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Staying On Top of Technology as a Parent


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I've heard too many stories like this lately.  A friend called me today and was upset because her son had been claiming his phone was lost, but she walked in on him in his room.  Surprise!  He had his phone all along.  He was using it for bad things.  :(  Her husband is very tech savvy, but some software changes were made to the boy's phone that decreased parental controls.  It's very discouraging.  They used to teach Internet safety classes - probably a decade ago. All that stuff is now obsolete.

My 13-year-old was just telling me he wants to buy a laptop with the money he earned, suggesting he give me the password so I can check his history.  I said, "How about I have the password and I log you on when I'm home?"  "WHAT?  NO!!!"  It's not that I think he has bad intentions, but he might fall into the trap.  I don't have time to be checking computer history.  I have three boys ages 16, 13, and 12.  It's not realistic to be sifting through their history.  I also have two little girls ages 7 and 19 months.  I'm so tired, I tried to unlock the front door today with my van remote.  Haha.  Ha.

Any experts with good ideas? Would something like Disney Circle show that there is a secret device connected to your WiFi?  One that is supposedly lost?  UGH.

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My oldest has an iPhone and we have an app that lets us lock it (so that only the alarm, the phone, and texting work).  He's on a schedule so we know when it's on it.  My husband also has it set up so that we get all of his text messages and all that he sends (including pictures).  

He also doesn't have access to our wi fi password so at least at home he can't connect to the internet.  

I don't think anything is fool proof though. :(

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No matter the hardship, or angry words...do what you must to protect your children. My son is is almost 40 knows how to disable or enable anything. It is profession, and I can ask him about any device. Computers, cell phones, iPad's, etc, the things that help adults in their daily lives pose more of a threat than almost anything we faced as children. It can bring anything or anyone into the home, and will if not monitored. 

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1 hour ago, MorningStar said:

I've heard too many stories like this lately.  A friend called me today and was upset because her son had been claiming his phone was lost, but she walked in on him in his room.  Surprise!  He had his phone all along.  He was using it for bad things.  :(  Her husband is very tech savvy, but some software changes were made to the boy's phone that decreased parental controls.  It's very discouraging.  They used to teach Internet safety classes - probably a decade ago. All that stuff is now obsolete.

My 13-year-old was just telling me he wants to buy a laptop with the money he earned, suggesting he give me the password so I can check his history.  I said, "How about I have the password and I log you on when I'm home?"  "WHAT?  NO!!!"  It's not that I think he has bad intentions, but he might fall into the trap.  I don't have time to be checking computer history.  I have three boys ages 16, 13, and 12.  It's not realistic to be sifting through their history.  I also have two little girls ages 7 and 19 months.  I'm so tired, I tried to unlock the front door today with my van remote.  Haha.  Ha.

Any experts with good ideas? Would something like Disney Circle show that there is a secret device connected to your WiFi?  One that is supposedly lost?  UGH.

Lost phone...call the cell phone provider and have the service turned off. So much for the phone is lost ruse.

You can manage your cell phones at your provider's website including perusing what numbers are called/texted, to and from. You can block numbers, if it comes to that. You can turn data services off, per phone line. Doing that, calls and texts still work. You can block texting. 

I like your idea of locking the 13 yr old down. Boohoo for him! 😂

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13 hours ago, saemo said:

Lost phone...call the cell phone provider and have the service turned off. So much for the phone is lost ruse.

You can manage your cell phones at your provider's website including perusing what numbers are called/texted, to and from. You can block numbers, if it comes to that. You can turn data services off, per phone line. Doing that, calls and texts still work. You can block texting. 

I like your idea of locking the 13 yr old down. Boohoo for him! 😂

Thanks!  :D  You can block him from using the data plan, but he wasn't blocked from accessing other WiFi.  They used to be able to do that before the software change. 

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15 hours ago, bluebell said:

My oldest has an iPhone and we have an app that lets us lock it (so that only the alarm, the phone, and texting work).  He's on a schedule so we know when it's on it.  My husband also has it set up so that we get all of his text messages and all that he sends (including pictures).  

He also doesn't have access to our wi fi password so at least at home he can't connect to the internet.  

I don't think anything is fool proof though. :(

Fortunately my kids were grown and on their own when the internet came along. There is nothing that is fool proof. So the best we as parents can do is teach therm correct principles and let them govern themselves. Plus keep them so distracted with school work, and work around the home, and good activities they are too tired to do much else. ;) 

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Best advice I ever heard is that children's  (age 0 - 18) computer use was done in an area where other family members can see it.

No computers in the bedroom, no closed doors, no computers where Mom and Dad and others can't see the screen.

 

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The phone might be the tool, bu there is something more important going on with your son - he lied to you.  That is far more important than what tools he is using in life.  If you can trust him, then he can have any tool he wants and you will still have confidence in him.  

