Streaming safety: Education is the best media control for families

Published: Friday, Feb. 15 2013 8:00 a.m. MST

Aside from teaching younger children to "slam the lid" when something inappropriate comes on the screen, parents need to engage children, particularly older ones, in serious dialogue about why viewing certain things can be so damaging, Kennedy-Moore advised. No matter the locks and passwords and screen-time limits, teens are going to be able to find a way to see what they are curious about and will need to make the final decision for themselves.

"Our teens, the fact is that you can never protect them completely," Kennedy-Moore said. "What you can do is try to foster good values and judgment."

Streaming control guide

There are numerous controls parents can use in their homes, for all kinds of devices. With online streaming sites such as YouTube and even with Google searches, basic safety settings are available to keep inappropriate content from coming up when kids are searching on the Web.

Though Lloyd's boys love it, and she wants them to be able to search and watch things that interest them, giving them free rein to use a site like YouTube just opens the door to too many risks, she said.

Another control Lloyd takes advantage of in her home is the capability of making personal profiles on Netflix for each person in the family so that everything is set at a level of PG-13 and below.

All it takes to bring an avalanche of unhealthy content down on anyone is for a word to be misspelled in a search bar, and the effects can only be negative for still-developing minds, a result the Lloyds want to avoid at any cost. However, their children still get to choose what they watch and expose themselves to, within boundaries.

"It's such a fine line — it's a fine line between wanting to keep your kids safe and wanting them to make their own choices," Lloyd said. "We want them to fill their lives with good things, to help them kind of structure their own value system as a teenager, and not make decisions now that they will have regrets about later. It's something we actually talk about a lot with our kids."

Mandy Morgan is an intern for the Deseret News, reporting on issues surrounding both family and values in the media. She is a true-blue Aggie, studying journalism and political science at Utah State University, and hails from Highland.

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