Teens and Internet Safety

Jaquelline Fuller from Google shares tips on parenting teens in a technology age.

  • Mom and Dad have social network passwords
  • Have regular conversations (Relationships, Relationships, Relationships)
  • Don’t be afraid to be the parent


Character Training with a TV Remote

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 33 - Training Character with TV RemoteAnne Marie Ezzo shared a blog post on her Facebook page recently that was authored by Mark Gregston.

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Mark Gregston

”A recent Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, shows that 61% of teens admit to lying to a teacher about something important, and a whopping 76% admitted to lying to their parents last year.  Another study, this one conducted in Britain, indicates that an overwhelming 84% of teens said they’ve regularly copied information from the Internet and pasted it right into their homework.

But it wasn’t necessarily those numbers that shocked me.  What really rocked me back on my heels was that this recent study of American teenagers reported that while over 50% of teenagers admitted lying, cheating, or stealing within that last year, 93% of those same kids said they are “satisfied with their personal ethics and character.” In addition, 81% of those teenagers said that “when it comes to doing what’s right, they are better than most people they know.”

The point Mrs. Ezzo made was that (I quote),  “While this blog post is addressed to parents of teens, parents with younger children would be wise to heed the thoughts expressed and thereby wisely help to prevent this issues from developing in your own home. Remember “begin as you mean to go” if you desire to have an honest child, then even those ‘creative stories’ need to have boundaries, we want to set our younger children [let alone teens] for success and direct help keep them on the right path.”

Mark went on to offer advice to parents on how to shift the trends so that teens embrace the virtue of truth over the norm of lying. Mark’s very first recommendation to “Monitor Media” steps into my area of expertise so I want to expand on his advice.

We all know that we can’t monitor every single thing that our kids do. Even if we try we have to be realistic and admit that if we are faced with a kid that is already characterized by dishonesty, deception, and lying then they probably will take steps to avoid our efforts to monitor. How many of us can actually keep up with our kids in terms of technology anyway?

I have shared this example before, but I believe it is worth repeating again and again.  Technology security is more about behavior than the technology!

You can try to monitor and control your kid’s Internet or TV access, but you are only treating the symptom. You must get to the heart if the issue and then end result will be that your child will self regulate their Internet, TV, movie, and gaming activity. They are going to get there soon enough so you might as well teach them early.

Teach Your Kids to Use the TV Remote

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? One of the things we joke about as parents is how much more kids understand about the DVD/DVR and how to operate it. But do they really understand the most important features? As a parent, the two most important buttons on a remote are the “Last Channel” button (sometimes called a Recall or last) and the “MUTE” button. That’s right.

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Apple iOS 6 Upgrade Security Features

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 31 - Apple iOS6 - Identity Theft - Lying to your kidsCredit card and Debit card theft

Norfolk Naval Base McDonald’s Cashier Admits to Stealing Credit Card Data

DeLand Florida Chili’s Resurant server skims $24,000 from debit and credit cards.

iPhone 5 and iOS6

Tablet Crunch – Tim Cook Apology for Apple iOS 6 Maps

Find My iPhone

“It happens. You misplace your iPhone or your iPad or your iPod touch. Luckily, iOS 6 and iCloud now offer Lost Mode, making it even easier to use Find My iPhone to locate and protect a missing device.7 Immediately lock your missing iPhone with a four-digit passcode and send it a message displaying a contact number. That way a good Samaritan can call you from your Lock screen without accessing the rest of the information on your iPhone. And while in Lost Mode, your device will keep track of where it’s been and report back to you anytime you check in with the Find My iPhone app.” Source: Apple.com

Kindle Store Search Risks

Searching for popular children’s books in the Amazon Kindle Store reveals inappropriate material for kids.

Hiding status updates on Facebook

If I no longer comment on your Facebook status updates then it may be because I have chose to hide your junk. In this episode I explain how.

Lying to your kids

Ad Council encourages lying to your children in this YouTube video in support of 1st Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign

50 Shades of Lying on The Graceful Mom Blog

Other Links Mentioned:

Home School Support Network

Daddy Life Episode 8


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Halloween and Mediocrity

Halloween and Mediocrity EpisodeWhat do we do on Halloween instead of trick-or-treat, festivals, or costume parties? Our family enjoys each others’ company like we do many other nights throughout the year because in our family we believe that Halloween is Optional.

Ericka over at Large Families on Purpose asks if you are going to have a “Happy” Halloween? Her birthday falls on October 31 and that seems to make people think that she is an expert on the traditions of Halloween. And given her blog post and the number of positive responses, I would say that she is more than an expert than most on this subject.

Family Travel Adventures

Check out our Daddy Life Facebook Fan Page to see us kissing the yard of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We were traveling with our son Caden who has servere medical special needs related to 22q11.2 (DiGeorge Syndrome).

Mysterious backyard sound – What or who is that Owl talking to?


Amazon Kindle store does not filter adult explicit and erotic book results from searches.


