In today’s world of technological advancements kids of all ages and adults alike are besotted by the latest and greatest gadgets such as portable tablet devices, iPhones or game consoles. Consequently, search engines like Google have been hitting the headlines in recent weeks and even the government have done their bit to criticize them for not doing enough to protect even the youngest children from more unsavoury sides of the net, but what is being done to ensure technology doesn’t get in the way of your child having a childhood?
According to regulator Ofcom, 91% of parents who own a tablet said that their child has used the device or similar gadgets alone, whilst a further 41% admitted to their children use electronics at least once a day. It’s not just tablets, the sheer number of digital platforms available to our children in the modern world is constantly increasing and many parents are losing touch with technology, leaving the kids to rule the roost when it comes to all things cyberspace.
Parental Controls and Filtering Technologies
Following criticism from government officials, parents and educators, many technology companies have been busy developing new software and filtering systems to drive child protection online and make the net a safer place to browse. Parental controls are no new thing but the advanced child-focused settings of filtering, blocking and controlling technology has improved ten-fold following recent criminal cases. Whilst technology may always be evolving you can ensure that the gap between danger and safety continues to close with the introduction of surveillance, data collection and notification technology in our home computers.
There’s an App for that!
It’s not just home computers and laptops that will benefit from enhanced parental controls, Apple have paved the way for safer usage with their soon-to-be launched App Store Kids category. Now when purchasing an app from this section, the child must get permission from their parents to access the program, further permissions are then needed to complete any in-app purchases to enhance game play. Prompted by the recent online security criticism and an enquiry into app charges by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, the new, improved and child-friendly App Store will be integrated into their iOS 7 model.
How is Tech Use Affecting Family Life?
All statistics aside, it’s evident that the generation of tomorrow and today are undergoing something of a revolution technology-wise with our devices becoming more intelligent than ever and the majority of our social interactions taking place over sites like Facebook and Twitter. But how is this excessive use of technology impacting everyday family life and health? I suppose only time will tell in regards to how tech use will affect child development, but already family ties on the home front are suffering.
Make now the time to reconnect as a family and set every member of the household onto the right path to breaking links with the virtual world through the limitation of technology. “Little and often” certainly springs to mind when it comes to countering the unknown long-term effects of a generation obsessed with technology.
Benedicte Speed is proud mum to two young children, by day, she also runs County Nannies Childcare , a recruitment agency that helps families of all sizes find the right nanny, au pair or maternity nurse for them.