20 May 2007

Where's Waldo?

Yesterday I got my son J interested again in the Where's Waldo? book series. For those who are not familiar with the series, each book feature several scenes with many people with Waldo and his friends somewhere in the scenes. Waldo, Wenda, Wizard, and Waldo's inverse Odlaw are usually half-hidden in the pictures. Waldo's dog, Woof, is always mostly hidden and only his red-and-white striped tail is visible. It's a fun game for the child to explore the different scenes (beach, mall, street, zoo, etc) and even different time periods, as Waldo travels through time and space. J needed to write a paragraph about a day at the beach and one of the Waldo books had just the scene.

J was originally very interested in the Waldo books and I bought him a few in the series. One day I stumbled across a Waldo puzzle on the web and thought J would like it. Big mistake. The web Waldo puzzle was a still picture in which one would have to find the usual characters. However, after a few minutes, the still picture was replaced by a picture of a monster, accompanied by a scream. J was so scared he immediately covered his faces with the palms of his hand and remained still for several minutes. He declared he would never play Waldo on the web anymore and even stayed away from the books. Some sicko's idea of fun ruined my child's budding interest in Waldo. I won't give the jerk the credit by giving out his/her link, if it's still out there. The moral of the story is that the web is no place for a child to visit alone. I am careful enough to be with him all the times when he surfs the web. I made sure his Google preferences is set to have the strongest filter on, so even a mistyped word is less likely to become an obscene word. But I was not careful enough to test out the game before letting J play with it. Doh!

Actually, J doesn't yet know how to use the built-in Google search box in Firefox. He always type in the full URL, e.g. www.cartoonnetwork.com. However,
I did see my niece got to the wrong search page by mistyping words with Google.

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