Wireless Security

Dad’s should teach their kids good wireless security practices and configure home wireless networks to be as secure as possible.

This episode provides an explanation on the frequency of episode productions. I also provide an update on our son Caden.

There are two main areas of concern:

  1. Your home wireless network configuration
  2. Your and your family member’s wireless devices

Home Wireless

Home wireless comes in many flavors. The most popular brands of home wireless devices, also called access points, or routers are Linksys (Owned by Cisco) Net Gear, D-Link, Apple, Belkin, and Motorola.

  1. Use good wireless encryption. WPA and WPA2 is the current, common encryption standard you should probably be using — though, of course, you should use something stronger as soon as it becomes available to you. Technology is advancing every day, on both sides of the encryption arms race, after all.
  2. Use a strong pre-shared key (password) IhagviW,NC
  3. Build a DMZ or add a separate router for guests and leave it open access
  4. Easy stuff to keep out the kiddie hackersDon’t broadcast your SSID.
    MAC Filtering
    Avoid WEP

WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) Vulnerability

The following manufactures have published instructions on how to protect your network:

  • Belkin
  • Netgear
  • D-Link

While Linksys routers do have an option to disable WPS…it does not actual disable the protocol.  I expect we will see firmware updates for more major maufatures very soon.

When you or your family members go ut with wireless devices:

  • Firewall your laptop
  • Limit your Privacy activity
  • Use VPNs
  • Turn of wireless network cards OFF

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Episode 20 – Holiday Traditions

Gingerbread Train 2011

Gingerbread Train

I talked about Family Identity in Episode 12. It is important for dads to cultivate a sense of family identity. Getting your family together for a project like an annual gingerbread train or house is a great way to build family identity. Enter your creation into a competition. Have some fun with the project by creating some custom cars. Read more about the annual Osborne Family Gingerbread Train on Grill’n Time.

The Father’s Mandate – Where to learn more?

Best – Take a Growing Kids God’s Way class in a small group setting
Better – Go through the videos as a couple at home (GFI.org sale)
Good – Read On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years

Find a Growing Kids God’s Way Class in your local area by visiting the GrowingKids.org web site. Use the “General Ministry or Curriculum” contact email address to ask about classes in your area.

Listen to the eight part series on The Father’s Mandate

1.  A father must cultivate a sense of family identity.
2.  A father must regularly demonstrate love to his wife.
3.  A father must understand and respect his child’s private world.
4.  A father must give his children the freedom to fail.
5.  A father must be the encourager of the family.
6.  A father must guard his tongue and his tone and learn to measure his response against the excitement on their faces.
7.  A father must routinely embrace his children.
8.  A father must build the trusting relationship on God’s Word, not on human wisdom.

Update on Caden – He broke his arm and the next week was hospitalized with pneumonia.

Tech Time:

Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson – Security Now Podcast

Which apps are safer? Apps from the Android market or the Apple App store?

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Podcast Episode 16 – Google Security Tips

The Fathers Mandate Part 5 of 8

From Growing Kids God’s Way
Scroll down to the reference for Chapter 4

Happy Birthday Caden

Mandate number 5.  A father must be the encourager of the family.

Not just encouraging words but a spirit of encouragement.

Leave notes for your kids in their lunch boxes.

Write a letter. Tell you wife to remind you about this one. Scapbooks!

Consider having dad sign Christmas cards and birthday cards.

Give your kids the opportunity to prove themselves trustworthy.
My dad gave me the freedom to drive my little sister around our farm in the old Ford Fairlane. I talked about this in my Howto Train Your Kids to use the Internet Safely.

9 year old driving 64 Ford Fairlane
Tech Time 


  1. Strong Passwords – change them
  2. Enable two step verification
  3. Always PATCH your operating systems, browsers, and applications
  4. Be aware of suspect web sites – social engineering
  5. Check for antivirus and malware – Use well know products and keep them current

Please leave feedback in the comments below or contact us via:
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Technology Safety is more about Behavior than the Technology!

Podcast Episode 10 – Cell Phones, Character Training, Facebook

Daddy Life Podcast Show Notes

Cell Phone Security Tips
Caden’s Page – Surgery date of September 22. Details will be on Caden’s Page.

Review of Facebook policy on access to your kids accounts

Moral maturity is not about age

Relationship and character training

BetterDadPodcast – Hank will be a guest on an upcoming episode of the Becoming a Better Dad Podcast with Andy and Cory.

