Tuesday, March 02, 2010

computer woes and wonders

I strongly dislike (I'd say HATE but I am trying to get out of the habit...) Webkinz, Disney Fairies and all things computer that seem to zap child's wonderful imaginations all in the name of profit. I do think that Webkinz are marketing genius and that the makers must be millionaires. I think I would be less offended if they would just sell the bloody little code that goes along with the petroleum laden stuffie instead of attaching it to this dust collecting, mess inducing, piece of 'stuff'.

Anyhow, I prefer my children to hand THEIR dog some kibble than to feed some strangely awkard moving virtual dog that pants more than it should. I would rather that they create a little wee folk fairy out of pipe cleaners and wool felt than moving these disturbingly posed fairies through some cyber forest. I'd rather they create a wonderful and imaginative story of their own than follow along with some prescribed plot-line made by some balding adult in a suit driving a Beemer while trying to decide how best to hook little girls to their product.

But sometimes, my kids like to create and use their own imaginations and sense of wonder on this machine that I use far too often. Without this chunk of plastic, electronic devices and software, they would be unable to know all the wonders of space travel, worm reproduction and taste buds so quickly and easily...before the interest has waned. They would end up taking up space standing in the line at the bank far more often than they do. We wouldn't know of the most recent tour of the museum and the exhibit that is offered.

So although I will continue to despise the time Liv spends consorting with a middle-aged marketing man's version of what fairies look like, or moving the cyber replica of the stuffie that seems overly prone to hold onto the scent of last night's dinner, I will take the good with the bad and enjoy the adventures we embark upon while 'surfing' the net. I will giggle at the creations she 'draws' on Paint and read the stories she creates on Word with wonder. The good with the bad. The woes with the wonder.


Anonymous said...

My 5-year-old is a huge fan of paint. And really, I'm OK with that. As far as it goes it's open-ended and creative, and she can play with colours and shapes in a way she couldn't with just crayons and papers.

Thankfully, she has not yet discovered Webkinz or other video games. I doubt it will be that way for too much longer, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Anonymous said...

As someone born in the 80s, I have to say that the uber-commercialism of it all bothers me...but still, using programs even to do silly things is a good way to learn computer skills. :)

leigh in the sav said...

jackie, as you are playing around the internet looking for educational and appropriate activities, i suggest you check out ficly.com. it's a website operated by a friend of mine and his 9-year old son, max, loves it.

the point is to write a story that others can contribute to. it has no defined beginning and no defined end, because another community member may come and add endless "beginnings" and "endings." i am not sure if i am doing it justice through my explanation, but for a budding writer - especially one that likes to dabble in fantastical stories and adventures, i think this is something you and she would both enjoy.

of course, their site does a much better job describing their purpose:
We believe in the art of creating stories and the craft of sharing them. We are inspired by the written word and the authors that link words and phrases together to form tales.

"Ficly is a place for playing with story-telling; a collaborative environment where anyone can pick up a narrative thread and weave a prequel or sequel.

You can start a story or jump into someone else's tale. The possibilities are endless, and in some cases, so are the stories."

happy adventuring!