Part 2: USER’S GUIDE
Chapter 9: Safety and Other Challenges
Distraction from information overload in the form of intrusive and distracting unnecessary cell phone calls, e-mails, and texting
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem as more sites and e-mail solicitations offer access to prescription medications without a doctor’s authentic Rx (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/health/09drugs.html?_r=1&nl=tech&emc=techa1).
Marketing (see Kathryn Montgomery’s Generation Digital (M.I.T. Press, 2007) for extensive coverage of this topic.) Marketers go over parents’ heads to gather information and entice children to want a product. Generation Digital (M.I.T. Press, 2007, ISBN 10: 0262134780), scholar and self-admitted activist Katherine C. Montgomery summarizes the historical struggle for control of children’s minds between family and child development advocates and diverse merchandising, e-commerce, entertainment, and civil liberty forces. The author describes how, having succeeded for decades with sophisticated marketing techniques in TV, commercial interests are now revving up powerful interactive media techniques to bypass parents and reach directly into playpens and playgrounds to capture ever-younger naïve consumers.
At the very least, restrict the time your child spends with interactive media alone until she shows responsible online behavior (http://www.familysafemedia.com for useful timing devices).
Visit sites provided by child advocates like www.childrenssoftware.com, www.littleclickers.com, www.parentcenter.com, and www.parentstv.org, www.parents-choice.org and www.edutainingkids.com for reviews.
Utilize GPS devices at shopping malls, airports, and when traveling to keep track of children (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/14/technology/14email.html?_r=1&th&emc=th).
Teach children the ethics of downloading music (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/10/business/technology-new-parent-to-child-chat-do-you-download-music.html?scp=55&sq=children%20technology&st=cse).
Do lots of surfing together, especially to sites like www.NetSmartz.org.
For example, the Federal Trade Commission provides extensive consumer protection information at www.ftc.gov. Consumer Reports runs frequent articles. Microsoft has a helpful site, https://fss.live.com/Default.aspx, as does the American Academy of Pediatrics, http://safetynet.aap.org. Stay informed about security threats with services like lavasoft.com, www.antispywarecoalition.org, and www.csialliance.org/home. The FBI accepts complaints about Internet crime at www.ic3.gov.
IF NOT SURE, TEST YOUR SKILL LEVEL AND IMPROVE IT
(SEARCH WORDS: computer literacy skills “self test”)
You get the cookie, they get the treat (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/technology/27google.html_r=1&nl=tech&emc=techa1).
Advertisers use sophisticated technology to measure consumer practices (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/31/business/media/31billboard.html?_r=1&th&emc=th).
“In general, young customers chatter more on the phone, spending more on the latest games, ring tones and wallpapers.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/08/technology/08mobile.html?_r=1&ex=1205726400&en=a59e139cea25e927&ei=5070&emc=eta1 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKH4YGKnOSs.) Additionally, more and more children can go online with iPhones and laptops (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/20laptopsct.html?_r=1).
Marketing is now an applied science that encompasses sociology, psychology, and anthropology… And the merchandisers know what they are doing. Marketing is now an applied science that encompasses sociology, psychology, and anthropology. And the youth market is a multi-billion dollar industry, working its way to younger and younger consumers directly, through parents, and even through school curricula, making parents teaching kids to become wise consumers increasingly necessary. In Buy, Buy Baby (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007, ISBN 10:0-618-46351-8, pp 193-206) Susan Gregory Thomas describes the inroads marketers have made into the daycare industry.
An excellent readable summary of the impact of TV is The Elephant in the Living Room by Drs. Christakis and Zimmerman, child development specialists at the University of Washington (The Elephant in the Living Room [Rodale, 2006], ISBN-10:1594862761.)
Significantly more families with children have an Internet connection than those without kids. Kids usually would rather go online than watch television. New hardware is adapted for kids (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/technology/personaltech/17laptop.html?_r=1&fta=y).