Disclaimer Parenting is bursting with everyones opinions - this is yet another one of those and is merely based on my experience. So if any of this is useful, hooray! If not, feel free to roll your eyes and move along.

Despite a childhood in New Zealand, my oldest has developed with bits of an american accent. This is the result of earlier formative years absorbing a glut of “curated” YouTube Kids videos. One could look at that as some indictment on our parenting - did we really let her watch too much YouTube Kids?

We don’t think so.

To back that up, the rest of the monsters have probably spent a bit more time watching videos without the same outcome.

Anyway irrespective of those observations, it brings up that quandy of how much technology is too much for a growing mind, as well as how to manage what and when the young ones can access it. Unsurprisingly, the first question differs greatly based on beliefs and values. For example, one set of their cousins, infrequently connects to a video device, whereas another side are well-versed in Fortnite and the likes.

As for the second challenge, in my opinion:

  1. Parental controls won’t replace oversight
  2. Children will find a way around any parental control
  3. All children will vary

In fact, the less parental controls you can put on a device, the less drama. Not only will the young one have less to sneak around, but if you have a partner who isn’t interested in poking around settings while the young ones impatiently demand their tech-fix, remember their sanity is just as important as yours. What further compounds this is an Apple/Android mobile ecosystem divide in a household can often ratchet up complexity.

The reality has been that the first and second points have only struck try recently. Only our youngest has challenged our previously relaxed approach to parental controls.

In our household we are very fortunate to have a wealth of technology from apple devices, a single Android outlier (myself), Google Home/Nest, some gaming consoles and PCs … and equally unfortunate to have to wrangle the myriad of accompanying service accounts (Google, Apple, Epic, Steam, Roblox, Microsoft)

Going forward, I hope to write up a few thoughts on each of how I try to achieve technological harmony without frustrating the users family.

Spoiler alert: I sometimes fail.

Oh and hey, here’s to exploring out this HugoJamstack