We read so much these days about the dangers computers pose to our children, whether its messing with the synapses in their developing brains or turning them into square-eyed zombies, not to mention the dark threats lurking in the shadows of the interweb.
Hell, I've even written about these fears myself, many times.
But there is a positive side to computers, too. And here's a little anecdote that I hope illustrates that fact.
In our house, there is an 'open-door' policy on internet usage for the kids. This means that the children are not allowed to go online unless the door to the computer room is left open.
Even though they're only 11, eight and five, their mother and I are wordly-wise (OK, paranoid) enough to know about the dangerous dark side of t'interweb and so we insist that we can see whatever it is our kids are looking at whenever we want to look at it.
But for the Easter holidays, this policy went out of the window – at my stepdaughter Daisy's insistence.
For hours on end, she disappeared into the room we call the study (a 12ft x 6ft space that doubles as the place where we hang up the washing to dry) and closed the door behind her.
"You know the rules," I said to her.
But she insisted that she could be trusted before mysteriously adding that she was 'Working on a secret project'.
"All will be revealed in good time," she assured me.
And indeed it was. For what she revealed when it came to Show-and-Tell was a piece of animation wizardry that left me speechless with awe.
The background story is this: she was given Noo Noo – a soft toy blue monkey that doubles as her school class's mascot – to look after over Easter. Daisy could have put the little chap at the end of her bed and forgotten all about him until it was time to return to school.
But instead, she decided to make a little movie, using the animation kit her mum, dad and I had bought her for Christmas.
Over the entire Easter break, Daisy devoted around 30 schoolgirl hours to the project (yes, it could have been quicker, but she got distracted by other internet distractions quite a few times).
What she produced is a pastiche of Psy's Gangnam Style – called Noo Noo Style.
OK, it might not be up to the standards of Wallace & Gromit but in mine, her mum's and her dad's humble opinions (and, actually, Daisy's teacher's – who informally gave it an 'A1***'), it is fantastic.
I've put it on YouTube so judge for yourselves.
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