Earlier this week, I talked about how I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas commercials (mainly that I hate how many sexually explicit lingerie ads roll out this year, mainly the Victoria’s Secret variety).  One of the series that kind of annoys me, but that I think it creative, this season is Best Buy’s “Game On, Santa” commercial series, in which moms use all of the great deals and their easy access to the latest tech gadgets at Best Buy to essentially outshine Santa’s gifts with their own. 

If you’re anything like the women (and parents) in these commercials, chances are that you will be buying your kids some sort of tech gift this year.  Maybe it’s a child-friendly video recording device, a new game for Xbox or Wii, or perhaps it’s a Smartphone, iPad or other Internet-enabled device.  Remember that, despite the many great features these gifts have, they can also place your children at risk if you aren’t an educated and proactive parent. 

If you’re getting your children an Internet-connected or enabled device, whether it’s a gaming system, Smartphone, iPad or other handheld-device, if you haven’t installed a filter or parental controls, it’s highly likely that your kids will accidentally (or intentionally) come across some type of x-rated content.  I’ve talked with far too many parents that have told me the same sad story: they bought their son or daughter the device that opened them up to their pornography addiction.  Don’t wait until after you give them their gift to install the software that will help protect them from day one of their use. 

Also, even though it’s not fun, think through how even the devices that aren’t Internet-enabled may place your child at risk, and develop a plan and agreement with your children about what constitutes appropriate use of the tech device.  One mom bought her daughter a video recorder last year, only to discover that her daughter was posting the videos (which were innocent enough) to YouTube without her knowledge.  Her daughter was then receiving comments and messages from adult men who were viewing her videos and pushing her to post content that was increasingly risqué. 

Ultimately, it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement over the gift, without thinking through the possible exposure—to strangers, pornography, etc.—that comes with some of the most exciting gifts we give during this season.  So think proactively, install a filter, like our X3watchPRO, or use parental controls (like SafeEyes) to help keep your kids safe on all of their Christmas gifts this season.