Dear Mr. Tap Zoo,
I would like to take this opportunity to lodge a complaint. And I thank you for taking the time to hear me out ... seeing as you have stolen precious hours from my children, I would imagine that you have a few minutes to hear from a concerned mother.
Until just a few months ago, I enjoyed an intimate and invigorating relationship with my seven and nine year old. We would spend time chatting over the breakfast table about what they were looking forward to doing during the day. They would share a school project they were working on or perhaps the desire to form a team to play football during recess. Then we would check-in again later after dinner and hear about the highlights of the day; they would regale us with stories of learning about our solar system and studying the life-cycle of plants. In our free time we would play a board game and giggle our way through "Apples to Apples". But now ... it's all different.
A few months ago my sweet and lovable children came up to me in the kitchen and asked me to load an app onto our iPod. I took a brief look at the program, saw that it was free and that it looked a little fun and typed in the password. What seemed like an innocent and harmless decision has become my bane. Who knew that in just a few keystrokes I would be kissing my children goodbye?!
Now the discussions heard around the table (and, in reality, during almost any waking moment of the day) revolve around the care of and improvements to their cyber-zoo.
Their pixelated pets.
Their imaginary critters.
Their digital beasties.
Where once we enjoyed hearing about their latest adventures and escapades, we are now bored to tears hearing about the most recent task accomplished: picking up 24 pieces of CGI trash. I would love to see such enthusiasm for the tangible "litter" scattered across their bedroom floor.
Where once we listened thoughtfully to their concerns when they were wrestling with a dilemma, now we hang our heads and try not to mutter, "I don't care..." when they are wondering about whether they should breed their water buffalo with a gorilla or not. Of course once they learned they would get to have a minotaur, it was a moot point. Minotaur? Boo-yeah!
Where once we comforted with great tenderness when they shared a fear or concern about life, now we stifle a snort and try to get out of the room before busting out in a loud guffaw when they share with great grief that their, "mane wolf is sick and it costs 100 stars to make it well." ...sob...sob...sniff...sniff...sniff... We can only hope for an equal amount of sorrow when our own real-life, actually-lives-and-breathes-in-our-house dog, Gimli, takes a turn for the worse.
Tap Zoo. You are that app. You are responsible for absorbing the energy and enthusiasm of my children and sucking them into your itty bitty virtual world. You are responsible for sapping the life out of the daily interaction I have with my children and reducing us to discussions like the following:
A or N: Mom, can I check Tap Zoo?
A or N: I just want to check really quick to see if our owl has hatched.
Me: You just finished watching 2 episodes of Phineas & Ferb, so ... no.
A or N: Oh. Right. Um ... could I just get on really quick and see if it's hatched and then I'll get off really quick.
Me: I don't think so.
A or N: I promise that I'll just check and I won't do anything else. Just check and get right off.
Me: Fine. Right off ... no dinking around.
15 minutes go by ...
Me: Are you still on?!?
A or N: Sorry. I got on and it said that it still had 32 minutes. But I noticed that we needed to feed the hippos and then after that I started looking around at what we could buy next.
Me: grrrrrrrr .....
A or N: Did you know that we could get a horned toad? We could also get a ferret and breed it with a pigeon to get a flying squirrel. Isn't that cool.
Me: Turn. It. Off.
32.4 seconds later ...
A or N: Um ... Mom? Can I play Wii?
In light of the current living conditions in our physical and factual home, I am faced with a most drastic request. I am asking you, from the bottom of my I-want-to-see-my-children-again heart to please, please, please send a tsunami to my children's Tap Zoo.
Or, at the very least, a crushing cyclone.
Only total and absolute obliteration by a technological act of God will be enough to free my little zookeepers from their cyber-responsibilities and allow them to join us back here in the real world.
Thank you for your quick and thorough response to this letter. I'll be awaiting word of Hurricane Madre to strike soon.
Dear Mr. Wii,
I would like to take this opportunity to lodge a complaint ...