What Do Parents Need to Know?

Today, children have access to music, TV shows and movies in ways their parents never imagined. It can be hard to figure out which sites offer authorized content, which sites offer content illegally and what “copyright” even means. It’s important to talk about all of these issues with your kids and to help them use the right sources for content. The good news is there are many great ways to access music, TV shows and movies safely and legally online.

First, let’s start with the basics. Below are two key terms and definitions that are central to having these conversations.

Copyright: It’s important for kids to understand that copyright means that you “own” anything that you create. It counts for them too. When they create things like poems, stories, songs or videos, they automatically have copyrights on that material. The same goes for their favorite recording artists, movie and TV stars.

You can find out more information on what copyright is here.

Peer-to-Peer Networks: It is generally illegal to upload or download copyrighted files, or to share such files with others, without permission from the owner. For example, downloading or sharing copyrighted music on peer-to-peer networks like Ares, BitTorrent, Gnutella, LimeWire or FrostWire is often against the law. File-sharing services can be used legally but in practice, much of the content available on peer-to-peer networks is offered and shared illegally. For more information on how to find legal music, TV shows and movies, please see A Better Way to Find Movies, TV & Music.

To help parents learn how to discuss copyright with their children, CCI is partnering with iKeepSafe, a widely respected non-profit organization working on issues surrounding digitally connected products and their effect on children.

Below you will find some basic guidelines to start the conversation. The videos and additional resources in development will help you ensure that everyone in your household understands the importance of creating, acquiring and sharing content responsibly, securely and ethically.

Pointers for Parents
via iKeepSafe.org

Here are a few tips to get you started helping kids learn to create, acquire and share legally and safely:

  • Ask your kids where they go to find content—songs, movie, guitar tabs, images, etc. Make sure those sites are legal and licensed.
  • Know where and how your kids are distributing their own creations:videos, pictures, stories, poems, etc. Is it safe? Is it legal?
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t legal. The movie that opened last night at your neighborhood theater, is likely not legally online.
  • Model respect for ownership: let your kids see you search for authorized content for yourself and them.

How to Start the Conversation (For Parents/Households)
via iKeepSafe.org

Below we have outlined key concepts that surround copyright and sharing content. Each section is meant to provide a way to connect (what can sometimes feel like) abstract concepts to everyday life and the experiences of children and teenagers.

Creativity is one of humanity’s most valuable asset. Creating ourselves and seeing the creations of others can communicate feelings, opinions and more. The more we value our creative work, the more important it becomes to us to determine how people acquire, use and share it. It also means that when other people create content they may have different ideas about how their content is shared and distributed. Copyright, with both its rights and responsibilities, set the framework for how we make these decisions for our works and honor the decisions of others for theirs.

Acquiring files ethically and responsibly is a critical 21st century skill. We build trust as a collaborator when we respect the rights of others both in how we acquire and how we use their content. As the head of the household and primary account holder of an ISP connection, it is our responsibility to ensure that our internet connection is used legally and ethically, fully respecting the rights of others.

Sharing is often the goal when creating new content. That’s true whether you or someone in your home is the creator or whether it’s a movie producer, recording artist or author. It is important to understand the rules and guidelines that define how we share, consume and use content. It is up to us, as consumers to ethically, responsibly and legally share creative content.

Need help getting the conversation started with some targeted questions? Download a discussion guide here.