There needs to be a, "Come to Jesus" meeting with your son to explain how serious a violation lying is in your relationship and its impact on so many other areas.  Discuss how to regain integrity, confidence, and trust in him again.  If he wants to be a young man of integrity where his word has value he needs to demonstrate that desire.  

What consequences are available now for his choice?  I think you can contact your service provider and lock his phone so that it will only call certain numbers - your phone and your spouse's for example, and nothing else will work.  All other numbers will be restricted and he will not be able call or receive phone calls until such time as he has regained a degree of trust.  There needs to be some weekly interviews to discuss his new way of living without technology and how he is learning to master it rather than the other way around.  

If you are successful with this you will have given him a gift that will last the rest of his life time.  Pretty powerful gift!

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2 hours ago, mnn727 said:

Best advice I ever heard is that children's  (age 0 - 18) computer use was done in an area where other family members can see it.

No computers in the bedroom, no closed doors, no computers where Mom and Dad and others can't see the screen.

 

I completely agree and this is our policy with computers. 

What makes smart phones so concerning is that they are essentially computers but it's not practical to say teenagers can only have or use their phone in an adult's presence. 

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1 hour ago, Storm Rider said:

The phone might be the tool, bu there is something more important going on with your son - he lied to you.  That is far more important than what tools he is using in life.  If you can trust him, then he can have any tool he wants and you will still have confidence in him.  

There needs to be a, "Come to Jesus" meeting with your son to explain how serious a violation lying is in your relationship and its impact on so many other areas.  Discuss how to regain integrity, confidence, and trust in him again.  If he wants to be a young man of integrity where his word has value he needs to demonstrate that desire.  

What consequences are available now for his choice?  I think you can contact your service provider and lock his phone so that it will only call certain numbers - your phone and your spouse's for example, and nothing else will work.  All other numbers will be restricted and he will not be able call or receive phone calls until such time as he has regained a degree of trust.  There needs to be some weekly interviews to discuss his new way of living without technology and how he is learning to master it rather than the other way around.  

If you are successful with this you will have given him a gift that will last the rest of his life time.  Pretty powerful gift!

Thanks!  :D  My friend's son is the one who lied.  My son (the same age) is the one asking for a laptop.  My kids aren't allowed to have cell phones.  I don't even own one.  But this is eye opening because I know sometimes friends will get upgrades and offer to sell a phone, iPod, etc. to their friends, which they buy without their parents knowing.  This is how porn made it to one of my boy's Scout Camps.  A couple of the other boys had devices their parents didn't know about and they contained some images that could be viewed offline.  I would like something that would show me if an unknown device were ever using our Wi-Fi. This would be good for other reasons too.  My parents were out of town when they got a message from Comcast saying they had downloaded something illegal.  They said, "No, we're not even in town."  Possibly a neighbor did it by hacking their Wi-Fi. 

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10 minutes ago, MorningStar said:

Thanks!  :D  My friend's son is the one who lied.  My son (the same age) is the one asking for a laptop.  My kids aren't allowed to have cell phones.  I don't even own one.  But this is eye opening because I know sometimes friends will get upgrades and offer to sell a phone, iPod, etc. to their friends, which they buy without their parents knowing.  This is how porn made it to one of my boy's Scout Camps.  A couple of the other boys had devices their parents didn't know about and they contained some images that could be viewed offline.  I would like something that would show me if an unknown device were ever using our Wi-Fi. This would be good for other reasons too.  My parents were out of town when they got a message from Comcast saying they had downloaded something illegal.  They said, "No, we're not even in town."  Possibly a neighbor did it by hacking their Wi-Fi. 

How did they have phones without their parents knowing??  They were secretly paying for their own data plans?  Did they buy the phones just for the images on them but not to be used as phones?  

Kids are crazy.

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14 minutes ago, MorningStar said:

Thanks!  :D  My friend's son is the one who lied.  My son (the same age) is the one asking for a laptop.  My kids aren't allowed to have cell phones.  I don't even own one.  But this is eye opening because I know sometimes friends will get upgrades and offer to sell a phone, iPod, etc. to their friends, which they buy without their parents knowing.  This is how porn made it to one of my boy's Scout Camps.  A couple of the other boys had devices their parents didn't know about and they contained some images that could be viewed offline.  I would like something that would show me if an unknown device were ever using our Wi-Fi. This would be good for other reasons too.  My parents were out of town when they got a message from Comcast saying they had downloaded something illegal.  They said, "No, we're not even in town."  Possibly a neighbor did it by hacking their Wi-Fi. 

Sorry for the confusion, I had read your post and then thought about it and came back and made a post and got the facts twisted - yes, this is a sign of old age.  

