When we see them at weekends they usually come to him, cap in hand, like that scene from Oliver.
“Please Uncle, can we have more….Internet?”
OH then bursts into operatic outrage.
“MOOOREE Internet?? Mooooore?!…fa la la laaaaa…etc etc”
And so it goes. Same drama weekend in, weekend out.
You see….the OHs sisters have delegated the task of making all their PCs child friendly to him.
Each computer is now locked down to only allow access to very few child friendly websites. It gives everyone complete piece of mind and means none of the parents have to hover over their (almost teenage) children for every minute of every day watching what they are doing on the Internet.
Of course the pre-teens don’t like this arrangement all the time but it is an accepted part of their online life.
A few weeks ago something happened that had us a bit stunned. The daughter of a family friend came home from school one day distraught that several fake social media accounts had been created using not only her identity but also her photos.
Not only that but the accounts were targeting people she knew including friends, family and her teachers from school.
From looking at the various timelines it looked as if it had started as a bit of a joke but had become malicious as the identity thief seemed to be gaining confidence. Was it a friend pulling a prank that had gone too far? Was it someone older? It was obviously someone she knew or that knew her…but who?
A few weeks passed as the police investigated and tried to trace the guilty party.
What was eventually discovered was probably the thing that shocked most people.
With enough information (and a bit of a hunch) the identity thief was tracked down to none other than a 10 year old boy who lived in the same area.
A boy who obviously had free reign of his pc and Internet access at home without any kind of parental monitoring whatsoever. Free to manipulate and cyber bully as much as he pleased. A boy who was still at primary school!!
Chances are, of course he found it very funny whilst he was getting away with it. We have no idea what action, if any, was taken but there was a throw away comment made about how not enough patents monitor what their children are looking at on the Internet.
There is a very simple and easy way to make sure your kids are safe on the net and (on Windows) it’s known as Family Safety
It lets you control what sites can and can’t be accessed, how much Internet time a certain account is allowed, who has been looking at what …and much much more.
(It comes as an inbuilt feature in Windows 7 but can be downloaded from the Microsoft pages if you don’t have it)
There’s a lot more info about it here.
Of course this can’t stop your children from potential cyber bullies but if all parents put a feature like this on their PCs it would cut down the number of cases that can be traced back to “a joke gone wrong”.
As a parent I do worry and wonder how much privacy I will give to Little Zs online life. I’ve decided it won’t be a lot really and all his Internet life will be tracked until he is of a suitable and safe age to be let loose. (like about 25!)
The other little tool that OH uses in his position of Internet Scrooge is something called LogMeIn. It’s a little client you download onto the PCs you want to control and follow the instructions. (You need to create an account initially). This then lets you remotely access their desktop from wherever you are (even via your phone).
The OH has found this little gadget particularly handy when he has nieces and nephews calling in the evening needing more Internet time for genuine coursework research.
So there you have it; How to be an Internet Scrooge.
I never anticipated it would go on for so long. I thought my interest in it would just die out around the 6 month mark but It just sort of sucked me in. Completely! And here we are 2 years on and I still love it!
It’s introduced me to all sorts. New people, new friends, new perspectives. Without which I think I would have sunk as a new clueless mum. In those early and sometime dark times it became a massive support network for me.
One of the latest new things I’ve discovered through it is the wonderful world of photography. I’m still playing with my new camera and loving taking shots like this. Look at the blurriness. (I have no idea what the professional term is).
I have another new project brewing in my head at the moment. After a lot of thought and procrastination I have decided to take the step of turning my blog into an ebook. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but not really had the courage, and sometimes motivation, to take the plunge. I’m planning on using some of my best posts and adding in some unwritten musings that have been sat in the back of my mind for a while. I hope people will read it.
I have about 10 people so far that say they would read it. So that’s good, right?
This usually happens when we’ve passed someone in the street of I’m on the phone to someone. As a result he knows the names of all my friends and a handful of people at work, even though he’s not met most of them.
The second one is:
This usually immediately follows the first question if I’ve been on the phone. It always makes us smile as the question makes him sound like a 50 year old stemming from the depths of Yorkshire. Despite our attempts to make him say the full sentence he prefers this version and uses it approximately 2,355 times a day.
We are regularly trying to stop ourselves from saying it too! Not because we have anything against Yorkshire folk, but because we seem to be mimicking what he says a lot.
Like the other day, for instance.
A situation presented itself in our house around the time the Dawn chorus started. It was not the best time for a situation to present itself but when it did I wondered what to do for a bit.
The OH then made the fateful mistake of murmuring “What Say?” without realising what he was saying and what he was about to become embroiled in.
And Bam! That was it…
A sleepy argument had started as we both went about getting ready for work. There was loud incredulous whispering. There was hushed stomping at our annoyance with the fact that we were arguing so early in the morning and there was a lot of chuckling at the daft situation that had presented itself that was not the fault at either of us.
Calm descended equally quickly as we started coming up with the best solution we could cobble together at so early an hour and with that we embarked on our daily mission to try to lift and shift Little Z from the cot into the car seat without waking him.
He stayed asleep thankfully, bar one moment where he lifted his sleepy head to look at me and ask …
Little Z is a complete lover of the park. Well, he’s actually a lover of just running. And running. And running. So our weekend outings of choice usually involve places with big massive fields where he can run to his hearts content.
This is what we got up to on our extended sunny weekend…
We went to the Chris and Pui show where Little Z looked very funky. It was fantastic and so much fun. I’d highly recommend it if you have toddlers around 2-3 that love singing and dancing. I think I may have enjoyed it just as much!
We played indoors and I had some more practice with my camera..
And we had a brilliant time at the park, enjoying the sun…
This week this has resulted in my son deciding to call me “Auntie”, on and off, throughout the week. It is usually quite funny when its a brief slip up, but I did get slightly worried after it went on for about 3 days. I could have sworn I caught a glint of humour in his eye, meaning he was purposely winding me up, but you can never be too sure with a two year old really, can you?
Thankfully, order has been restored again and I am “Mummy” again. For now.
Meanwhile, his endless string of questions are now starting to get harder and actually require a bit of thinking before I reply. It’s hard to think a child could bamboozle an adult after a mere 2 years of existence but I fear this may actually may be the case. It is as if he has now graduated from the beginners barrage of questioning stage and moved onto next level which is harder, faster and more difficult to fudge my way through. Take this, for instance…
Over the last week or so he has been very aware that the bath water, at some point, goes down that little plug hole. But he’s always a bit perplexed about where it goes. So each night, our conversation has gone something like this…
Little Z: “Mummy, where’s the (bath) water gone?”
Me: “Umm…it’s gone down the gutter”
Little Z: “What’s that?”
Me: (Resisting talking about the sewage system / how water is recycled) “It’s down that plug hole honey”.
Little Z: “Ohh ok! Water come back?”
Me: (Knowing saying no will upset him) “Yes it will come back tomorrow”
Little Z: “Heh?” (Not understanding concept of tomorrow)
Me: (Trying to climb back out of hole) “Later, It’ll come back later”
Little Z: “Oh ok! Water all gone?”
Me: “Yes honey, shall I take you out now?”
Little Z: (Looks thoughtfully at plug hole) We watch Moo-peeps?”
Me: “Yes, let’s watch The Muppets!”