A Note to Parents:
Christian parents have a unique responsibility towards every area of their homes. Let us remember that God holds us responsible to understand and constantly be aware of the things which are affecting and influencing our families. In that sense we are stewards of all the things pertaining to our homes and families. Monitoring, protecting, and discipling our children in the use of the internet and mobile devices is an important part of this stewardship. Just like we wouldn’t leave a door unlocked and open for anyone to have access to our kids, we have a responsibility to be the gatekeepers in terms of all media, phone, and internet usage. Let’s be faithful to pray, search the scriptures, and remain yielded to the Lord in how he would have us conduct ourselves and parent in all of these areas. One way the leadership of Calvary Philly would like to come along side you in parenting is to be collecting and sharing resources we recommend to assist in these areas.
The first step to protecting your home and mobile devices from unwanted internet material is to set up a filter. We recommend three different filtering options.
Strongest Protection, Most Technical
OpenDNS + NetGear Router | opendns.com/home-internet-security
OpenDNS is software that allows the parents to control access to selected categories of content (gambling, pornography, etc.) on their home network. Going beyond simply blocking the access to the information, this system stops the request for this information from ever being sent. DNS is the service used to direct web browsers and other Internet software to connect with the material asked for. By monitoring and filtering all requests from the network, this is a sure-fire way of stopping any home-network browsing, at any time, for this material.
Purchasing a Netgear router that works directly with OpenDNS allows you to lock down the network so that OpenDNS cannot be circumvented and any and all devices connected to the home network (via wires or wireless) will only receive the approved content from the OpenDNS account settings.
Easy to Install, $14.99/month subscription
Covenant Eyes | covenanteyes.com
Covenant Eyes is a Christian-owned company that offers Internet accountability and filtering through a monthly subscription fee. You can get a report of all internet activity from any device (even your phone) as well as setting individual filtering levels for each member of your home. You can share the reports with someone else to give you online accountability. They also have a great resource section for families offering helpful apps, e-books and newsletters to help you.
The Internet Accountability feature monitors the websites visited, the search terms used, and the YouTube videos watched, and lists them in an easy-to-read report that is designed to start a conversation about healthy online habits.
Parents, see where your kids go online. Adults, reduce Internet temptations and protect the relationships you value most.
Easy to Install, App only avail for Apple products – $99
Circle | meetcircle.com
Circle is a device that connects to your home network and is able to monitor devices that are connected to the internet through your home WIFI. Circle allows parents to control devices like setting time limits, bed time shut down, and age appropriate filtering.
Mobile Device Monitoring Apps
Covenant Eyes | covenanteyes.com
See above. Covenant Eyes now also offers mobile device monitoring.
Teen Monitoring Software, includes Texts, but not images and videos sent by texts. Features: Logging and Tracking: Text messages (not picture messages), Call history, Instagram, Phone location, view installed apps, Whatsapp messages, Kik Messenger texts, search history, web browsing history. Notes: iPhone, iPad, Android. $14.95 per month
Phone Sheriff | phonesherriff.com/parental.html
Phone Sheriff is a parental monitoring App. Features include: Logging and Tracking: Real Time Gps Tracking, Internet History, View Text Messages, View iMessages, Call History, Apps Installed, Photo Logs, iMessages, Contacts. Filtering: Application Filtering, Website Filtering, Contacts Filtering, Time Restrictions, Geo-Fencing Alert, Profanity Alert, Intrusion Alert, Phone Locking.
Notes: Android, $89 per year for subscription. (iPhone, iPad are also available, but require a compoicated “jailbreak” of the device to use the software)
Familoop is a brand new product featuring the capabilities to block inappropriate content, set time limits, monitor communications, track location, review and block apps. Unique to Familoop is the ability to monitor social media activity on 15 social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram WITHOUT the need to know your child’s account information. Notes: Windows, MAC, Android, iOS as of November (Kindle planned for future release)
Cost: Free 10 day trial, then $39.99/year for up to 3 devices/unlimited user and $69.99/year for up to 10 devices/unlimited users. Introductory pricing available, 60% off.
MamaBear offers social media monitoring for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr; location monitoring and alerts; and one of the few that offers speeding alerts for teen drivers. The Android version also offers text message monitoring. Notes: iOS, Android
Cost: Free plan which is ad supported, 3-month premium for $14.99 and 6 months for $24.99