As a parent, you may be concerned about your child’s exposure to certain media. Television, movies, news, e-zines and social networking are a nearly constant companion in our adult lives, and they definitely trickle over into the lives of our children as well.
Are there any benefits from such exposure, and are we as parents exercising enough control? Read below for ideas on how to introduce and have control over the media in your child’s life.
Tablets and Cell Phones
It seems as though every child, even those less than one year old, has access to a tablet or cell phone. The best option is to purchase a device that is specifically geared for children and already includes all of the necessary parental controls and blocks. The adult in this situation needs to be very sure that there are safeguards in place if the device is capable of going online. Its use should be limited, offered as a special reward rather than a distraction, and supervised closely. Many service providers offer family plans and parental control apps that can limit the number of texts, minutes used, and data used on a child’s line.
Apps and Social Media
Apps and social media go hand-in-hand with tablets and cell phones. You can bet that if your child has access to the internet they are using some type of social media. Social media and apps can expose your child to unwanted material. Facebook’s terms, require users to be over a certain age, but many children will open accounts anyways. If your child is of age, or you have allowed them to open such accounts, make sure to keep a sharp eye on their social networking, and have access to their passwords at all times. Friend or follow them, and monitor their pages often.
Movies and Television
The movie rating system can help a parent distinguish which films are appropriate based on their child’s age. Some movies seem to be subtly, and sometimes not-so-subtly, slipping in adult themes. Watch the movie on your own before showing it to your child in order to determine if it’s a good fit for your kid. Another helpful option is to read the reviews of other parents online.
Today, television is a lot more flexible than in the past. You can preview your child’s favorite shows and save them on DVR to be watched after homework. Satellite companies such as Direct TV now offer comprehensive packages that include parental controls, DVR, and on-demand. These tools can offer you some control over your child’s television-watching. It’s worth it to invest in a good package with access to educational shows, especially since there are many ways to find deals online to make the service more affordable.
Children usually gather news online and from television sources. It can be beneficial to introduce your child about global events and home-town news. Discuss the news with your child, get their thoughts and opinions and answer any questions they may have to the best of your knowledge. Think of it as a chance for you to interact with and learn with your child.
Introduce your child to the world of digital media in a safe and controlled manner. Provide them with devices that are geared to their age range, and be very cautious about access to apps and social media. Make sure movies and television shows are rated appropriately before allowing your child to watch them, and discuss the news to broaden their horizons.