Monday, November 15, 2010

Protecting our children

A few weeks ago a well respected man in our ward, Mardee Robinson, gave a presentation on protecting our children in regards to the Internet and cell phones. I was with the Young Women so I missed out on this, however he wrote down what he considered his most important thoughts. 

If you have children, this is well worth reading.

I did find this one picture of him with his grandson, 
just so you can put a face with his name.
Just a little bio first. Mardee is presently an early morning seminary teacher before he goes to his job as an FBI agent. 
He and his wife are just finishing up raising the last of their 3 children.

"User ID’s :

Every member of the family should sign on to the computer with their own User ID.  Each User ID should require a password to sign on.  Parents should know each of the children’s sign on passwords.  However, the children are not allowed to share their password, or use each others account.  The parents should have their User ID’s set up as “Administrators”, and the children should have their User ID’s set up as “Limited User”.  This is for a couple of reasons.  First, only an Administrator can download programs, giving the parents some control of the content the children are allowed to download from the Internet.  Second, having each computer user sign in under their own User ID allows the parent to check the Internet History of each user.  (This will be discussed more below.)

Internet Filters:

            A filter can be a wonderful tool for parents to use.  It is not, however, fool proof or perfect.  When asked for a recommendation, I normally send individuals to  At this website you can compare all of the top rated filters, compare them side by side, and determine which one would work best for you.  If pushed for an exact recommendation, I suggest “Net Nanny”, which is approximately $30.00 and very highly rated.  It is very easy to set up and use, and gives parents excellent control over internet access.

Internet History:

            Parents should be checking each child’s internet history regularly.  This is very easy to do, and is one of the main reasons why it is important each person has their own User ID.  The computer keeps the internet history segregated by user.  If multiple individuals are signing on with the same User ID, you will not be able to tell which person is responsible for the internet content.  With each person signing on with their own User ID and password, if questionable internet content is discovered, there is no question which user is responsible.


            It is important to user passwords, and that the children learn to keep their passwords secret and not share them.  Only the parents should know the children’s passwords.  This includes the User ID password, as well as any email, social networking, or other internet password they use.  Parents should regularly check email and other content for appropriateness.

Social Networking:

            Parents should set the rules as to what age they feel having a social network page is appropriate for their child.  This includes sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogspot and others.  When a child is allowed to have their own site, parents need to make sure the child’s site is marked as private, and only available to known friends.  Parents should check these sites regularly to check for inappropriate content.  Parents need to teach the child not to post personal information about themselves, family members or others.  It is also extremely important children are taught never to communicate with any unknown individuals.  With my children the rule was, “If you have never met this individual in person, physically in their presence, they are counted a stranger and no communication is allowed.”  This is important because the social network sites are designed to connect friends of friends together.  Soon, a child may be communicating with individuals he/she knows only because they are a friend of a friend.  Be very careful with who they accept as friends on these sites.


            Very basic but should be stated.  No computer connected to the internet should be located in the bedroom of a child.  Internet connected devices should be located in common areas of the house such as the kitchen or family room.  Homes with wireless internet have a problem.  Laptops are easily portable, and with a wireless connection can be online anywhere in the home.  The same goes for an Ipod Touch, cell phones and other similar devices.  Parents should set up rules and follow through with consequences.  It is obviously much easier if the home does not have wireless internet access, and if there is no “data” or internet access on cell phones.

Cell Phones:

            All parents know children are glued to their cell phones.  It is how they communicate today.  Once a parent decides to provide their child with a cell phone, the parent should also commit to checking the cell phone regularly.  Unannounced pick up the child’s cell phone and read their text messages.  Review their contact list for names you are not familiar with.  Watch to see if the cell phone is getting in the way of school work.  A cell phone is just as dangerous as the internet, and parents need to set rules and take appropriate precautions.


            The biggest reason individuals (children, youth and adults) get in trouble on the internet, the computer or cell phone, is “too much free time”.  When individuals spend time on their electronic devices with no particular purpose, it will be only a matter of time before curiosity leads them to inappropriate material.  It is important to find other activities to take the place of hours of internet surfing with no particular purpose.

            It is no longer acceptable for parents to say, “I don’t know what my child does on the computer.  It is more than I understand, and I can’t figure it out.  He/She is a good kid and I’m sure things are fine.”  You do not have to be a computer genius.  It is not hard to become familiar with what you need to know.

            ....Remember, it is your family at stake……..why would you just guess or hope things are okay?

Mardee Robinson"


Ammy said...

I miss Brother Robinson...

Dad and Susan said...

Sounds like excellent advice. Thanks for sharing. Love, Dad and Susan

Grandma Honey said...

Thank you Ammy and Susan~ If I were still raising kids I would want to know all this. These are issues that weren't even a concern a decade ago.

Eileen said...

These are all great tips and I am going to copy and paste them to give to my kids for the grandkids. Thank you!

The cookies in your last post look wonderful and I am going to try them this weekend. I think they will be a wonderful snack/dessert for family gatherings!

I laughed so hard at the football play! Such a great idea! And it worked out perfectly!

So sorry about your allergy, Jill. I wonder if you took Benedryl before you went to church if that would help. Then again, if you are like me, the Benedryl will make you sleepy.

So happy to catch up here! Some days my blog is so bad and I can't get to my favorites.
Love and Prayers,

cozzmesteph said...

We're just approaching era where our kids will want to surf the internet more and do social networking, so I bookmarked this page.

Very timely advice - thanks! said...

Do you know what's funny? These lessons are probably applicable to everyone. But as someone who grew up with inet since @ 12...I think this is just a given. But Luke and I talk about how our parents probably needed this talk when we got the internet. I think because it's so widely talked about in the church and now having children and always having been inet and tech "savy"...this new couple of generations has to focus more on overuse, abuse and content rather than learning how to use it and monitor it! Crazy! I remember Bro Robinson, how nice of him to offer to teach this. We had one of these in our ward too for combined RS and Priesthood and it was really helpful and they too recommended Net Nanny. :)

Sue said...

I'm glad my kids are not these ages, but I do worry about my grandkids. Jeremiah is 9 now, and soon this will apply to him. I'm going to send it to his parents.



Scrapally said...

Great advice. It's definitely a different age these days...I don't like the constantly being connected aspect of all the tech stuff...I'd like to see the kids "unplug" more and play games and socialize in person! But that's just me...Love Bro. Robinson...thanks for sharing!

cristie said...

this was so good i sent it to all of my children as well as the entire RS of my ward. thank you. xox

Lisa said...

I'm glad you posted this as I was telling my sil about it this week & so I copied & pasted this post & emailed it to her. It is GREAT info.

Anonymous said...

I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful ….

Grandma Honey said...

Well thank you very much Anonymous. You are welcome here anytime!