Welcome! We are currently in the middle of our Kids Safety Series. We’ve already covered our intro (found <here>) as well as hit on our first topic: Educate, which you can catch up on <here> if you missed it. Today we’ll be discussing specific ways we can PROTECT our kids from online dangers. Then in the following weeks, we’ll discuss how we can:
3) Be a Safe Place
4) Prepare for Independence &
5) Recognize the World They Are Inheriting
Search for A Circle of Joy on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram to join in on our online discussion. Submit any questions, experiences, or thoughts you might have to add. We’d love to hear from you!
Does your child have access to a computer? Cell phone? Tablet? Video game system? Or other device that connects them to the internet? Do they have friends & family that do? (Spoiler alert: If you’re reading this, the answer is “yes.”) Just like many things in life, the internet comes with a plethora of good as well as bad. It allows us to connect with friends & family in ways we never could before, cutting through hundreds or thousands of miles & oceans between us. It contains a wealth of information at our fingertips & gives many a place to speak their mind in ways they would have not felt freedom to, otherwise. That’s not even scratching the surface, but I think you get the picture. If you’re like me, you desire your children to get all the good out of technology, while leaving as much of the bad behind as possible. While it is not feasible (or healthy) to forever keep our children in a secluded & perfectly safe bubble, rest assured there is more we can do than throw them to the wolves, cross our fingers, & hope for the best.
There are 2 levels of protection parents can get involved in. The 1st is to protect our kids on a personal level. The 2nd involves protecting them on a larger or broader scale.
1) Protecting on a Personal Level
One of the 1st things we can do, as parents or guardians of young ones, is to explore the settings on each of the devices our kids use. Some devices may require some kind of filter or monitoring system, while others—much thanks to the pressure of parents & other concerned adults—come with built-in added security options. As we’ve said before, each child, family, & circumstance is different, so I won’t tell you how you should secure your child’s devices. Ultimately, you decide what you allow your child access to, what you would like to keep away, and for how long. That said, I’m going to provide some links you may find helpful in securing some of the most common devices.
Video Tutorial: https://youtu.be/N-72VhlmtIk
Note: Apple’s upcoming IOS 12 update is said to contain more parental control options. 9To5Mac reports that this new feature will be called “Screen Time. Screen Time will give users a breakdown of device usage for the last 24 hours or last 7 days. Notably, parents will be able to use Screen Time for kids to see how they’re using their devices, create ‘allowances,’ limit apps, content and control privacy settings.”
Apps to Aid in Filtering/Monitoring
The Best Parental Control Apps for Your Phone
Accountable2You (A favorite among our readers for monitoring)
SaferKid Text Monitoring App
The Best Internet Filter Software of 2018
In addition to taking measures to secure devices, we might also benefit from examining our own behaviors & habits. Do we enjoy media that uses sex to sell? What does this communicate to our young boys? To our young girls? My church is going through a sermon series entitled “Sacrifice.” Last weekend I wrote this definition that was shared in my notes during service: “Sacrifice – giving up the thing you love for the thing you love even more.” I love that definition. It really puts light on where MY values & priorities lie. Is there something I am engaged in that is worth giving up in order to better protect my children? What harm does it do me to sacrifice for their benefit? WE are the examples. “Do as I say, not as I do” is an antiquated phrase that never worked in the first place. Let’s set the stage by being the kind of adults we want our kids to become. No matter what mistakes are in the past, today is a new day. A new day to become someone of greater integrity & of a stronger moral compass than ever before. If not for ourselves, then for the little eyes watching…even when we think they’re not.
2) Protecting on a Larger/Broader Scale
We may not realize it, but we have many thanks to give those who have been fighting this battle for many decades. There are several organizations, including educational & religious ones, whose primary objective is to spread awareness to the harms of pornography, sex trafficking, & other sexually deviant media in our culture & society. Similar to the SnapChat fiasco, where the outrage of parents over SnapChat’s easily accessible porn addition resulted in a quick business detour to remove this feature, the fighters in these organizations make progress in areas we DON’T see, simply because they are working to keep extremely explicit content out of the scope of the public (thus children)’s eye. These organizations are often funded by like-minded parents desiring a safer future for our children, & some invite grassroots efforts for parents to get involved, themselves, providing opportunities to contact companies, politicians, & other leaders who have a say in what kind of content is brought before the public. Here are a few of such organizations:
National Center on Sexual Exploitation
provides a yearly “Dirty Dozen” List to focus in on
Fight The New Drug
One Million Moms
It is imperative that we, as parents & responsible adults, be vigilant in educating ourselves, our children, & protecting the innocence of future generations. I hope I have given you a small stepping stone in this task thus far, but never stop educating yourself. I have merely given a very small sample of the resources available online. Information & education is constantly evolving as science uncovers more & technology shifts. Don’t be afraid to adapt with it.
Have a question or comment about something we didn’t cover? Shoot us a message via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! We’d be happy to hear or help any way we can.
Protecting the future TOGETHER,