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Kindle Free Time – Parents Need More

Kindle Store Search Results for American GirlSetting time limits offered in the new Kindle Fire Free Time parental controls is easy, but in my opinion it is all just window dressing for a much deeper problem with putting eReaders in the hands of kids. Sherry and I are debating whether or not to give my old Kindle (2nd Generation E Ink) to Riley as a 10th birthday present. This kids reads like no one I have ever met and we believe he would love the high tech way of accessing his favorite series.

So what’s the big deal?

A couple of months ago a parent asked me how to control search results when browsing the Kindle Store. And by the way, this question applies to all Kindle devies, eRaders for other devices like the iPad, or just searching within a computer browser. Her 11 yr old had saved money to buy her own Kindle Fire and was freely browsing for her favorite children’s books.  When searching the Kindle store for “American Girl” which is a popular book series 11 yr old girls, the mom was shocked by some of the results her daughter was exposed to. As shown in the photo above, as of today the 12th result in the Kindle store for the search term “American Girl” is a very explicit/erotic eBook by the same name. It is certainly not appropriate for an 11 yr old by the standards of any parent that I know. So if the above image and the sub-title of “A Carnal Story” don’t give you a hint as to why, then I can assure you that the description Kindle Fire would remove all doubt. I recommend that you spare yourself the trouble of looking this up and just trust me on this one. My answer to the parent was that she would most likely have to manage Kindle Store access if she wanted to protect her 11 yr old from being exposed to this type of content. And even doing that is near impossible on older devices and free Kindle readers like used on desktops and smart phones. The challenge that parents face with the Kindle Store is that there is no “safe search” feature or filtering by age. Many books including some of the American Girl books are not categorized by age even though it is widely known in parenting circles familiar with these books that they are targeted at early readers (3rd grade and up).

Initial reviews of Amazon’s Kindle Fire Free Time Parental Controls are pointing to a less than stellar answer to the above mentioned challenge. Parents should be careful with simply handing over any model of Kindle to a child without first giving careful consideration to how they will supervision the shopping for books in the Kindle Store.

Teaching Sons to Fire Guns

9 Year Old Firing a Winchester Model 67

9 year old Riley firing a rifle for the first time

Firing a rifle for the first time is one of the most treasured memories that many men carry for the rest of their lives. Water cooler or camping conversations between men often revolve around the subject of first experiences with a gun. It is one of the early steps in teaching young boys how to literally kill it and drag it home. Men in the USA provide for their families today primarily by earning a direct deposit paycheck that goes into a joint account that their spouse uses to gather meat, bread, fruits, and vegetables from the local super market or grocery warehouse. Even still, many boys and men long for the hunt. And the hunt begins with learning some skills.

Daddy Coon HunterToday I was able to give my son that first gun shot experience as he became the fourth generation to fire this rifle. I don’t know for sure if anyone in my family fired this rifle before my Papa (i.e., grandfather). But we do know that this model of Winchester 67 Rifle began being manufactured in the early thirties so it is possible that Riley could be the fifth or sixth generation in our family to fire this same weapon. I also know that I used this rifle to kill my first wild animal (Raccoon) as a young boy when I was near Riley’s current age of nine.

Fear of Gun Sounds

While this event did plant a lasting memory in my son’s mind, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, I also had a ulterior motive. You see, Riley has a fear of loud sounds. He is not afraid of guns, but the loud noises that some guns make. I plan to take Riley to his first NASCAR race later this year as a birthday present and I want to make sure that his fear of noise does not prevent him from enjoying the race. I mentioned Riley’s fear of noises in a guest post I did on Childwise Chat about Childhood Fears. I explained how my wife and I dealt with what seemed to be an irrational fear with one of our other boys. Today allowed me to work on understanding more about Riley’s fear while also desensitizing him to loud sounds. The day was a success because on this front because Riley did not complain about the noise and he clarified that his fear is more of sudden loud noises and not so much the loud sound itself.

We went to a public firing range in the Francis Marion National Forest about an hour from our home. We joined some of my Navy co-workers and their family members. At the range there were folks firing everything from .22 rifles, to .45 caliber model 1911 mil spec handguns (my personal favorite concealable cary handgun), to shotguns, to high powered hunting rifles. As you can see Riley did pretty well on his first day at the firing range as you can see below. The green circles are his hits with a little assitance from me with the aiming on a couple of them.

Riley with his target after his first day on the firing range

Riley had fired a BB Gun before at a Cub Scout day camp, but this was a whole different deal. Riley said he liked shooting the rifle, but he would rather do it somewhere that does not have all the loud handguns and rifles next time. I am going to work on finding a friend who has a little land in the country that we can use the next time we go to target practice.

As I was completing this post I ran across a news story about a 14 year old boy who shoot an intruder during a home invasion. The 14 year old was home watching over his three younger siblings. Given the way this young man handled himself I am inclined to believe he must have had plenty of exposure to guns and training on their proper use. Some adults would have had a hard time handling that situation. I am also glad the intruder was not fatally injured. Taking the life of another human being is tough no matter how old you are and regardless of the circumstances.

What is you opinion of kids learning to use fire arms safely?

Ask Your Child to Forgive You

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 25 - Forgiveness
Rachel from over at the blog titled My Baby Sleep Guide is the winner of the latest (2012) edition of On Becoming Babywise.

