Thanks to the influence of our friends and their kiddos, the firstborn is addicted to a show called Wild Kratts. It is a really nice animal program on PBS and more importantly on Netflix.
At the top of every episode is a reminder that PBS has a kid friendly website. We’ve generally ignored the ad until tonight. I was late with dinner and the baby was asleep, so the oldest and his mom played on the computer. And it was awesome.
I do not know why, but spending time on an actual computer with the kid is just something we do not do. He has a leap pad and uses our old Nooks all the time, and is a savant with a smart phone. But time on a Lap Top, the back bone of modern society, has been ignored. If I could I would have him spend more time on the machine. It’s not like computing outside of tablets is going away anytime soon, so these are tools he has to know how to use.
The PBS site is impressive. The Wild Kratts portion has kids build an avatar. The kiddo took right to it, punching in his preferences and swiping to new options. His mom was there to help when needed, but the site is really built for kids to run with it.
There was a game that had the kids walk through a cavern (I was running from dinner to computer, so details are sketchy at points). At the start it asked if the user preferred the arrow keys of the keyboard or to use the machine’s webcam to direct the sprite. The option was awesome! I did not want to read up on what the site does with webcam access, but I did not want to assume that the most benevolent of organizations that is PBS would not have a clause in there that allowed them to use webcam footage for promotional purposes. Arrow keys were selected, but the option for accessibility exists in the web cam stuff. The future is now and it is awesome.
I was not invited to take part in the game playing. I attempted to interject myself into the moment and was met with a stern, “no thanks, dad, mom and I are playing.” I was persona non gratis prime.
However, it really opened up a new option of play and a whole new set of worries. I’m certainly looking forward to “the talk” of not doing too many dumb things on the Internet.