The good, the bad and the avoidable

March 30, 2012

Is that ad a little jarring? It was for me when I, with my son sitting next to me, went to YouTube recently only to be visually assaulted by whatever the heck this creature is supposed to be. All I wanted to do was show my son a very creative and happy video I’d bookmarked and knew he would like. But no. This splashed across the screen and immediately he began saying, “Click on it! Click on it!”

So much for my plan of sending him to bed with a beautiful audio and visual treat running through his brain. Now it was all about violence, pain and power.

I love that for almost everything my son can ask me about, I can say, “Let’s Google it.” What’s a luge? Let’s Google it. Why do rainbows exist? Let’s Google it. What’s the Tour de France? Let’s Google it. So much better than the Encyclopedia Britannica ever was; now we can see things in action thanks to video. If it happens, it’s on YouTube.

I also love all the creative, cool, awe-inspiring things people do and share online. Not so much the silly pet videos (OK, the talking bacon dog is funny), but amazing robot projects like the Sand Flea, compelling helmet cam videos of climbing Everest, and really talented kids like Emily Bear. If I wasn’t such a proponent of my son not spending too much time with screens, we could spend all day Googling amazing things all around the world and out into space.

Beyond the screen-time issue, the tons and tons of advertisements like Wrath of the Titans spoil the online experience. Today, NYTimes.com’s sinister ad for “The Killing” was hard to miss. Creepy ads are everywhere, and I truly think that every quick, seemingly innocuous exposure desensitizes kids (and adults) in ways we don’t even realize. You can’t “unsee” something. That Wrath of the Titans monster will live forever in your mind. Sorry.

So, all that said, I’m on a mission to tighten my online parental-controls belt. I’ve been experimenting with simple ways to stop unwanted ads, then I plan to tackle my browser settings and the like. Stay turned for my next post where I hope to have found some good solutions to report!

And I’d love to hear from you all – what solutions have you found to enjoy the great things an online world offers and filter out the stuff you just don’t want to know about? Please share your ideas in comments. Thanks!

And if you need to clear your head of the fire breathing demon image above, check out this fun, little video I was trying to show my son. It’s worth the short trip!

4 Responses to “The good, the bad and the avoidable”

  1. I agree 100%. Young minds deserve more care, more respect. So do our minds..

  2. Glad I’m not the only one!

  3. playfulpups Says:

    I hope there are some solutions! I don’t have any to share, but I will be watching to see if anyone else has any.

  4. Check out my latest post on AdBlock. I’m so happy having the ads gone … and it’s a free plug-in!

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