Make Browsing The Internet & YouTube Safer For Your Family With These Two Online Settings.

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Porn, Tech Stuff, Web Stuff

Whether you saw the Connect documentary or not these are two practical settings to help safeguard your family online today and best of all, they are free. With 79% of our children being exposed to explicit material at HOME, the dark side is seeping through our computers, cell phones and tablets.  This means that our kids are just stumbling on it.

The Force has a light side and these settings will help fight the dark side on every phone, tablet or computer.   Want more suggestions/tips, etc.?  Click here for info on our Parenting Techies workshop and read many reviews from parents as well as our promo video, fliers, description, etc.

1. Google’s Safe Search. Make sure your browser’s search engine is set to Google (instead of Bing or Yahoo, for example)  On each device, type in https://www.google.com/preferences.  At the top is SafeSearch Filters.  Set it to “Filter explicit results”.  When you are on a pc, you will see the option on the right to lock this setting.  Click it and follow instructions to keep it locked on that browser. You will need to do this on each pc.

When you are on a portable device, remember to click “save.”  On portable devices, there isn’t a way to lock this setting.  Which means this will work for the little ones, but if your teen chooses to look into the ways of the dark side, they will probably figure it out.  This is why many people use the highly recommended software, Mobicip to assist in keeping the bad stuff away.  (Trust me.  It works.  Just ask my kids.)   🙂

2. Youtube: Restricted Mode.

In an effort to appease the light side, Youtube has a Restricted Mode.  On a computer, as with Google, you can lock this in your browser.  At Youtube’s home page, look for your icon on the very top right.  (You have to be logged in. If you aren’t signed in, you will see SIGN IN.)  At the bottom of the drop down, you will see Restricted Mode.  Follow the steps to lock it.   Once it’s locked, it will ask you for your Google password to turn it off.  (Note: This will filter out most pornography, but Mobicip will be MUCH more thorough.)

On portable devices, the app has the same setting.  It’s easy to turn on, but also easy to turn off and doesn’t include a way to password protect it.  Open the Youtube app, click on the upper right hand icon and go to Settings>General>Restricted Mode.   Again, great for the little kids, but easy enough for teens to step over to the dark side.  How can the light side win?  With the Force on your side, you could block the Youtube app altogether and only allow access to Youtube through your filtering browser, like Mobicip. (Another insight we share in our workshop is that NO filtering app can infiltrate the dark side of the Youtube app.  Confused?  Have I mentioned that we do a workshop?) 

Questions? Comments?  Post below so I can help.

Many churches and schools have benefited from our Parenting Techies workshop.  Pass this on to your church/school leaders, so they can host our workshop to equip other parents, too!

One of the best things you can do to help other families is to forward this on.  You can also “like” our Facebook page and subscribe to our weekly texts.

Helping you have a Homes Devoted,

Jonathan

2 Nights Only in Theaters: CONNECT. You Could WIN $50!

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff

In a social media-centered world, the smart phone has become a cultural rite of passage for kids.  How can this generation of parents blaze a new trail to equip their kids to thrive in an ever-changing digital environment while steering clear of the dangers that lurk nearby? CLICK HERE FOR TRAILER

You’ve heard a lot about our most popular workshop: Parenting Techies and now you can get inspired and encouraged to protect your kids on their screen by seeing this on the big screen in this new documentary by Kirk Cameron.  With six teens, Kirk Cameron fully understands this dilemma. So he went to the experts and what he learned will enlighten, challenge, and encourage parents. And best of all: it can help strengthen your family! Join Kirk on this important journey of discovery in his brand-new documentary, CONNECT—only in cinemas for two nights: Tuesday, February 27 and Thursday, March 1.  You can purchase tickets HERE.
After watching, get some parents together to host our Parenting Techies workshop and we will walk you through many ways to protect your family with device settings, software, apps, etc.  See here for more info and reviews on our PT workshop!!!  Forward to your church or school and give parents the confidence they need after the movie.Win $50!  Take a picture with your crew at the movie and post it on Homes Devoted’s Facebook page and/or Instagram (jctherev_homesdevoted) and tell us one thing you learned that every parent should know!  We will do a drawing on March 2nd for a $50 gift card to a Darden’s Restaurant (Olive Garden, Longhorns, Cheddar’s)!  Share a photo and encourage other parents at the same time!

Helping you have Homes devoted!

#1 Reason NOT to “GIVE” Your Child/Teen A Smartphone For Christmas

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff, Teen Girls, Teen Guys, Texting

​I know how much joy you would get from giving your teen the latest and greatest smartphone.  Or even one that’s not the newest model, but one that you can at least read the screen. (I didn’t know cell phone glass could crack into so many pieces!  My daughter’s screen is barely readable!)

The joy on their faces would be so satisfying if you were to hand them that new device.  They would adore you forever.   Well…at least until the next time you told them to clean their room.

Here is why we don’t GIVE them a phone.  We buy the phone and let them use it.  We make it clear it is OUR phone.  Yes, there is a difference.

It may feel like it’s theirs, but make it known from the beginning that it is yours and therefore it can be taken away at any time for any reason.  You can ask to see it.  You can go through it.   When they spend too much time on it or you sense there are issues, you have the right to take it away for a while.  (Um…Aren’t you paying for the service, anyways?)

