Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monitored Phrase

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... and now, on with the blog!

Recently, Handsome has been playing some on line games on his laptop. Like he’s addicted to them. Now when he got the laptop, me, trying to be a good parent, put some parental control software on there. I made no secret about it; in fact, I sat down and had a discussion with him about it. He was very aware that it was on there. That’s why I was so surprised when I started getting email alerts from the website running the program. Here’s an example message:

“Handsome on 'HANDSOME-PC' typed "monitored phrase" on 4/29/2012 at 11:52AM”

He was apparently typing something that was tripping the built-in alerts in the system. I have to admit, it made me wonder. It made me wonder when, in the middle of writing in the morning before work I’d get a half-dozed emails with this message between 6:10 and 6:45 am. And when I get out of work and there are 20 of them, all stacked up in my inbox. And while I’m at the house visiting him after work and he’s in the other room on his game and I get 15-20 of them in a row. It did make me wonder. What the hell was going on?

So I talked to him about it. I showed him the messages, and asked him about the chatting that goes on while he’s playing these games. I didn’t ask what he was typing, specifically, I just made him aware that the computer was warning me that he was using less than savory language. I know he knows most of the words — in all honesty he probably heard them from me first. He claimed to have no idea what the warnings might be about. He theorized that it might be picking up on him saying ‘crap’, as that is the curse word we have allowed him, and he does use it quite often. I asked him to try to tone it down a bit, and he agreed.

The number of email warnings I was receiving, however, dropped off not at all. I pointed the warnings out to him occasionally, but he had no explanation, and offered to stop playing the games if it was bothering me. I decided to trust him, and he’s continued to play his games.

Then came this morning. While I was writing for a while this morning, he was out in the office next to my room playing one of his games. I could clearly hear his computer, and he was obviously playing a running-and-shooting game, with no time for an in-game chat to be running. He was in there running and shooting, running and shooting, and I got a warning email.

Then another.

Then two more.

All -in-all I got 13 new warning messages while he was playing a game where it was impossible for him to have been indulging in any kind of blue-language chat. I sat there, staring at the keyboard in front of me, and thought about the run-and-shoot games I have played before. The room was suddenly flooded with light as an honest-to-goodness light bulb appeared above my head! I raced out to the office.

“Handsome! That game you were just playing! What keys do you use to play it? No, better yet — what keys do you use to move?”

He showed me, and it was as I suspected. In the game he was playing you use the mouse to target and shoot, but to move you use these:

W = Forward
A = Turn Left          S = Back          D = Turn Right


Move left, then back up. It would look like this: asssssssssss

He wasn’t swearing. He was moving. Son of a gun.

I told him what I thought was going on, and how I solved the mystery.

“I’ll bet you’re right,” he said. “That has to be it!” Then he started to leave.

“Hey!” I called him back. “Aren’t you impressed at all? I solved the whole thing just by thinking about it, I didn’t have to watch you playing a game or anything! Don’t you think I’m smart?”

He smiled a little sheepishly and looked away.

“Uh… do I have to answer that?”

Ouch. Only 9, and already so harsh… wow.

Talk to you later!

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