Wednesday, March 19, 2008

glowing box

My son is a computer guy. Just like his Dad.

I have already lost many battles over computer time, but mostly have lost in the effort to prevent computer time from becoming an obsession. Too late.

He loves it. Can't get enough of it. Thinks I'm incredibly unfair in the amount of time allowed for his various computer activities.

Now we've had to distinguish between: gaming, reading, writing and coding. Gaming is limited to three hours per week, give or take 15 minute chunks based on behavior during the week. However, reading (if appropriate), writing (yeah!) and coding (yeah!) are allowed much more flexibility.

Recently we had to institute a rule that he has to take a 20-30 minute bike ride in the morning before getting on the computer. Otherwise, what do I see when I come out of my room every morning? Son at the computer.

But it just seems like there is always a new challenge. A new frontier. A new pain in my a#%$%. The most recent one is that he wants to code a "mod" for a game (Supreme Commander, which he wishes he was). That is great - except he wants to do it WITH someone. Who is this someone you ask? No way to know..... Is this person kosher? safe? kind? appropriate? Who knows....?

Yikes. Joe already broke the news that he can't use our server to host this "mod", which Richard is not happy about.

I struggle. I wrestle. I ponder and try to crunch my brain cells about this. How can we support and encourage good computer skills and activities, while making sure our little guy is safe?

The computer is in a very public area. I can look over his shoulder any time - and I do. I've never seen anything questionable yet. But I can't sit with him for an hour in the morning, and hours in the afternoon and supervise everything he does on that glowing box! C'est impossible! I have two other kids who require lots of attention. Plus a house to run. Plus my blog to write (sorry blog, I've been busy!)

So, my fantasies of my boy playing outside all afternoon, building things and generally running around are dashed. Fine. But the sight of him glued to the glowing screen for hours just bums me out. And yet! And yet! He creates web pages. He writes LOTR stories. He codes ..... stuff. He will end up like my hubby, doing stuff that I don't understand.

How do you supervise / oversee projects that you can't even fathom?

My parents never had to deal with this......