Friday, June 02, 2017


So yea, I read this week that picking your nose and eating it is good for you. It boosts your immune system.

I took great pleasure in telling my boys this. Both are bogie munchers and they were delighted with this news.

I had been told for the past 46 years it was bad for you and I have been dutifully passing on this message. I won't take up this habit but the boys will be boys and it will save me from telling them off for it.

It got me thinking what else have we been told when growing up is bad for you but might be good. Living in our nanny state maybe boogies are not alone.

Tv is bad for you? Thomas (age6) has a massive vocabulary. He got up the other morning and I asked him how he was and he responded with "fantastic" and while helping me make my packed lunch he asked are the roots on the spring onions "edible". I don't recall teaching him these words so can only assume it was the TV. He likes his TV. Pepa pig has even taught him a bit of French... he announced one day "bonjour Delphine donkey!". (I only know it was Peppa Pig as I have seen that episode) We have 3 TVs in the house and something is normally on. Mostly on demand these days, be it Netflix, Amazon, or YouTube.

My other son Jamie (age 9) is a tractor daft. He asked for Farming Simulator 17 for his Christmas. It's a game that runs on the computer. Santa snuck in on Christmas Eve and installed it on the Mac in my study. Jamie likes nothing better than doing a bit of farming. It's a very realistic 3D simulator. He has taught himself how to manage an entire farm. Buying the equipment, budgeting, sowing crops, and reaping the rewards from his harvest.

The tech in this game is brilliant. The 3D rendering and fully explorable maps are "awesome" (to quote Jamie). It even has a mud mod pack that simulates real mud across the farm so at the end of the day you have to wash your machinery with your 3D jet wash. It's certainly more realistic than any game I had growing up. I'm sure by the time Jamie is old enough to work he will probably be able to run a profitable farm with little or no training. He has taught himself with this game how to farm and also gained a wealth of knowledge on tractors, combines, and other machinery, even to the point when we are out in the car we have to take the back roads if there is a chance of spotting some farm machinery.

So we are told computer games are bad for you!

All this farming doesn't really matter as Jamie wants to be an Architect. Possibly inspired by Minecraft, another 3D simulator. Actually, if I remember right he wants to be a successful architect designing big buildings, and then when he is "rich" buys a farm and just does all the "cool tractor type jobs".

So are these games a kind of training? A way of self-teaching. They seem to go hand in hand with YouTube too, where you watch a clip on how to do something on your farm and then recreate it.

Kids using iPads is also supposed to be bad for them. Mine both have iPads. Both with Military spec Griffin Defender covers. These are supposed to be tuff. Despite this, I have changed the screen on Jamie's three times. Not an easy job. Getting the glass off without destroying the wifi antenna is almost impossible. And those tiny screws I can nearly see them let along pick them up. Thankfully parts are cheap on eBay. There are also many YouTube videos on how to change the screen.

Jamie and Thomas are a dab hand at using the iPad it's almost second nature to them, in fact, it is. They don't remember a time before them. They learn so much from the apps. They can be driving trains, identifying animals. playing with numbers, spelling, farming (more farming), being a doctor or dentist, there is even one app where you give Santa a shave.

As an aside, they are learning to install their own apps (free ones) and configure them, manage their memory space, and understand the need to recharge charge the battery.

Thomas has Bluetooth headphones he uses with his iPad. He repeats the "Your Bluetooth device is connected" message every time they are turned on. He has destroyed many corded headphones chewing the cable so wireless and Tech solves this problem.

I did try to introduce Thomas to the flight simulator on the Mac. A step too far! It didn't go well. He likes pressing buttons. Perhaps he won't be a pilot.

So yea I might not encourage eating bogies but I will let my kids embrace technology. If they are learning something it can only be good for them and set them up with valuable life skills.

A couple of coding books for kids arrived in the post this week. One for the new raspberry pi and one for Scratch. They are colorful with lots of pictures, so here's hoping I can take the boys back a step and show them what goes into their games, iPads, and YouTube. I'll let you know how I get on...

Thanks for reading 👍😀