Mom and Dad sit at dinner table with napkins in laps, using silverware to eat their food. Sons, ages 6 and 3, stand next to the their plates and use their hands to eat. Their napkins remain untouched, and their shirts are filthy.
Six-year-old: What is cyberspace?
Mom: I’m not sure anyone says that anymore.
Dad: (laughs.) No one says that anymore. Where did you hear that?
Six-year-old: From a book. But what is it?
Mom: It’s kind of a big idea. It has to do with the Internet. Have you heard of that?
Mom: It has to do with computers. Maybe Dad can explain it, since his job is with computers.
Dad: You know what the Internet is. You use computers.
Mom: Okay, fine. So let’s just say that you and a friend were each at your own house and you were playing a game. Like, you each had an iPad and were playing a game separately.
Dad: (shakes head and waves hands frantically) Wait. Stop!
Mom: But if they’re connected to the Internet, the iPads can talk to each other. So you and your friend could play the game against each other without being in the same place.
Six-year-old: I CAN PLAY GAMES WITH MY FRIEND ON THE IPAD WHEN HE’S NOT EVEN HERE?!
Dad: (looks pointedly at Mom)
Mom: Technically, yes, but we aren’t going to let you do that.
Six-year-old: But I want to.
Three-year-old: I want the iPad!
Mom: No. It’s dinnertime. So anyway, the Internet is how computers talk to each other.
Three-year-old: (rhythmically whining) I need the iPad, I need the iPad.
Six-year-old: Where is it?
Mom: Now it’s in the air. Because of Wi-Fi. But it used to be in wires.
Dad: (trying not to spit out food from laughing. Chews, swallows.) The Internet is not in the air.
Mom: Well, where is it then?
Dad: That’s just not the best way to frame the question.
Mom: I’m not the one who framed the question.
Six-year-old: My question is WHERE IS THE IPAD!