We have been pretty lucky so far. Despite the fact that our daughter has had access to a computer (currently a 20″ Intel iMac) with a web browser and internet connectivity for most of her years, she has not really figured out that the Internet exists. She has only really been aware of the few pages bookmarked, which include a couple of her games like WebKinz, some kids sites like Playhouse Disney, and a few reference sites like Wikipedia.
Once in a while I see her running between the TV and the computer typing in a long URL that has come up on Cartoon Network for some new browser game. But the key there is that I see her doing that. The computer she has access to is in the middle of the family room/living room area so there is no keeping secret what she is up to. So things have gone pretty well in that regard.
A few weeks back my daughter and I had the LEGOs out on the table and were in the mood to build something new. She suggested something from World of Warcraft. I told her about somebody actually making Booty Bay out of LEGO bricks.
She was excited by that so we went over to her computer and I brought up the WoW Insider article on LEGO Booty Bay. (Yes, they are WoW.com now, which I am sure gets them a lot more accidental visits, but I still think WoW Insider was a better name.) We looked at the pictures and we speculated on how much of that we could make with our current LEGO selection (not much) and if there wasn’t something else WoW themed that we could construct.
Then the phone rang.
I left her at the computer and went to answer it. After that I got distracted a bit and was out of the room for 10 minutes or so.
When I got back to her she was in front of the computer, the web browser was at YouTube, and she was watching this video:
How had she gotten there? And so quickly?
I took over the browser and backed up to where I left her, at WoW Insider. Sure enough, there on the side bar was a featured video which she had clicked on and watched. And, as YouTube goes, once that video was over it gave her a selection of “like” videos to view, which brought her onto the YouTube site.
So in 10 short minutes she managed to find and gain a taste for YouTube and machinima, and specifically the work of Nyhm, whose YouTube page we had to bookmark. The above video is one of her favorites, along with M.A.G.E. Of course I don’t think she is up on the songs on which they were based. I don’t think she’s ever seen or heard “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” nor am I sure she would get it if she had.
But now the YouTube door has been opened. I had to sit down with her and explain that not everything on the site is suitable for kids and that she should not go to the site without approval from me or her mother. And she has been very good about asking, though like and youngster she does tend to bombard us at random awkward moments with the question, “Can I watch YouTube?”
Ah, the ever changing dynamics of parenthood.
And as for our LEGO building project, we did not get much further than putting together a Defias Brotherhood minifig.
We only have two of those masks, so the brotherhood is pretty small around our house.