Today’s kids live in an ever-changing, technology exploding, and globally connected world. Modern kids have never known a time when they couldn’t connect to the entire world. They are used to having the answers to all their questions at their fingertips. They have access to technology and information that is beyond the scope of our imagination. For example…
The iPhone 6’s clock is 32,600 times faster than the best Apollo era computers and could perform instructions 120,000,000 times faster. You wouldn’t be wrong in saying an iPhone could be used to guide 120,000,000 Apollo-era spacecraft to the moon, all at the same time. (https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/smartphone-power-compared-to-apollo-432/)
The significance of those details may be lost on us, but not on today’s generation. Quite frankly, even middle school kids understand technology better than most adults. How, then, do we supervise our children’s access to today’s technology? How do we safeguard our kids from viewing inappropriate and pornographic entertainment? How do we protect them from cyber stalkers and cyber criminals? Those are extremely important questions.
Long gone are the days when a single parental control utility on your family PC was sufficient. As we highlighted in our last article, the average American home as ten connected devices. How do you manage and supervise so many devices? Here are a few practical pointers.
- Use a multi-device parental control software – With the proliferation of the Internet and the increasing access of given to children, such a utility is extremely important. There are many software companies, both Christian and secular, that provide tools for parents. Here are a few of the leading products.
Home Internet Usage
- OpenDNS + NetGear Router: opendns.com/home-internet-security Easy to Install, $14.99/month subscription.
- Covenant Eyes: covenanteyes.com. Covenant Eyes is a Christian owned company. Only available for Apple products. Easy to install.
- Circle: meetcircle.com. Circle is a device that connects to your home network and is able to monitor devices that are connected to the internet through your home WIFI.
Mobile Device Monitoring Apps
- Covenant Eyes: covenanteyes.com
- Teen Safe: teensafe.com. iPhone, iPad, Android. $14.95 per month.
- Phone Sheriff: phonesherriff.com/parental.html. Android, $89 per year for subscription. (iPhone, iPad are also available, but require a complicated “jailbreak” of the device to use the software).
Social Media Monitoring/Filters
- Familoop: familoop.com. Familoop is a brand new product featuring the capabilities to block inappropriate content, set time limits, monitor communications, track location, review and block apps. Windows, MAC, Android, iOS as of November (Kindle planned for future release)
- MamaBear: mamabearapp.com. MamaBear offers social media monitoring for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr; location monitoring and alerts; and one of the few that offers speeding alerts for teen drivers.
2. Create “no phone zones.” The most obvious no phone zones would be the dinner table and the bedroom. By assuring that kids do not take their phones into their bedrooms you will be encouraging healthier habits.
3. Teach your kids that they do not live by “devices alone.” Of course, that is a play on Jesus’ words that “we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) In other words, they must not be constantly attached to their devices. Establish “quiet times” in which your kids are encouraged to read, create, imagine and play without being connected.
4. Lead by example. As the parent you must be the first to practice healthy online habits. Your kids will follow your example. It is more effective to say, “Do as I do, instead of do as I say.”