Surfin’ Safari

Tonight when I opened up my laptop I found a window opened to YouTube and a video of the movie trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I know that wasn’t up when I left it. I also know that Cameron was home while David and I went to Target, and that Barry was most likely dealing with the other two yahoos, therefore not watching Cameron like a hawk.

It’s not that I mind him watching a movie trailer, but he knows he is forbidden from touching my laptop without permission. He can log onto our home computer whenever he wants. He just can’t seem to follow rules. So I’m probably going to have to ground him again.

Cameron in early 2008.

Cameron’s problems with computer usage go way back. When he was five (and Alex was an infant, Justin was a hell-raising two year-old, and David was a second-grader), and not even in kindergarten yet, Barry was hospitalized for a strep infection in his hand. He was in the hospital for several days, had surgery, and I had to administer his home antibiotic infusions and do his wound care for a month. All on top of working full-time. Needless to say, discipline was rather lax that month.

One of the parental responsibilities that evidently fell by the wayside was monitoring the kids’ web surfing. Usually I could hear the music of the silly game they liked to play. It was called Off the Rails and involved two sombrero-wearing jalapeño peppers navigating a railroad pushcar. I wasn’t overly concerned about it.

One afternoon while at the office, I received a call from David’s teacher. She was a sweetheart, but her tone was not pleasant that day. She explained that a boy in his class told his parents about a website that David told him about. His mom called the teacher and was very upset. She gave me the name of it, said that she had checked it out and was horrified by its contents. I apologized profusely and told her I’d get to the bottom of it.

When I got home, I reviewed the computer’s internet cache and history. Then separate interrogations of David and Cameron were conducted. After some good cop/bad cop, I was confident I’d accurately pieced together the series of events.

It seems that Cameron, on his own, came up with the brilliant idea of typing “” into the web browser address bar. You can imagine what kinds of lurid things are on a site like (Now it’s actually a site dedicated to colon health. Wish it was back then.)

Links to other sites were also on Links with automatic, uncloseable pop-up windows. David was crying as he related his frantic attempts to get out of the site and how every time he clicked on the X to close out a window, something else came up. (I almost giggled a little bit, because David goes to pieces whenever something goes wrong, and I could picture him totally freaking out.) Finally he said that he just hit the switch on the power strip, and shut down the entire works.

At school the next day, he told his friend how his little brother went on a bad webpage. The friend pressured David to tell him the name of the site. David didn’t want to, but gave in. Not wanting to say it verbally, he wrote on a piece of paper. The kid took it, and put it in his backpack, where his mom found it later that evening. Call to teacher placed the next day. David busted. Me mortified. Case closed.

So they were grounded for quite some time as I recall. Of course my brother-in-law, who didn’t have kids at the time, but now has a son who is going to learn ALL kinds of  things from my crew, thought it was hilarious, and to this day enjoys retelling the story to all his friends. It’s one I look forward to telling Cameron’s girlfriend someday.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011


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