Slice of Life, Chapter Four

(This is part of the Slice of Life Project)

My wife and I have pretty tight reins when it comes to television (only now and then, usually for movies) and Internet (check out NBA/MLB/NFL scores or game site) for our children and I suppose it is not so much being prudish as it is wanting them to be adept at coming up with games and entertainment, and reading books, on their own. This is a skill that is clearly lacking in many of the students I teach: the ability to use free time to construct imaginative play.

When our kids are on the Internet, we also have some rules, including no YouTubing it without a parent being present. (Imagine my surprise to learn that one of my son’s classroom teacher lets them surf YouTube freely during snack break — yikes. I love YouTube and think it has great value but a quick search for anything remotely inappropriate pulls up some strange stuff that is prob not appropriate for a 7 and 10 year olds eyes). For the most part, the boys adhere to the rules. But, well, kids are kids.

I was reading a magazine in the living room when I heard music coming from the sun room where our computer is. It didn’t sound like the familiar electronic theme sounds from a game. It had a groove to it. Hmm, I wondered. I walked in, and there the two of them are, dancing. On the computer, the screen is open to YouTube. They were watching a music video. They thought I was upstairs and out of earshot, the rascals.

Pause for a second.

I am about to berate them for going onto YouTube without my permission but my attention is first drawn to the video (and them, dancing). The video is … The Backstreet Boys! Now I am doubly angry. First, because of YouTube and second because, well, it’s the Backstreet Boys. If it had been Green Day or the Pogues or even Matchbox 20, I might have danced along with them for a moment before putting on my Dad Hat. But no, it has to be The Backstreet Boys in all of their producer-made, plastic-pop glory. And it wasn’t even a good song!

I shook my head and turned off the machine in mid-dance step.

“Awwww,” said the 7 year old. “We were dancing.”

“Not to the Backstreet Boys, you aren’t,” I commanded with as much authority as I could muster (stifling a laugh), as they looked at me with great confusion before the “Dad Talks About YouTube” lecture began. I wonder if there is a Boy Band filter on this thing ….

Peace (in childhood rebellion — get a soundtrack!),

  1. Serious intervention is needed here cause I absolutely love the Backstreet Boys and I would have joined them dancing, especially if it was “BackStreet Boys are Back”. Now what I want to see blocked anything on TV, movies or the Internet that are animated or cartoons. I’m totally sick of Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, Nemo, Shrek ……..

  2. I used to kid my buddy Paul, Mr. Rocker, that his kids would turn on him as they got older. For years they were with him Now, his daughter loves the Disney Channel. His son? we will see.

  3. I laughed as I read this slice. It made me think of what I might and might not filter for my kids (they are much older than your boys now) given the chance. I wouldn’t filter Led Zeppelin but might filter ABBA. This could be a fun meme.

  4. OMG, this is the absolute funniest post I’ve read in a while. “f it had been Green Day or the Pogues or even Matchbox 20…” Ha!

    And I’ll admit my kiddo (5 years old) tends to watch more television than most. But you haven’t seen his room full of super hero figures (of all kinds). It’s an amazing place in there… so as much as one thinks television CAN stifle imaginative play, well it doesn’t always. At least not in this house. Off to go see if Superman saved the alien. That was the last of the story I heard before dropping off to put the baby to bed.

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