Wednesday

Happy Valentines

In this modern electronic age, nothing should come as a surprise anymore. I'd thought I'd heard it all until yesterday. I was picking up my son from school - okay... it's really just a glorified day care with a fancy name that sounds more like an ivy league college than a place to get the kids out of your hair for a few hours while you run off to get groceries or do some dusting. Anyway, if you have young kids you know how different and complicated the world has become for kids since we went to school. In my time, we all exchanged valentines cards, handed out treats that mom packed for us and had a little celebration in class to mark the occasion. We'd spend days writing out the little cards with all the kids names and fretting over who would like what card and if our favorite friend would return the favour. Well, no more. In today's paranoid and over-regulated world the treats are taboo because of the countless allergy rules. And I couldn't tell you the names of half the kids in class because the school won't share a list for security and privacy reasons. We resort to blank cards instead and send enough for the teachers to put into the kids mail boxes to be picked up by the parents. My son didn't even know he had received cards until he came home...

Anyway, that isn't the real point. I tell you all this just to set the stage for what happened yesterday afternoon that made my jaw drop. Did I mention I was picking up my son? Who's three and a half? Well another mom came over to me and asked if I would be willing to share my boy's e-mail address as her precious little Johnny wanted to send a valentine's message to all his friends. How sweet, I replied, but my little guy doesn't have an e-mail address, you can send it to me and I'll let him see it, I replied. It was the incredulous and shocked look on the other mom's face that was the big surprise as I handed over my business card. And I won't even mention the silly tone of voice that went along with her suggestion that "I guess it will just have to do".

Are you following me here? A three year old... with his own e-mail account! Now, as you know from the my postings here and the information I provide on my web site, I'm all about safety and security online - especially when it comes to kids. So what in the world is a three year old doing with an e-mail account? Yes it's a modern tool for communication and it's important our kids are fully versed in their use. But so is a telephone - do you let your youngster answer the phone without supervision? Would you let your child even have a phone until they were at least a reasonably responsible teenager? If e-mail is just another tool for communication, shouldn't it be reserved for those who have both the proper skill and the maturity to use it properly. I for one think so. Until then, I'll just have to suffer the annoyance of sharing cute e-mail messages with my son at my side. It won't be long before he's off to a real college with a pretentious name and we won't have that time together, so I'll enjoy it while I can.

4 comments:

Sean Howard said...

wow. amazing post. scary and so eye opening.

I'm posting a story about this on our blog and linking back. Thanks for sharing this!

Rose said...

I came from Sean's blog. What in the world is a three year old doing with an e-mail account? Do you mind if I blog about this too?

sydney said...

Thanks for your interest Rose. Feel free to share. I'd be interested in what you've got to say.

Kitty said...

That's pretty scary for someone that young to be exploring the internet. And especially when there is odd people too.