My 8-year-old son asked for help putting on his calculator watch this morning. He joked that he might use it during tests, and I quietly told him it might be a big mistake. His eyes perked up. “Why, dad?”
“The alarm goes off… it’s really embarrassing when the ‘cheating alarm’ goes off.” He smiled, realizing I was quite likely joking. It didn’t help my credibility when I described the alarm’s sound as “beeep weeepp… CHEATER IN THE CLASSROOM!!!… beeeep weeeep.”
Then I realized the fish was nibbling at the bait, and decided to grab for anything that might substantiate my fib. “It happened to a friend of mine named Mason once,” I explained with a sincere and sad face. “Really?” he said, forgetting that when I was 10 we were lucky to have a watch with lenticular lense that made Tony the Tiger smile, or smile even more creepily.
My 10-year-old daughter challenged my story by asking, “how would it know if you’re cheating?”
Here, my dear WVFF reader, is why modern advances like Wii controllers and facial-recognition software can make a parent’s ‘white lie’ pass the mustard.
“It’s not always accurate, guys,” I conceeded. “It first computes how many other kids are around you and if they’re clustered or in even rows,” I explained. They were biting. “Then it searches for level planes- like the top of desks.” As far-fetched as this sounds, they’ve seen smarter technology in their lifetime.
My four-year old grabbed a rock and tossed it at a tree. He wasn’t listening.
“There are ways to beat the watch’s logic, but it’s not easy,” I confided. “For instance, if you’re taking a make-up test alone it may think you’re just playing around since there aren’t other kids near by in rows.”
By the time the bus arrived, I’d coined “cheating detection algorythms” and encouraged my still-skeptical son to try cheating today so he could hear the alarm himself… but warned him that Mason was so frightened of the watch’s alert warning that he peed at his desk. “Have fun at school guys,” I said before kissing them each.