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Should we get our son an iPod Touch?

By June 25, 2010

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A mom on our forum seeks advice: My son is turning 14 next week and desperately wants an i-pod touch. We really would like to get him one, but are concerned about the unlimited internet access. At the moment we have quite strong controls - our boys share a computer which is outside the kitchen, and I also use frequently. We have quite strict controls - parental controls and how long they are allowed on etc, and although the i-pod touch is a really cool gadget with many really great things for them, it means they can access the internet whenever they want without any supervision, and even the parental controls seem easy for the kids to get around. I am really torn, as he really is a good kid, but we have caught him in the past looking at some "girlie" type pictures, which is probably normal at this age, but we've been able to discuss it and make (pretty) sure it's not happening anymore - at least I don't think it's happening in our home - I guess you can never be 100% sure. Also, he lied to my husband recently about his usage, nothing major, but my husband was really upset, because he didn't need to lie, and we made a big deal out of it, just to get the message across. Most of his friends have one, although this certainly is not the criteria for getting things - but then again, this is the world we live in and you can't completely isolate them from things! He doesn't ask for a lot, so would appreciate any advice. I should add, that the place we live in - the Middle East- is pretty strongly censored on porn.

Denise's thoughts: I too struggled with this decision for my 14-year-old daughter. We did allow her to purchase one with money she had been saving. I had similar rules to what you had with our family computer and still do.

Currently our rules for the iPod are as follows:

  1. The internet access in our home goes off at night, usually around 8 or 9 p.m. This way there is no surfing the internet when we are sleeping.
  2. I have the ability to take the iPod for discipline reasons.
  3. I have her passwords to her Facebook page and other areas, and I check occasionally. She is always with me when I check.
Asking our parenting community: Does your teen have an iPod Touch? What are your rules for internet use? Please share your thoughts, advice and experiences in the comments area.

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June 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm
(1) Megan says:

One thing to note is that the ipod touch will only access the internet if a WiFi connection is available. They will also have to have the password to any secure internet connections. This is different from the iPhone, which has built-in 3G wireless that can be accessed without an outside connection.

So basically, he can only access the internet from it where he would have access with a regular computer…say at home, or maybe a friend’s house if he can get their connection password, etc. Also, lots of places like Starbucks, etc.

To be honest, though…by the age of 14, I would think that most kids are ready for the responsibility of fairly open internet access. I would make very sure to continue to talk to him about internet safety (such as never giving out personal info to people he has met online) – that is always my number 1 worry with kids and the internet.

Also, yes…it is normal for a boy this age to be interested in “girlie” sites. I would not stress about that at all. However, I’m not sure what it is like in your country, but the US has pretty heavy restrictions on “sexting” and the viewing of pictures on teenage porn. We have discussed that issue with our son, and will when our daughter gets a little older as well.

Good luck!!

June 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm
(2) jmcloyd says:

Absolutely not!!!! I have a 13 year old who had an ipod touch…. not much different than a computer. He could access the internet and email along with “Facebook”. I found some “unacceptable” crap in his email. He no longer has an ipod touch, hint hint!

June 28, 2010 at 10:59 am
(3) Annie says:

I would be more worried about it being dropped, lost or stolen than what he did with it. They are very expensive and often times that age is not responsible enough to take care of their things. What is his main reason for wanting the iPod Touch? If music, what about a regular iPod? I have the iPod Touch myself, and I can only get on the internet here at home using my wireless connection. It’s true you can get it at shared locations too, such as coffee shops etc., but it can be inconvenient. Many internet cafe’s do have filters on their webaccess to block inappropriate sites. My rule has been, I trust you until you breach that trust. If your son has been trustworthy – and he has earned the privilege, then give it to him with conditions on internet access etc., if he violates the rules, then he loses the iPod (or you can block internet access and he can only use it for music and games)

July 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm
(4) Lucy says:

NO, NO, NO!!!! It has been the worst thing that ever happened to our family. All our worst fears have come true. Our otherwise normal Christian son, got one in March and we have dealt with lying, stealing music, sexting, pornography everything. Not to mention the constant battle it has been in our family. If you want to open a can of instant hell for your family and spend hours of your week monitoring the constant flow of filth into your home, give in to him. But I highly recommend that you be the bad guy and say no. Kids can’t handle the temptation. And they have figured out how to unlock all the filters, so that thought is out the window.

August 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm
(5) DDinDFW says:

Our 12-yr-old son received $ as a b’day gift to purchase a Touch. He wanted it to text which meant he would do so from our home mostly. A few months later it became apparent that he would need a phone for security reasons while on church/school youth activities. He wanted to text on the phone, so agreed to let him pay the modest monthly fee for the phone. Now the Touch is used almost exclusively as an iPod except that he loves the Apps he can get for it. We’re thinking he’ll give his iPod (fairly new and in good working condition) to his younger brother – who needs 2 iPods?

We use the Touch as “currency” for discipline purposes and have confiscated it several times in the last 6 months. I haven’t found him visiting inappropriate websites, but have found him on it when he was supposed to be asleep (as well as his phone!). Both of these things now “sleep” in my room – one of the last things he does before bed each night.

September 8, 2010 at 2:30 am
(6) Torrey says:

This is a simple thing to do.
Does he NEED the internet? Probably not.
Thats why you should only get the A normal I-pod.
In my apartment I can bunk off of anyones router Im not just restricted to my own. And clearing History and all that crap is so easy to do.

December 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm
(7) Kathy Londe says:

We’ve bought an ipod touch for my 13 year old son for Christmas, and I’d like to have him sign a contract with us regarding rules re using it, after he receives it. Should I include the rule (right from the outset) for him to put the ipod away in a designated spot (NOT his room) after 6 pm? 6 pm has always been our cut-off time for any electronics, including TV. Would including this rule imply that we don’t trust him?? Please help!

January 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm
(8) jose says:

ok every one teens will do this n that look at girl pictures not at home with there friends at school the media shows this u all know how your kids are i bet your kids know more about the electronics than u guys if u are easier on your teen he or she might actually trust u and tell you more bout his or her life teens have a complete different life other than the one u know about them u see what they want to show u and that about it.

June 15, 2011 at 2:27 am
(9) David webb says:

Yes, it sounds like he’s a good kid and if you never give him a cchance to prove he’s mature enough for the resposibility he’ll nnever grow up. Just give him a ” the talk” before hand it’s important for you to let your kids know your standards on sex ootherwise they will get a varity of bad information from sinful mmedia trust me it’s the curiosity that triggers them if you explain it they’ll have nothing to be curious about

October 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm
(10) cristine says:

Well said Jm Cloyd, Lucy and Torrey, I totally agree with what you’ve said. I’ve seen the reality first hand in our youth and it’s very disturbing what is going on. IT has desensitized the minds of our youth and caused ill effect on their mental well being! Many parents are very quick to hand the product without taking the time to make it safe. I know safety is top priority when it comes to my children including the teen years which are equally as important as childhood!!!

December 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm
(11) Keith says:

Sometimes, being too strict can also cause hatred. Thry might even like being outide than at home , which is worse.

December 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm
(12) Joel says:

Boys will be boys. We had to lock down everything on our son’s iPod touch. The only thing he was able to have was the native apps, not counting Safari. He still was able to access inappropriate content via the Maps app. Now, he no longer has an iPod touch. This is a huge loophole in the Restrictions feature. Where there is a will, there is a way. If you are concerned at all, I would err on the side of safety and not get them an iPod touch. A nano is appropriate.

February 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm
(13) Lauren says:

If you trust him let him earn it.

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