10 proven ways to keep kids safe online.

One of the posts I like to do from time to time is a post on keeping kids safe online. The internet is an incredible tool but it can and has done incredible damage. One of the most dangerous and most helpful characteristics of parents is they always believe the best in their kids. It’s dangerous because we overlook obvious warning signs because “our kids would never do that”. Our hearts tell us our kids would never see stuff or be pulled into stuff on-line but statistics tell us different.

Here are a few statistics about online safety and kids from enough.org


  • K-1st grade students access the Internet using various devices for a variety of purposes, including playing online games and communicating with other people. Online gaming is increasingly popular among younger students. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 48 percent of students K-1st grade level interact with people on Web sites, while 50 percent show that their parents watch them when they use a computer, leaving the other half of those youngsters more prone to being exposed to predation behaviors or other threats posed by online strangers or even persons they know or regard as friends. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 48 percent of K-1st reported viewing online content that made them feel uncomfortable, of which 72 percent reported the experience to a grownup, meaning that one in four children did not. (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2008)
  • 32 percent of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 16 percent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 63 percent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 43 percent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 11 percent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 52 percent of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline including personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves (24 percent). Double the number of teen girls have shared photos or physical descriptions of themselves online as boys. (34 percent girls vs. 15 percent boys) (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)

You ask yourself what can I do about it? Here are 10 proven way you can keep your kids safe online.

The 10 Commandments of online safety for kids.

1. Thou shalt put the computer in a very public place
2. Remember thy password and keep it holy
3. Know thy children’s friends, buddies
4. Remember thy monitoring software and keep it active
5. Thou Shalt not allow thy children to post any graven images (photos) without thy permission
6. Thou shalt not allow any contact information to ever be given out
7. Thou shalt forbid any meeting in person with online buddies
8. Remember to check thy child’s history
9. Though shalt create a separate log in for each child (on a macon those other computers)
10. Thou shalt not close your eyes and hope for the best http://www.safetyweb.com/

Resources to help you keep your kids safe online





7 Ways Orange Conference is different from other conferences

There are a lot of great conferences out there. People ask me all the time what conference they should go to. I never recommend a conference across the board because I feel each conference has a unique purpose.

If you were to ask me why you should go to the Orange Conference that’s a different question.

What makes Orange Conference Unique

1. They have breakouts for Children’s, Youth, and Senior leaders
2. They have resources but the conference is more about a philosophy than about their curriculum
3. They have a lot of sharp young leaders on their team that are pushing the innovation envelope all the time.
4. If you are looking for ways to connect with parents this is the conference for you.
5. Of all the kidmin conferences I’ve been to they do the best with the Large stage portion
6. I have gone the last three years and every year I have really enjoyed the Keynotes. I love how they put people on stage many kids pastors would be able to hear.
7. Every year Andy Stanley talks – You don’t get that at any other kidmin conference.

Which conference is the greatest?

Tomorrow I will go into more detail about why I think Orange Conference is unique but today I want to touch on something that I have noticed out there I call “conference supremacy.” It seems in my experience that some conference goers feel that the conference they attend is the only conference that should be out there. I disagree wholeheartedly. I may have a conference or conferences that I prefer, I however am grateful at the many options out there.

Cliff and I had a conversation the other day about how cool it was that there were so many options of conferences and how each one is unique in its own way. He wrote a great blog post about it today.

The one conference he doesn’t mention that I will be at this year is Napkin –

What makes Napkin unique

1. It’s put on my a local church. I am a huge believer in the local church.
2. Every single speaker currently serves on the staff of a local church
3. Napkin is about making big ideas a reality.
4. The format is smaller and fosters a collaborative feel
5. I have known Pastor Benny for 15 years and respect the heck out of him.
6. I get to meet Dave “The Legend” Wakerley. Very excited.

Cliff is much smarter than I am so instead of trying to duplicate what he said here is the link to his post today.


Orange Week: Best Breakout Speaker Doug Fields

I used a different strategy in picking my breakouts at orange last year. I picked my breakouts based on what who was doing them not based on what the topic was about. As a result I picked two youth pastor small groups. One of those was by Doug Fields I had heard him do a general session at Orange in 2010 and he was phenomenal.

As a kids pastor going into a session that is full of youth pastors it can be a bit intimidating. I did my best to act cool and make Lady Ga-Ga jokes till the session started.

The session started and was easily one of the best sessions I’ve been to at orange. Doug Fields was fantastic here are some of the things that really rang true for me.

We do the possible God does the impossible –

Spiritual growth has to be own your own. – we get kids connected to a program and a person.

Reproducible discipleship is relational-based.

1 person can’t disciple everyone – Raise the value of your volunteers – If you want to be effective you need to spend time with leaders and with parents

Failure, doubt and pain paves the way to spiritual growth – Don’t protect your kids from these things walk with them through them.

Discipled student can disciple other kids.


Visionaries of teenage spiritual growth

Discipleship isn’t a home run every time just consistent singles.

Examples of spiritual growth. – Kids don’t remember your messages they remember you. (This is so true)

Transparent with our personal journey.

Relational in our approach.

If you move from tenderness to having a hard heart you have lost touch with kids.

Every kid is hurting somewhere.

Motivate and support a climate of spiritual conversations

Go small. – the only people who like big are pastors. – Kids don’t grow in big meetings they grow in small groups.

Create and distribute spiritual growth resources. – Fill up their toolboxes.

If kids are not asking bible questions they aren’t reading their bible.