My children have discovered this World Wide Web thing, and my life may never be the same.
We were riding along in the car today, on our way home from grocery shopping, and Chickadee piped up from the back seat: “Mama, when you were a kid, and you didn’t have computers, what did you DO if you wanted to know something about something?” I suggested that I was going to need just a WEE BIT more information to go on, to answer that question, and she continued: “I mean, what if you wanted to find out the state bird or whatever?”
When I told her we would go to the library, she LAUGHED AT ME. “They don’t have EVERYTHING at the LIBRARY!” she scoffed.
I wish I was eight again. It must be nice to know everything.
So, I went on to explain that no, they don’t have EVERYTHING at the library, but they do have a whole lotta information, and back when I was a kid, we had to do this thing called RESEARCH to find answers sometimes. No, we couldn’t sit down and type in whatever we wanted and instantly have 800 pages of results, but we had reference materials, and the periodical section, and MICROFILM!
I totally lost them at microfilm. Monkey piped up that he thought it was neat that my library had giant viewmasters, and at first I tried to explain that no, it’s not like that… and then I just gave up.
They cannot conceptualize a world where Google doesn’t exist.
And really, it’s fine with me that they’re computer-savvy and learning how to find things they need and all of that. But now there is DANGER lurking around every corner.
More accurately, there is danger lurking in every freaking television commercial.
It all started with the Superbowl. In what was probably the most crackheaded move in all of marketing history, the new string of Pepsi commercials debuted along with the new website: BROWN AND BUBBLY DOT COM. And so the begging began. WE WANT TO VISIT THAT SITE, MAMA. WE NEED TO GO THERE.
Meanwhile, I am picturing not so much the delicious refreshment of Pepsi as a fetish site dedicated to people in dire need of Imodium, if you catch my drift.
By the third request, I broke down and violated every rule of Keeping Your Upper Hand In Parenting: I confessed to the children why the mention of that site was causing my eye to twitch. We all laughed for about an hour.
Brown and bubbly dot com is now a handy punchline to almost any joke, in our house. (And yeah, I prefer Diet Coke with Lime to the idea of diarrhea, anyway. Sorry, Pepsi.)
But now every commercial they see sparks a dire need to USE MY COMPUTER. And I am very attached to my computer. Plus I figure I should probably be sort of monitoring what these kids are doing online, I guess, even though I would like them to only use my computer when I’m busy doing other Very Important Things, such as showering or sleeping.
So, I’ll do things like tell them they’re welcome to go over to Pop Cap and play Chuzzle while I make lunch. And then I’ll hear whispering and giggling and Chickadee will call out something like “Hey Mama? How do you spell Big Fat Awesome House Party?” and then I’ll have a coronary.
[Big Fat Awesome House Party turns out to be a very cool Cartoon Network thing, but that is SO NOT what I was expecting when I first heard it….]
Or, they’ll see a commercial and insist they need to go visit Postopia, and so we’ll check it out, and it’s just little games and stuff, so I’ll say fine, and then the next thing I know, Monkey is standing on my head screaming “WE NEED TO BUY HONEYCOMB! WE NEED A TOKEN!” When I ask him to stop speaking in tongues, it is not-so-patiently explained to me that they are busy building bigmouths and they require a token from a box of Honeycomb cereal in order to get their own bigmouth. “This one is just a LOAN,” Chickadee said, with palpable sadness. “I want a bigmouth that I can KEEP.”
“Huh,” I said, staring at the monstrosity on the screen, “That’s funny, because I’m pretty sure you already HAVE a big mouth.”
“I do? WHERE?” Her eyes lit up; maybe we’d bought Honeycomb and she’d missed it?
“Right there,” I pointed at her mouth with one hand and tickled her neck with my other hand. “THERE’S your big mouth. It’s HUGE. You’re ALL SET!”
She was not amused.
But later on, we went to the store, and I bought them a box of Honeycomb. Because it was on sale. Not because Monkey started cackling “BROWN AND BUBBLY DOT COM!” while we were in the cereal aisle.