I think we teach integrity by allowing our children to demonstrate integrity rather than removing temptation or sanitizing environments.  Conversely, I also believe in consequences when our children fail.  It is this process of learning that they are empowered and gain an understanding of their own strength and weaknesses.  More importantly, they know how to stand on their own two feet, resist temptation, and make proper choices.  

I appreciate families that help teenagers to understand the pitfalls of playing those silly computer games for all hours of the day and night.  These teenagers know that computer games may be fun, but they have a responsibility to be productive and do activities that strengthen their bodies also.  

This is a great topic.  Thanks for bring it up.  I would allow your son to buy the computer with agreed upon uses and some of the dangers of the internet - how to handle unwanted sites or emails, etc.  that's my two cents. 

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I do not have kids and this is one of the rare times I am glad for that.

My parents thought they were on top of everything in the 90s with the protection they put on. Took me less then an hour to get around anything they put up and I was not even looking for porn. The stupid nanny software was blocking harmless stuff so I bypassed it.

I think my favorite net monitoring software was stuff they put on at work. It blocked anything having to do with drugs or heavy alcohol use. We work in drug and alcohol testing.

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20 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

Sorry for the confusion, I had read your post and then thought about it and came back and made a post and got the facts twisted - yes, this is a sign of old age.  

I think we teach integrity by allowing our children to demonstrate integrity rather than removing temptation or sanitizing environments.  Conversely, I also believe in consequences when our children fail.  It is this process of learning that they are empowered and gain an understanding of their own strength and weaknesses.  More importantly, they know how to stand on their own two feet, resist temptation, and make proper choices.  

I appreciate families that help teenagers to understand the pitfalls of playing those silly computer games for all hours of the day and night.  These teenagers know that computer games may be fun, but they have a responsibility to be productive and do activities that strengthen their bodies also.  

This is a great topic.  Thanks for bring it up.  I would allow your son to buy the computer with agreed upon uses and some of the dangers of the internet - how to handle unwanted sites or emails, etc.  that's my two cents. 

I do think sometimes we probably try to control our kids environment too much so that it's not possible for them to choose badly, thinking that if we can just keep them from something for their teenage years then we are home free. 

You are right though in that we have to teach them how to have access to temptation and still say no. Exactly the best way to do that is up for debate. It's SO hard to know what the right thing is sometimes!

I have a friend who's husband never saw any porn at all growing up but sought it out out of curiosity after he was married. He was a very spiritual guy doing everything right at the time. Eventually he became addicted and had multiple affairs. 

They are putting their life back together and he is repenting and doing well. It just goes to show that the desire not to look has to come from inside the person and can't be imposed. 

Of course I still think it's important to do all we can to minimize our kids ability to get involved in all that crud!

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

How did they have phones without their parents knowing??  They were secretly paying for their own data plans?  Did they buy the phones just for the images on them but not to be used as phones?  

Kids are crazy.

Correct.  They weren't using them for phones.  If they find a place with free WiFi, then they can download stuff. 

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IME, the best way to protect the kids is to block all the ads.   That doesn't stop them reaching a site they seek.   But it does prevent something untoward being offered to them.   Too bad no one has invented an app that loudly plays a silly song when the site is inapproprriate.  They can get there, but everyone around them knows they are where they don't belong.

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2 minutes ago, rpn said:

IME, the best way to protect the kids is to block all the ads.   That doesn't stop them reaching a site they seek.   But it does prevent something untoward being offered to them.   Too bad no one has invented an app that loudly plays a silly song when the site is inapproprriate.  They can get there, but everyone around them knows they are where they don't belong.

Hey...that would definitely work!

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56 minutes ago, rpn said:

IME, the best way to protect the kids is to block all the ads.   That doesn't stop them reaching a site they seek.   But it does prevent something untoward being offered to them.   Too bad no one has invented an app that loudly plays a silly song when the site is inapproprriate.  They can get there, but everyone around them knows they are where they don't belong.

Thanks!  Just did an Adblock on Chrome.  My boys use that all the time. 

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I do think sometimes we probably try to control our kids environment too much so that it's not possible for them to choose badly, thinking that if we can just keep them from something for their teenage years then we are home free. 

You are right though in that we have to teach them how to have access to temptation and still say no. Exactly the best way to do that is up for debate. It's SO hard to know what the right thing is sometimes!

I have a friend who's husband never saw any porn at all growing up but sought it out out of curiosity after he was married. He was a very spiritual guy doing everything right at the time. Eventually he became addicted and had multiple affairs. 

They are putting their life back together and he is repenting and doing well. It just goes to show that the desire not to look has to come from inside the person and can't be imposed. 

Of course I still think it's important to do all we can to minimize our kids ability to get involved in all that crud!

