Seen in the NY Times Social Q’s column:
Q: I have a mostly sweet and fairly well-behaved 10-year-old son. But sometimes he is really mean to Siri (the simulated assistant on my phone’s operating system). He’ll say things like, “You’re a stupid idiot, Siri.” Do you think we should punish him for statements like these?
A: Siri and her virtual pals sound enough like human beings that personal attacks on them by young children, if unchecked, may become dry runs for the insults they will hurl at people when parents are out of earshot…ad hominem attacks…are probably tests, albeit cagey ones, of your limits. Use them to help him distinguish between productive disagreements (“I found the phone metaphor a little heavy-handed”) and the kind of personal insults that strangle the life out of true communication (“What kind of fool spells Jonze with a Z?”). As for punishment, go easy on him. Enroll him in basketball (for his excess exuberance) or maybe a film appreciation class, instead.
Just in case you needed to know.
Dennis the Menace
Created by Hank Ketcham
[panel via ArcaMax]