Saturday, December 6, 2014

Safe Family Computing

Kid-raising is tough work. Helping them to grow, discover talents and abilities, explore, gather skills, progress successfully through all the stages of childhood (and adulthood!)... to learn independence and good judgement, good work habits and a sense of who they are, and why and how to bless others.

In this new everything-is-connected-to-everything world, what can we do to keep them safe while they grow? I offer a few suggestions from experience, both mine and those of people I trust.
  1. Establish good communication channels, and keep them open. The home is an educational institution. The best teachers listen twice as much as they speak. Eat meals together without the TV on. Study from the "best books" together. Pray together. Set aside a special time to visit with each child and don't deviate. My favorites are tucking them into bed, and when they're too old for that, taking them to lunch or dinner.
  2. As physical walls protect from earthly elements, spiritual walls protect from that which can harms the spirit. Learning self mastery is essential, "walling off" danger zones with rules and tools is possible and necessary.
  3. Keep computer displays in plain sight and out of bedrooms. Is this not a no-brainer?
  4. Set and enforce time limits. Tools: TimesUpKidz!
  5. Practice regular oversight and review using Web accountability/Parental Internet control ($)CovenantEyes, OpenDNS  (Free) K9 Web Protection
Most attacks on our digital devices (and our souls) are wrapped up in alluring and shiny packages. So while these tools are useful to shield our young ones, OpenDNS also helps shield the entire home's Internet connection from attackers and rogue, infected devices.

Much more has been and could be said, but mentioning these few links is a good starting point for many family-centered homes. I welcome your experiences on the rules and tools that you (or your parents) have used.

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