- The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its guidelines to shift the emphasis away from banning screen time and toward balancing high-quality content with non-screen activities.
That does not mean every toy with a screen is education. Some of the drive for tech in toys comes from parents who believe that the younger their kids are exposed to technology, the more prepared they will be for a lucrative career someday. Remember, Albert Einstein came up with breakthroughs without ever touching a computer, let alone tech toys at a young age. "We can easily be tricked into thinking that all of this stuff is going to make our kids more intelligent or better scientists and that's just not true," said Karen Sobel-Lojeski, who studies the effects of technology on children's brain development at Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY. (Source: "High-touch tops tech in helping kids learn," by Bree Fowler, AP, Nov. 23, 2016)
- Some parents rely heavily on OpenDNS, a free wifi filtering service — it redirects all internet activity on your wifi signal to a different Domain Naming Service (DNS) that can be filtered based on your preferences. It works through your router. It filters everything from gaming, gambling, pornography, and lingerie sites to cheating, dating, video sharing, social media, etc. It has robust options to customize to each family’s preferences. It is a baseline tool, and every family needs some sort of filtering support. It also disables the capabilities of browsers to support “private browsing,” if you select that option. You can see every website that is visited from any device that is using that signal. It is a free service.
- New tools are always being developed for monitoring teen activity, but almost all of them have workarounds or drawbacks. Some families do not allow their children to have internet enabled phones, which are too much of a temptation, because there are too many workarounds that other youth will describe and detail.