They now have a web cam and can video call us on Skype.
Welcome to the Net, Baby Brother.
My brother and his wife have graciously provided me two nieces and a nephew to add to my collection of Aunt Sissy fans (Aunt Sissy would be me...) Their oldest child, KA, is the same age as 6 of 8 and they are best friend cousins, as they like to call themselves. 6 of 8 and KA have been simply delighted to be able to see one another via Skype and to make faces at one another and to get out their Polly Pocket dolls and play plastic dramas, all via their video feed playground.
But lest you think that childlike creativity and wonder be compromised by high tech interactions, fear not. The following account is what I witnessed this weekend...
KA and 6 of 8 were busily chatting on Skype on the laptops positioned on the dining tables at each of their respective homes. They had giggled, blabbered and had generally engaged in cousin silliness when 6 of 8 came darting out of the dining room and crouched down behind a kitchen counter. I looked up from my laundry pile (you can often find me there, hunkered down, sifting through t-shirts...) and tried to figure out what had peeled her away from the computer screen.
And then from the dining room, from the speakers on the computer, I heard KA's sweet little voice enquire, "Are you under the table?"
"6 of 8," I said, "get yourself back in there and play with your cousin."
"We are playing," she chirped. "We're playing hide and go seek."
KA finally guessed that 6 of 8 was hiding in the kitchen and then it was KA's turn to hide. 6 of 8 stayed in front of our computer screen and called out all the places she thought KA might have secreted herself. Once she correctly guessed where KA was hiding, 6 of 8 became the hider again, KA the seeker.
This went on for half an hour.
So I'm not too concerned that technology is going to quash their creativity. If anything, it seems to have encouraged releasing a dependence on linear thinking. It seems to have encouraged consideration of more sophisticated uses of technology, video conferencing, enhancement of relationship through shared web experiences.
It seems to be encouraging honesty.