I’ve been online for more than 20 yrs. Before the formal internet, I was on BBS chat boards, before that I spent hours on a computer playing games and programming. I’m not a neophyte when it comes to bits and bytes.

Still, I’m astounded at how and why people let their kids use connected devices. From toddlers and preschoolers “addicted” to YouTube channels, to older kids connected to others building Minecraft worlds, it’s not a thing I understand.

My children have had iPads since they were young. They are never connected. It’s airplane mode only. My sons do not go on the internet. My oldest is in Grade 3, my youngest in Grade 1, and they’re doing just fine playing without it.

But the rest of yall? You’re all connecting your kids to all other sorts of online tools that are .. killing Santa.

Portable North Pole Santa

A new study* shows that internet surfing is spoiling Canadian kids’ belief in the big guy. That makes me sad. I mean, they ‘figure it out’ sometime between 6 and 8 (depending on how many of their friends have older siblings) and then fake it for a little beyond that, but kids going on Google and killing Santa is so disappointing.

The study shows 39% of Canadian kids heard that Santa was fake by surfing the web.  When we grew up, the average age of discovery was 9. Now it’s down to 7 1/2. In the years since Google search was launched in 1997, an estimated 23% of Canadian kids read a social media post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram saying that Santa was not real.

At least Siri knows what’s going down.

Is Santa Real Siri

We need to get on the same page and stop killing Santa so young!

How to bring Santa back to life in your kids’ imagination

Step 1.

Get your kids off the internet. Password protect your devices, disconnect them from the home routers. Never let your kids go online without you watching what they’re doing. This should be common sense for kids under 8 regardless.

If they “really need” to be online, install this Google Chrome browser plug-in to block Santa discovery tools.

Step 2.

Get them a personal audience with Santa Claus at Portable North Pole.

Portable North Pole Santa

PNP’s holiday experience has been around for 8 years and has more than 100M views. It is a magical part of the holiday that you can use online or with the Portable North Pole mobile app (on iOS and Android).

We have been using PNP for the past 3 years and it’s wonderful. Kids get personal videos from Santa detailing their wish list and little tricks that show Santa has been watching. Santa knows their personal stories, what they really want, and it’s just magical to see your kids’ eyes light up.

The mobile app includes the Kids Corner designed for little ones to view their Santa messages and play games where you sort gifts by color, shake ornaments off a tree, and interact with the funny elves.

PNP offers the personalized videos for free, or you can purchase other plans that can include longer videos, phone calls, or birthday messages. You need this. You really do. In the spirit of giving, PNP donates five percent of all web sales to more than 40 children’s hospitals around the world. More than $150,000 has been raised since 2012.

Step 3.

Enjoy one more year until they figure it out.

Zacharie is 8 and a half this year. We think he knows. We talked about it at Easter, and he was fine helping hide eggs for his brother, but .. he’s drifted back to the world of make believe over the past few months. He still has a budding skepticism that we can detect, but he’s not letting on that he knows.

We’ll see what happens when he gets his personalized audience with the big guy. Check out how he reacted in the past:

Boy do I miss that perfect naive belief in impossibility. You’ll forgive me for using browser blockers and creative apps like Portable North Pole. I want that little kid to live as long as possible.

* Consumer research conducted globally by Censuswide on behalf of www.hidemyass.com in November 2015. 2,007 parents of children born 1983 – 2013 were polled (a total of 4,231 children). A child is being defined as aged 0 – 15 years.

Disclosure: This branded content appears in exchange for a donation to Team Diabetes Canada.

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