February 5, 2014 | Volume 8, Issue 2

Smartphone apps, social networking sites can be dangerous for kids; parents need to know the dangers, including bullying

In High School, he was going to be an actor. He had won some awards, and aced some auditions. He would’ve made a fine actor. He even had the business cards of agents who were eager to represent him.

…Then he met Lora. She was going to be an elementary teacher and had plans to go to a college four hours away. My son’s acting ambitions flew out the window and were replaced by an urgent desire to attend the same college that Lora was going to attend. What a coincidence!

Instead of deciding on a career and choosing the best college for that field, he decided on the college and picked a random career based on what that college had to offer. Lora never wavered in her decision to be a teacher. My son went through three majors in three years.

As the fire of their relationship waned, Lora found herself in chat rooms and blogging sites and my son found a local gaming room that became his second home.

After Lora found a new online love, my son moved closer to us and decided that game programming was what he really wanted to do. He enrolled in a two-year college determined to be the best game programmer ever.

…Then he met Lizzie. Lizzie was a selfish, self-absorbed witch whose only goal in life was to get pregnant and raise another selfish, self-absorbed witch. Marriage wasn’t necessarily in her plan, but she would need a man, at least temporarily. It was her idea that my son should quit college and enlist in the army because then, of course, she and her baby could live on his paycheck without having him underfoot. My son thought the army was a splendid idea.

Fortunately, my son did not cooperate and get her pregnant so, more determined, she found some other tool who was all too willing to get the job done. Mr. Tool, whoever you are… you have my sincerest gratitude… and condolences.

The army no longer appealed to my son, who now had a renewed interest in his college classes. Enough that his final programming project won him a grant from an investment group interested in small start-ups. He, well, started up!

… Then he met Cheryl. Cheryl is a gem. She is getting a degree in civil engineering and encourages my son in his chosen ambitions. She has not tried to change him or lure him away from his goals. When she got an internship three states away, she didn’t tell him to drop everything and follow her. She simply let him know that she was still his girl even if they could only visit each other on Skype.

She’s back in town now to finish up her last year of college. In the spring she’ll be going back home to Nevada, where a job awaits her.

My son has been saying things like “You know, programming is not as fun as it used to be.”

…I’m going to miss him.

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