7 tips to keep your kids safe on mobile devices.

My last post was about keeping kids safe online but dealt more with computer based safety. The web is moving more and more towards mobile devices every year. From ipods to nintendo dsi’s, when you hand your child an internet enabled device without proper boundaries you are foolish.

  • 52% of nine year olds and 95% of 15 year olds have a mobile phone
  • By 2020 most of us will connect to the internet via our mobile devices

Mobile internet Tips for parents

  • Create a Parent / Child Acceptable Use Contract
  • Phones remain in kitchen at night to charge
  • Review phone logs at random, look for gaps in time
  • Get a paper bill and review the numbers called and texts sent
  • Get a web filter for your child’s mobile device.
  • Have family rules for daily, monthly and yearly mobile free times.
  • Have a zero tolerance policy for texting and driving.
Here are a couple of mobile software sites you need to take a look at.

Websafety.com

What makes websafety unique?

Message Monitoring
You will be notified when there is a dangerous message including sexting, pedophilia, cyber-bullying, suicide, drug, or gun talk.
Virtual Fence
Setup unlimited virtual fences and be notified when your child enters or leaves these perimeters. Perfect for working parents with “latch-key kids.”
No Texting and Driving
Revolutionary, patent-pending technology stops texting while driving; passengers can ask parents for permission! Easy to turn off and back on remotely.

Speed Alert
If your child goes over the set speed limit you will be notified instantly.

No Texting Zones
Block text messaging while in certain pre-defined zones, such as at school, in church or at work.

Location History
View recent history of where your child has been.

Contact Lists
Setup safe numbers for family and close friends, alternatively add numbers to the banned list.

Porn Filter
Stop pornography from being viewed on the phone’s internet browser.

If my kids were old enough to be cell phone users this would be a no brainer.

Another site that offers parents monitoring software is Mobile Spy.

Screen SMS messages

Records every SMS message sent or received.

GPS tracking
Tracks GPS position at any interval you select

Call monitoring
Logs all inbound and outbound phone calls.

Photo and video monitoring
Records photos and videos taken by the phone.

One of the push backs many parents and EVERY kid will have is this what about privacy. My kids will not have any privacy there are just to many dangers out there with mobile technology. If my kids get upset over monitoring software on their phone I’ll remind them they are lucky they have a door to their room. Parents if your kid has a cell phone don’t trust them, protect them.

 Here is a couple of other links to mobile safety software.

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

http://togetherville.com/

http://www.websafety.com/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123238632055894993.html

http://enough.org/inside.php?id=2UXKJWRY8

4 reasons NOT to send your kids to Public school

Here are the reasons that should make you think twice before sending your kids to public school

1. Class size – Public school is publicly funded so it is the default choice of many. As a result there are more kids per grade than Christian and Homeschool. It is not even an option for even the best of teachers to give the individual attention your child could get at a Christian School or if you Homeschooled.

2. Wasted time –
Being in a large group you inevitably wait for the kid that is the slowest in everything from lunch to class work. This leads to kids who are quick learners and eaters to have extra time to either be bored or to fill it with less than noble actions. (How do I know this I was a quick eater and quick learner)

3. Lack of personal connections –
Again with so many kids in their care schools have to take measures to maintain safety. Any time you gain safety you give up freedom. I find it difficult to let my son walk to his Kindergarten class by himself and never have a chance to get to know his teacher or allow her to know us. We have gone out of our way to know his teacher and she has gone out of her way to know us but it hasn’t been easy.

4. You don’t know what they teach –
It is difficult not knowing what curriculum is used but also not knowing what frame of reference a teacher may have. There are many great teachers but a bad teacher can have long term effects that are very difficult to recover from. Sort of connected to this is a huge pet peeve of mine politicians who force teachers in New York  to teach for the test. Because teachers have to do this it makes it difficult to create a lifelong love of learning in kids. I hate that.

Be Attitudes Revisited: BE SAFE

This week I am going to be going into our Be Attitudes which are the values that we need to live and breath each weekend.

Our Be Attitudes for Uptown are:
BE SAFE
BE COURTEOUS
BE ENGAGING
BE CONSISTENT

Today I want to talk about safety. When working with kids you can never be to safe. My perspective is safety has to be paramount in all we do. If Parents don’t feel their kid will be safe they will not bring them if kids do not feel safe they won’t stay. If kids don’t come or won’t stay nothing we do matters life change in our context will not happen.

I thought I would post what some of our safety procedures are and could feedback as to what you guys do or don’t do.

1. Check-in – We use Fellowship One. I researched all the church databases out there on the market a few years ago and Fellowship One was just getting started but were already BY FAR the most kid focused/ kid safe program out there. Each family each week gets a randomly generated alpha numeric code printed on a sticker that the parents have to match to the kiddo sticker. Very safe and very fast.

2. In the hall. No person is allowed in the wing were our kids classes take place without a Fellowship One name-tag. The only people that are allowed are approved volunteers, children of the appropriate age and parents.

3. All workers must fill out an application and have a background check performed.

4. We never change diapers or assist kids in the bathroom.

5. Kids are not allowed to leave their environment until a parent or guardian picks up their child by displaying their matching name-tag code.

PARENT RECEIPT
Picture 1

CHILD NAMETAG
Picture 2

6. We do tours for adults wishing to see our children’s ministry environments AFTER all the kiddos are gone.

7. If we ever need to page parents we text them using our churches Google voice account.

Some people have not liked these changes. But I am committed more than ever to BE SAFE.

Your turn. What do you do or would suggest we do to keep our kiddos safe.