The alarming nature and degree of sexual content in the media has been taken to new levels with development of wireless technology. Kids with laptop computers and ipods are now able to access whatever they like, whenever the like, unless appropriate boundaries are imposed.
Having long advocated for no TVs and computers in kids’ bedrooms, my concern has been that children don’t have the maturity to consistently select their media discerningly. This applies in the wireless age, too, but with certain added online dangers, yet many parents feel too powerless or time-poor to monitor their kids’ viewing behaviours. This is surely a problem, given the ease of childhood addiction to technology (and to what they watch with it) and it is surely a problem, too, if a parent’s voice and morals are being drowned out by louder and more frequent voices.
Here’s a few tips for managing technology that have worked for me and for other parents.
1. Establish an agreement about the appropriateness of content in songs and websites up-front, not in an emotional confrontation. Headphones are a sanity saver for you, but often don’t allow you to know what explicit content is being pumped into your kids’ brains.
2. Establish that illegal downloads and sharing of songs and movies are inappropriate (even for adults). I counter the ‘but everyone’s doing it line’ with the standard clichés that prompt plenty of eye-rolling, ‘doesn’t mean they should’, ‘old-fashioned don’t mean wrong-fashioned’, ‘want me to ring them up and check?’, and so on.
3. View shows and websites and screen songs with your child sometimes, so as to help shape values and point out problems. You should have access to all passwords and be a Facebook friend, otherwise restrictions can be tightened.
Some more tips tomorrow.