Today’s digital age has certainly created a lot of conveniences to the average household. However, with those conveniences come certain vulnerabilities. If you think back twenty years ago, television and internet access were easily controlled by the adults in the household and monitoring it was fairly simple. Nowadays, children can easily be exposed to the world with the click of a button as everything from a phone to a gaming console can now connect to the internet in an instant. Not to mention, that as the US media culture evolves, things that used to come on in the late night hours (you know the stuff mom and dad didn’t want you to see) can now be watched during the day time.
So how is a parent supposed to keep up with the ever maturing media culture and the easily accessible internet? The good news is there are various technologies that allow parents to easily keep track of their child’s screen time, without having to unplug everything in the home. Below are a few suggestions on how to do this:
· Educate Yourself – At the very top of the list is education. Trends are changing faster than you might have imagined these days. What was once current just a month ago is now old news. As such, it will be important for parents to pay attention to the trends so that they can stay on top of what their children are watching on television and accessing online. Some ways in which you can educate yourself would include: asking your child to teach you, browsing television shows and websites prior to your child’s use, stay in the loop with other parents and teachers, and even signing up for social media groups as trends happen to be posted all the time. The more informed you are, the more you can be aware of any signs of danger or inappropriate screen time.
· Utilize Applications – Okay so utilizing technology may not be your strong suit, but there several applications out there that can greatly improve your ability to monitor your child’s internet usage. WebSafety, a company dedicated internet safety for kids, has applications that allow parents to monitor their child’s internet usage and text messages in real time. Such applications keep parents in the loop on what their children are interested in, how they communicate with their peers, and even provide them with alerts if there is a need for concern in their child’s activity.
· Parental Controls – Another bit of technology that parents have on their side is parental controls. Such controls allow for parents to easily assess what types of television shows, websites, or games their children can access, how long they have to access them (for instance 2 hours per day), and more. Parental controls are generally easy to set up and require a special password so that children cannot easily change these permissions that the parents have set up already.
While not all technology results in negative exposures or behaviors, when it comes to protecting your children from some of life’s harsh or inappropriate realities, going that extra mile can make all the difference. Accessing the internet and even watching mature television is now easier than ever before. As a result, it is ideal for parents to take heed to the above mentioned tips. By educating yourself, utilizing various applications, and implementing parental controls, you should have no trouble in keeping your child’s TV and internet usage to a minimum and age appropriate.