Bringing up children is wrought with challenges. The world is never the same as when we were brought up so new decisions have to be made. Is the same approach as when we were younger the right approach or should a different path be taken. If a different path is taken what doe that do to other decisions? Challenging indeed.
One (obvious) huge area of change is the amount of technology available to children today. Whilst screentime is always a concern, I seem to remember being hounded away from the TV when I was young so actually this is not such a new problem.
It is actually what is on those screens that is creating the biggest challenge.
The ability to find almost any content you need on YouTube has meant that children get introduced to YouTube very early on. This is as a direct result of YouTube allowing anyone to upload content.
By removing the friction of publishers and TV channels from the mix, any creator can quickly meet the desires of an individual.
The downside it that this can be abused and technology which understands content is not as good as the technology which creates content.
So today, when it comes to apps like YouTube Kids, which visibly sounds like a YouTube safe for kids, is not really. It is not a human curated channel and means that sometimes the technology filters get things wrong.
Is that OK? At what age does it become OK? It all depends on the content, which in turn means that initially supervision and eventually teaching children to be both self-aware and understand core concepts is even more critical. This is nothing new though.
Eventually, technology filtering will catch up and then we have bigger questions to answer. This is just one more strand of a bigger problem where content appears that we (as a society) do not want it to. The obvious example today is fake news - but already this has become more broadly defined as content someone does not agree with. At some point we are going to have to define what should and should not be filtered before we drift too far towards censorship.
James Bridle has written up an excellent and detailed article looking at content targeted at kids, how automation is being used and how it is all having an impact on not just kids but the wider society. Read it here