For the past two years, schools have relied on the internet to conduct at-home school, either exclusively or in a hybrid format. Though we’re fortunate to live in a time when online learning is actually an option, it’s not been amazing for many as Zoom fatigue, home fatigue and general pandemic fatigue set in.
Most kids can’t do anything about that, but an 11-year-old named Elijah took matters into his own hands when he’d had enough of the COVID-19 life. And hoo boy, did it get him into serious hot water.
Elijah’s mother, Victoria (@victoriaprettymuch) shared the story on TikTok in a video that’s been viewed more than 2 million times. “If anyone wants a child who’s 11, come get him,” she wrote, then calmly described how she’d been holding the story in for seven months while everything got worked out.
The story goes that in April of 2021, Victoria was called into the school to talk about some issues with her son. The school told her that her son wasn’t in any danger, but he was “in major trouble.” When she arrived at the school, she was met by four police officers, the district attorney’s office, the superintendent, the principal, three IT technicians—and her son, who was in tears.
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As it turns out, the kid had been controlling the entire school district’s internet for the past three months. This fifth grader had managed to hack the system and turn it off and on whenever he felt like it. Victoria had to hire a federal attorney because the school wanted to press federal charges.
“What have I given birth to, Rainman?” she asked. “If you want him, come get him. I’m giving him away.”
The video got such an overwhelming response, Victoria posted a follow-up video answering some questions and explaining the outcome of the situation with her “baby genius.” The district attorney decided not to press charges because of his age. Instead, they were recommended to a first-time juvenile offenders program, where Elijah’s had to complete five tasks for his record to be wiped clean.
One of the tasks was to build a video game—and he built a basketball video game in two hours.
Reply to @sweetest_taboo91 Hopefully we answered all questions lol 😂
Like, holy moly, kid. A whole video game in two hours? He really is a prodigy.
People’s reactions to the story are mostly to laugh and express support for the kid’s tech-savviness. Obviously, committing cybercrime is not how he should be utilizing his talents, but he’s only 11 and this is a good time to learn that lesson. (Also, haven’t we all wanted to turn off some annoying parts of pandemic life for a while? Who can blame him for figuring out how?)
Some people joked that those “punishments” meted out to him were probably tests from the FBI to recruit him. Loads of people working in IT were impressed. One person asked, “Can he hack Sallie Mae?”
Really, though, the best thing for a ridiculously smart kid like this is to help him hone his skills and channel them into constructive, positive things. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him, and a patient, caring mom to help him get there.