Media and Children

by Jack Richins

Robert Scoble’s son is listening to adult content podcasts and asks how do you deal with that? Further, he’s learned from his son that many kids mislabel CDs so their parents won’t know what they are listening to. Heck – they could mis label the ID3 tags of their media files and rename the files. So even looking at the files on their computer wouldn’t help you.

My kids aren’t that age yet, but I have the same question about lot’s of content. Many people today follow advice like "put your computer in a public place so you watch what your kids are doing". But what about their cell phones? Think kids won’t have cheap, internet capable cell phones in 10 years? Are you going to ban your kids from using any electronics? Then what will happen when they leave the house to go to a friends or if you manage to isolate your kids up till 18, what’ll happen when they leave home?

The only thing I can image will work is talking early and often about choices about what you and your children watch together. Your family needs to be an environment where you are helping each other choose good media – things you’ll learn from and make you better for experiencing. And one where you don’t hide what you view from your children and vice versa.

I think underlying it all is a lot of talking and trust between parent/child. And trust means the parent can’t be a hypocrite. And the parent just can’t all of a sudden change the rules or punishments.

Anyone else’s thoughts?

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