Computer Jam

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Okay, so our kids are fairly young. (The oldest just turned eight). We never thought too much about putting parental controls on the computer. Our kids were never on the computer. They don’t have computer games, no email accounts, no FB pages, so why bother? Plus, I always hate having every search about “nursing shields” and “weaning” blocked.  That is, until now.

You see, our wide eyed second grader has been going to the school’s computer class once a week as part of the curriculum.  Great! Learn how to move the mouse, make a little drawing…I didn’t know he”d get so computer savvy so fast!

One afternoon, we were in our usual places: at home, the big kids doing their homework at the kitchen table, the little ones playing on the living room floor and me on the computer checking my email (our computer is in the kitchen.) When I closed out and got up to start on dinner, my oldest, a self proclaimed “animal expert,” plopped himself down in the still-warm leather chair on wheels, opened up a browser and typed…are you ready for this? He typed the words “wild ass” into the Google search box in the upper right hand corner. Wild ass!!

Now, this little boy was truly looking for pictures of wild donkeys calmly grazing on the dusty plains of the  Savannah. And bless Google’s heart, that is exactly what popped up on the screen: 2 serene burros gazing at the African sunset. Whew!

But by the time I looked over at the computer, saw that he was on the internet and read what was in the search box, I–oh what’s the phrase? Oh ya, FREAKED OUT. I yanked the plug out from the wall and scolded my son for getting on the computer without my expressed permission. That sweet, innocent guy just couldn’t understand what I was getting so upset about. After all, he has a book called “Horses of the World” and he wanted to look up a few. Sheesh! What other meaning could “wild ass” possibly have??

Well, it was as good of time as any for an age-appropriate discussion about what bad things that can happen on the computer. Lucky for me, my husband came home and knew how to create a log-in just for the kids.  It only allows access to specific websites we parents type in on the “allowed list.” So now the kids can hop on the computer safely and click around on sites like lego.com, poptropica.com and discoverykids.com.

But now the pickle is how to get them off the computer and onto their homework!

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