Blackberry jammed: a boy, a smart phone and a teaching moment

The icon of Silverlock, a password management ...

Image via Wikipedia

I have BB because my job requires I have one. It isn’t mine – its supplied by my employer. M, who is a magpie when it comes tp electronic devices (shiny…buttons…games), loves to play with it. But I have told him repeatendly, “it’s for work, it’s not a toy.”

Unlike me, M is good with electronic devices. He figured out my password after a couple of months. I replaced it and  reiterated “its for work, it’s not a toy.”

One morning, as I came downstairs, my husband told me blackberry was “wiping.” I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but it didn’t sound good. M, who was sitting nearby eating his breakfast, claimed not to know what had happened.

It turns out the “wiping” is exactly what it sounds like.

Everything on my BB was deleted – messages, phone numbers, contacts. It ended up in a state of complete catatonia – it couldn’t send or receive messages. The phone still worked, but I no longer anyone’s phone number.

IT services were able to resurrect the device. I lost all of my previous messages and most of my contact numbers, but I was able to send and receive messages. I still had no idea what had caused the problem, but since my BB was fixed, I didn’t worry about it.

I probably would have continued in my state of blissful ignorance, except for the fact that my laptop went into cardiac arrest during a regular update.  A technician had to come to come to my office to resolve the problem. While he was there, I mentioned that I wasn’t having a good month with technology as my BB had mysteriously wiped itself the week before.

“Oh” he said, “I have never heard of that happening unless someone incorrectly enters the password 10 times.”

My husband has his own BB and the dog is even less tech-savvy then me. All roads led back to M.

I mentioned it to him later in the evening as he was getting ready for bed.

“I was talking to the technician who came to fix my computer today and he said the only way to wipe a blackberry would be to try to get in using the wrong password. After 10 tries, it will automatically start wiping.”

I look him in the eye and add, ” Were you trying to get into my BB?”


M looks at me and bursts into tears. I start into my mantra of “it’s for work, it’s not a toy.” With “you lied to me” and “I’m not happy,” thrown in.

At first, he tries to deflect the blame: “It’s your fault, Mommy. You told me you changed the password. If you hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t…” He doesn’t get much further because now my voice has gone up a few octaves and I am stamping around repeating, “you lied to me” and “I’m not happy,” and adding “you can’t blame this one on me.”

M moves from deflection to “I’m sorry, Mommy, but I didn’t want to get in trouble.” More crying.

By now I am yelling. My husband has appeared on the scene. M is still crying. I am threatening consequences. I am upset that he wrecked my blackberry, but I am furious that he lied about it. The dog is hiding in the master bedroom (something he does whenever there is a loud argument).

I tell M that he has lost his allowance for the month. He starts to cry louder and tells me this is unfair. I yell “too bad!” and stomp downstairs, leaving my husband to get M to bed.

Much later on, as the fog of anger starts to fade, I realize that while withholding his allowance is a consequence, it probably won’t be all that meaningful to him. We often forget to give it to him on the first of the month, so sometimes he gets it mid-month, or the following month. So not getting his allowance isn’t that exceptional.

I decide that M will donate his allowance to charity.

I tell him the next morning – lots of grumbling but he doesn’t argue with me.

A couple of weeks later, a local radio station is soliciting money for charity. They are on-site at a community centre not too far away from where we live. I tell M in the morning that we are going to go at the end of the day, so he can donate his money. He asks if he has to. I reply “yes,” and he doesn’t pursue it further.

Later that day, we get to the community centre. I give him the money. He watches the radio broadcast for a few minutes, drops the money in the jar and we go home.

He hasn’t touched my blackberry since. But just in case, I make sure it isn’t sitting out in plain view in the evenings and on weekends. Better safe than sorry.


One response »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s