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Should Toddlers Look at Screens? Plan your technology early.

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Grab a stress ball: This week’s Ask Help Desk column is about setting boundaries between toddlers and technology, and canceling Amazon Prime memberships. I don’t know which one is harder.

If you’re curious about online safety for your kids and teens, check out our guide to social media safety settings, or dig deeper into all the data the apps your kids use collect about them. To find out if recurring costs fit your budget, take the quiz “Is Amazon Prime Worth It?” Click for advice on canceling app subscriptions.

Still have unanswered technical questions? Send them to yourhelpdesk@washpost.com. thank you for reading!

Q: How do I protect and prepare for the internet and social media as my toddler grows up? After learning more about the dark side of technology, I’m completely at a loss for how to plan for the future. I jokingly told her husband that I wanted to live off the grid to protect her son. Are there resources to teach parents what to look for?

A: Take me when you’re off the grid! Managing our relationship with technology is difficult enough for adults, so keeping kids away from screens can be overwhelming.

Even if your kids aren’t online yet, it’s never too early to start researching and brainstorming with your husband on approaches your family can take. Children’s advocacy group Common Sense Media, Protect Check out the Young Eyes, Wait until 8th resource page. Also, look for some opposing perspectives. For example, some experts argue that asking for less “screen time” is too simplistic when children need digital skills to communicate and compete.

Technology boundaries are different for each family. But Brooke Shannon, executive director and founder of the organization Wait Until Age 8, urges parents to wait until her eighth grade to give their child a smartphone.

First, start talking about devices and apps long before your child wants to use them. For example, the refrain says, “In our family, we wait for smartphones until eighth grade, so [blank]. Fill that void with something specific to your family values, Shannon advised. Your family loves the outdoors, learns about new topics, and helps others. You may like When your child understands what you’re replacing technology with, it’s easier to get rid of it. To do that, Shannon says, it’s important to build a life that interests children off-screen.

When toddlers start experimenting with technology like tablets and movies, go slow. Going from 0 to 60 is easy, says Shannon, so talk ahead of time with her husband about time limits on devices and when it’s appropriate to let your child sit in front of the TV. . Set parental controls before deploying new apps and devices so you can enforce them without taking the tablet out of your child’s hands.

Shannon’s house has some ground rules, she said. First, there are no devices in the bedroom, including a TV. Second, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children won’t get tablets or other personal devices unless their family members are traveling. Third, no technology during playdates at home. Fourth, there are no free passes for “educational” apps and games.

If your child asks a question or gets frustrated, have an answer ready. “In our family, we follow research,” Shannon continues. With older children, she can even talk about research findings and their implications. Finally, leave room for flexibility. If you’ve got a cold, the rules about screen time may drop, but that’s okay, Shannon says. That doesn’t mean it’s too late for a family reset.

Q: I tried to suspend my Amazon Prime membership, but it was frustrating and fruitless.

A: Ah, the wonderful world of corporate websites where the “pay now” button shines brightly and the “cancel” button is conveniently absent.

You’re not alone in discovering the shady nature of Amazon’s cancellation process. Last year, Norwegian consumer protection groups filed a complaint against the retail giant, claiming he had to click through six separate pages to cancel, each one encouraging consumers to continue. has been filed. US consumer groups, including Public Citizen, have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission about the same. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.)

Their tactics are so well-known that they even have names like “sabotage” and “persistence”. According to Colin Gray, an associate professor of graphics technology in his Purdue University computer and dark patterns expert, both are “dark patterns,” or what her web developers use to manipulate user behavior. It’s a trick.

If you’re an internet person, you’ve come across dark patterns. For example, why do pop-ups that should allow you to opt out of tracking cookies usually have two options: “Accept All” or “More Options”? Why are you ashamed of options like “I hate saving money”? And what about tallies that show how many other people are “currently viewing” an item on a retail site? Probably bogus.

“It’s not that consumers are stupid or don’t have tech literacy skills,” says Gray. “On the other side, there are people who are really designing these situations to be as tricky as possible. Hmm.”

About a year after being called across the pond, Amazon changed its cancellation process for EU customers. Still, there is still hope for the United States, Gray said. The Federal Trade Commission said it plans to “enhance” its crackdown on companies using undoubtedly deceptive practices to increase revenue from subscriptions. Additionally, some elements of California’s privacy law could also put pressure on large companies to cool down into dark patterns.

“Customer transparency and trust are top priorities for us,” Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “By design, we make it clear and easy for our customers to sign up for or cancel their Prime membership. As we have done following our constructive dialogue with the European Commission, we will continue to listen to customer feedback. We are listening and looking for ways to improve the customer experience.”

In the meantime, these steps should complete the cancellation process. Finally, you will be given the option to pause your membership. If you get lost, please email us.

How to cancel Amazon Prime

  • On desktop, to the right of the top menu[アカウントとリスト]Go to. Select “Prime Membership”.
  • If a popup appears, select the yellow button on the left that says “Go to Membership Management”.
  • The gray banner at the top of the page with your account name and on the right side[メンバーシップの管理]Choose. Then select “End Membership”.
  • Select the yellow button that says “Cancel Reward”. Please read the button carefully. Then select Continue with Cancellation.
  • Here you will see an option to pause your membership. Or scroll to the bottom of the page and[end on]Choose. [date]. “
  • If necessary, continue confirming cancellations until finished.