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21st Century Learners and Internet Safety

November 17, 2012

So your 9-year-old daughter has a school project to research organic pork farming but instead of typing a “k” your child types  an “n” and is exposed to some pretty graphic stuff you really wish she hadn’t seen!  How do parents protect their children from viewing this adult material?  I was always concerned about my children accidentally coming across graphic material but I became more concerned about this issue as my children purchased iPods that gave them–with the help of our wifi–unlimited access to all the good, bad and ugly of the internet. We have always had our computers located where we can keep an eye on things but with iPods it is harder to look over our children’s shoulders.  Some children also have unlimited access to the internet 24/7 because of the availability of iPhones.  So how can we protect our children in this new digital age?

One thing we can do is to add a filter to the  router in our homes.  Our internet provider David Peterson, owner and operator of Open Concept Internet Inc.  gave me the following websites to peruse:

http://protectfamily.org/
https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Internet_filtering_(Family_Safety)
http://www.opendns.com/home-solutions/parental-controls/

He installed the Open DNS service on our router giving my husband and I more peace of mind.

The only thing that we can’t filter out without banishing it completely, is uTube.  UTube does have a safety feature which you can click on at the bottom of the page to remove any racy content but it can easily be turned off by any user.

The ECSD’s focus is on 21st century learning and in doing so is encouraging schools to install wifi and allow students to bring in their technology.  The ECSD does have content filters but as my son’s principal told me recently they can’t filter everything out.  Just like me, they are unable to filter out all the questionable content from websites such as uTube without banning them completely.  The ECSD’s approach to this technology is that teachers and parents need to work together to instill in our children a moral strength of character to not access content that depicts women as objects and contributes to an industry that de-humanizes both women and men.  Together we need to teach our children that even though they can access this content at the touch of key, it is detrimental to their positive sense of self as children of God.  Just as we talk to our children about saying no to drugs, we need to have similar discussions with them about saying no to accessing morally questionable content on the internet.

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