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SALT LAKE CITY— Think about this generation’s children: they have never lived a life without screens. This constant exposure to content on both the television and internet has sparked concerns from parents.
The world we have created in the past few years exists in a new digital dimension. While this paradigm shift has opened up a slew of new opportunities to connect and learn, it has also created a seemingly uninhibited influence for children, for better or for worse.
Luckily for parents, there are ways to deter content that might be unfit for children in the technological world. Below are three solutions that can control, block, or monitor the content children might encounter while watching television or browsing the internet.
Think back to the first time your parents let you watch a PG-13 movie. You might not have been 13 yet, but they thought with their guidance and the occasional well-timed hand blindfold, you could handle it.
VidAngel has essentially taken the worry out of accidentally missing one of those offensive moments while watching a movie with children. Amidst a tough legal bout with the big movie studios, VidAngel has found a way that allows users to buy the latest movies to stream online which they can then sell back for almost the entire purchase price.
The big perk for parents, however, is the ability to filter out objectionable content prior to watching the movie. The service is constantly updating titles that are available on its platform, each one with their own unique set of filters to cater to every family’s needs.
Watching a football game on TV with your children can be a great family activity. However, live sporting events are rife with ads for alcohol and sex— not exactly content you want to expose your child to.
A new software company, Filtrie, has developed a way for parents to filter out ads on television that they would deem inappropriate for their children. This new technology gives individuals unprecedented control over the content they see to best reflect their interests, beliefs and lifestyles. Filtrie’s free service will tie in with the user’s smartphone which will also allow parents to keep up with who is watching TV, what they are watching, and how long they watched it.
Filtrie’s opt-in service is still in beta testing, but the company is looking to the end of the year for a nationwide release.
According to a 2011 survey, nearly 50 percent of parents surveyed expressed concern about the content their child sees online. The internet is a valuable resource on which children can learn, but it can also be riddled with content that could be inappropriate for a child to see and is often easily accessed without proper restrictions.
Software company ContentWatch has long been in the business of internet protection solutions for home, school and business. Their flagship product, Net Nanny, has given its users the ability to control their child’s online experience. Net Nanny gives parents access to online filters, site blocking, online time management and profanity masking to ensure a positive online experience for their children. Whether you want to only allow certain sites to be visited, or just monitor your teen’s social media usage, Net Nanny has a solution.
In the midst of a digital revolution, there is a definite distinction between positive and negative influences present on the internet and on television, and the newest generation of children are stuck right in the middle of the issue.
However, the parental eye can only watch so much. Information on “digital citizenship” and what children can do to keep themselves safe in the digital world are readily available.
Weldon is a Texan-turned Utahn that writes content ranging from education to healthcare to tech-related topics. When he isn't writing, he can be found in the mountains climbing or skiing.