At Harvest Bible Chapel we continue to be blessed with a church full of children. Every Sunday the rooms are flooded with these precious gifts from God and as a parent we understand the importance of keeping them safe. In today’s digital world it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain the boundaries you’ve established for safety in your home. Take a look at some of these alarming statistics:
- Americans aged 13 to 18 spend more than 72 hours a week using electronic media – defined as Internet, cell phones, television, music and video games.
- 87% of all teens are online.
- The average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
- Only 3% of adult sites require age verification.
Do you know what your kids may be doing online? This e-book from Covenant Eyes will help you navigate the dangers found in online interactions and help you teach your kids safety and integrity online.
1. Password protect your cable/satellite: This is usually a 4 digit pin code that you setup on your box. You can setup rules based on the tv/movie rating. We recommend blocking R and M ratings to start with and then make additional decisions based on the age level of your kids.
2. Keep the computer in an open area with high traffic. Do not allow computer access in your child’s bedroom. This would also apply to gaming consoles. Consider password protecting your computer profile so that they can’t login without your approval.
3. Set up a daily schedule for computer/console use and enforce it. The latest Windows operating systems come with built-in parental controls that allow you to create a profile for each child and setup when they can log in, what programs they can use, and even what websites they can visit. It can be set so that only specific websites that you approve can be visited and no others.
4. If your child has a smartphone you can install low cost apps that monitor their internet usage and also what apps they install. The app will send you a weekly email listing all internet activity and apps installed. We recommend x3watch or Covenant Eyes which is compatible with apple and android devices:X3Watch - Covenant Eyes
5. Setup parental controls on your gaming consoles:
Playstation: The Sony PlayStation® systems include parental control settings that restrict the playing of content with parental control restrictions (such as game or video content) or the use of the Internet. You can adjust these settings so that content intended for mature audiences cannot be viewed by children. PS3- PS4Xbox: The Xbox console lets you customize and manage your family's access to games, movies and television content. The Xbox parental controls can be used to control the console itself and access to Xbox LIVE. Parental controls allow you control things such as:
- Which games can be played.
- Which movies and TV shows can be watched.
- How long each family member can use the console on a daily or weekly basis.
- Whether or not someone can access Xbox LIVE.
Xbox 360 - Xbox One Wii: Parental Controls allow you to block specific features using a four digit PIN. Other features are automatically blocked once Parental Controls are enabled. The following can be blocked:
- Access to Wii Software
- Viewing of certain content that is not subjected to game rating
- Exchange of user-generated content
- Use of points
6. Install Internet Filters & Monitors on all computers and smart phones. Third Party software can be installed to help protect against pornography. X3Watch, mentioned above for its smartphone app, also has computer software available. They have a free version that simply monitors all internet traffic and sends a weekly email of questionable sites to accountability partners that you set up. It will also notify the accountability partners if you uninstall the software. For $7 a month you can purchase their Pro version (highly recommended). This can be installed on up to 10 computers and has more options that include the ability to block inappropriate sites, searches, YouTube videos, and more. It can even send text alerts to your accountability partners. http://www.x3watch.com
7. Covenant Eyes works similarly to X3Watch with options for accountability and monitoring. They offer single user or family plans and there is no limit on the number of devices you can install the software on. Visit www.covenanteyes.com for more information.