The Matrix

Sometimes I feel like that’s where things are headed, only it’s completely voluntary. We’re spending more and more time in these virtual worlds, kids are becoming involved in these virtual worlds at younger and younger ages, and the next thing you know everyone is going to be running around looking like Gollum from too much computer and not enough sunlight. Ok ok, that last line was a little extreme and I don’t want to come off sounding like a curmudgeon. I’m about as Pro-Web as it gets, but there’s always a danger of these things getting out of hand the second big corporations realize there’s money to be made….

Second Life and other virtual worlds for grown-ups have enjoyed intense media attention in the last year but fallen far short of breathless expectations. The children’s versions are proving much more popular, to the dismay of some parents and child advocacy groups. Now the likes of the Walt Disney Company, which owns Club Penguin, are working at warp speed to pump out sister sites.

“Get ready for total inundation,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at the research firm eMarketer, who estimates that 20 million children will be members of a virtual world by 2011, up from 8.2 million today.

Worlds like Webkinz, where children care for stuffed animals that come to life, have become some of the Web’s fastest-growing businesses. More than six million unique visitors logged on to Webkinz in November, up 342 percent from November 2006, according to ComScore Media Metrix, a research firm.

Anyhow, this is a pretty good article ( New York Times Technology section) about the continuing and growing struggle to capture virtual kid market-share. Click here to read the entire article.

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ADDad

Seasons Greetings to everyone (whatever that means). There’s a topic I have never touched on in this blog mostly because it never really came up, or rather there was never an issue that warranted writing about. I have Adult ADD. I say Adult ADD because I was only diagnosed a few years ago. I take medication and all that, but I have not been diligent in all of the other things required to help manage the “condition.” Such as writing reminders, notes, ticklers, etc, so that I don’t constantly forget things. Up to this point it’s never come in to play with my daughter, but last night I had a slight slip-up that I wanted to share. It’s nothing extreme, and Nora wasn’t hurt or severely neglected. But the whole incident made me very sad in retrospect.

My father-in-law is in town staying with us and last night we all went out for a bite to eat at a Chinese take-out place. We couldn’t find anything that Nora (18 mo) would eat other than some bits of rice, and honestly I couldn’t blame her because the food really wasn’t that good. After dinner Michelle (wife) dropped Nora and I off and she and her dad went straight on to her sister’s house to watch their kids for awhile. My job upon getting home was to find something for Nora to eat.

We get in the house and I take off her coat and she runs off for a moment to play, and I sit down on the couch and scan the TV listings.  A few minutes later I heard her in the kitchen wining a bit, so I walked in there and she was reaching up at the counter. Usually this means she wants something that is on the counter and in view, like a glass of water or a cookie or something. So I started handing her things, but nothing I handed her seemed to be what she wanted. After several attempts I gave up and went back to the couch. Almost immediately she was doing it again. So this time I went over to her, picked her up, and held her up to the counter, thinking she would see what is was she wanted and simply grab it. But all she did was place her hands on the counter and look around. So I set her down.

We went through this a few more times and then she finally gave up on the counter and headed for the pantry and started reaching at the doorknob. She actually likes to play in the pantry, picking up and re-organizing juice and soda bottles, etc.  I opened up the pantry door for her thinking she just wanted to play in there as usual, and then I headed into the other room.

The next thing I saw was Nora walking in to the room holding a peanut butter cracker in eat hand, intently and quickly wolfing them down. It was only then that I realized I had completely forgotten to feed her, and that whole time she was simply trying to tell me she was hungry.

Now the span of time this all occurred was probably no more than 30 minutes, but to her I’m sure seemed a lifetime. And the moment I realized what I had done (or what I hadn’t done), seeing her walk into the room with a mouthful of crackers, it broke my heart.  It’s a site I don’t ever want to see again.

This situation was fairly minor, but what if it had been worse? So I’ve contacted the local chapter of CHADD  (Children And Adults with ADD), and plan to start attending group counseling sessions, or hire an ADD coach, or something. Jobs come and go (and believe me I know because I’ve had quite a few of them), but my daughter – and my family for that matter – mean everything in the world to me, and they deserve the best Husband and ADDad I can give them.

Thanks for listening and I would more than welcome hearing any of your own ADD stories and experiences if you have any to share.

Happy New Year!