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Technology Safety is more about Behavior than the Technology!


7 Security Tips for Windows XP

Why Windows XP? The data I have seen suggests that Windows XP is still alive and well and is still running neck-n-neck with Windows 7 to be the most popular operating system among Internet users. Analytics on my sites pretty much agree with w3schools and oh by the way, XP is what I had my hands on when writing this post. Similar tips for Windows 7 will be coming very soon.

There are some basic but very important security steps that you should follow on your Windows XP computer immediately. These are recommended regardless of whether you are allowing your child to use your PC.

  1. Install an antivirus program. Some options are McAfeeNorton, or Trend Micro
  2. Use a strong password. Your password should be at least 8 characters long and contain upper, lower, a number and a special character. You password should not contain any part of your login name or the computer name.  Here is a good password:  Il!ke2fly  That is a short sentence “I like to fly” crammed together into a nine character password. The number “2” substituted the word “to” and then with an exclamation point in place of an “I”.
  3. Install the latest “Software Updates” (this includes your operating system and applications)
  4. Right-click on your desktop and select “Properties”. Then click the “Screen Saver” tab. Select a screensaver choice from the drop down for the “Screen Saver” and Adjust the “Wait” setting to 15 minutes or less.
    Screen Saver Tab Win XP
  5. On the same window as above check the “On resume, password protect” checkbox.  
  6. Create a unique account for each user. Ricght-Click on “My Computer” and select “Manage” to display the following window. After navigating to the “Users” folder in the left pane, Right-Click inside the right pane and select “Add user”.
    User Manager Win XP 

    Fill in the form in the following Window that appears:
    New User Win XP

    Please refer to password  Bullet Point #2 for password recommendations. Allowing your child to set a simpler password may be required for the younger ones.
    Once you have created the new user then close the windows opened during this step.

  7. Install Internet filter and monitoring software.

What other simple suggestions do you have?  Do you disagree with any of the above?


5 iPhone, iPad, and iPod Security Settings for Parents

There are some basic settings that parents should configure on their iPhones, iPads, and iPods.  If you are the parent of older kids who have their own iPod, iPad, or iPhone then you should add these practices to the list of things you want to share and train them in while using their own devices. Please remember that kids are more likely to say what you say, do what you do, and they are less likely to do what you say. So set a good example and use these tips on your own devices.

1 – Lock the Screen

Go To:  Settings/General/Auto-Lock

I recommend you adjust this setting to “1 Minute” so that the device screen locks after one minute of inactivity. This prevents little kids from inadvertently accessing, deleting, or altering content on your device.

2 – Set a Password or Passcode

Go To: Settings/General/Passcode Lock

Select “Turn Passcode On”. Set “Require Passcode” to immediately so that the device cannot be used without the passcode once the device screen locks. This passcode will also be required to change the passcode settings in the future even if you allow your child to use the device unattended to play Angry Birds. The reason why on this one is obvious. Auto-locking the screen is useless if you are not going to require a password to unlock it. That would be like locking a door and leaving the key in the lock.

3 – Turn Off Unused Services

Got To: Settings/General/ [Bluetooth, Network, and/or Location Services]

If you are not using Network, Bluetooth or Location Services then go ahead and set them to “Off”. This prevents accidental access to unsafe networks and lowers your rick of getting hacked by someone who knows how to break into these services.

4 – Use Restrictions

Go To: Settings/General/Restrictions

There are a number of things that can be restricted, but I want to focus on content in this one. By default everything is allowed. This includes Allowed Content such as Explicit Music and Podcasts, Movies rated up to NC-17 (including R), and TV-MA. My wife and I don’t even view movies above a PG-13 rating so we certainly don’t want our kids accessing mature content via their iPod.

5 – Restrict In-App Purchases

This is related to the previous item, but warrants its own bullet in our house. This is the area where you restrict your kids from inadvertently buying something via those pop-up ads that kids like my little Caden enjoy clicking while playing Angry Birds.

Remember: Technology Safety is more about Behavior than the Technology!

Podcast Episode 6 – LibSyn, GrowingKids, Facebook Privacy

This episode covers the following topics:

Changes to DaddyLife.net Podcast hosting – The DaddyLife.net Podcast audio files are now hosted on Liberated Syndication (LibSyn.com. This move will make your DaddyLife.net podcast experience much better with faster downloads.

