Cross Cultural workers were early adopters of the internet and social media. Both have helped us in so many ways that we can’t imagine our life and work without them. In fact, some of my readers may have no memory of the days of blue airgrams, one-month turnaround times for mail, or overseas calls that cost a lot for very little time.
But that was yesterday. Today, though we don’t live close to our family, friends, and supporters at home, we have the freedom and instant connectivity that the internet has provided us.
Even so, with every freedom, there are dangers. So, in this issue, I will give you links to some of the best information I have found for internet security for you and your children. You may know about some of these tools, and perhaps use them, but it’s always good to do a checkup and update, if needed. [Read more…]
By Ben Taylor, May 2017 (www.bestvpn.com)
A well-considered set of technical “house rules” is a good starting point for families who want to work against the dangers presented by everyday technology. Different families will, no doubt, have different approaches, but here are ten possible house rules as a starting point.
- Keep computers in living areas
The best place for the family computer(s) is the living room or kitchen, where children know that a parent may look over their shoulder at any time. Children already have online chat acronyms for warning their friends when people are watching, such as “POS” (parent over shoulder). Making clear you understand these will help too, and this resource will help with that. As an example of one to look out for, “ASL?” means “Age / Sex / Location?” and is often used at the start of conversations with online strangers.
- Implement an “Internet embargo.”
You may wish to consider time-limiting Internet access to certain times of the day. Many routers even let you set the Wi-Fi network to disable itself after a certain time, say 9 pm. This may send shudders through many parents (myself included), but having such a policy is actually rather healthy for the adults in the household too!
- Agree that parents will “friend” children on their social networks
When the time comes for children to want their own social media presence (much more on that below), a good initial compromise is to insist that one or both parents is a fully-fledged “friend” on that platform, who’s able to see all the child’s activity.
- Give parents password access to all children’s devices
Children should not have devices that allow them to lock their activity away from their guardians’ reach. A parent should reserve the right to log in and see what’s been going on.
- Parents approve or veto use of new social networks
If a child wants to get involved in a new social network (and in youngsters’ circles, there’s always a new big thing), they should get parental approval first. The UK site, Net-Aware, offers a fabulous resource that helps parents learn about new social networks, what they do, and what ages they are suitable for.
- Children must tell parents before providing any personal information online
The idea here is to make handing over personal information online the exception, rather than the rule. Children should understand why it’s generally a bad idea to hand out addresses and phone numbers. In fairness, this is a reasonable stance for adults to take also.
- Children must only use online chat to people they talk to in real life
This should be a no-brainer, but GuardChild states that nearly 70% of teenagers are contacted by strangers online on a regular basis and don’t notify their parents. Constant reminders on this are therefore paramount.
- Web browsing histories should not be deleted
Youngsters (and adults!) who continually delete their web histories are generally looking at things they don’t want others to know about. You may, therefore, wish to make deleting browser histories a forbidden action for your children. The same applies to using “incognito” or private browsing modes, which don’t maintain any history.
I very quickly became aware of the non-existent browser history which made me instantly suspicious. At the time, Windows machines maintained a file (called INDEX.DAT) which allowed me to see all the visited websites despite the deleted history. If a child has spent hours browsing online and there’s no history to show for it, this should set off some alarm bells!
- Children must report any bullying or anything distressing they see online
This one may prove hard to police, especially when children become secretive teenagers. However, an ongoing open discussion about topics like cyber-bullying should go some way to making children feel comfortable in sharing these issues.
- Breaches mean a loss of privileges!
It’s almost inevitable that children will bend the rules at some point. As and when they do, it’s important for parents to follow up on their threatened sanctions – or nobody will take the rules seriously in the future.
You can read more of this article on Internet Safety: How to Keep Kids and Teens Safe Online
Living overseas can make it hard to find resources that help and encourage. However, I have been so blessed by some of the really good things available over the internet. These don’t rely on us living in our home country. As long as we can get on the internet, we have the world at our fingertips.
I enjoy my time in my home office finding good resources and writing articles for women across the world. The materials my husband has written have been translated into the two other languages most used in the world besides English; Mandarin and Spanish. We will never meet most of the people we have influenced through our web presence. What a wonderful age we live in to influence the world for our King.
This month I wanted to share some resources you may not know about. These are valuable resources that are free or inexpensive. I would love to add ones that you know about too. Please email suggestions for future link pages to: Diane
Resources for you and your family
Christian Audio has a huge range of books in audio format for sale. Every month they have a free book to download and other specials that only cost about $5. These make wonderful gifts to send to folks you can’t be with on their special days. It is an easy way to get good Christian literature anywhere in the world.
Today’s Christian Woman sends a weekly newsletter with articles of interest to Christian women. These articles are sometimes truncated, however. If you join for $10/year, you have access to the full articles and their extensive archive. They have collections of materials on many topics. You pay a one-time fee for each collection, but they allow you to make up to 1,000 copies for your ministry. Logging into Today’s Christian Woman also entitles you to access the free content on all the Christianity Today publications, like Her.meneutics, for women in ministry.
E-Sword is a very powerful, totally free Bible program for your computer. It is also available for i-Phone, i-Pad, and i-Pod. Check out their features page to see the breadth of content available on your local computer or apple device. It has well over 100 different language Bibles available for download.
Thrive Online Magazine for Global Women. Subscribe for free and receive a weekly newsletter full of inspiration and practical helps for those of us serving other cultures.
Faith Comes by Hearing provides audio Bibles in over 850 different languages. They can be downloaded as mp3 files for use on a wide range of devices. They also have the Deaf Bible with video translations in a variety of languages.
Brigada – is a web site with current resources, helps, and questions you might be able to answer for another overseas worker. Sign up for their free weekly email with the links to many helpful resources.
Some of Our Resources:
Intermin is our web site archive of much of my husband’s materials on Growing a Great Marriage, Positive Parenting and some downloadable resources. These are available in Mandarin and Spanish too.
Choosing for Life is a book for young adults on choosing a life partner. It is available in print, as an eBook or iBook, or as a pdf file. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for the download link and password. It is available in Spanish at: Eligiendo Para Toda La Vida. It is also being translated into Mandarin and soon into Vietnamese.
First Steps Bulletins will be sent free of charge to anyone requesting them for Newborns through 3 years. They are monthly bulletins with the usual developmental markers for that month, what to expect next, how to help your child develop, and short articles of interest for parents with children that age. These are sent around the day of the month that the baby was born until they reach 3 years. Please request your subscription by completing the contact form or a sample for a friend by emailing me.
Knowing Jesus is a chronological study of the life and teachings of Jesus. It is an inductive Bible study for individuals or groups. Knowing Jesus is 13 weeks long with 5 lessons each week. Included are the answer sheets, topics for additional study, and discussion questions. Everything is free and downloadable. This study has also been translated into Mandarin.
Please let me know of other resources you have found very helpful, free or inexpensive, and easily available.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year’s season.
I’ve been thinking a lot about making decisions. I’m not talking about resolutions. Those mostly get broken before we get out of bed on January 2.
I’m looking at choices instead of resolutions. A resolution is what you intend to do. A choice is what you actually do.
Life is made up of hundreds of choices every day. Many of these choices are simply instinctive. Those are the ones we make without even realizing we made a choice. We get in a pattern but may never recognize it is a rut. Ruts resist change. So getting out of a rut takes deciding to change and then opting for different choices.