Thursday, May 8, 2014


So, I accidentally caught Big Kid in an act of -- rebellion? defiance? lying by omission? I'm not sure. I ended up not being as mad as I probably should be, so I don't know which word to use.

Both kids love YouTube videos about video games. I know. It's bad. Videos about video games...I, too, roll my eyes at the very thought. But whatever. During our negotiations in getting permission to watch these videos, I explained that my objections were really with YouTube comments, more than video content.

I think I said something along the lines of, "Those people are serious morons and I don't want you around them." A kind and compassionate explanation. They both agreed and promised not to read the comments.

Yeah, I know. Everyone reads at least a couple of the comments, they are an irresistible train wreck. This whole post should be filed under "Parenting fail #gazillion" since I've lost count.

Then, months later when the issue had died down, I began getting strange google + notifications on my phone. At first I was excited because I thought maybe I finally did google + right and people there loved me, but the links all led to an alias I didn't recognize critiquing videos, movies, music and pop culture. Confused, I read comment chains and, although the subject matter was completely inane (to me), I was surprised at how well thought out and articulate the comments were.

It took longer than it should have, but not very long, to realize it was Big Kid. I'm still not 100% sure if I'm seeing YouTube comments or google + comments or what is going on, but somehow my phone gets push notifications from his account, so I see everything he types.

I wasn't really sure how to handle it because he shouldn't have been doing that, but I was also a little interested in what was going on here, and didn't want to blow my cover since this seemed like a fortunate parental gift, this sneak peek at what goes on when adults aren't watching.

Had he been your typical internet commenter, I would have been more upset. But he just seemed so mature and respectful and the grammar was lovely. The other people in the conversations he joined were also normal-ish...interested in odd things but not the terrible idiots I've witnessed before. Even debates were mild and as well thought out as arguments about gaming consoles can be. I felt very torn between pointing out his infraction and watching to see what would happen.

But one day I couldn't resist and I confronted him about it, not revealing my source.

"I know you comment on YouTube or Google + or whatever," I said. This is my go-to mothering method. I like to drop a bomb of information and quickly gauge reaction and then go from there based on their level of guilt or concern.

He looked back at me, calm but curious.

"I'm not mad but you know you're not supposed to do that." I continued, this time waiting for a reply.

"I don't use my real name."

"Yeah, that's good. What's going on there isn't so bad, I'm just disappointed that you weren't honest with me. Though I will say that I appreciated your language and maturity on the comments I saw. "

He nodded. "You know that wiki I edit?"

I do know about the wiki he edits, although I still don't really fully understand what a wiki even is, but I have seen this and it seems like a harmless hobby.

"That guy has no idea that I'm a 10-year-old. Who would let a KID edit their work? But, man, he needed the help. I haven't lied about my age but I do try to act and type like someone responsible and I would never bring up my age on purpose."

"I just don't want you talking to any weirdos on the internet."

"I just talk in the comments, and edit that wiki. I won't do anything else, I promise."

I trust him.

And I also installed a key logger on that computer and I avidly read those notifications on my phone.


The Ludwigs said...

My FOUR year old is obsessed with the video game videos - I think they offer tips on how to play? I don't know. He can't read the comments yet, though...

Unknown said...

I probably have a lot of insight to what little boys are into since I like video games. That, plus I hang out with my 7 year old nephew pretty often. All games have wiki's, which are like how-to's and written walk-throughs. It's funny your kid now thinks your super tech savy and know what he is doing all the time online when it was just a fluke (a keylogger is a great idea). But it seriously must feel awesome knowing he was writing respectful and well thought out comments.

Cindy * GoodHaus Design said...

This is the kind of thing that makes me lose my mind. BK should know he's lucky to have you as a mom and not me. Just be sure YouTube doesn't "think" he's 18+, or you'll have other issues on your hands. :( :(

Overprotective Mom

Destingirls said...

This is what i was talking about! This is why you have to stay current with technology. I stalk (yes stalk) my teenage daughters on twitter. I don't really understand twitter but that is what the teenagers are using-probably because we parents are totally confused by it. And i cant tell her I'm reading her Twitter or she will set up a fake twitter account. Of course if I read something scary or dangerous I would confront her but so far that hasn't happened. But I do find out alot of information!

Ashley said...

I used to worry about invading privacy and thought I would let him know there was a keylogger, so there wouldn't be any trouble, but an older mom that I really admire said her and her best friend both did something similar with their daughters but never fessed up, and also just subtly interfered with any sneaky real life plans they weren't down with, but that it was a life saver. Their daughters also think they're psychic. Big Kid knows more about computers than I do, so telling him would be dumb.

They do know I do computer history spot checks (and they always look nervous about it) but I never find anything interesting. Also the computer is in the middle of our wide open living area, so not a ton of opportunity to watch anything openly scandalous.

Julie H said...

My son spends hours watching the videos too. He will sit here and crack up for hours.

duhneese said...

There is NO invasion of privacy until he's a) 18 or b) not living under your roof. Key log away! P.S. You're my kind of parent!

Allie said...

Thanks mom. You know what happens when you snoop on your kid until she's 18? She learns the art of snoopery as well and ends up in couples therapy every Monday night.

-duhneese's daughter

#justkiddingthatsnotwhywegototherapy #butiamasnoopnow #loveyoumom #loveyoutooAshley #kaybye