by Leah Nieman
Streaming movies, TV shows, and other videos is a popular activity for a lot of kids nowadays. If your family enjoys streaming media, you’re probably aware of how susceptible kids are to inappropriate or unsafe content. Today’s technology gives us options for streaming across a variety of devices: phones, televisions, computers, and tablets. Help your family stay safe streaming across all the devices in your household with these three tips!
LIMIT SCREEN TIME FOR PASSIVE CONSUMPTION MEDIA
It’s important our kids grow up to become smart digital citizens. Part of this is understanding how our kids are using media. There are four main ways we use media:
- Passive Consumption – watching TV, watching videos, listening to music, or reading
- Interactive Consumption – browsing the Internet or playing games
- Communication – texting, video chatting, or social media
- Content Creation – writing, creating digital art, videos, and music
When looking at the total media time for our kids, passive consumption should be the smallest percentage of time spent. We want our kids to be safe when streaming on their devices. But, we also want that to be the screen time activity they do least, not most. A report from Common Sense Media showed on average teens spent 39% of digital screen time on passive consumption. That’s over one-third of their screen time!
Our kids should spend the majority of their media time doing activities like creating content or playing high quality educational games. And, we want to teach kids how to use the Internet properly and wisely to accomplish tasks like their homework. So helping our kids browse safely and find good sources of information online are all areas where we can guide them. Helping kids balance passive consumption while teaching them how to browse safely and find great resources online will help them steer clear of content that isn’t kid-friendly.
CHOOSE BETTER SERVICES
When it comes to the applications (apps) your children are using to stream, you want to ensure you’re allowing the absolute best to live on their devices. While there are plenty of options out there for streaming, what our kids have on their devices matters.
The Common Sense Media report referenced above not only noted passive consumption, it also found that TV is the media activity tweens engage in most often. A whopping 62% of tweens view TV daily. And, most tweens and teens aren’t watching TV the old fashioned way, they are streaming. Limiting the amount of apps you let your kids use for streaming means there are fewer apps for you to manage, while also making it easier for you to monitor inappropriate content.
For safe streaming choices , download the PureFlix app onto your child’s device(s). Here is where you’ll find wholesome, kid-friendly, streaming options. When your kids are watching movies and shows on PureFlix, you can be sure that they’re being exposed to appropriate content you’ll feel good about. Introducing your children to safe content will influence their decisions about what they choose to watch as they grow older. Keep other streaming options on your device. Then, watch shows using those services together as a family.
SET UP PARENTAL CONTROLS
As much as we may try, we cannot keep eyes on everything our children are doing at all times. While that might be scary to a parent when there’s so much your kids can be exposed to, there are precautions you can take to protect your kids’ devices.
Set up parental controls on all of the devices in your household, as well as on each app you have available on your tablets and phones. Taking the extra few minutes to ensure that your parental controls are set up can help give you peace of mind so that you don’t have to worry every time your kids are streaming.
When it comes to allowing streaming in your home, your child needs you to set limits to guide them. Choose wisely when it comes to what you let your children watch and how often. Download streaming apps you know are trustworthy. You can use these tips for all kinds of streaming–not just video!
WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE WHEN STREAMING? COMMENT BELOW!
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Published with permission. Article previously published on leahnieman.com in November 2018.
Leah is a wife and mom of two homeschool graduates. She has been speaking for the past eight years to parents, homeschooling groups, and teens about technology, social media, and parenting. She encourages parents to walk with their kids through the world of social media and technology so we raise a generation of digitally responsible young adults. You can find her eBooks Connected: Apps All Parents Should Know, Let’s Get Social: A Straightforward Guide for Kids on Social Media, and Connected: A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat, as well as tips on technology and social media at leahnieman.com.