Internet Safety for the Family
Modern technology has changed the way we do business, the way we gather information, the way we communicate, and to some extent, the way we entertain ourselves. It also now poses a significant challenge to parents’ efforts to safeguard their kids and teens from harmful influences.
As we seek to raise up kids to know, love and serve Jesus, the issue of misusing technology is huge. To help ensure that you and your family are guarded against inappropriate material or contact, consider taking the following steps: establish family guidelines for internet and cell phone use; purchase reliable internet filtering software; periodically review what sites have been accessed and with whom your child is in contact, both online and via cell phone; and consult media assessment tools.
You and your family can develop a plan to keep your communications safe and honoring to God. The following resources provide some guidelines:
- Enough Is Enough, whose mission is “Make the Internet Safer for Children and Families”
- Safe Eyes, where you can find PowerPoint presentations on internet safety as well as a list of internet safety resources.
- Net Nanny, which provides a learning center with online safety tips, resources, and a list of family-safe sites.
- All Pro Dad has a list of Facebook safety guidelines, as well as a variety of other helpful articles.
- Focus on the Family has a page of excellent resources on protecting your family, including “Tech Support for Families,” with guidelines for cell phone and internet use.
Parents, do you know how to track what internet sites have been visited on your home computer? It’s important to know what your children are seeing and interacting with on the internet. Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading independent nonprofit advocating for kids, provides a good explanation of internet filters.
The ISP and filters listed below have been recommended to us over time. We recommend that you look carefully at each to find the product that best suits your needs.
The recent teen phenomenon of “sexting” has enormous implications – social, spiritual, personal, and legal – for our children. Simply, sexting is sending a sexually inappropriate message, and often times a sexually suggestive picture, via text message on a cell phone. In other words, just watching what your children do online isn’t enough. Research shows that over 33% of kids have received a sext message, 11% have taken a naked picture of themselves with a cell phone, and 20% of teens have been pressured by their boyfriend/girlfriend to take a naked photo.
Find a Christian perspective on sexting from the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. This article is from 2008, so while it may state some grim statistics, the current statistics are even worse. Near the end of the article is good advice for parents on how to handle this issue.
Mobile phone company LG Electronics has created a website called TextED to help parents better understand texting and how it relates to their kids.
Media Assessment Tools
There are many resources to help you monitor and evaluate the movies, music, DVDs and video games that affect your kids and their friends, including:
- Focus on The Family’s Plugged In, which reviews movies, TV, radio and video games
- The Source for Youth Ministry, which also provides a lot of resources and information
You can keep track of trends in social networking, media and music and youth culture through these internet services:
And don’t overlook books which can help you understand these challenges.
- Ron Luce’s ReCreate: Building A Culture In Your Home Stronger Than the Culture Destroying Your Kids. Regal Books, 2008.
- James Stever’s The Other Parent: the Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children, published by Fireside Books, 2003.
- Quentin J. Schultze, Winning Your Kids Back from the Media, published by InterVarsity Press, 1994.
- Christopher Lane’s Parenting by Remote Control: How to Make the Media Work for Rather Than Against Your Family. Vine Books, 1991.
The Moody Church and Moody Church Media encourages all parents to carefully examine each of the resources listed in this brochure to determine their suitability for use.
The resources listed here are not endorsed or sponsored by The Moody Church, Moody Church Media or their leadership; nor does The Moody Church and Moody Church Media guarantee their reliability or efficacy or provide any assistance with installation.
Any questions or concerns must be directed to the resource providers, not The Moody Church or Moody Church Media.
The Moody Church and Moody Church Media assume no responsibility for the use of or any difficulties resulting from the installation of these resources.