Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cybermom and the Eyes on the Back of the Head

1 Farmville Gift request.
"Who could be sending me a gift request at 3 in the afternoon?" (Nevermind that I'm on FB at work.)
Tevel Rachmany has sent you a violet hay bale.
(Opening up text chat in FB) "You are supposed to be doing homework, not playing Farmville!"
Tevel Rachmany is offline.
"That was too easy. I wonder when they'll figure out they can block me."

Or when they'll start reading my blog. For now, they think it's reasonable that I have their passwords, because I always have had them, and of course, just in case they want me to harvest their crops for them after I've sent them up to bed. They won't give one another the passwords, though, because they might spend Farm dollars. Or because each one has a certain amount of time on their personal login on the computer. They are clear that I can parentally block out Farmville, too (I {heart} Mac).

The kids' friending habits are interesting. They are clear that they shouldn't friend strangers, so when my high school friends wanted to friend them for Farmville purposes, they turned down the invitation until I gave explicit permission. (Yay!) Tevel doesn't accept friendship requests from the girls in his class. "They aren't my friends," he says. Maya is a little older, so she friends boys in her grade.

I don't friend the kids' friends, but as I am a Farmville champ, quite a number of them friend me, and I (obviously) accept those requests. Nothing like knowing what your pre-adolescent kids' class is doing. I also make sure that Farmville gifts go to the kids first (sorry adult FV neighbors.)

Tevel has a special name (it means "Universe"), so occasionally someone else named Tevel will friend him because of the common name. If the person looks normal, I allow him to friend them and I let them know he is a kid so they shouldn't send anything inappropriate. Mostly they are teenagers themselves. And some Tevels play Farmville, yay! Maya never gets other Mayas friending her for the name, since it's so common.

For now, I have the privilege of seeing what they do online and who their friends are. For them, it's just a fact of life that Mom knows what you are doing online. It's just a fact of life that you can IM mom at any time of the day or night. I think they know that other people's moms aren't as wired, but maybe they don't. Maybe it's all part of the knowledge that your mom has eyes on the back of her head.

As a parent, it means I have information other parents don't, and I don't hesitate to share anything that seems useful. The kids' crushes are probably none of my business, but some of their online and texting habits have had me calling other parents. Interesting discussions have ensued, about whether it is OK for them to play poker if it's just with virtual chips and not real money. Unfortunately, I'm starting to feel I need to sign up for Zynga Poker to find out. Hopefully it's not as addictive as Farmville.

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