Practical Recomendations for Protecting Your Family

 

  • Filter the house’s wifi network (and all of its connected devices) with a “whole house” filter.The following services can be used to filter your entire house (from your wifi router). Any device connecting to your wifi router will be filtered using these services:
  • Make sure no traceable personal information is given out online. Explain to your family that passwords should never be shared with friends.
  • Accountability/Awareness:
    • If your child has a social media account (not recommended for children and teenagers), be aware of what they are posting or viewing online.
    • Spend time with your children — know what they are doing. Talk with them and ask them to show you how their devices work.
    • Beware of multiple email accounts: some children keep two email accounts, one the parents know about and one they don’t. Make sure the account they show you is the one currently being used.
    • Use split passwords (husband/wife) for filter setups (and overrides) as well as administrator login accounts on your computers.
  • In your home, keep the computers always in a public place, avoid laptops and smart phones or other portable devices with internet connections.
  • We recommend not giving smart phones or other portable devices with internet connections to children under 18.
  • If there are portable devices in the house, only allow a hard wired connection in the main public area of the home (not a wireless connection).
  • Sundays: When children are young, consider teaching them to put all portable devices  in the parents’ room to avoid the temptation of using them on the Lord’s Day.
  • If purchasing online, look for an option to request no Sunday deliveries.  Instructions for making this request on Amazon.com may be found here.
  • Don’t depend on browser history — it can be easily deleted or modified.
  • Set time constraints where applicable (most filters provide this function)
  • Some filters provide a whitelist function (a list of specific sites approved for access) – use this for young children.

I just bought a new…

Did you just buy a new computer? laptop? cellphone? iPad? or e-reader? Review the categories below (organized by system) for tips and useful information that can help you quickly determine the best method of protecting you and your family members from harmful internet content:

Mobile Devices

Android Devices (Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Google phones/tablets)
  1. Check out the Five Minute Fixes — a quick way of putting some basic controls in place.
  2. Add one of these recommended internet filtering products:
  3. Install AppLock to disable undesirable phone applications (Guide to Installing an AppLock).
  4. Covenant Eyes can be used as an internet accountability package.
  5. Consider adding OpenDNS protection to your device by installing the Set DNS application. This will allow you to use the domain name server (DNS) settings from OpenDNS which can be set up to block many offensive or dangerous sites. Using the Set DNS application requires that your device be rooted.
Apple iOS Devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
  1. Check out the Five Minute Fixes — a quick way of putting some basic controls in place.
  2. Add one of the recommended internet filtering products:
  3. Covenant Eyes can be used as an internet accountability package (direct link to app in iOS app store).
E-Readers (Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook)
  • Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire HD is a difficult device to filter and therefore we concur with the statement (from “Protect Young Eyes”) that the Kindle Fire HD is not a good choice for children.  Following are notes on various aspects of the Kindle Fire:

  • This page contains information showing how to implement filtering for the “Silk” web browser used on Kindle devices. The Amazon App Store also includes both a free and premium version of Qustodio, providing a recommended solution both web filtering and monitoring reports.
  • The Kindle is offered for a lower cost with “special offers” (advertisements) that show up in various places and often have objectionable or undesirable content.  Paying the extra $15 to have them removed is highly recommended.
  • The Kindle does offer a lock screen with a PIN to prevent unauthorized use.
  • There are also a number of parental controls functions that can be set to require a password (WiFi, web browser, email, camera, Amazon stores, video playback, purchase, etc.) as well as specific types of content that can be restricted (newsstand, books, documents, music, videos, apps/games, etc.)  Use of these parental controls is also highly recommended.
  • Finally, there is a default “app” called FreeTime that allows individualized restrictions for different users.  It is designed to allow different levels of access for different children, but we have not tested or evaluated its effectiveness.

 

  • Parental control and filtering information for more devices will be added in the future.

Desktop/Laptop Computers

Microsoft Windows Devices (Systems from HP, Dell, Lenovo)
  1. Check out the Five Minute Fixes — a quick way of putting some basic controls in place.
  2. Add one of the recommended internet filtering products:
  3. Covenant Eyes can be used as an internet accountability package.
  4. Review Microsoft Family Safety for Windows 10
Apple Mac OS X (iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro Devices)
  1. Check out the Five Minute Fixes — a quick way of putting some basic controls in place. (Reference additional instructions on the Resources page on setting up Mac OS X parental controls.)
  2. Add one of the recommended internet filtering products:
  3. Covenant Eyes can be used as an internet accountability package.
  4. You can allow older children to use email and still block all other internet (i.e. website access) if you wish. You can limit your child’s contact list (i.e. those to whom they can send and receive email from) by adding specific email addresses to the “Allowed Contacts” list in the “People” tab of the “Parental Controls” settings panel. (Website access is allowed/disallowed in the “Web” tab of the “Parental Controls” settings panel.)
Chromebooks
Chromebooks are cheap but require an internet connection to be useful.  These systems can be hard to filter and control in a consistent manner. The best information we have on filtering and setting up parental controls for a Chromebook is on this site.

Video Game Consoles

Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, Nintendo, etc.
We (the First NRC MMC Committee) see no legitimate place for these devices in our families. The sole purpose of these devices is for entertainment (e.g. game playing, watching movies, etc.) and they have little, if any, constructive use that we are aware of. Parents are strongly encouraged to keep their children (and themselves) from  acquiring or using these systems as much of the content available promotes violence, immorality, and sinful behavior.