Friday night, my almost 12 year old son B. and a friend went into his bedroom with his iPad and my computer and closed the door behind them. They emerged two and a half hours later smirking uncontrollably. "Don't worry," I said to my husband, "I'm sure it was completely innocent."
If you call "jailbreaking" an iPad innocent.
Jailbreaking - for those of you without 12 year old boys in your house - is the practice of hacking Apple hardware so that you can download the software (i.e., the apps) for free. Apparently, there are many videos online explaining in minute detail how to execute this plan. Take comfort in the fact that B. googled jailbreaking, and according to some very reputable sources, its not illegal in the U.S. The fact that we currently live in Canada is probably not relevant.
Needless to say, my son who is not completely sure what 7x8 is, managed to successfully jailbreak his iPad and download a bunch of apps.
(I am wishing that the story ended here).
24 hours later, flush with his success, B. gets on Skype with another one of his friends, tells the kid all about how he jailbroke his iPad, and urges said kid to jailbreak his own iPad. (Why all these sixth graders have iPads is also a good question, but we can come back to that another time. Focus.)
He shows the kid what website he used, how easy it is, and tells him how well it worked for him. He may have led the kid through the process, possibly offering tips from the wise seat of experience.
Turns out the kid has only had his iPad for 13 hours.
Also turns out it's an iPad2.
So the jailbreaking doesn't work, the iPad goes black, the kid goes to tell his father, the father comes in and starts screaming at his son, and B. is watching the whole thing unfold. Yes, we love Skype.
My son is in tears. "My friend tried to jailbreak his iPad, and it didn't work, and it's all my fault".
My reaction was: "It's completely not your fault. Your friend didn't have to listen to you. You can give him any advice you want, and encourage him to do anything you want, he's the one who did the stupid thing, so he's the one at fault."
My husband's reaction was: "Don't worry, they are going to bring the iPad to the Apple store and reset it. This is a problem that can be fixed. Go brush your teeth and get to bed."
When B. went upstairs, my reaction was: "It's completely not B.'s fault. His friend didn't have to listen to him. He can give him any advice he wants, and encourage him to do anything he wants, the kid is the one who did the stupid thing, so he's the one at fault."
When B. went upstairs my husband's reaction was: "I think B. has to accept some of the responsibility here. He encouraged his friend to do something stupid, and therefore the end result is partially his fault. I hope he's brushing his teeth."
So this is my position: If my kids did something stupid, they absolutely could not use an excuse with me like "E. told me to eat three chocolate bars from the vending machine", or "S. told me to color on my backpack". I would hold each of them responsible for their own behavior and I fully expect them to be able to recognize when advice is stupid and therefore not follow it. So, if they are on the advice giving end, I offer them the same pardon. They can mouth off as much as they want - no one has to listen to them.
But, I want to hear from you.
So I am putting this to a poll. Scroll up, look to your right, and it should be there.
Who is right? Me or my husband?