Keeping Our Kids Safe Online, Pt 3

Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here

Yep, the world is going downhill quickly. Some would say that “it’s going to hell in a handbasket!” But frankly, our world has been on a collision course for disaster since the fall. We might say that there has never been a time like this, but on the other hand, there were some pretty awful times in history past too. You’ve read about the Greeks, the Romans, the Assyrians… They lived in some pretty twisted societies too. So, I guess it’s safe to say that there is nothing new under the sun. Solomon spoke truth, wise man that he was!

But still, my husband and I are working very hard (in this place, America, in this time, the 21st century) to keep our home a safe place, a sanctuary, for ourselves and our children, from the wiley ways of the devil and the corrupt world at large. We cannot insulate them altogether, but our children need to know that we are standing up for them, fighting hard to keep them safe and deliver them into adulthood not too stained by the world around them.

How can we keep words and images that are displayed so freely across the World Wide Web from splashing across our computers and devices?

We discussed computer use in the 2nd part of this 3 part series. This post is dedicated to mobile devices, which are a whole ‘nother animal. Here are 3 things to consider when purchasing, setting up and using your mobile devices in your home and beyond:

1. Ask yourself, “Is this a necessary purchase?” We have decided that we would invest in iphones and ipads – we have 2 of each – for our family. The phones belong to us parents and the ipads are shared among all family members. We create and publish educational mobile apps in our business, so we needed to know how they work, why anyone would want to use them for school, and what apps were needed in the educational app marketplace.

But, we do not buy personal mobile devices for our children. Our teens don’t need a smart phone. Our younger children especially do not. We do buy our kids their own “dumb” phone when they turn 16 and start driving (they pay for extra minutes/texts that run over the family plan). We want them to be able to make a phone call in an emergency. When our son turned 17, we asked him  whether he wanted a smart phone or not and he told us “no.” Honestly, he didn’t want to carry the Internet with no safe guards in his pocket. We are so very proud of him; he is wise beyond his years.

2. Protect your mobile devices. There are options here, but you want to consider one or more of these safeguards for your mobile devices. We have done all three at various times: a) disable the internet in settings; b) download a safe browser, such as Safe Eyes; c) password-protect each device and the restrictions you set up in settings. (Note: Three people in our family know the password – both parents and our adult daughter. The other 5 do not.)

We have decided that our kids don’t need to be on the Internet. They can ask permission to go online to research something, but we stay close-by when they do. 99% of the time, the Internet is disabled on our devices and they cannot change these restrictions without knowing the password. We also disable Youtube, iTunes, and the ability to download and delete apps. That way, a child cannot download an app from the App Store, play with it for a while and delete it, all without our knowledge.

We have installed safe browsers, such as Safe Eyes, but have not really needed it once we decided that the Internet was not a given on mobile devices. We prefer to simply have it disabled all together. That works well for our busy household that doesn’t always have time to babysit someone surfing the net on an ipad.

We also password-protect each device and set a timer, so that iphones and ipads are only used for a short period of time. This way, we do not have to worry about the possibility of a child wasting away a whole afternoon playing dumb games on the iPad because he “forgot” to tell us that he wanted to use it. He HAS to ask. Without permission, it’s a worthless screen.

3. Do not download apps that have “back-door” entrances to the Internet or to Youtube. If you find that you have some, do yourself a favor and delete them. Our daughter inadvertantly found her way to some scary and disturbing sites through a science app that used youtube videos for how-to instruction. The app was great, but it provided a back-door entrance to a twisted and disturbing world, inappropriate for… well, everybody. (Sadly, I have had to delete some favorite apps, but my kids welfare is far more important to me.)

I have probably forgot some important tips for mobile safety. If you have any tips, please share them here. If we pool our knowledge, we become stronger and can better protect our families.

Please share this post, along with the other two, with your friends who have children. It is no longer a question of IF our children will be exposed to p**n, but WHEN. Let’s protect, supervise and train our children to make wise choices and not to flirt with danger. If you get too close to the fire, you will get burned. Sometimes badly and not all scars heal well.

But let us thank the LORD for his goodness, his forgiveness and his healing power. Nothing is impossible for the Lord. He can heal the wounds that come from early exposure to Internet trash. Praise the Lord! But let’s do our part to safeguard our homes. Our enemies are no longer invading marauders from neighboring kingdoms, but lurking evil just a click away. Fortifying our homes isn’t weakness or intolerance. It’s what parents do! Throughout the centuries, protecting our children is just what parents do.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 18th, 2013 at 6:18 pm 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.

  • kerimae

    Would love to do this, as so far we’ve done nothing. I wish we could use Covenant Eyes; it does not work on a Mac :/

    • / Terri Johnson

      Oh, thanks for the comment about Mac. I wonder if anyone knows some good filters or accountability systems to use with Mac. If so, please speak up! :)

      • Laura Sanders

        Actually we use one aspect of covenant eyes on our mac as of this week!
        It sends us a daily accountability report which alerts us of any unacceptable sites’ AND in a couple of weeks they are unveiling a new mac filter. Beta testing is going on right now for this new service, so hold on …it’s coming!

        • / Terri Johnson

          That is excellent news! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Karla Reisch Akins

    Great tips. There are many more safeguards today than when my kids were growing up. Use them with joy!

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