Yesterday CNN News online posted an article titled Parents would back limits on media violence, sex. This article had some interesting quotes:

“… parents “are fooling themselves” if they believe they have that much control, an expert on the effect the media have on children said during a panel discussion that accompanied the release of the report. “Parents think they are controlling the media — kids say they are not,” said Victor Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.”

“About three-fourths rated exposure to inappropriate material as one of their top concerns as a parent, or a big worry. Television and the Internet were most frequently cited as the leading sources of angst.”

My experiences and observations as a child and a teenager pretty much confirms what this article says – parental control over the way children use media is very limited and sometimes is even non-existent. My overall conclusion is that if a child or teenager has sufficient initiative and wants to watch something verboten, he or she can find a way to watch whatever television program or movie is of interest.

I did not grow up during a time period when the internet was available. With the internet and the continual growth of the cable television industry, I feel parental controls have diminished even further and the inappropriate material that is readily available is a lot worse. It is clear from what I read online in the ‘Nacle that very young children are figuring out very quickly how to use the internet.

So I’m wondering how Mormon parents are responding to the modern-day situation and it’s accompanying hazards. I have some questions in which I use the words “child” or “children” quite a bit – but feel free to interpret that to mean anything from age zero to nineteen.

Here are some questions I have, if readers are interested in answering one, some or all of them:

1. How much do you worry about your child/children accessing inappropriate media content on television or with the internet? Not at all? A little? A lot?

2. What do you worry about, exactly? Too much sex? Too much violence? Both? Is there anything else you worry about or does that pretty much cover it?

3. Do you have any guidelines that you teach your children in regards to television and internet? What are the rules? To what degree do the rules for the children differ from the rules for adults? (Obviously, some differences are necessary and reasonable – others might be more subject to debate)

4. To what degree do you trust the children to follow those rules on their own? To what degree do your children have freedom or limitations to choose what they watch?

5. Do you monitor what your children watch on television or what they access via the internet? (Yes or No?) If yes, how do you monitor them? Is it simply a matter of you being bodily present most of the time? Do you use technology or programs to monitor what is being watched or accessed? If so, has it made any difference?

6. There is a difference between merely monitoring and outright control. Do you have any means by which you actually prevent your children from watching certain programs or accessing certain internet sites? Yes? No? If yes, what are the means you use? How well do they work? Have you ever found evidence that children are able to bypass the control that has been put in place?

In the comments, feel free to answer any or all of these questions or to add additional questions/thoughts that are pertinent to the issue. I am not currently a parent, so no doubt there are insights/ideas that may not have occurred to me.