💡 Jonathan Bowman

Navigating with care

Here are a few suggested ideas and resources for your household, as you care for one another and engage a digital world.

Web filters

Note that web filters can never filter out everything bad. Moreover, a motivated person can usually find ways around a web filter. A robust filtering solution usually involves a good deal of "cat and mouse."

The best filter: defining when and where devices are “OK” in your household, and when and where they are not. Can we encourage uses that are “public” (in the living room where everyone sees) and collaborative (research something together)? Might you consider outlawing devices from the bedroom and/or bathroom?

OpenDNS FamilyShield is set-it-and-forget-it, and protects all the devices in your house.

OpenDNS also has other solutions that offer more flexibility but require more configuration and maintenance.

Does your child's school have a 1:1 program, in which students can bring home a device? That may have one of the strongest web filters available, and have IT support provided by your school. Ask your school's IT department about web history reports delivered to parents. Some schools might provide this.

Many other web filters exist, such as Norton Family and NetNanny. Use what works, but use something.

Accountability services

An accountability service regularly sends someone else a list of suspicious sites you have visited. Instead of blocking content, as a web filter does, this kind of service seeks to give others a window into your behavior.

Accountable2You is one I have tried and found helpful.

CovenantEyes has been around for some time.

Ever Accountable looks like another decent choice.

Monitoring Screen Time

Recent versions of both Android and iOS offer functionality for parents to monitor and even manage the amount of time their kids are spending on devices.

Android

iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod)

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is a wonderful site with media reviews, tips for parents and teachers, and general advice about digital content.

Reviews and reflective resources by Christians

CPYU (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding) fosters understanding of contemporary youth culture, from a Christian perspective. Folks from all over find their resources helpful, but CPYU just happens to be conveniently located in our backyard, in Elizabethtown, PA.

Plugged In is an up-to-date media review site from a Christian perspective.