Q: My son downloaded an explicit song onto his iPod. How can I get rid of it and prevent him from doing it again? A: Collecting and listening to downloaded music is a big part of kids’ lives today. iTunes has a corner on the market when it comes to supplying the songs, reaching its 10 billionth song download last February. (The song? Guess Things Happen That Way by Johnny Cash.) Music appreciation is easy for parents to support. It can get a bit more complicated when it comes to the profane lyrics accessible to kids. Many parents find themselves managing their child’s exposure to explicit content on some level. You can delete a song from your child’s iPod in a few ways. First, go to their iTunes library and select the song you want to delete. Then simply press the delete key on your computer or choose “Delete” from the “Edit” tab located along the top menu on your screen. Finally, sync your child’s iPod with the library and the song will be deleted from his iPod. You can also delete the song from your child’s iPod without deleting it from the iTunes library. This comes in handy in homes sharing a library with family members of various ages and maturity levels. To do this, connect your child’s iPod to the computer using a USB port. Then, find your child’s iPod under the “Devices” menu on the left side of the screen. Under his device, you’ll see a selection of categories. Choose the “Music” category, select the song you want to delete, and press your computer’s “Delete” key. Remember to apply changes and sync the device before you disconnect his iPod. Of course, deleting an offensive song is just part of the process, so follow up with these simple steps. • Talk about the content. Explain your objection to the content and why it’s marked explicit. Recognize that many children don’t understand the context of the songs the listen to – younger children may not even know the words. Not sure of the words yourself? Songlyrics.com and Lyrics.com can help you best understand the content together. • Find substitutes. Many songs offer a “clean” version, where explicit lyrics have been replaced or deleted. Songs that have been cleaned up are marked in iTunes with a “clean” rating. • Explore parental tools. These can be handy depending your child’s maturity level. There is a Parental Control feature in iTunes under “Preferences” that can be set to block explicit songs and set rating restrictions on TV and movie downloads. • Restrictions can also be set on an iTouch or iPhone. You can find these options by choosing “Settings” on the device, then “General”, and finally “Restrictions”. You need to provide a four-digit pass code before choosing which restrictions you want to manage. One last note—iTunes has a policy about publishing profanity in music titles, so your child will not see explicit words spelled out by just browsing the iTunes store.Q: Are there security risks associated with posting my vacation photos online? A: Postcards may be a thing of the past, as vacationing families today share daily updates and photos from their beach time online. Posting too much information, however, could put your family and property at risk. Before you
upload photos or tweet about your day surfing the waves, consider these factors. • Are privacy settings on? There’s no better time to check your privacy settings and think about whether you really want to let “friends of friends” know that you’re away from your house all week. Make sure privacy settings are set to “friends” only. • Are your networks linked? If you’re posting updates about the excellent fishing on Twitter, you’ll want to double check whether those tweets are automatically posting to Facebook, too. Many folks connect with different audiences through different networks. Double check how your Twitter, Facebook, and photo sharing sites are linked, consider how and where your updates will appear and who will have access to them. • How long will you be gone? If you’re away for the weekend, a quick post about a beautiful lake sunset might not be a big deal. If you’re taking your RV on a three-week trek across the country, you could be setting yourself – and your house – up for trouble. • Do you trust your network? Would a family member, co-worker, or an old high school pal really rob your home? Probably not, however, there’s always a chance that someone else might stumble onto the information. Think about who could get access to your posts. Could a disgruntled colleague or ex-spouse find an opportunity to take advantage of you while you are away? • Are you giving too many details? Avoid giving details about the specific times and dates you’ll be away from home. Use caution when explaining how far you’re traveling, specific routes you’re taking and exactly where you’re staying. • Are teens blowing your cover? Teens often have hundreds of “friends” and are not always vigilant about privacy settings. Talk to teens about being using discretion and remind them how their texts (Can’t believe I left my iPod on my nightstand!), tweets (“Boring car ride! Five hours till we get home!”) and status updates (Camping for two weeks with family…) might be a security risk. • Do you have permission from friends? Don’t assume the families and friends you vacation with will be okay with the photos you post of their children building sand castles and consider how your timing may affect their security and privacy. Ask before sharing photos or tagging members of other families.