PodTrapper -Podcast catcher APP for Droid

GrowingKids.org –  A community of parents pursuing like-minded values. This site is targeted at alumni of the Growing Kids God’s Way curriculum.

Facebook – Security and Privacy Settings

Facebook Help Center Information for Parents and Educators

Larry’s Guest Post – Tips for Parents of Gaming Children.

Feedback: Leave comments below on this post or Email me – hank {@} daddylife {dot} net

Daddy Life on Twitter

Voice Mail: (864) 372-9833

DaddyLife.net Podcast


Podcast Episode 5 – Social Media and Soical Engineering

This episode covers the following topics:

Are you friends with your child on Facebook?

Did you know that there is a good chance your child has a social media account even though you may not approve?

Facebook terms of Use

Social Engineering

Spear Phishing

Feedback: Leave comments below on this post or Email me – hank {@} daddylife {dot} net

Voice Mail: (864) 372-9833

DaddyLife.net Podcast

Important Tips for Parents of Gaming Children

Gaming is becoming more and more embedded in children’s lives.  It is likely that your children will witness another child gamer in some form or fashion, whether it be an arcade, portable like a Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable (PSP) or iPod Touch, or home console.  It is almost inevitable that your child will eventually ask you for a video game system, if you haven’t gotten one already.  But if you are a parent that has never got into gaming, then there is a good chance that you still think video games are still a children’s toy.

I’ve been gaming since the early 80’s and I’ve definitely seen the evolution of video games in my time.  Since the days of the 8-bit pixels, games now-a-days are fully detailed textured polygons.  What does that mean?  It means everything looks real and sometimes it can look too real.  No different than computer technology, video games try to keep up with the hardware requirements.  As the hardware improves, so does the software and the storage media.  Video games now are comparable to a fully interactive movie, some complete with violence, gore, sex and adult language.  To many parents, whom are not gamers, think that these games or all games are designed for kids.  No.  These games are designed for adults that were once kid gamers.  During the Atari and Nintendo era, the graphics were very limited to blood and gore.  The technology the, didn’t have the capability to generate sound, so text was a form of story telling that had to be read.

In case you weren’t aware of it, many of all video games now have a rating system.  In the United States, the video game rating system is provided by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).  This board is not made up of gamers, but they are a group that reads the release of all games and it is the video game publishers responsibility to disclose any and all types of material to determine the proper rating for video games.  This rating system was implemented back in 1994, shortly after some controversial video games like Mortal Kombat (which showed a graphic image of a head being ripped off a man’s body, followed by blood spewing from the neck) along with several other games.  While Mortal Kombat at the time was initially an arcade coin operated game (later ported to the console), games like this started surfacing and some parents starting becoming concerned of what their children were playing.  Nintendo, for the longest time, would not license any games with excessive violence, blood, gore, smoking, drugs or sex until a rating system was officially in place.

While these rating systems have been around for almost 20 years, there are still parents out there purchasing games which I feel are not appropriate for younger children.  While I have no control for those parents that don’t care what their children do or play, this will be just a few personal tips that I can provide to help those parents who need a better understanding of what is an appropriate game for their children to play.  I feel most parents get painted in the corner by their children, “well Johnny’s parents bought him this game.”  While the parent’s think, “well, if Johnny’s parents did it, then it must be okay.”

Easy tips for parents who have very limited knowledge about video games.

Use the rating system printed on the box

It is very similar to movie and music warnings.  It is fairly obvious, E for Everyone, T for Teen (13+), M for Mature (17+) and AO for Adults Only (18+).  If you look on the back, it will go into detail to exactly what your kids will be likely exposed to.  The video game publishers and ESRB are very good at giving a detail of what content is in the box. It is very rare that I found a game that was misprinted.

Use the rating system web site
You can also visit their website (http://www.esrb.org/), if you want to look up the game before you make a trip to the store.


Online Gameplay
Many video games now provide an online service with the ability to play the games with other people.  Most online services are not rated by the ESRB, but are written into the online service provider’s End User Policy and Service Agreement.  Most of these services, like Playstation Network, XBox Live or MMORPG like World of Warcraft require the gamer to be at least 13 years of age and have a parents consent.  Be aware that your children have and will be exposed to other older children and/or adults playing these very same games.  They will be exposed to unmoderated voice and text conversations and there is a good chance they will hear content not suitable for their age.  Some of these services give some ability to limiting who they may chat with and how, but these settings are too complicated to configure if you aren’t well versed in understanding the system settings.  It is best to just avoid your children communicating unless you know they are just having one-on-one conversations.  Most of the console systems that do not have a microphone attachment, the conversations from the online players could be played from the television speakers, by default.

