Safeguarding Your Devices
Presented by All Saints Hope for Purity
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Each topic presents a strategy to implement in your family. Each strategy has a rating for how technically involved it is, how broad of device coverage it provides, and how difficult it is to circumvent.
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Here you will find more detailed explanations and setup instructions.
This is where you'd normally find all sorts of detailed information to put the above topic into practice.
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Create a Family Media Plan
A social contract for the family, created by the family.
- Screen free zones and times.
- Media choices.
- Balancing online and offline activities.
- Manners, safety, and proper device use.
- Customize for age ranges and parents.
Include the whole family
Include your kids in writing the media plan, get their ideas on limits, and healthy habits.
Include Mom and Dad's media usage in the plan. It increases buy-in for the whole family.
When someone breaks the contract, pick a "punishment" that encourages the behavior you'd like to see: going outside, playing a board game with a sibling, writing a letter, or reading a book.
The consequences may build an appreciation for the activity and for healthier choices in the future.
Have screen free time
Set up Screen Free Sundays or Family Friday Nights. Put all the devices away, unplug, and spend time together and pursuing other activities.
Devices in public areas
Remove screens from bedrooms and keep everything out in the open.
Have a dedicated area to charge phones and use an alarm clock to wake up instead of a phone.
Filter Your Home Network
Filter everything connected to your home wifi.
- Help prevent accidental exposure.
- Customize filters by category.
- Blocks known malware sites.
- Covers laptops, phones, game consoles, smart devices.
- Free for home use.
DNS (Domain Name Server) is like the phone book for the internet. You type in a name and it returns a number, an IP address. Devices use these numbers to talk over a network.
OpenDNS is like using a special phone book that won't return the number for anything off limits.
You will need to know how to access your home router's webpage and have the administrator's password.
Some routers have the default password printed on the bottom. Most routers are accessed by typing http://192.168.1.1 into a browser.
If yours is extra special try searching for the model online with the search term "default password".
Sign up for a free OpenDNS account here: https://signup.opendns.com/homefree/
Find your router model and follow the guide here: https://support.opendns.com/hc/en-us/sections/206253627
Install the OpenDNS updater
The updater will make sure you are using OpenDNS even if your Internet Service Provider dynamically assigns you new IP address.
Enable Parental Controls
Do what's best for your family.
- Built into the operating system, everything is already there.
- Set limits and filters.
- Protected by a password or PIN.
- Built in monitoring.
- Share app purchases.
User / Managed Account
Each person needs to have their own account. Depending on the setup, a parent creates account for the children and sets them up with parental controls. Or you create a family group and assign each person to the group as a child or parent.
Controls are locked behind a password or PIN that the parent knows.
For iOS devices each device is tied to an Apple ID. So, each person with a device should have their own Apple ID. Add all the Apple IDs to a family and set up controls and create passcodes.
- Track app usage.
- Limit screen time.
- Setup downtime.
- Filter content.
Some of the things you can do:
On Apple computers, use the System Preferences to create a new user with parental controls.
Some of the things you can do:
- Turn off the iTunes store.
- Set time limits.
- Restrict websites.
- Prevent system settings being changed.
Google account are tied to a number of things: Gmail, YouTube, and android devices.
Checkout Wellbeing for tips on how to setup limits on a number of digital distractions:
Use Family Link to limit and monitor usage on smartphones.
Use Account Supervision to link parent Google accounts to child Google accounts and keep an eye on online activity.
Microsoft accounts are used to sign into modern versions of Windows and Xbox accounts. They may also be tied to Skype accounts.
Each family member with a Microsoft account can be added to family group at https://account.microsoft.com/family/ and you can get a weekly email report of online activity.
While the controls for a Windows computer can be setup online, you'll need to sign onto an Xbox with a parent account to manage controls there. See https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12439/microsoft-account-set-content-restrictions-on-windows-10-and-xbox-one for step-by-step instructions for both Windows and Xbox.
For more info on Xbox, see: https://kotaku.com/a-straightforward-guide-to-parental-controls-on-game-co-1828157041
Parental controls are enabled on a Playstation by using the settings to create a passcode and setting the appropriate restrictions.
With parental controls you'll be able to:
- Set age ratings for games and movies.
- Set spending limits.
- Disable the web browser.
Nintendo offers a smartphone app to setup parental controls and report on usage.
Controls are for the entire system and not for a specific account.
- Set time limits.
- Set downtime.
- Warning are shown on screen.
With controls enabled you can:
Even Netflix has parental controls, to help limit the content children can access.
Profiles can be created that allow only certain rating levels to be shown. And a PIN can be setup to prevent watching shows of certain ratings.
What other services do you have that offer a variety of content and require parental controls?
Install Accountability Software
If I'm not willing to monitor it, I will not provide or allow it.
- Detailed reports that highlight risky online behavior for every family member.
- Includes customizable filtering for each family members (computers only).
- Unlimited devices and family members.
- Covers phone, tablets, and computers. Not game consoles and Chromebooks.
- Entire family for $15.99 per month.
Monitor and block internet browsing
Covenant Eyes is installed on each device. It keeps a record of all internet browsing and will block sites based on your filter level.
Screen accountability is a new feature that takes screenshots on your devices and analyzes them.
Get accountability reports
Each week, or more often if you choose, receive an accountability report that highlights any risky behavior for every family member.
Detailed reports can be generated for complete browsing histories.
Setup Covenant Eyes
Create a user for each family member and give them their username and password.Make sure your or your spouse is setup to receive the accountability reports.
Download and install the software to each device.
Using Covenant Eyes
Each family member should log into Covenant Eyes with their username and password and log out when they are done.
If you have set up parental controls and each family member has their own account on the computer, you can set CE to auto-login.
Talk, Talk, and Talk Some More
Parents need to be a credible source of information on sex.
- Raise young men and women who will enter an unfiltered world.
- Discuss media choices and co-watch TV and video games.
- Model love and lead by example.
- Create safe one-on-one spaces to encourage meaningful conversation.
- Guard their eyes and fortify their hearts.
An Apple Genius bar for All Saints!
- Have you set this up at your house already?
- Are you tech savvy and can help other set this up?
- Have you wondered how you can use your tech skills with your faith?
Hope for Purity: Safeguarding Your Devices