The Tablet: An Answer To My Prayers
Does your toddler have a “kid friendly” tablet? My parents bought my daughter a Fire Kids Edition Tablet for her birthday, and it has been a lifesaver! We’ve downloaded all these wonderful educational apps, as well as PBS kids. So in a pinch, she can watch an age appropriate show while Mommy puts brother down for a nap.
We’ve used the tablets at doctors appointments, long car rides, and just in any instance really, where I need ten minutes to work on other mom duties. Though it’s a “kids’ tablet,” we still had to make some adjustments accordingly. My three-year-old could purchase movies and watch anything that caught her eye, appropriate or not. So I took the steps to child proof the tablets, restricting what she can watch on YouTube, erasing all the News, Movies and Books from the home screen, and boom.
I thought we had a happy toddler, free to learn and watch her tablet and a happy Mom who had some spare time to clean. Boy, was I wrong.
Inappropriate Content in Disguise
So my first inclination that something was off was when she was watching her tablet and I heard a creepy screaming. Of course, I walk up and take it from her to see what’s going on. Come to find out, it’s a video that had seemingly harmless bears walking around town. So why the screaming the in background? Who knows, so I just changed it to a video that I knew and gave it back to her.
But after that, it seemed like every time I gave her the tablet I just hearing more and more unsettling sounds and screams. We would search YouTube for “Elsa” (her favorite Disney character), “Educational Toddler Videos,” “Suprise Eggs,” just normal things I knew my daughter would love. But we kept running into these strange videos that have Disney character knockoffs and adults dressed up as the characters.
The channels seem to be harmless and even educational until I took the time to watch and listen. Then I was horrified. Lots of the videos have themes surrounding death, pregnancy, witch craft, sexual innuendo, and more. I actually saw Elsa with a bag over her head screaming. I even saw Peppa Pig acting as a grisly dentist, yanking teeth out. Not to mention, Spider Man using a needle to poke Elsa’s stomach and her becoming pregnant. I was beyond angry.
My immediate thought was just to take away the tablet altogether. But on second thought, the tablet isn’t all bad. My daughter has seriously learned so much from having this thing. She talks about new animals or repeats new sentences she’s heard on her tablet. Her language has accelerated so much (some of which I attribute to her tablet usage).
So for a quick fix, I took off the YouTube application and downloaded YouTube Kids instead. The kid version is way better and way less scary, but the disturbing, so-called “kids videos” with fire, witchcraft, and violence still filter through. I ended up removing the YouTube Kids and life became that much easier. Now there is just no way that her little fingers will find any disturbing videos, and everything she sees is something I psychically put on there myself.
Monitoring from Here on Out
Now that I’m monitoring the tablet’s use more closely, everything is better. When your child first gets a cell phone or a tablet, it’s hard to gauge what issues of concern may arise. So it’s better to just cover all your bases from the start. On most tablets, you can restrict access to anything with passwords. And you can allot a certain time frame they can use the device before it shuts down. You can even eliminate Web access and only allow them to use apps.
My daughter calls her tablet, her “taglet.” And I plan to monitor the heck out of her taglet well into her high school years.