Virtual families…


Despite constant reminders from my 16 and 12 year old daughters that I am NOT supposed to wear the “Pink” brand hoodies or Converse sneakers, because I am “a mom”, not a teenager, I just frankly do not feel “old”!  I still like torn up jeans and comfy hoodies- and especially my Converse sneakers.  But, today, a wakeup call.  I officially feel old.

I was driving my 12 year old daughter, two of her friends and one little brother to summer camp this morning.  All four kids were heads down over the screens of their phones and chattering back and forth about what was going on in their individual “Virtual Families.”  Until today, I didn’t know what a “Virtual Family” was, but now I know.  At least enough to be dangerous. As 7 year old little brother was telling me about his gardener, one of the girls explained that she was on the 14th generation of her family and that the average life span is way worse than dog years since people age about seven years per day. OK, yes, I’m doing the math in my head and it doesn’t go that high without a calculator for my age.

One of the girls was hoping for another baby.  I dared to go there.

“How does that happen?” I squeaked.

“Mom, really?” came the reply.

“On the game, you know what I mean.”

Long sigh. “OK. You make the husband and wife stand next to each other and if they feel up to it, they have a baby, get it?” my daughter explained.

“That’s it? You make them stand next to each other and that’s all, right?”

Giggles throughout the car, and in unison, “YES! But, they have to “feel up to it” and they do this little dance (I’m thinking oh, God) and rose petals fall on the floor and sometime the lady walks away with a baby!”

Little voice pops up from the back seat.  It’s 7 year old little brother.  “Hahahahahaha…yeah, if it was as easy as pushing a button, I would just sit here and go ‘click’ ‘click’ ‘click’ ‘click’…hahahaha, I’d have hundreds of kids!”

At this point, I’m thinking of a few pros and cons to the virtual families I’m hearing about.  I’d love a gardener, after all.  Kids are conceived and born in the scope of a few seconds? And, if I don’t “feel up to it”, I just don’t have another kid? Hmmm.  Not going there in this post.

“OK, tell me about the kids,” I said, “like, what do you do with them?”

“Well, you especially have to remember to feed them, or they’ll starve to death,” one of the girls mentioned.

“And they have weird names, you can’t pick their names. I have one named ‘Wi-fi’ and my new kid yesterday is ‘Nap’.”

Little brother chimes in, “Hahahaha, go take yourself, Nap!”  (I had to giggle- very quick for a 7 year old!)

“Oh, you think that’s bad, my new kid’s name is ‘Diskette’, my daughter stated. “What the heck is ‘Diskette’?”

Incredulously, I asked, “what do mean, ‘what the heck is ‘Diskette’?  You know what a diskette is, don’t you girls?”


Oh, no.  I think I’m the one who aged at least seven years on that ride. I am so old.  They truly had no idea. They are so used to their iPods and phones that they can’t even begin to imagine the days when files and games were not at their fingertips.  I feel like one of those age progression videos about now.

So, after I dropped my real kids off at camp, I double checked the visor mirror to make sure I didn’t magically look 80 after that 40 minute car trip and proceeded to my office to seek out humans who actually remember what a diskette was.

A cup of coffee later and some conversation with others who didn’t appear to age seven years per day, I am still pondering these virtual families.  I’m wondering if Nap and Wi-Fi are good digital citizens.  If there are cyber bullies in their virtual world and how old ‘Diskette’ will have to be before he/she is able to have his/her own social media account.  What is wrong with me?!