Thursday, December 14, 2006

Truth and Consequences

It is embarrassing, but I feel I owe my readers an apology.

You may have noticed (I hope you noticed) that I haven't posted any blogs since October. Basically, I lost computer privileges because I didn't follow the rules for safe online activity.

Here's what happened:

(Oh, how I wish the names could be changed to protect Me!)

I joined an online forum without telling my parents. I had the bad sense to use my dad's email address for the registration. And, to top it all off, I ended up getting banned from the forum for spamming. I didn't mean to spam the forum, but I got carried away trying to "earn" the title of "Postmonger". "Postmonger" is the forum's notation for any participant who posts more than 340 times. I sent 258 nonsense posts to the forum in a 48-hour period trying to become a postmonger. The forum sent a note to my parents, who promptly took away computer privileges and put me on a, ummmm, behavior modification program.

(That was painful)


So, did I learn any lessons from this incident? YES!

1. It is absolutely not worth it to try to get over on my parents. They always know what I'm doing sooner or later. And they have rules for good reasons (most of the time). Even worse - this was a forum that they would have allowed me to visit if I'd just asked. (I hate irony!)

2. I am irresistibly drawn to the compelling challenge. I don't know whether this is because of my issues with Asperger's, my lack of impulse control, or simply because I'm a goal-oriented/competitive person. The forum administrator probably didn't intend to set up the "postmonger" title as a goal. But to me a title is a title and I had to have it. I hope to channel this positively in terms of completing degrees and achieving my goals - but apparently I have to watch it or I'll go off the deep end on the next pet rock craze.

3. Internet security and safety is no joke. Kids must let their parents know where they go online and who they talk to - in chat rooms, forums, and by email. Things aren't always what they seem online. That cool kid on Runescape could actually be an unemployed truck driver from New Jersey.

4. And finally, it was probably not a good idea to list "stalking" as one of my hobbies. Jokes don't always translate well online. It wasn't true, but still not a great idea.

Stay safe out there!

Stephen

PS If anyone wants to talk to me about this, leave a comment and I'll post back or email me at giftedgear@gmail.com.