Since it is your phone and they are borrowing it and because it is a privilege (It’s not an American right), you can use it as leverage.    “Not doing well in school?”  No more cell phone.  “Disrespectful?”  Gone.   “Didn’t do your chores?”  Say good-bye.

There are dangers that come with these devices which means there is added responsibility.  Please check out this post about protecting your loved ones: TWO SETTINGS TO KEEP THE DARK SIDE OUT.

For those of you who are new to having a child with a cell phone (or tablet), you may want to look at this agreement (edit it as you see fit).  This is the best way to start giving them this new responsibility.    Click here for more info on hosting our Parenting Techies Workshop.

For those of you who have already made that purchase and planned to put it under the tree, wait until all the gifts are unwrapped and explain to them that they have a “loaner” phone.  Trust me, they will be just as excited.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Helping You Have Homes Devoted!
Jonathan & Carrie

Use TEXTING to Connect With Your Teen

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, Tech Stuff, Texting

Technology can be a fantastic way to connect with our kids.

How many of us have shouted orders to our kids via a text?  Things like…

  • “Don’t  FORGET your homework!!!”
  • “When you get home: let out the dog, have a snack, clean your room, because I can’t see the floor! Love you.
  • “Be home by 9!”
  • “BE QUIET and go to sleep!” (Sent from your bed while they are across the house in theirs.)

Me too.  Guilty.

I have made it a priority to connect with my daughters with at least one encouraging text a day.
When your kids get a text from you, what is their first thought?  Is their first response one of excitement?

Can you imagine if every time our kids receive a text from us, their first thought was, “I wonder what encouraging thing my dad is going to say now?”  What if they looked forward to receiving our texts?
Let’s send at least one encouraging, uplifting, inspiring, funny text every day.  There just isn’t a reason not to use this tool to connect with our kids.

As a reminder, put it in your calendar to repeat every day. (Yes. I do this. Don’t tell my daughter.)

Text them stuff like:

  • “You did great at…!”
  • “Hope you do fantastic on your exam. Praying for you!”
  • “Hang in there. The day is almost over.”
  • “Is this a good weekend to wash my car?”
  •  “I thought I would encourage you with a reminder that you have the best dad in the whole world!  Love ya.”  (With crazy selfie.)
  • “Can’t wait to hear about your day. Love you.”
  • “Excited to spend time with you this weekend.”
  • An inspirational scripture verse. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13.24 (Just kidding.)

I ran across a picture of my daughter on my computer and I had this idea.  I brought the picture up on the screen.  Then I wrote adjectives that describe her on post-it notes and put them around the picture and texted it to her.  It only took a few minutes and it meant a lot to her.

Our kids need our affirmation.  They don’t get a lot of praise for who they are outside our home, so let’s make sure they get it from those who love them the most.

For more insights, inspiration & training on how to safe guard your kids on these electronic devices, host our Parenting Techies workshop.  See below.

Thanks for your continued support as we partner with parents to have homes devoted.

Teenage Girl Ditches Her Smartphone

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Faith Conversations, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Tech Stuff, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Teen Guys, Texting

hand-top-white-oldSomeone passed this on to me and it’s worth passing on to all (us) parents who are struggling though the maze of the smart phone battle. I had breakfast with a dad last Saturday that took away his son’s smartphone after finding some inappropriate things aboard that small, but powerful rectangular electronic wonder.

His son’s reaction? He became almost violent. His dad had to pull him off his mother as he was squeezing her, shaking and crying. Dad was shocked and described his son like an “addict.” The good news is that after a few weeks, his son detoxed and was glad not to have his dealer of all information and connections.

I’ve read that teens would rather have their car taken away than their cell phone. This black box is a portal into the universe of many “friends.” To go without is to commit social suicide.

May this incident above and the link to this video and article be another tool in your arsenal to help you communicate with your kids the importance of being in the here and now and developing real friendships. (How addicted are your kids?)

Teen ditches cell phone for a flip phone: Video
Article she wrote in 17 Magazine. (Caution: other articles probably not appropriate.)

Hold them close mom and dad. They grow up fast. As they become teens, you will be defending other influences, but don’t give up the fight. “Impress these on your children.” (Deut. 6:5-8) Keep your relationship prominent and you will be their coach for life, when all others have faded into the dark abyss of empty and shallow relationships.

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Some questions:

  • How much time do you think is too much to spend on your phone “connecting” with others?
  • How much time to you spend with your “head down?” (i.e. on your phone?)
  • What do you spend most of your time doing on your phone?  Research? Posting photos? Reading friend updates?
  • How many friends do you think you connect with during the week?
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13.20
  • What characteristics do you look for in friend?
    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
  •  What characteristics do people see in you that makes you a good friend?
    A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17.17
  • What do you think would happen to your social life if you didn’t have a phone?
  • How many of your “friends” would you stay in touch with if your phone broke?
  • Would you consider going to a flip phone? Why or why not?
  • What might you be missing from spending time on the phone?

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321.223.1163 jc@homesdevoted.com