Speaking of Babywise, there is a new Nap App available for the iPhone from PocketParenting.com. This app has been developed by the same folks that publish On Becoming Babywise. There are demo videos and screenshots on the web site.


Asking your child for Forgiveness and Make it Right

Asking your child to forgive you for something you did to hurt them is hard. If you are a headstrong natural born alpha male leader type, it can be extremely more difficult to master this process. It takes an extra degree of humility.

I recently embarrassed my nine year old son Riley. I raised my voice to him in front of some neighborhood kids. A few minutes later Riley let me know (respectfully) that he had been embarrassed by my tone. I was still hot and sent him to his room so that I could cool off.

After I cooled off I went up to Riley’s room and sat on the bed next to him. I asked him if he would forgive me for embarrassing him in front of his friends by raising my voice. He said yes and gave me a big hug.

This about where things end for how most people deal with forgiveness. Our friends Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo taught us better in Growing Kids God’s Way. They teach that when wrong is done and forgiveness is asked for an give, there is still a need to restore the relationship.

Then I asked Riley how I could make it right with him.

Many people apologize or say they are sorry. Very few ever ask how they can make things right. By making things right I mean that we should try to restore the relationship.

Tech Time

Droid – Angry Birds Ads –  How to stop advertisements while your child plays Angry Birds on your Android OS.

Using your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts on your phone.

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Deleting Google Search History – Why?

Member CardsYou might as well throw your wallet and your key chain into an incinerator while you are at it. The social media sites are buzzing with warnings about the new Google Privacy Policy that goes in effect on March 1, 2012. There seems to be an endless list of people who are providing instructions on how to delete browser history. What’s the big deal?

Google’s principles are not changing. They are still going to collect as much data as they can to be able to provide you with the products (ads) and services you want most. The real difference is that they are going to do this across more seamlessly across all of there services.  If you have a Google account and have never logged into your Google Dashboard, then you may be in for a surprise when you see the list of servies what Google provides. Here are a few that I use: Web History, Google+, YouTube, Picasa, Analytics, Adsense, Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Gmail, Feedburner, Reader, Talk, Android Market, and Webmaster Tools. There are a dozen plus other services that don’t appear on the dashboard. A couple of them that I use are Adwords and Google Bookmarks.

The big item of concern seems to be the web or search history.  I contend that if you have never disabled or turned off your search history then any perceived damage is already done. And oh by the way, even if you don;t allow Google to record your search history, there is nothing you can do to stop you employer, school, church, coffee shop, or any other place where you access the Internet. I can say that as a web site owner, I know how a majority of my web site visitors found my site. Almost all web servers collect data about a user’s visit. The log entries can tell me where you are coming from (IP Address), what operating system you are using, browser type, what site referred you. And if that site was a search engine I can tell what search terms you used to find my site. It takes some very tedious web browsing practices to avoid exposing yourself to others on the Internet.

As an example, a few years ago I found some updates to an article on Wikipedia that were basically character assassination on a friend of mine. Some “contributors” to Wikipedia had written some nasty things about my friend in a Wikipedia article and they were trying to hide behind pseudo names.  It just so happens that Wikipedia collects IP Address information for every user who edits an article on their site. I noticed that one of the IP Addresses matched an IP address for a frequent visitor to more than one of my blogs. It may sound weird, but I am more likely to remember you phone number or IP address than your name. This visitor had also left comments on my blog posts and my WordPress installation had also recorded their IP Address along with their web site URL and email address. I called them out by name on Wikipedia, and got a warning for violating Wikipedia guidelines for ding so. At least I got me make my point and my notes are in the update history for that article. Anyway, eventually the husband of one lady emailed me add asked me to stop using his wife’s name for security reasons. He said that she had been the victim of a stalker and wanted to reamin anonymous behind here pseudo name. However, as I pointed out to him, she did not go through the trouble to make her domain registration information private so his argument did not hold water. Her domain registration still to this day contains her full name, street address, and phone number even though I pointed this out to her husband. Obviously he was not too concerned about her safety from stalkers, but was more concerned about me shining a light into the dimly lite corner where she was spewing lies, hate and discontent towards my friend.

I shared this story to make the point that you are leaving bread crumbs all over the Internet and your Google Search History is just one small piece. I encourage you to read the new privacy polices and make up your own mind. Don’t simply give in to the fear mongering. As for me, I will not be deleting or disabling anything. I like it when my waitress knows me well enough to know what I drink. I like it when my pharmacy and grocery stores print off coupons that I can actually use.  And I like it when my search engine knows me well enough to give me what I am looking for without me having to yell or draw color pictures using crayons.

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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Pinewood Derby Cars 2012

Boys Being BoysPinewood Derby Cars

Caden and JJ showing off their first Pinewood Derby Cars

This is Caden’s first year in Cub Scouts. He and his brothers recently attended an event at the local Lowe’s store in Goose Creek, SC called Pinewood Derby® Days. This is sponsored by Lowe’s and Dremel® tools to help boys create their derby cars while learning about the safe use of tools.