Protect your family from unsafe apps

We’ve all seen dozens of articles posted about apps that can jeopardize the safety of your children. Now you’re informed and you can fix the problem. Now you can monitor them like the Gestapo. That should be great for your relationship.

Right?

Wrong. After you read an article that tells you about the dangers of these Apps (almost always messaging or social types) it’s hard to know what to do. Here’s some practical ways to help your kids stay safe.

Lock down the phone, tablet, or iPod
This isn’t about trusting your child, it’s about protecting them. Especially if your child has a device at a young age (or access to a device). Sites you might think are benign are not. Many of those hilarious memes, and gifs that we love so much are hosted on a very popular site called IMGUR? There’s some really funny stuff on there! There are also galleries dedicated to pornography both animated gifs (clips from videos) and still images. IMGUR is available in any web browser, mobile or otherwise. What about Youtube? Youtube is awesome, right?! It is. I love it. Youtube also has porn, even though it’s supposed to be against the terms of service. Any site that has user generated content will have pornography at some point, at least until it can be reported and removed.

For a moment, lets say that you think it’s OK for your children to view pornography (it’s not, seriously). We’ll leave that alone for now. Anonymous messaging apps are wildly popular, however, they have three huge drawbacks: predators, sexting (posting explicit content of a minor is a felony) and bullying. If you think any of those things are OK, please get help.

How to lock down a phone

  1. Make sure the phone is associated with YOUR account and not your child’s, otherwise any “locks” can be circumvented. If you have an Android device and it is registered to your child’s account they can visit the Google Play store in any browser, on any computer or device and install any app they want.

  2. For Android users, set content filtering to the appropriate level and password protect it. This prevents apps that are accurately categorized from being installed. Realize that many apps are not properly categorized.

  3. Get an app locker (here’s another), this will require a password to use locked apps. It also prevents anyone from removing applocker without the password unless they do a factory reset and wipe the device. You also want one that will lock an app as soon as it is installed. This prevents “side loading” where the app is downloaded on a computer and then transferred to the device.

  4. Use the app locker to lock the app store/Google play store – this will prevent your child from installing apps without talking to you about it first. If you unlock it because they told you they wanted to get an Angry Birds game and then they walk away with the unlocked device, you’re doing it wrong. Ask what app they want. Install it for them. Close down the app store so that it is locked again before returning the device.

Browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer) are a big deal
Many apps also have a browser based presence. This means that they can be used on any device without installing the app. You just need a browser. So even if a device is locked down, you should also consider installing a filter on your computer and putting it in a high traffic area of your home. Continue reading Protect your family from unsafe apps

Teach Your Children to Fight

The other night my husband and I overheard two of our daughters arguing.

My 7 year old said: Evette, why didn’t you want to play with me?Evette (age 4) replied: I didn’t want to play with you because you kept pushing me, and I didn’t like that.
7yo: I’m sorry I pushed you. I was just playing.
4yo: It’s okay.

My husband turned to me with an expression of bemusement on his face and said, “Did they just work that out by themselves?” We were shocked.

This situation with my girls does not happen very often. Usually there is crying, screaming, and door slamming, but they are learning how to fight more effectively.

Before I was a parent, I had visions of my sweet children always helping each other, always playing together, and never fighting. There was never going to be contention in my home. I was very judgy of other families. Those who had contention in their homes with their children were not parenting “right. There was not enough hugging, praising, teaching, family nights, scripture study, etc.  going on in those homes and that’s why those children fought. I never stopped to consider that parents as amazing as Adam and Eve had children who fought.

Soon after I had children of my own, I was hit with a hard dose of reality. I was stunned to learn that children have their own opinions and personalities and yes they DO fight. Who knew?!

Now  I know better. Fighting is normal among siblings, and in my opinion, it is healthy too. Fighting with siblings is a safe training ground for future relationships. Fighting with siblings is also a safe environment in which kids can test boundaries and express individuality. However, it is only a safe environment if you teach them HOW to fight.

Continue reading Teach Your Children to Fight

Activism and the LDS Church

Recent events, especially the movement of “Ordain Women”, has caused me to seriously reflect upon the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints and it’s administration.

Let me state a few things before assumptions are made:

  1. I don’t have any fundamental problem with women having the priesthood, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if someday that revelation was given.
  2. I am well aware of the huge role women play in the church. I have watched all of my leadership efforts absolutely pale in comparison to my counterparts with names like Eva, and Heather, and Mariana.
  3. This post won’t deal with all things “inequality”, but we will get to that in another post.

So what is this post about? What are we talking about here? We are simply talking about activism and the LDS Church.

What do I mean when I say “activism in the church”? It’s really quite simple actually. It is the efforts of groups of members of the church to put pressure on church leadership through the tactics usually employed in the political arenas. Protests, social media campaigns, traditional media campaigns, speeches, petitions, “walk ins”, and other such activities all fit into the definition of activism.

Activism is a powerful tool, it’s been used to do much good in the world. It’s also been used to do much evil in the world, though we don’t usually call it activism in those cases. Activism definitely has it’s appropriate place in the political arenas of states, and man made organizations. But we aren’t talking about the entities of mankind – we are talking about the Church of God. We are talking about the church whose head is Christ. Christ, the Savior of the world, the creator of all things, the very God of heaven and earth.

I expect the first response to this will be: “But the church of Christ is lead by imperfect men, who are not infallible”. This is a good point. But let us talk about what that means. We know that the leaders of the church are imperfect humans, we know that they are allowed mistakes, but we also know that God will not allow them to lead us astray. So where do we draw the line? Do we get to decide when the brethren are just being imperfect, and when they are leading us astray?

Continue reading Activism and the LDS Church