Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Warning About Unsupervised Internet Usage

Let this be a cautionary tale for all you parents whose children use the Internet.

We had gotten used to our son using the computer and going on the Internet by himself. Oh, I know we should have been monitoring his activities, but frankly, it was a relief for us. For years, Kai didn’t want to do anything by himself. Being an only child who hardly ever has other kids over, that meant that he constantly wanted either Mom or Dad to play with him. Even when he is watching a video, he wants at least one of us to sit and watch with him.

Do you know how stressful it is have your child want to spend every waking second at home with you? Oh sure, it is endearing. And maybe if he ever behaves like a typical teenager who avoids their parents like the plague, we might look back on this with fondness.

But, for now, we are thrilled when he does anything on his own.

The past several weeks, as Kai has been so interested in the periodic table, he has gone online often to find information about elements. At first he wanted our help to find particular websites, but soon he became adept at not only finding his favorites, but also looking for new sites that he’s never seen before. Just on YouTube alone, he’s found dozens of songs about the periodic table, or videos of people discussing various elements. Who knew that would be such a popular topic?

We relished the break we had when he was occupied on the computer, and we turned the other way.

Until the other day, when I went downstairs to check out what he was so engrossed in online. He had been strangely quiet, not like when he is watching element videos when you can usually hear him shouting with delight.

As I peeked around the corner, I could see that he was staring intently at the screen. And then I was horrified. He was watching…


Yes, he was watching a YouTube video about the mathematical symbol (π) that showed pi to who-knows-how-many digits. Worse than just watching, he then started copying down all the numbers. Knowing my son, he will be obsessed with it. He won't be able to stop. He may even memorize it to hundreds of digits.

And it is all because I was too lazy to monitor his Internet activities.

Be vigilant, people! Don’t let this happen to your children! Don’t let them go on the Internet unsupervised or they too may discover Internet pi.


This post was submitted for the S-O-S Best of the Best series on Media and Kids With Special Needs, which will be published on June 21, 2011. You find more information and read other submissions here.


  1. I was fearing the worst at first. My son snuck onto
    Wikipedia and made entries. He has always wanted to find mistakes and make corrections...and to make his own entries.

    We scolded him, but in retrospect, it was also harmless.

    My son also loved Pi. He would calculate it our to many places and he also went on a prime number factoring frenzy for a while.

    He has been obsessed with rating systems around the world grading percentages for various school systems around the world.

    Oh (he talks incessantly about each).

  2. Haha! That seems so appropriate that your son would be correcting Wikipedia as he seems like a walking, talking encyclopedia. I can see my son getting into rating systems, too.

  3. that's awesome. I actually giggled aloud at this one! My math class memorized the digits of Pi for Pi day! Pretty sure Kai has more down than they do!

    Considering they got extra credit for memorizing it, Kai would ace our class without any problems!

  4. Hah, it would be fun to see Kai in a contest to see who can recite the most digits of pi.


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