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Managing Media: Downloads, Internet TV, and More
- Set limits on how much media. This stuff gets expensive fast. A few bucks here, a few bucks there.
- Set limits on the type of media. If you do let your kids download, have rules about what's okay and what isn't.
- If you don't want young kids downloading, set up purchases with a password. That way you can download what your kids want but they won't have unrestricted access. And that iTunes allowance feature? If you let your kids use it, have rules about what they can and can't purchase.
- Spot check your kids' downloads on their MP3 player or computer. Under the "view" section of your online store, you can click the "date added" box to instantly check for any new media. If the content is explicit, you'll know right away because it says so on the display. Look at your kids' music libraries so you can spot songs you might not be keen on. And check out the TV shows they're carrying around or the movies they downloaded.
- Take a moment to check out music lyrics. This can provide a great opportunity to discuss song messages and language with your kids. As they get older, they're going to listen anyway, so it might be useful to put your two cents in now. Go to Lyrics.com OR Lyricsmania.com -- they both offer lyrics to most of the popular artists' songs.
- Enjoy media with your kids. Ask to listen to the music they like. (Just promise not to sing or dance.) Watch some of the programs they're interested in. If you don't like the messages, or you think the content is too mature for them, try to open a discussion without being too judgmental -- nothing will make them defensive faster. A head-first assault will only result in head butting. It's important that kids be able to challenge what they hear and see, but they'll only do so if they don't think that you hate all their choices.
- Be realistic about how much access your kids have to media. TV shows are often viewable all over the Internet the day after their network air date. If you forbid your kids from paying for downloads, they'll just find alternative -- and sometimes illegal -- sources. Talk to your kids about why you have restrictions and limitations on what they see and listen to, and at what age. And be careful not to forbid something they can easily access under your nose.
- 8.Tell your kids to watch out for freebees. Make sure kids don't give out passwords or email addresses and just know that free downloads can carry all sorts of spyware, malware, and viruses.