Archive for January, 2011
A more apt title for this post would be “The Year the Kids Got iPod Touches and Mom Went Berserk Trying to Make the Internet a Safe Place.” More on that in a moment, though. 😉
So, the holidays have come and gone and despite that it was most likely our busiest Christmas ever, it was an absolutely delightful time. Family and friends came to stay and visit, the dinner was great (although I thought my turkey was a tad on the tough side) and we even got some snow a few days beforehand. Besides that, all the presents were well received, especially the youngster’s iPod Touches.
So, the iPod Touch. Let’s just say this isn’t a device for the faint-of-heart parent. If you have WiFi and a Touch in your house, your child now has portable access to the internet, webcams, phonecalls (Skype) and texting.
Daunting to say the least.
More daunting is trying to make cyberspace a somewhat safe space to be — especially when the browser that the iPod comes with (Safari) has no safety filtering. Especially when you touch the “Favorite” icon for the YouTube app and it takes you to a page that has a video of a mostly naked woman, a video featuring “genitals” in the title, and another video on “How to Kill Yourself.”
All this from the touch of one button.
Just what I want my children exposed to! This should really help with the nine year old’s development.
My immediate reaction was to disable YouTube and Safari. There was MUCH protesting, however — which I can understand, because I’m not a complete ogre. I did lay down some absolute laws though and then we compromised on some others.
One of the absolute laws was to follow through and disable the YouTube app and Safari browser on their devices. The compromise was a browser that offered safer internet access. Initially, I purchased an app that eventually caused me great grief. It was supposed to filter out the bad stuff and for good measure, keep track of where everyone had been surfing. That was a bust as it either filtered EVERYTHING or NOTHING. Not what I wanted at all and so it ended up doing zippety squat for us.
So, then I did a little more research and found the MOBICIP app and website. So far, so good, but it does look a little shaky in some areas. Up front though, it allows the kids to search through Google and get to YouTube, where I have logged into my YouTube account on each of their devices and activated “Safety Mode.” YouTube on “Safety Mode” isn’t perfect, but I’m not entirely keen on my kids living in a bubble, either. I have to trust that they will exercise their own good judgment and common sense.
MOBICIP only cost $4.99 USD for the initial app and then $9.99 USD for a PREMIUM subscription for one device (I’m giving it a test drive on E’s Touch). If I like the PREMIUM version, I’ll buy it for the other two, as well.
Further to that, more absolute laws include: no FaceTime, Video Skyping or internet in bedrooms. Regular Skyping is okay, but all the other stuff has to occur in common living areas. No Touches in the bedrooms after “lights out” — no one needs to lose sleep because they woke up at 2 a.m. and just happened to start playing Angry Birds and couldn’t stop (did I mention that that game is SUPER addictive?).
So, anxiety aside, the Touch is a pretty neat little gadget. It’s incredibly handy and I completely understand why people like them and the iPhone so much. In fact, I liked the kids’ so much, I got one for myself on Boxing Day. Already, except for word processing and extensive emails, it has made my computer obsolete. I imagine the iPad could help me out with that though. 😉
How did your Christmas go? Did you have snow or find anything special under the tree?