I GTalked my kid to ask him what he would like for breakfast today…

As over-thinking, ironically introspective, neurotic, obsessively over-analytical as I am, this incident strikes me as seminal. SEMINAL. Mark it on the calendar.

We have all seen those cartoons, parodying the increasing importance of texting in the life of teens and even preteens, showing kids texting each other while sitting next to each other on the sofa, or kids and parents texting each other while in the car, or family members texting each other while around the table, TXT “Could you pass the salt please?”

We all laugh. Then we tsk tsk and exclaim, “What the world has come to?”, while simultaneously congratulating ourselves for not being like the characters as depicted in the cartoons. And then we worry that it may become a reality. It is in some way part of reality, we begrudgingly admit to ourselves.

It happened on a Saturday morning towards the end of a school year, the rare time when we did not have any place to rush to and my son was playing the ever popular Runescape on the computer in my study. Normally, it requires a lot of yelling back and forth, impatience, frustration, foot-stomping, indignation, accusations of ingratitude and false accusations for breakfast to be served. Since I had my laptop working in the kitchen, I thought, “Hey, why not Gtalk him?”

Ping. “What do you want for breakfast?”

Ping. “What the…” “Mom, is that you?”

Ping. “LOL. What do u want for bf?”

Ping. “Pancake pls.”

It soon evolved into a Q&A session where the 11 yo asked me some words he’d learned from his fellow game-players but instinctively knew were “bad words” that he should not use. First right up:

Ping. “What does Jizz mean?”

Ugh, Jesus. Why can’t his father be doing this? “You don’t want to know.”

Ping. “It is close to jazz.”

“Believe me. It is not.”

Ping. “tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me tell me”

Fine. “Have you learned reproductive organs in your health education yet?”

“No. But 6th graders did. We didn’t go.”

I explained that he would learn about it when he has sex education in the 6th grade. Upon that, he said, “Yikes!” in spoken language which I could hear from the kitchen.

For good measure, I emphasized that it is NOT a shortened form for when you want to say “Jesus!”

Then we moved onto:

“Mom, what does f-g mean?” “It is banned from this other site.” “People would say this to me whenever I kill [their characters].”

Well, the usage originated from The World of Warcraft, I believe. “You know the word ‘gay’ and how we agreed that we would not use it to make fun of people?” “There’s this word that is even worse than ‘gay'”

“Oh. I know that word.”

Me. Thinking. “How the hack does he know? Where did he hear it? And who the F called my kid that word?!”

Somehow it does not seem as lecture-y through Gtalk to make him promise he would not use this word. No matter how common an expression it has become in this game or anywhere else. It is a principle thing.

Although I can only hope that he keeps his promise when I am not around, which will happen more and more often now that he’s 11 going on 30, I am glad that we had this chance to talk. So, so what it is through Gtalk?

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Lorraine September 22, 2009, 10:07 am

    Thank you for this! Am thinking of how to use Nintendo DS IM to explain birds and bees while we’re playing Lego Batman. If you have ideas, please forward.

  • Absence Alternatives September 22, 2009, 7:01 pm

    @ Lorraine
    First of all, I hopped over to your blog, and I LOVE it. I love your style, I love your wry humor, I love the way you think and the way you express your thoughts. I LOLed at quite a few of them on the train, attracting some worried looks from my fellow passengers. Secondly, I am not sure you were being sarcastic, since I myself am of the sarcastic mind most of the time… ;-) BUT I can totally see using DS IM to do that: you can DRAW freehand! Makes explaining birds and bees so much easier when you can illustrate. ;-) LOL. (Oh my. I certainly hope you subscribe to this comment thread otherwise I’d feel like an idiot talking to nobody… No matter. I do that all the time anyway, talking to nobody in particular)

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