Purchase Our Parenting Techies Workshop

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Tech Stuff

PT image from DYMNow you can get our Parenting Techies Workshop for your church leaders, small group, children’s ministry, youth ministry… It includes everything a leader needs to implement their own workshop to help equip parents in keeping their kids safe while using all these eGadgets.

Check out our reviews at our site. http://homesdevoted.com/parenting-techies-workshop/

Click here to purchase and see what is included.

Rather have a live workshop? We do that too.

Equip parents. Equip the next generation.

Discussing Internet Use/Social Media With The Kids

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

Talking with our kids about the dangers of the internet and social media use can be tough, but needs to happen.

Discussing the Internet and Social Media

(excerpt taken from our Parenting Techies workshop)

What are the chances that our children will grow up to become adults without seeing an explicit image?  It’s just a matter of time.  If you don’t talk with them openly and regularly and prepare them, they won’t be equipped to handle it correctly.  IT WILL HAPPEN!  Most probably on accident, but if you think you can wait until they are 15, you’ve waited too long.

The most important thing is their heart.  If you don’t have their heart, you have little influence.
Love.
Relationship.
Connecting.
Being engaged.
Spending time with them.

What’s the best way to show them your love and care?  Be engaged.  Give them your time.  Nothing speaks louder to them than when you spend time with them.  In the role of parenting, you cannot underestimate the power of quantity time.  Quality is essential, but quantity cannot be neglected.  If your kids are spending more time with friends who may not share your convictions and values about life and God, you may not have the impact you think you have.  Quality time without quantity of time leads to kids whose hearts are still far from us.

WARNING: When they share something that makes you want to erupt or flip out; you must remain calm.  Don’t raise your voice, over react or start hyperventilating.  You obviously know what this will do to any future conversations.  Yup.

Remain calm.  Talk.  Ask questions.  Get to know them: what they are thinking; what they’ve done; what their friends think.  You get the picture.  Pretend like you are talking with your boss or close parent.  Show respect. Listen.  Ask more questions.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”  James 1:19

The Bible is full of wisdom.  Do this and you will find that you will have some great conversations with your kids.  They will trust you.  They are smart.  If you ask the right questions, you can lead them to the right answers.  Another result is that you will know them.  In fact, you will know them better than anyone else.  Just a reminder, our kids don’t have many people, if any, that they can open up with and be completely transparent.  And…If you think they are open with friends, do you really want another 14 year old giving them advice on faith and life?

Guide them to God’s Word for advice.  Show them what God’s Word says.  BUT…

Know when to tell them what to do.  Know when to let them choose.  Know when to let them fail.  (Let them fail a little at home while you are still close by to help. (Pssss… That time is coming.)

Tips for talking about internet use with younger kids:

  • Ask them why they like the video games they play. Play their games with them, so you know what games they are playing (and you should be approving every game and app first).
  • Talk about balance. What are the pros and cons about playing video games vs. playing outside?  (Don’t forget to set time limits with them.)
  • Tell them what pornography is: pictures of people without clothes on OR people with only their birthday suit on.
  • Why do you think God wants you to wait until your married to see another boy or girl in their birthday suit? (He wants it to be special; something for you to experience with the person you will marry. He wants you to save your eyes too.)
  • If a person without clothes on flashes on the screen, I’d like you to turn your eyes and I want you to tell me. Will you do that?
  • What could you say to a friend that shows you a picture like that?

Ask questions: (We can learn so much from our children if we just ask questions):

  • What age is a good age to join social networks? Why do you think most of them set the age to 13?
  • What kinds of things should not be shared online?
  • Do you realize many people can read what you write, but may not know the context (if you are being sarcastic, etc.)
  • Have you seen any of your friends post something that made them look foolish?

For teens: You will want to stay engaged:

  • Ask them what apps are popular right now and why are their friends using them?
  • Show them online articles or newspaper clippings (if you still use one of those things) that reveal the terrible things that can happen. Not to scare them, but to show them the reality.  Expose them a little to reality and let it teach them.  It also gives you another voice, another advocate for your case.
  • When you see something online, ask them what they think about it. It could be a risqué picture or a comment about something or someone.  Ask: What does this say about that person?  Do you think they value who they are?   What is really important: inside beauty or outside?  Do you struggle with this?

Don’t shy away from tough questions.

It’s part of being a guardian!

For a pdf of this, click here: Discussion questions for kids and social media.

 

Two Settings To Keep The Dark Side Out

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff

Cell Phone

With 79% of our children being exposed to explicit material at HOME, the dark side is seeping through our computers, cell phones and tablets.  With the Force, we must do our best to safeguard our children from being exposed to the potential threat of pornographic material that is lurking in the web’s storm troopers.  It does happen and over 83% of the time, it’s accidental.  This means that our kids are just stumbling on it.

Follow the light side of the Force, which created these settings to fight the dark side.  Every phone, tablet and pc needs these settings in place.

  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 can lock this setting.  You will see this option on the right, click it and follow instructions to keep it locked on that browser. You will need to do this for each browser you use.   

When you are on a portable device, remember to click “save” AND there is a little bad news.  On portable devices, there isn’t a way to lock this setting.  Which means this is great 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.  

