I received an email late tonight from someone whom I have never met in my school board but who knows of me. She forwarded this link about an opportunity for 6-10 year olds to help make a video game about online privacy. On a whim, I read the task description out loud to my 9 year old son, who immediately said "sign me up". To register the magnitude of this pronouncement, you have to realize that my son does not volunteer for anything. This is the same boy that cried last night because he did not want to go to school. This is the same kid who, up until this summer, never found any extra-curricular activities that he enjoyed enough to want to continue. Despite telling him that it was a long-term committment (9 sessions, 4 hours each session, spread out over 4 months), he replied "I'm a video-game type of guy. I'm interested."
If they do happen to select him, it will be interesting for all of us. My daughter has the whole "responsible digital citizen / using the Internet wisely" schtick down pat. If she comes across something that's too mature for her to hear or see, she navigates away from it and notifies us. My son? One of his favourite things to do is watch video game play-throughs on YouTube. Many of these videos are made my college-age men and sometimes they use "bad words". This wouldn't be much of a problem except that our boy like to repeat phrases he hears on these videos. (This is why I have a version of Monty Python's The Holy Grail bard song switched to honour zombies haunting my head.) Because of this tendancy, we had to put a rule in place that he could only watch videos either with no talking or by specific creators we knew were PG. After abiding by this restriction for a while, we were able to tell him that he could choose new videos but that if he heard swearing in them that he was responsible for finding a better one. His self-regulation needs a bit of work - the other day he asked if he could watch this certain video because "it only has the f-word in it".