Keeping Our Kids Safe Online, Pt 2

Read Part 1 here

Are you a mama bear? I sure am. If I think there is a threat to my kids, the hair bristles on my back and my eyes scan the field until I target the danger. Okay, so I don’t have hair on my back, but I can relate to that feeling of tension and defense. Can you?

When it comes to keeping our kids safe, the greatest danger right now is also one of our most prized conveniences – the Internet. Frankly, it would be extremely difficult for our family to live without it, especially with our business that relies on online sales. But we also love the Internet for school. It has become our encyclopedia, our dictionary, our photo album, our math tutor, our translator, our word finder, our stationary and our post office.


We live in a brave, new world and over the years, we have learned how to work with this beast that we have brought into our home.

Here are 4 ways to tame the beast in your home:

1. Keep computers public. We have both desktop and laptop computers at our house, as well as tablets and smartphones. While desktops don’t move, lapbooks and other devices obviously do. We have a rule in our home that laptops and portable devices must be used in public rooms. They may not be taken to bedrooms, closets or bathrooms. Our children also know that they are NOT to go online without a parent with them.

2. Use passwords and timers. We have password-protected all computers and devices in our house. Because of this, our children are forced to ask permission to use a computer, iPad or iPhone. We can then say “yes” or “no” depending on the schedule and whether or not this particular child has time allotted. We (either parent or our adult daughter) then enters the password and sets a timer for 30 minutes. (For children 12 and up, we expect them to keep track of the 30 minutes on their own). We use timers because we know how easy it is to fritter away a day in front of the computer.

3. Use filters and accountability systems. For children under 16 in our family, we have used software filters that filter out the garbage that can pop-up on the screen when using the Internet. Our favorites have been Safe Eyes and Covenant Eyes (links below). You can set the filter level differently for different children, such as E for younger children and T for teens. However, as our children get older, we understand the need to train them to make wise choices using an accountability system. Covenant Eyes provides accountability without filtering that allows an older teen or adult to make choices about what to view on the Internet, knowing that a full report will be sent to their accountability partner. (This is a great system for all men, in my opinion.)

4. Finally, make sure that you turn on “Safe Search” in Google or whatever is comparable in the other search engines. I am shocked by the trash that can show up in an innocent search for “duct tape crafts” or “parts of a flower.” Just turn it on to save yourself the shock and hassle.

Here are the links to Safe Eyes and Covenant Eyes:

Safe Eyes – http://www.internetsafety.com/

Covenant Eyes – http://www.covenanteyes.com/

Part 3 is coming, because we haven’t yet dealt with the issue of tablets and smartphones to the full extent that they need to be. These are trickier than standard computers and I’ll tell you why next time. Stay posted by signing up for email alerts to your right.

Question: What are your best tips for keeping your kids safe online?

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 11:44 am and is filed under Homemaking, Homeschooling, Lifestyle, Parenting, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1644570713 Lori Clay

    what do you mean by “safe search”? I cannot find any setting on google for this can you explain where this is and how to set?

    • / Terri Johnson

      Sure, here’s how you find it. There is a button at the top right hand corner of your screen when you go to google.com.
      You should see two buttons there, one is an options button and the
      other is a filter button. The filter button is the one on the left.
      Choose “Safe Search” and choose your filter settings. Does that help?

  • / Terri Johnson

    Sure, here’s how you find it. There is a button at the top right hand corner of your screen when you go to google.com. You should see two buttons there, one is an options button and the other is a filter button. The filter button is the one on the left. Choose “Safe Search” and choose your filter settings. Does that help?

  • http://twitter.com/KidsEmail Kids Email

    Thanks for the great tips! Kids Email also provides a safe email service for children, we’d love for you to check us out! http://www.kidsemail.org

  • Pingback: Terri's Take… » Blog Archive » Keeping Our Kids Safe Online, Pt 3

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