I recently spoke to a group of parents about some practical ways to keep their families safe online. The information below is from my handout. I have also created a parent reference page on my site with links to some good information.
- Immigrants & Natives
- In his book, Carpe Mañana, Leonard Sweet compares the challenge of adults born before 1962 sharing Christ with people born after that year to immigrants trying to communicate with natives. He calls people born after 1962, "A.C." (after computers) and natives to today's culture. Those born before 1962 are "B.C." (before computers) and immigrants.
- This culture uses a different language than ours. We will either use our kids as interpreters, or we will learn the language ourselves. I think that this is a deliberate decision that we have to make as parents.
- A Targeted Generation
- Teenagers subjected to hundreds of discrete forms of advertisement each day. Why? Because they have the most discretionary money. Not only that, they are relatively easy to influence.
- View “Merchants of Cool” which is a documentary from a few years ago. It really opened my eyes.
- No Absolute Truth
- In a recent study, the Barna Research Group revealed a stunning statistic that continues to reverberate throughout the evangelical world. Only 9 percent of professing Christians have a biblical worldview.
- Why is this important? This is important because most people don't really believe that God is the author and arbiter of truth. Once we put ourselves into the equation of determining right from wrong, then we have opened the door wide open to relative truth. If this happens, the collective society gets to redefine truth as they see fit.
- Take a look at information from the Truth Project on this topic.
- Set your search engine settings to filter content
- Update your firewall/anti-virus/malware/spyware software
- Run the updates to your operating system
- Set a limited-rights user account for each child and configure their internet home page
- Utilize Internet Controls (I recommend Safe Eyes)
- Filtering and Monitoring and Accountability
- Software or Hardware
- Content & Time
- Consider your computer environment
- Keep computers in a common room
- Position the screen to be visible to all
- Establish house rules (Covenant)
- Acceptable and non-acceptable websites
- Rules for IM, texting, gaming, social networking, information sharing etc…
- E-mail - Don't invite trouble with poor practices.
Social Media - (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, gaming, texting, chat rooms etc...)
- Work to understand social networking
- Understand that social network tools are a valid and lasting form of communication
- Understand "Virtual Presence" and modern peer pressure
- Learn to understand the language of the “natives”
- Age appropriateness
- Monitor activity and enforce rules of engagement
- Make sure your kids understand
- Internet information is forever.
- There is NO anonymity on the internet!
- Social networking companies DO NOT have your best interests at heart.
Reference Page - http://www.techtoolsforministry.com/parent_resources