I am grateful to Patti M. Zordich, Ph.D., author of the book OMG! Online with Mercy and Grace, for sharing the following guest article. LMH
“Slightly more than 1/3 of youth surveyed were exposed to unwanted sexual material while online” according to a 2006 Report From The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children.
“Three-fourths of American teenagers say they've been bullied online, but only one in ten tells their parents,” according to a new survey by UCLA, October 2008.
“77% of the targets for online predators were age 14 or older. Another 22% were users ages 0 – 13” according to a recent report by Crimes Against Children.
We all hear these statistics, but the truth is that keeping your family safe while using a computer, cell phone, tablet a bit is a bit overwhelming, to say the least. If you're like most parents, you might have installed parenting monitoring software or set restrictions on your children's social media. Even though you know deep down this isn't enough, you just don't know what else to do.
In order to make it easier for you and your children to use technology more safely I've written OMG! Online with Mercy & Grace™: Keeping Your Family Safe on the Internet. In OMG! I've provided step-by-step detailed instructions for providing multiple layers of safety, so you can trust your children are safe.
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Blessed John Paul II
One of the Evil One’s favorite avenues for attacking humanity is the family and his most popular entree into the family right now is, you guessed it - technology. He knows how just alluring it is to children and adults alike. He also knows how easily this allure creates many serious problems that wreak havoc in families like a tornedo leaving wreckage in it's wake.
- Internet Pornography
- Teen Sexting
- Human Trafficking
- Gaming Addiction
- Shopping Addiction
- Distracted Driving – texting and talking on cell phones while driving
I'm sad to say that this list isn't exhaustive.
Brian Gail, Catholic author of the novels, Motherless, Fatherless and Childless, proposed the following as the Evil One’s accomplishments in this realm to date:
- Through the Industrial Revolution he pulled fathers and husbands away from the family;
- Through the Cultural Revolution he pulled mothers and wives away from the family;
- Now, through the Technological Revolution he is pulling children away from the home.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I love the ease with which it allows me to keep in contact with my loved ones and with those whom I play and work. I work hard and play hard on my cell phone. I enjoy love Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. It's great having just about any information I need at my fingertips.
Technology is a beautiful thing and provides many blessings, but, like with anything positive, it has a downside. Unless you choose to disengage totally from society, your children are going to be on the internet and on cell phones. They may have a game system. You might have a game system! If your family doesn't have one, your children's will have access to a system while visiting a friend or family member.
What are responsible, caring parents to do? My recommendation is to stay mindful of the dangers while allowing your family members limited access.
Think of it this way. Most parents have taken their toddlers to the pool at least once. We all know what a dangerous place a pool can be for toddlers. Despite the dangers, most parents don’t want to deprive their kiddos the joy of playing in the kiddie pool. Instead, parents take safety precautions by providing layers of safety. These layers might include floaties, never leaving the child unattended, containing the child in the shallow area, reminding them to walk instead of running, giving them swim lessons, etc.
Technology is like the pool. We can allow our children access while providing layers of safety.
In my new e-Book, OMG! Online with Mercy and Grace:™ Keeping Your Family Safe On the Internet I offer 6 layers of safety for keeping your family safe while using technology.
Here are the Layers of Safety™:
First and foremost, be a Love First Family. Nurture caring, understanding, encouraging relationships with each of your children. Being a Love First Family is the first line of defense against negative outside influences such as technology. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that as the Domestic Church families are called to be the “human space” in which your children encounter Christ on a daily basis.
Second, Parenting Rules & Guidelines. Your children need you to be the boss in your family. You as parents determine the limits you will set for your family's technology use and then you you stand by those limits.
The third layer is physical space. No computers or devices behind closed doors, when no adult is around and after bedtime.
The fourth layer is hardware privacy and safety settings. Create Administrator Accounts on your computers and laptops and separate User Accounts for the children. This way you can enable privacy, security and parent controls on the actual device and your children won’t be able to change them.
The Fifth layer of the Layers of Safety™ is to choose and install software for filtering and blocking inappropriate internet material, etc.
Sixth, set privacy settings on each social network and other platforms that you allow your children to join.
These tasks can be daunting, I know. That's why I've created my e-Book, OMG! Online with Mercy and Grace:™ Keeping Your Family Safe On the Internet It is full of specific detailed instructions for completing each of the Layers of Safety™ and insuring your family members' safety on computers, game systems and mobile devices. And because it is an e-Book, it is filled with live links directing you to the resources I describe and recommend.
You can purchase a copy of my book OMG! Online with Mercy & Grace™: Keeping Your Family Safe on the Internet by going to my store at http://www.trypsych.com/product/keeping-family-safe-internet/ or by clicking here.
Patti M. Zordich, Ph.D. Is a licensed psychologist, mother and wife in Cary, NC. Her passion is helping build stronger families through the integration of the Catholic Faith and psychology. You can learn more about being a love first family by checking out her blog at www.trypsych.com/drpattisblog, ollowing her on twitter.com/lovefirstfamily, or liking her Facebook page community for committed to building stronger families at Facebook.com/BuildingStrongerFamilies. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.380.1000.
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Copyright 2014 Lisa M. Hendey
About the Author
Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at LisaHendey.com or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Visit Lisa's author page on Amazon.com.