Do as I say, not as I do. Along with love, patience, caring and tuning a blind eye now and then. The keys to successful parenting.
Last week I sat down with Didsbury Son to go through the parenting manual for safe surfing and spam avoidance. He starts big school in September and the pep talk given at a meet and greet scared me into action. I had to explain to him about phishing, hacking and viruses; all good so far.
Then I had to explain why he hadn’t really won an i Pad, didn’t really have a tax refund waiting for him after school and that even though he seemed nice, the nephew of General Sony Abache didn’t really want to give us $11m, however much that may help with plans for his own laptop and an extension to his Pokemon collection. (Last week I had an email from a Sir Mervyn Kings at Bank of England based in Laos that was so unintentionally funny I almost sent a donation.)
It is a minefield (as opposed to a Minecraft). You see all your previous mistakes flash before your eyes and realise that the noise of internet interference can block the most rationale decision-making. Didsbury Son nodded vigorously but the glazed expression told me he probably already knew more than me anyway.
Whilst trying to explain why you shouldn’t always put in an email exactly what you think of people I was reminded of accidentally sending a soon to be former boss a message about how abysmal his 5pm Friday calls were. Hindsight, a gift less useful than foresight in any world; especially one with worms, malware and emoticons.
I made it clear to Didsbury Son that after the age of 12 emoticons are like a ponytail on a 40-year-old man. Good to laugh at but primarily sad and out-of-place
Like Solomon I dished out truths, like Alexander I saw off invaders, and like a fool I accidentally downloaded a programme reader that has taken over my email and spammed everyone I have ever met continuously since.
For the last 3 days I have been one of the most communicative marketeers for Blu-Rays. Physical Enhancements and, well, more physical enhancements.
I have received patient, supportive and angry emails and Didsbury Son hasn’t once looked at me smugly or questioned my competence.
I hope one day to develop his open-hearted generosity in the face of such clowns’ stupidity.
Next week: Back to Nature – Gone Phishing