Taming the Internet in the Home

Taming Technology in the Home series:
    ● Taming Television in the Home
    ● Taming Video Games in the Home
    ● Taming the Internet in the Home

Today’s is the last post in the Taming Technology series. We have looked at television and video games. Now it is time to look at the internet. The internet poses more dangers for children than television and video games combined. A short list of dangers would include inappropriate content, online predators and internet addiction. Just about everything good or bad you can find in the world, you can also find online. Sometimes it finds you — even when you are not looking for it! I would no sooner turn my child loose on the internet unprotected or unsupervised than I would drop him off in the back streets of the city at night. How do you protect your child from the dangers of the internet? Here are some pointers.

  • Educate yourself: First, educate yourself on the dangers of the internet. If you don’t know what’s out there, how can you protect your child? The FBI Parent’s Guide is a good place to start. Then educate yourself on basic internet safety. Children’s Partnership has a great guide that you can access here: Internet Safety Guide.
  • Talk with your children: Talk with your children about potential dangers on the internet. Don’t just warn them about the dangers. Share real life examples when you hear about them on the news. Sharing about an actual teen who had an online predator show up at her home is far more effective than just warning about things that might happen.
  • Keep it public: As with the TV, keep the computer in a public place in the home. The screen should be visible to anyone who happens to enter the room. Visibility adds accountability and is a great protective measure.
  • Monitor activity: Monitor your children’s online activities. You don’t have to snoop. Just let your children know that for their safety you will monitor all activity online. Share your child’s email account and password. Check history reports from time to time. Approve any chat rooms in advance. Find safe places and forums where your child may interact online.
  • No personal information: This cannot be emphasized enough. Your child should never give out their personal information to strangers or in a public forum. This would especially include name, address, phone number or school name.

And then, in keeping with our fighting technology with technology theme:

  • Use filtering software: Filtering software will not only protect your children from going to bad sites. It will also protect them from accidentally accessing or being exposed to inappropriate materials. There is some horrific stuff out there, and you cannot simply erase a shocking image from your child’s memory. There are a number of good filtering programs available. This site compares ten of the top programs on one page: Internet Filter Software Review 2008.

    We used Safe Eyes (#7 on the list) for awhile but recently switched to Net Nanny from Content Watch (#1 on the list). I like Net Nanny much better. It is only $30 and features multiple user accounts, editable filter lists, time controls, history reports, notification alerts, plus monitoring tools for web browsing, email and chat rooms. I also found it very easy to set up and configure.

So, what things have you done to help tame the internet in your home? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

I hope you have enjoyed this series! Please pass the links on to any families you know who would benefit from the information.


  1. Margaret says:

    I found your comments on taming television, video games and the internet extremely interesting. I believe these suggestions would be extremely important and helpful to parents these days.

    As a senior citizen with no children at home, I feel thankful that we did not have such horrendous problems to deal with in raising our family. Only TV prgrams had to be monitored somewhat. There were no computers or video games. (Our concerns were more about short skirts for the girls and long hair on the boys! Minor issues compared to today’s dangers.) Of course there were other problems all around, but I am speaking here of modern technology.

    As senior citizens and grandparents, we feel the burden to pray fervently for our grandchildren growing up with so many temptations, and for their parents, (our children,) trying to guide their own families through all the maze of stuff that is out there. God bless you all.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Margaret – Prayer is so important. Things change so quickly nowadays, and each new generation seems to face new challenges.

  3. Great thoughts on Internet safety! These are so important for parents to understand.

    Have you heard of Covenant Eyes monitoring and filtering programs? It is a unique program on the market because it gives the user flexibility to filter or simply monitor the Internet or both. A good filtering program is very helpful for children and families, but a good monitoring program is great for adults and children alike who want to be accountable to others about where they go online.

    Covenant Eyes monitoring program simply tracks (without blocking) everywhere someone goes online. Then each part of each webpage is rated and scored for its content (scores are based on obscene or pornographic material). Users choose 2 or 3 people that they want to receive a detailed “accountability report” of all their online activity (emails to them or available to see online 24/7). What this does is it allows complete freedom to the person using the Internet, but it takes away the anonymity of online activity; people are more likely to exorcise self-control when they know that others will be reviewing their whereabouts online.

    Covenant Eyes also has a promotional code you can use to get a free month to try out their accountability service. Go to http://www.covenanteyes.com and enter promocode ‘onefree’ to receive a free 30 day trial of the program.

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Hi Luke – Yes, I am familiar with Covenant Eyes, and it is a very good product. Thanks for sharing about it. I checked your blog, and you have some great articles and resources on internet safety and purity. Feel free to link to my series there if you like, too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Ray

  5. John says:

    Great ideas on Internet safety. With the advent of portable devices it amazes me how many parents will hand over an iPod without knowing it too can access the Internet unfiltered.

    Parental controls on devices like iPhones, iPads, and other smartphones and tablets are getting much better but parents may need a little help. Here’s some helpful information – http://www.thewiredhomeschool.com/ios-safety

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Taming Technology in the Home at Ray Fowler .org
  2. Taming Television in the Home at Ray Fowler .org
  3. Taming Video Games in the Home at Ray Fowler .org
  4. Taming Technology - Pilgrim Radio Interview at Ray Fowler .org
  5. Around the Web - 9/30/2008 at Ray Fowler .org
  6. 5 Fun Facts about the Internet in 1996 at Ray Fowler .org
  7. Sexual Detox Series (Challies) at Ray Fowler .org

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