The Preservation of Innocence in these Moderne Tymes


Gavin’s sweet post about childhood innocence (followed by a few back & forth emails with him on the topic) got me thinking about how we influence our children to become the people we really hope they will be. We try to provide opportunities and experiences that leave them both in awe of the world but never suckers who give all their money to cult leaders or Microsoft. There should be wonder and innocence for kids, it’s cute. Yet naivety is one of the very worst traits we could allow. It’s the opposite of cute.

I am both mindful and fearful that I’m creating a cynical, over-logical, jerk, egghead-of-a-loser math nerd who will be picked on (yet make billions and disavow me). There are just too many liberal Ph.D.-holding family members on the white side of her family. Fortunately, my side of the tree has few hustlers, gangsters, and con artists. I have hope for the well-balanced and well-adjusted offspring.

Does Beasley believe in Santa Dorothy? No-doy! That shit’s long played-out, son. God too. But she probably still believes in democracy, the poor, cute thing.

So when my beautiful, intelligent, lovely, and generous wife and child gave me a nice new MacBookPro for my birthday–I’m still amazed that they both care so much and also catch clues so well–It was a joyous moment for all since I had promised the kid–now 9 & a half–that I’d simply give her my old machine when I ever got go new one. Win-win, right?

But it wasn’t so easy. I had to remove all sorts of things she didn’t need to be involved with, from processor-intensive applications to cached images (oy!). From explicit music to bookmarks to dark-ish places, etc. I had to make a fully functioning computer kid friendly to, you know, protect her innocence. I even dumbed-down Firefox so when she’s looking for Dick’s Sporting Goods she doesn’t get something like this: [clicky for NSFW sample of what you get when you Google “dicks”] See what I mean? Too soon for that. Too soon to explain that.

I got that computer all spiffily reformat and configured for her. She was beaming. All full of Allstar Weekend songs and Good Luck Charlie videos. Sweet. Mission accomplished! I was beaming too.

But one day a couple of weeks after delivery, I used her new machine for something and decided to click on her browser history. Whoops! Kids are pretty curious, aren’t they? I guess one YouTube video leads to a long and perilous descent into dumb, sexualized, and injurious adventures.

Fortunately, or not, she appears to have an affinity for Fail Compilations so far. I was crestfallen that my kid was going to grow up to be a total jackass meth addicted loser!

I felt so bad for a while, too. I blamed myself. I even installed Net Nanny software to prevent her from wandering into the ugly areas of the net. We had a talk. I briefed the mother. But I was also relieved because it could have been much worse. She didn’t make it into anything too bad yet, thank goodness.

Today I used her computer to check an email and decided to check the history again. Just checking since I’m a parent, not being nosy or anything. I found nothing. I mean, I literally found nothing. She disabled the history function to cover her traces.

I am so proud! She’s growing up wonderfully.


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