Question:  Should my child be allowed to have a TV/computer in their room?

I advise against it.  Three thoughts regarding why: 

  1. It limits or reduces personal communication and interaction with family members.  Sometimes quality time is plain-ole quantity time!
  2. P*rnography on the internet.  Yes, you’ve got parental controls installed.  Yes, you don’t think your child knows about it/is interested in it yet.  And, I promise you that those things aren’t as secure of a safety net as you think they are.  Really.  I promise.  I’ve heard this story go wrong more times than you would think.  And it’s so unfortunate when it happens, because the internet really isn’t how you want your child to be educated about sex. 
  3. Missed teachable moments.  If your child sees, say, a “Wardrobe Malfunction” on TV in front of you and everyone else at your Superbowl party, you can talk to them about it later.  You can have a good conversation about nudity, privacy, and the like.  BUT.  If they see the same body part exposed while they are watching TV alone in their room, they won’t get the parenting, the guidance, the support, the understanding, or the values lesson they need to balance that experience. 

Follow up question:  But don’t we tell our child that we trust her?  Doesn’t it send a mixed message to say, “Yes we trust you but you have to use the laptop where we can see you?”

A:  There are many ways in which we trust our kids but still provide structure/limits/backup. Children absolutely live their lives in a ‘smaller’ world than the real world.  That way, when they make the inevitable mistakes, they don’t suffer big consequences.  You’re not sending a message that says you don’t trust your child, you’re sending a message that says you are her parent, and you will protect, guide, and support her as best you can, until she’s 18/21/30 years old and finally ready to leave the nest and take on the wide unfiltered world out there.