First the “how to,” then the story behind it.
How to activate the explicit content filter on Pandora:
Blocking explicit content on your child’s Pandora account is actually very simple. Once you have logged in to your child’s account, click on account in the upper right corner of the screen. This will drop down an account profile. Next to “Allow explicit content: YES” click the blue edit link.
This slides in a dialog screen. Click on “NO. Don’t allow explicit content.” This will bring up another prompt box asking “Would you like to protect this setting with a PIN code?” The obvious answer to this is “yes,” unless you want your child to undo these changes as soon as you leave the room. In the next dialog box you will select and confirm a pin and enter an email address for confirmation of any changes (do not enter your child’s email or Eminem will be blaring from his room in no time). Click on “Save PIN” and you’re done.
Why I Know This:
I was driving my oldest, now 11, to a soccer game in San Antonio, and giving him a break. I’d used the last few soccer road trips as occasions for a few chapter of “the talk,” and opted for some amusing way to pass the time instead. I hooked the iPhone into the stereo and passed it back. I talked him through firing up Pandora, and we set up a couple of new playlists that I thought he would like. We jammed all the way there and all the way back.
When we got home, Bubba asked if he could get Pandora for his computer. Brilliant, I thought, I’ll never have to bite my tongue and buy another hip-hop album on iTunes ever again. I helped him to create and account. The thought may have flickered through my mind, maybe not: Surely they censor that stuff if it’s freely available.
About three days later, the usual crowd of boys erupts through the door with my son at the front of the pack and head for his bedroom. His cockiness momentarily get the better of him and just as the door is closing I hear him say, “How about some explicit music?”
When I sat down at his computer and asked his logon information for his Pandora account, he kept his cool. But as I altered the settings, you could almost hear him thinking: Ugh, sucks to have a geek dad. But if I used my other email to make a different account…