Parenting is tough.  The challenge is trying to teach correct principles - that they understand why something is bad and choose not to do it.  I still like reading "fairy tales" to family.  They teach simple concepts of right and wrong.  A few books I recommend for this are:  "The Book of Man: Readings on the path to Manhood", "The Children's Book of Virtues", and "The Book of Virtues" all by William J Bennett.  These all excellent and help instill morals that will benefit all humans from small children to old people.  

Our Father in Heaven put us on this earth and left us to the buffetings of Satan for a reason.  I think our own parenting should align with his example and in keeping with what he is taught us about our own responsibilities.  We can never sanitize the world enough that we prevent our children from knowing sin, but we can teach them to be of strong character and know why choosing the right will save them a great deal of heartache and sorrow.  

My daughter called me today and shared a situation with a friend of hers.  This young lady grew up strong in the Church and has a wonderful testimony and spiritual way about her. She married a young man and they got married in the temple, but the marriage did not work.  She divorced him after they had two children.  She then married another fellow, but this guy was not in the Church.  One thing leads to another and now she does not attend church and wonders if she ever really had a testimony of the restoration of the gospel.  She is hurting and knows what she should do, but is confused now that the path she knows will bring her happiness is a path that also returns her to the Church.  She is really confused.

My response was that too often Satan is able to enroll individuals into looking at everything except Jesus Christ and his gospel.  They want to dissect Church history, the sayings of the prophets that are not doctrine, and on and on.  Each person that Satan wins to look everywhere but Christ can eventually be led away from the Church of Jesus Christ and into a life of unhappiness and sorrow.  

Choices matter and our children need to understand that a choice today may eventually lead to an eternity of heartache and a mortal life of sadness.  We have to do better to prepare our children to face down the buffetings of Satan and recognize his ways.  They need to choose righteousness for the right reasons - we have to give them those reasons. 

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4 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Thanks!  :D  My friend's son is the one who lied.  My son (the same age) is the one asking for a laptop.  My kids aren't allowed to have cell phones.  I don't even own one.  But this is eye opening because I know sometimes friends will get upgrades and offer to sell a phone, iPod, etc. to their friends, which they buy without their parents knowing.  This is how porn made it to one of my boy's Scout Camps.  A couple of the other boys had devices their parents didn't know about and they contained some images that could be viewed offline.  I would like something that would show me if an unknown device were ever using our Wi-Fi. This would be good for other reasons too.  My parents were out of town when they got a message from Comcast saying they had downloaded something illegal.  They said, "No, we're not even in town."  Possibly a neighbor did it by hacking their Wi-Fi. 

You can, by logging into your modem/switch. 

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I dealt with this years ago with a daughter. I attended this night for parents thing the local police (internet task force), where they showed us what they were dealing with, with child predators. Yikes! I came home determined! 

I work in IT so the poor kid didn't stand a chance. Ha. If I were the parent of a youngster today, I'd invest in a firewall that has robust reporting. Ain't nothing getting snuck behind your back, at your home, that way. 

I'd also google what the kids are googling, like, how to hide you internet activity from your parents. Little scully wags!

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And! I'd have a family sit down and explain a) free downloads of movies (any kind including porn) is stealing. Which is a violation of God's commandments. B) sneaking behind your parents back is not in their best interest. You love them and have their best interests up front at all times. Strangers on the internet do not!  C) never trust that a stranger on the Internet is presenting themselves honestly.  D) never give out personal information and f) never agree to meet up with a person you've never met who has taken a strong interest in you. G)) discuss penalties for doing any of the above. 

 

That's my two cents. 

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I frequently log into my router and block any unknown device. My 17 year old has snuck in multiple devices over the years. He has a major problem with honesty and doesn't seem to respond to anything we've tried or learn much from the results of his lies, so we've had to do all sorts of junk on our end to verify things he tells us. It sucks. We've tried to teach him, but he's given us the proverbial flip off with most everything, church included.

If your kiddo wants and can afford his own laptop, great! But if he wants to access the internet (which I assume you pay for), then I'd have him sign a contract with you agreeing to certain rules - including that you are the admin on the machine, that you know the password, that the machine is only used in public areas of the house, and that you have the right - at any time - to log in. And I would use some sort of firewall/filtering system. My very tech-savvy brother recommended https://koalasafe.com to me, but we haven't had an opportunity to purchase it yet.

You are still the parent. I wish more parents would set up rules with their kiddos use of technology.

 

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I read an article the other day that was discussing young men whose teenage years coincided with the sharp rise of high speed internet pornography...its pretty bad.  I don't think we've fully seen the horrific consequences of this thing yet.  Monitoring is good, but I think parents above all need to sit down and have one of those awkward, uncomfortable discussions with their kids and make sure there is no misunderstanding.  "The talk" for me consisted of my dad sitting me down and telling me that sex was only ok between two married people.  That was it.  Big mistake, and one I fear families in the church are continuing to make.  

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