If you decide to go this route, read up on how to create private chats channel with your child and their friends.  This is the only way your child may play and chat with your child’s friend without listening to other conversations while in game.

Purchasing Games
Most of the stores like EB Games, Game Stop, Walmart or Best Buy have policies against selling games to underage children.  While it isn’t enforced like guns, alcohol or cigarettes, there will be a store that will sell one to an under-aged child.  This happens and I see it happen more often than most.  While also these same stores have  an open software return policy as well, meaning when you try to return software (e.g. video game software), they will not accept the return of an open video game package.  So, if you find out that your underage child purchased a game that you deem not appropriate, don’t expect to return to the store and expect a refund from the oblivious store clerk.  Be aware of your child’s game purchases, no different as if they were going in to buy inappropriate music or movies.


Purchasing Games Online
Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Store have services that allow you to buy games online.  Whether you secure your child’s online account with your credit card (this method is convenient, but risky) or you provide your child with a pre-paid card.  They will have the ability to download any game, movie or music that is available at these shops.  There are a few ways to handle this, first is to again, monitor what your kids are buying.  Help them spend their cards and avoid giving them the ability to buy a game outside your knowledge with an account assigned to a credit card.

Parental Settings on Consoles
This is the last and biggest tip.  If all else fails, this one is the most important one when you initially configure your child’s game system.  There is the ability to configure the game system to only allow certain rated games, movies or music to play on your child’s console.  Most of these rating features are embedded into the media, while it prevents your child from playing certain games or media, it will prompt for a passcode to allow you to play the higher rated games or media.

Most modern video games systems aren’t video game systems anymore.  Most people use it as their multimedia device, which allows you to do more than play video games.  I would think that if you are one of those parents who use this video game system more than a game system, then you probably know a lot more on how to protect your kids from playing games they shouldn’t be playing.

Video games are supposed to be fun for kids and adults.  Just some of these games aren’t made for kids and parents just have to understand that these video games are not toys anymore.

Larry Collette lives in South Korea with his wife and five children. He is a web applications developer for the US Federal Government, Military Veteran, Video Game Enthusiast, and a Mac/Linux user. You can read more about Larry on his about.me page and connect with him on Twitter.

Internet Threats – Fear Not

Potential threats are to be respected but not feared. We can minimize or completely elevated most threats with proper defense tactics and response planning. The threats your family faces with technology vary from one family to the next.  For someone to be a threat to your family there needs to be some likely hood that the person could cause you harm or damage. The likely hood that damage or harm will occur to your family is driven by a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • safeguards you have in place,
  • child training that you have performed,
  • ages of children,
  • moral maturity of children,
  • amount of online financial transactions your family does,
  • your family members’ tolerance for approving “friends” on social media sites,
  • amount of online interactive gaming,
  • family members’ texting habits

We will revisit these threats and others more in depth later.  The point of this post is to give you some confidence in the fact that threats are not to be feared.

My friends over at B.E.L.T. Training have a quote posted on the front page of their website.

“In society there are sheep, there are wolves and then there are sheep dogs…. Sheep are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. Wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. Sheepdogs live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

-Lt. Col. Dave Grossman-                                                              www.killology.com

The quote by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman rings true in the family as well. We as parents are much like the sheepdogs when it comes to Internet Safety.  We are not offensive in our tactics, but are alert and ready to defend our sheep at anytime.

I like to hold on to a few verses in the Bible to encourage me in how to view threats to our family. In Ephesians 6:10-17  there is a suit of armor described. The armor pieces are presented as tools to help stand firm against our enemy.  When I take that and another single verse from 2nd Timothy I find encouragement in standing firm with confidence in the face of enemies. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2nd Timothy 1:7” Obviously the Bible is not talking about Internet Threats, but hopefully the principle of being prepared and standing with confidence does rind true with you.

The Internet, cell phones, tablet computers, smart phones, game consoles, electronic book readers and other technology tools are are not evil and are not threats to our families. There are people who exploit these tools’ weaknesses to mount attacks against our families.  Their motives and actions are where you find the evil. Some people only perform their malicious actions to attempt to bring about fear. Through this site you will be provided with armor to be able stand firm against these threats. There is nothing to fear.