an actual conversation. So I showed her Windows Live Messenger (it's installed already and I'm the only contact on the list). Tonight, she IM'd me. I was so proud. Her spelling and her typing skills post fifth grade are far better than mine were at that age. And, no. The conversation wasn't all that scintillating, but that's not the point, is it? The point is that I'm successfully corrupting my sister's only child. I sent her a YouTube video link to watch. I did this before I realized the kid would think it was so hilarious that she's want to show it to grandma and grandpa...Yeah. YOU explain what ROFLMAO means to an eleven year old whose mother wants to go on believing the kid has never heard a 'bad' word. She IM'd me that grandma was laughing and I was in trouble. Great.