Posts Tagged ‘apps’

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.

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.

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.

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Where’s My Child? Locator Apps

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Tech Stuff

I received an email a week ago asking if I knew about a good locator app so parents could locate their child’s whereabouts anytime. Has your child ever not called or texted when they arrived somewhere even though you pay for them to have a cell phone?  Ever wonder if they are where they should be?  Locate your child with these apps you can install on their phone.  Besides the obvious fact of seeing that they are where they should be, these apps allow them to check in when they arrive to their destination and can alert you when they are on the move.

If you have a locator app that you use, please let us know what you think about it.  As well an internet filter for phones.

Here are some apps I explored.  I am personally using the Android apps:

1. GPS Tracking Pro (Android and iOS)

This is a good, free app that tells me where my daughter is and sends me an email every time she leaves and arrives home.

Good stuff:

  • The App’s map shows icons of family and friends with their exact locations.
  • There is a panic button as well that will call/text/email everyone in the family and then brings up a button to dial 911
  • The GPS Tracking Pro App can also locate any phone that has been misplaced or stolen.
  • The website map also provides directions that can be printed to guide you to the destination.
  • A child can hit the “check in” button when they get to where they are supposed to be and you are notified.

Downside:

  • Does not offer parental restrictions (which means your kids can log out or delete the app.)  So, trust needs to be in place as well, but it’s a great bargaining factor especially since you are the ones paying for their ability to connect with all their friends at any time.

Cost:  Free (Premium version is $5/month)

 

2.  Footprints  (iOS app)

We don’t have iphones, so I can’t test this app, but here is what the website said.

Good stuff:

  • Let’s you set up Geofences, for instance, your child’s school.  You are notified when your child crosses these “fences.”
  • You can even activate “movement sensors” that will notify you each time your loved ones are on the move.
  • Offers parental control feature
  • Speeding notifications can alert parents when their teenagers go over the speed limit.

Cost:  3-months ($1.99), 1-year ($3.99) or 2-years ($5.99) PER PHONE

 3.  Find my phone  (iOS app)

Ron Uhland told me about this one. He uses it as he travels the world.  He can see where his wife before he calls.

Good stuff:

  • Locate your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac on a map
  • Display a custom message on the screen
  • Play a sound for two minutes at full volume (even if your device is set to silent)
  • Remotely lock your device

 & wipe your device to erase your personal data
  • Lost Mode (iOS 6 or later)
  • Driving directions to device location (iOS 6 or later)

Downside:

  • Does not offer parental restrictions

Cost:   Free

4.  NQ Family Guardian (Android Only)

This app is much more than just a locator tool.  This app is great for controlling and keeping an eye on almost everything your child does on their phone. There is an online dashboard where parents can view their child’s location, all their contacts, phone calls, text messages, web pages visited, and even photos they take!

Good stuff:

  • I can set a schedule when my daughter’s phone can be used.  I turned off the social networking apps from 10pm-7am.  I could even lock the phone all together or set up a schedule for web browsing or texting.
  • Logs all websites viewed and any which are blocked.
  • I can restrict and block apps, websites and even block contacts!
  • It even shows all the phone call logs and text messages to each contact!
  • Geofences.  This allows you to be alerted when they leave the set geophraphical areas you have set up.
  • Children need a password to access the app.
  • There is a panic button if they’re in danger.

 Downside:

  • It “does not block adult content on a non-pornographic webpages” such as youtube or google images.
  • It can be uninstalled without a password.
  • YOU CANNOT trust the browser blocker!  They have not perfected this.  For instance, the second time you try to access blocked content, it will let you.

Cost:  34.99/ year.  No monthly fee…

Stay tuned for content filter apps for phones…

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