2. Youtube: Restricted Mode.

In an effort to appease the light side, Youtube has set up a Restricted Mode.  On a computer, as with Google, you can lock this in your browser.  At Youtube’s home page, scroll to the bottom, the very bottom.  Click on the box Restricted Mode.  Then follow the steps to lock it.   Once it’s locked, you will need to enter your Google password to turn it off.  Note: This will filter out most of the very bad stuff, 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 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 block the Youtube app altogether and only allow access to Youtube through your filtering browser, like Mobicip. 

Now if you already have a filtering browser on your portable device and think it is filtering Youtube, this may come as a shock, but NO filtering browser can infiltrate the dark side of the Youtube app (or any other app.)  

Want more suggestions/tips, etc.?  Host our Parenting Techies workshop. See our promo video, fliers, Powerpoint slide, description, references, etc.

Questions? Comments?  Post below so I can help.

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 (info on the left side.)

Anonymous Unmasked: Using Halloween to Help Kids Understand Digital Identity

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Faith Conversations, Tech Stuff

Halloween_V1Here is a blog by Art Ramford from Fuller Youth Institute.  This is a great post to help us open up conversations regarding social media.  Check out our Parenting Techies workshop where we discuss these issues and do live demonstrations of settings, apps, etc. to help parents protect their children and teens online.

It is always fun to see the way a Halloween costume changes a kid’s demeanor.

Give a boy a set of foam Hulk muscles and he’ll start stomping around and growling loudly. Or put a girl in a princess costume and watch her twirl dramatically, singing at the top of her lungs.

Halloween is a day when we give kids permission to put on costumes and pretend to be someone else—in a fun, safe way.

For today’s parents, the issue of identity is one of the trickier topics to deal with when it comes to how young people use digital media. Halloween can be a great opportunity to talk with your kids about how identity works online.

Younger kids typically use media to play games as avatars. An avatar is something that represents us within the fictitious world of a game. Kids choose a character to “be,” but don’t see that choice as related to who they really are. For younger kids, game avatars are a lot like Halloween costumes in this sense—they just pick a character they like. And change their mind tomorrow.

As kids get older, they start to think more about costumes as personal and social statements. Factors like their friends’ costumes, and how their peers will perceive them, carry more weight as they decide who and what to be. For adolescents in the process of forming their own identities, Halloween represents a rare opportunity to do something that society doesn’t let them do often—“try on” being somebody else.

Young people experience a similar kind of transition as they go from using game avatars to sharing as their ‘real’ selves on social media. The distinctions between childish play and grown-up socializing get murky.[1]

When it comes to the online behavior of both young people and adults, researchers have found that a feeling of anonymity is one of the main factors that cause us to behave badly in digital spaces. Like teens egging a house on Halloween night, we’re more likely to trash somebody else’s walls when (we think) we’re well hidden behind a mask.[2]

One of the really difficult things for adolescents to figure out as they begin using social media is this difference between an avatar and the “costume” of anonymity.

Not all anonymity is bad. Digital spaces are a lot like Halloween in how they provide young people with outlets to explore their identities and have fun with their friends in the process. This is why apps that let users share anonymously are often so popular among teens. But it is important to help young people recognize the boundaries and limits of this. Participating on social media can also feel a bit too much like a game that rewards users for hurting or outdoing on-screen enemies. [3]

If your kids are relatively new to the world of social media, think about using this Halloween as a teachable moment that helpfully illustrates the way we’re able to participate in digital spaces as an avatar, anonymous user, or authentic self. Ask questions like, “What’s the difference between the avatar version of you and the real-life version of you?” “How do you feel about the way you relate to other people online [through gaming or social media], and how they relate to you?” “Are your relationships in real life with these people similar or different? How does that make you feel?” One of the most important lessons for young people to learn is how, unlike an avatar, the actions of a costumed character online have real consequences for the offline people they conceal.

Art Bamford

Photo by ljholloway photography


[1] Livingstone, Sonia. Children and the Internet. Polity, 2009, pg. 12-23.

[2] Wright, Michelle F. “Predictors of anonymous cyber aggression: the role of adolescents’ beliefs about anonymity, aggression, and the permanency of digital content.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 17, no. 7 (2014): 431-438.

[3] Davis, Katie. “Friendship 2.0: Adolescents’ experiences of belonging and self-disclosure online.” Journal of Adolescence 35, no. 6 (2012): 1527-1536.

– See more at: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/anonymous-unmasked-using-halloween-to-help-kids?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:#sthash.KR7Rtx5J.dpuf

 

Using Texts To Connect With Your Kids

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

How many of us have shouted orders to our kids via a text? Something 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.
  • “NO friends over!”
  • “Be home by 9!”
  • “BE QUIET and go to sleep! (Sent from your bed; they are across the house in theirs.)”

Me too.  Guilty.

I have made it a priority to connect with my daughter with at least one encouraging text a day.

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.”
  • 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 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.”
  • “Is this a good weekend to wash my car?”

I ran across a picture of my daughter on my pc yesterday 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.

2015-03-24 15.16.54

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.

Leave a comment below. I’d love your feedback.

Jonathan

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