My family is really "connected." We're all into computers and the latest gadgets. My twin brother, Cy, is a computer whiz. He loves to make computer games. My dad is a computer scientist for the Army, and my mom is an engineer. She loves electronics and gadgets — just like me. When we're not in school, my brother and I take turns traveling all over the world with our dad. One of our favorite things that Cy and I like to do while we're traveling is to play the computer games he makes. I almost beat him once, but then he got one of his highest scores ever. Afterward, I took the game with me when I went on a trip, and I took it apart to see how it worked. I got the electronics to work faster when I put it back together. Cy got mad at me at first, but he was happy in the end because I made it work even better. Now that I know how the game works, I know I'll beat him next time!
My mom loves all kinds of electronics. When I was little she let me watch her assemble and disassemble electronic gadgets, and she would tell me how all the different pieces worked. She used to talk to me about how she was developing better graphics for computers and new components to make them work better and faster. I thought it was so cool how all those wires and electronics could calculate math problems and make airplanes fly across the screen on my computer games. Then I met Joules™ while networking on the web one day. Of course, Mom checked her out first to make sure it was ok for me to talk to her. Anyway, Joules™ said she wants to be an engineer, too, just like my mom. She likes making robots and stuff, so we started exchanging ideas. Pretty soon, I'm going to make a gadget that remotely controls Cy's games. Then I'll beat him, but don't tell him.
Like I said, my twin brother, Cy, and I take turns traveling with our dad. We both love traveling to Asia and staying connected on our social networking pages and video chat. I like to show him my latest electronic gadgets and computer programs. He uses them to create cool features in his games like better graphics. You should see the robotic characters he's created for his games. They can do all sorts of tasks like pick up his "virtual" laundry. I think Mom would like it better if he really picked up his dirty clothes. We also play his games against each other when we travel, but he always wins. None of our friends have been able to beat him either, but I've come the closest. With enough practice, I'm going to figure out his games and win. I think he knows that because ever since I took his game apart and told him that I know how it works, he practices all the time when he's not doing homework or chores. But we have fun playing and learning from each other. After all, he is my twin brother.
My brother and I used social networking to start a whole community of kids who play computer games and want to be engineers, mathematicians, and computer programmers. Like I said before, though, first Mom and Dad check out who we're talking to. They say we always have to be careful when making contacts with people we don't know. So after they say it's ok, we share our ideas and new discoveries about electronics and how to apply them to make computer games and other gadgets. I met Joules™ on social networking. She loves engineering. In fact, she gave me the idea of making the remote control for my brother's games. She told me she loved remote-controlled toys when she was little and that her mom and dad encouraged her to be an engineer. With her knowledge about engineering and building robots and my interest in electronics, we're making the coolest robotic toys. Mom and Dad help, too, by sharing what they know about computer programming and electronics. Mom and I work on my new remote control. I put stuff together, and she looks at it to see how I did. She's even given me a few pointers! Look out, Cy! I'm going to beat you soon.
Because my family spends so much time on our computers, Mom and Dad are always nagging… I mean, REMINDING Cy and me about protecting ourselves online. My email account got hacked a while ago, and it took forever to get everything straightened out, and meanwhile, all the people on my contact list started getting all kinds of spam email. I guess I'd been kind of lazy about changing my password, and that made it easy for the hacker. Now I make sure I change my password regularly, and choose strong passwords, with lots of random letters, numbers and characters. No hacker is going to figure out MY password again! Cy set up reminders for us to change our passwords on our social networking pages and email and other sites every month. We're also pretty careful about the information we put out on the Internet, and we tell our friends to be careful too. Mom says that once something is out on the Internet, it will be there forever, and "might come back to haunt us one day." I don't know about that, but I do know that a friend of mine posted on the net that he had skipped school, and someone told his parents, and not only did they ground him, but they took away his computer, too! I sure wouldn't want that to happen to me! Besides, we should never skip school anyway. Mom and Dad always make sure when it's safe to talk to people on the net. Some bad things happen to kids when they start emailing and networking with people they don't know, so I always tell Mom if a stranger wants to talk to me or says he wants to meet me. That wouldn't be good.