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{Poll} Technology Boundaries for Kids?

Kaela Worthen Gardner - April 12, 2012


It seems we can't function in life without our various technological devices, but they carry a lot of dangers and responsibility as well. When and how much can kids handle?

Growing up, the most advanced technology I had was a Super Nintendo that my mother begrudgingly allowed us to have, only after realizing we were using our friends for their video games and constantly asking to go to Toys 'R' Us solely so we could play on the demo video game consoles.

Today, the world is a bit different, and my younger siblings who still live at home have iPod touches that connect to the Internet, handheld video game consoles that do the same, and a cell phone for the elder one. Again, my parents delayed as long as possible before finally relenting this past Christmas.

The traditional rules I grew up with--no computers in the bedroom, no TV on Sundays--become blurry when an mp3 player can be used as both. And the statistics of how much time kids spend on these devices are staggering. Where do the boundaries lie? What age do you think is appropriate for kids to have such devices, and what restrictions (if any) do you put on them?

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What age do you think is appropriate for children to have a cell phone?

Do you (or would you) allow your children to have a TV/computer/video game system in their rooms?

Do you (or would you) allow your children to have mp3 players or cell phones in their room?

What restrictions do you (or would you) put on your children's cell phone or iPod use?

© LDS Living, 2012.
Comments 9 comments

emcclure said...

12:24 PM
on Apr 11, 2012

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The only reason I would give my child a cell phone is so that she could contact me or my husband in case of emergency. I would expect her to use her cell responsibly, with limited texting and no use during class or church.

curtfast said...

08:51 AM
on Apr 12, 2012

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Cell phones in the bedroom? No. MP3 players without internet access, yes. I believe it important to be able to contact my son or daughter through the use of a cell phone at any time. They know that the phone is the property of the parent and that they are allowed to use it. Turn-off access to receive pictures and the internet. If they abuse texting, turn that feature off as well. In this day and age with safety an issue I want my children to have the ability to contact me when ever they need me, and visa-versa.

bgtaylor4 said...

10:47 AM
on Apr 12, 2012

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There would be no restrictions; but, there would be no privacy either with us as parents being able to see and hear any use of these devices. We are perhaps as much as 5 years away from these type of devices simply being implanted in our bodies, being able to view new release movies and play games simply by closing our eyes, music and sound without ear buds by ear implants, broadcasting to others what our eyes see including uploading through our eyes and ears to servers... Because of the availability to track what our children see, say and hear, as well as where they are, the use of this technology will be embraced by parents. Silly and short-sighted to think that we're going to live outside of this technology.

kingmoosemt said...

01:59 PM
on Apr 12, 2012

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We use verizon's parent controls on our three teenager's cell phones (not smart phones)--costs 4.99 per phone per month. However, I can "turn off" the phone to all but trusted numbers (parents, youth leaders, etc) during school hours, nighttime, during church... As they get older we give them a little more control and watch how they use it! Kids with their first cell phone are generally out of control! We also don't allow photos for the first year or two either. Wish we could do more. I love being able to get ahold our kids any time but hat the constant texting that some of my kids seem to do... It's really hard to navigate and stay on top of the technology curve. We do our best at home but we've had issues with even our youngest seeing inappropriate things on other kids' devices. Sometimes I wish we could just bubblewrap our kids! I think it is key to do everything possible to keep them away from the junk as long as possible--until they hopefully develop some self-control. But, even adults have issues. sigh.

graymice said...

07:01 PM
on Apr 13, 2012

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Our 12 year old just got a "Cell" phone (we call them mobiles in Australia). It is a very basic model and she is only allowed to have it because of her long public bus travel to school which involves changing buses. We pay for it and she is only allowed to phone us, and grandparents and a few emergency phone numbers. Not allowed to give number out to friends or call/text friends. She has a laptop for school which is only allowed to be used at family dining table. I am also allowed at any time to check her emails and web sites visited. No social networking websites allowed.

jmoroni78 said...

07:57 AM
on Apr 14, 2012

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It does not make since that the majority of people will not allow a t.v. or computer in their child's room, but most of those same people will allow their child to have cell phones or mp3 players in their room. This tells me that most of the people polled here do not understand the full potential of these devices. They can access just as much if not more inappropriate material with these devices as they can a computer, and you can bet if it is on t.v. you can find it online which most phones can access now. If you look at what most of the youth are doing today whether for good or bad it is on cell phones and other portable electronic devices.

jfarker said...

02:35 PM
on Apr 14, 2012

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Our three teens have basic phones without texting and basic mp3 players without video capabilities. Any other scenario would be a recipe for disaster, IMHO. Sure, texting can be useful, but the potential for abuse is just too high. Video and/or internet access on a small device they can take anywhere? NO WAY, JOSE! Maybe Satan didn't invent portable internet, and maybe it's a very useful tool in the hands of a mature adult, but I can't think of a better way to make porn available to anyone anywhere in the world any minute of the day. Phones are for safety in our scary world, that's all. Parents need to learn how to say, "No."

mcampbell2 said...

01:25 PM
on Apr 17, 2012

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I think the survey needs to have more specific questions. My son has a tv, mp3 player and computer in his room, but the tv is not digital and does not have cable and the computer and mp3 player do not have internet access. That said, we have to be vigilant in teaching our teens and kids about making choices. When they leave our protective homes, they need to know to choose the good.

jennbell said...

12:45 PM
on Apr 18, 2012

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I agree questions are vague...We have 3 boys ages 13, 11, & 7...We provide a cell phone to our children when they are in 5th grade so they are able to keep in touch with us, mainly cause they have after school activities. We subscribe to parental controls ($4.99 month AT&T) on cell plans and set up passwords to restrict them from getting on the internet or any other activity other than calling or texting. We also know every person in their contact list and check it VERY often. As far as ipods We purchased the app Mobicip for all ipods in our home and pay SMALL subscription fee for extra restrictive access. It disables the Safari app and will only allow access to the internet through the Mobicip app, which restricts the content they are allowed to view, and times or lengths they are allowed. We also have one family iTunes account set up with a password so anything they would like to download we have to type our password in so that they can add it to their device, EVEN Free stuff. The TV and gaming systems we have are in the play area and they can only watch DVD's, the game systems are not set up with internet access. As far as computers they also have parental locks and we have set them up with their own account so that we can specifically allow them to view only the websites we approve, and NO YOU TUBE unless we are watching it with them!!! They love to watch Lego mini figure & star wars action figure videos... LOL :) I agree that you have to be vigilant and teach them why we feel the need to be so restrictive and what is out there to hurt them. They have to know so that they are prepared to say no that is not for me.
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