Desktops & Laptops

These are the easiest to manage both physical access and online availability.

  • Place them in public places (kitchen, living room).
  • Create separate user accounts for kids, shared or separate accounts for older kids.
  • Do not let  your kids be the administrator, even if you need their help! You keep the administrator password. If you need their help, you type it in and then let them do what is needed.
  • Use Parental Controls when available to set access times (no midnight logins!)

Finally, use content filtering software. This software uses both key words and known bad sites to block content by type (web, chat, file sharing, etc…) and category (drugs, sexuality, etc…) Examples are:

iPod/PDA

Newer versions of both accountability and content filtering software work on these devices.

  • iPods have parental controls to disable the browser (Safari) and YouTube. Then install K9 from the App Store.
  • For Android, install K9 from the Google Play Store. After it is installed, use the app setup to force the device to use K9 as the browser and to disable the YouTube app.
  • Do not give your child their own iTunes or AppStore account. (Financial control brings accountability)
  • Setup access controls on your wireless router so they cannot access the internet at night.

Cell Phones

Many cell phones are smart phones, make sure you know if your phone has wireless capability. If so, follow iPod/PDA information in Ipods/PDA.

Every major carrier has parental control features. Talk to your provider about features like:

  • Set times the phone can be used.
  • Control who can call the number or send texts.
  • Detailed logging of texts and calls.
  • Setup a a charging station for phones to be placed in when at home, especially during dinner. All phones will be at the charging station at night. Use the evening to check texting.

Regarding the invasive nature of technology

A new feature has been implemented in these devices. When placed in “O-F-F” mode, all techie devices will lay dormant. If your device is lacking this easy-to-use control, the following modes also work:
•unplugged from the wall
•battery removed
•locked in the glove compartment
Any of these modes will leave your dinner/weekend/vacation undisturbed.

Practically, for me this means turning off wifi on my tablet for my quiet time, Sunday mornings and small group.

These devices all came powered off when we got them, and we still have that control over them today.