Tech Safety Guide

The PTC aims to provide parents with the tools they need to make informed television viewing decisions. But we also know that your child's media influences can come in a variety of forms. Our Tech Safety Guide gives some scary statistics, but includes information on how to protect your children from the various entertainment technologies: Internet, cell phone, video games, and television.

• The average age for a child’s first exposure to pornography on the Internet is just 11-years-old.

• 79% of youth unwanted exposure to pornography occurs in the home.

• 80% of 15-17-year-olds reported having multiple exposures to hard-core pornography

• There has been an increase in sexual material being presented to children despite the use of Internet filtering, blocking and other monitoring software being used by their parents at home.

• Over half (51%) of parents either do not have or do not know if they have software on their computer(s) that monitors where their teenager(s) go online and with whom they interact.

• Nearly three out of 10 (28%) of parents don't know or are not sure if their teens talk to strangers online.

• 30% of parents allow their teenagers to use the computer in private areas of the house such as a bedroom or a home office. Parents say they are more vigilant about where their teen(s) go online if the computer is in a public area of the household.

• 58% of parents surveyed say they review the content of what their teenager(s) read and/or type in chat rooms or via Instant Messaging; 42% do not.

• 4% of children received aggressive solicitation from adults who attempted to meet the children in person.

• 4% of the children surveyed reported that online solicitors requested nude photos of them.

• Children’s character names, including Pokemon and Action Man are sometimes linked to thousands of porn links.

We’ve all seen the warnings and the PSAs — don’t text and drive. It’s particularly dangerous for teenagers and one study even identified it as the leading cause of death for teen drivers. According to the National Safety Council, 1.2 million car crashes in 2013 involved drivers talking on the phone, and at least 341,000 involved text messaging.

First of all, be a role model. when they see you texting when driving, why shouldn't they!

Check out the National PTA site or TeenSafe site for some tips for dealing with texting and driving.

Many US teens view their mobile phone as an extension of themselves. Most 12-17 year-olds use smartphones, and according to a recent Harris Interactive poll, and most say their phone is the key to their social life.

According to a recent Nielsen study, the typical teenager (age 13-17) sends or

receives 3,146 text messages each month, or roughly 10 messages per hour—one

every six minutes every hour not spent in school or sleeping.

Tween and teen texters often use abbreviations and chat lingo to communicate that many parents don’t understand. According to one recent survey, 95% of parents couldn't identify common chat room lingo that teenagers use to warn people they're chatting with that thei with that their parents are watching (POS for Parent over Shoulder and P911 for Parent Alert). Keep in mind that different peer groups often develop their own shorthand.

If you choose to allow your child to carry a cell phone, you can ask your service provider about phones and plans for kids that will allow you to control who your child can call or receive calls from, what kind of content they can download, and the number of text messages they can send. Consider opting for phones that do not have built-in cameras or web browsers.

Talk to your children first about texting, but there are services that will allow you to receive copies of your child’s text messages.

Here are some helpful tips and advice from some of the nation’s leading authorities on how children are affected by the media they consume.

• DO NOT use TV, tablets, smartphones, video games, and computer games as baby sitters.

• Limit the use of media.

• Keep TV, video players and computers out of children's bedrooms, and turn off the TV during mealtime and certain times of day. All screens should be visible to parents, not just the user.

• Only watch TV when there is something specifically worth watching.

• Don't make the TV the focal point of the house.

• Watch TV with your children and teach them about advertising and the influence media has.

• Discuss controversial topics together.

• Be careful about what your child watches just before bedtime. OR avoid it all together. Later TV viewing may seem relaxing but it is quite the opposite, over stimulating children and causing sleep problems http://pediatrics.aappublicati...

• Learn about new movies and videos and set guidelines for your child about what is appropriate.

• Be a Role Model! Limit your own use of media and be a discriminating viewer.

• Do Not Text and drive.

• Parents affect children's media use by setting an example, by exposing children to television, by watching with their children (or not doing so), and by encouraging or regulating their children's viewing.

• Young children are often present and exposed to the programming watched by their parents.

• Viewing choices are typically guided by the parents' tastes, not those of the children.

• Siblings also influence program choices. Children with older siblings move away from educational programs and towards cartoons and situation comedies at an earlier age than those without older siblings. Set guidelines with all your children, especially if you are away.

• You should be the teacher and help guide your children, not TV programming. Don't be shy. If sensitive topics catch you off guard, have a dialogue with your children . Adult explanation also improves children's understanding of plots, characters, and events in dramatic programs.

• Television can provide an occasion for parents to discuss values, beliefs, and moral issues.

Take Action. Stay Informed.