Getting online as a parent and letting your kids online


I am not a parent but I have collected some tips and resources that I think would be helpful if I were a parent. I am a youth minister and I want to help parents connect with their teenagers and grow them closer to the Lord.

Stats on how many teenagers are using laptops and spending a lot of wasted time online.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/20laptopsct.html?_r=1&ref=nyregionspecial2&oref=slogin

http://www.commonsense.com/internet-safety-guide/ – Internet Safety Guide for Parents:
“Check site histories, set appropriate age filters, and check out the parental controls on your browser. Teach your kids the basics of safe searching (Google has a safe-search setting), and give them a digital code of conduct. Don’t let them figure it all out by themselves. ” Another helpful page: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/parent_tips/commonsense_view/index.php?id=270

According to CPYU.org – Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, we should:

First, we need to find out why our kids are visiting these sites.
Second, we should make sure we are equipping them properly to deal with the types of information they are confronted with both on these sites and in the world. Third, we must foster an environment of trust.
Fourth, we need to model for them what healthy relationships look like
Fifth, our kids must learn the difference between information and advertising.
Sixth, we need to make sure our kids are safe on the Internet.
(I cut the main principles, go to CPYU.org and read the details under the articles section).

http://www.cnet.com/4520-13384_1-6721000-1.html – CNet shows in this article some physical tools you can actually use and place on or around your computer to monitor and block certain activities.

http://protectkids.com/parentsafety/socialnetworking.htm
– “Rules N Tools” is the page title. I really love this website. It has a lot of good ideas for rules and more tools to help you and your kids figure out social networks and the internet.

Internet-Related Safety Tips for Teens from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

1. Don’t give out personal information about yourself, your family situation, your school, your telephone number, or your address.

2. If you become aware of the sharing, use, or viewing of child pornography online, immediately report this to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

3. When in chatrooms remember that not everyone may be who they say they are. For example a person who says “she” is a 14-year-old girl from New York may really be a 42-year-old man from California.1

4. If someone harasses you online, says anything inappropriate, or does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, contact your Internet service provider.

5. Know that there are rules many Internet Service Providers (ISP) have about online behavior. If you disobey an ISP’s rules, your ISP may penalize you by disabling your account, and sometimes every account in a household, either temporarily or permanently.

6. Consider volunteering at your local library, school, or Boys & Girls Club to help younger children online. Many schools and nonprofit organizations are in need of people to help set up their computers and Internet capabilities.

7. A friend you meet online may not be the best person to talk to if you are having problems at home, with your friends, or at school – remember the teenage “girl” from New York in Tip number three? If you can’t find an adult in your school, church, club, or neighborhood to talk to, Covenant House is a good place to call at 1-800-999-9999. The people there provide counseling to kids, refer them to local shelters, help them with law enforcement, and can serve as mediators by calling their parents.

8. If you are thinking about running away, a friend from online (remember the 14-year-old girl) may not be the best person to talk to. If there is no adult in your community you can find to talk to, call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. Although some of your online friends may seem to really listen to you, the Switchboard will be able to give you honest, useful answers to some of your questions about what to do when you are depressed, abused, or thinking about running away.”

What is truth?


I have some neat analogies relating to religions, post-modernism, and truth. Some of these ideas are from Living with Questions by Dale Fincher, others are from books by Greg Stier…but some are my own.

Post-modern ideas/ false:

A Shopping bag/or a WalMart -there are a lot of choices and things to buy. You are the consumer and the world/store evolves around you. You could go to Eastern section and purchase some Buddhism or go to the Western Protestant section and pick up some Baptist love….

Starbucks – people like their drinks a specific way, a mix of flavors and long, hard to pronounce names….”I ‘ll take a Grande Triple Buddha Berry Frappacino, and a Venti Jesus please….”

Truth / Christianity:

-A cure for a specific diagnosis that we all have, sin. And the truth is that there is one specific solution that cures our sin cancer. Jesus is the only solution, there is no other. Having other drugs will not help.

-A math equation. 2+3 = 5. It always equals five and that is not going to change. It is never going to be 7.

Truth is absolute and exclusive. It is impossible for everyone to be right because by saying so you are excluding everyone who thinks there is only one way…

Truth defined and discussed:
Truth is an idea or belief that is a fact or in other words, ideas that reflect reality and in another way, propositions that correspond to reality. Without truth we cannot know things…without the ability to to know things, we cannot use things properly…if we cannot use things properly then we cannot take care of things properly.

Perception of “faith v. truth”
In today’s culture the word “faith” has a false connotation to it. May I suggest that it has a false definition to today’s culture. I think that in today’s culture, faith is thought of as a gift. It is treated as mystical and unknown. Unfortunately many people think of it as the opposite of truth and reason. Some go so far to say that faith is ignorance.
These are misguided misconceptions. Faith and Truth go together, hand in hand. They are friends, not opposites. Faith is based on truth. I rely on evidence and trust God, this is faith. Faith is confidence in the character of something that has proven itself reliable. God has proven Himself faithful and reliable and evident in my life, therefore I have faith in Him. I trust in His Truth.
It is a faith based on Truth. Truth or ideas as they are in reality.
Truth is a proposition that corresponds to reality. It is when an idea or belief shows up in reality.
Say my car breaks down. I bring it to the repair show and then walk down the street to Walmart. As I am in the check-out line of Walmart I get a phone call from the repairman saying that my car is fixed. I now have an idea/proposition in my head that my car is fixed. I have not seen r driven my car so I walk back to the repair shop. I pay the bill, hop in the car and start driving. Everything is working . I know for sure now that my car actually really is fixed. I experienced truth. The repairman had actually fixed my car and was not false. I know for sure because i can feel/ see my car working properly. The idea that my car was fixed lines up with reality, my car is fixed.

steve jobs and youth ministry

This is such an interesting video. While Steve Jobs makes some great points that really do relate to youth ministry, which makes it funny and makes the video…I did some research and and there is no way that Steve is really talking about Youth ministry. Steve is not a Christian and has experimented with Eastern religions. Others say that Apple is a religion. I am guessing this video is edited assortment of clips. Yet I still enjoy it and agree with the concepts that are being applied to youth ministry.

10 Distinctive of Postmodern Churches

10 Distinctive of Postmodern Churches
from evangelismcoach.org

My own comments added


  1. Be unashamedly spiritual. People are tired of the modern belief that everything can be answered by science and reason. They are open to something mystical and spiritual. Thus the rejection of modernism and entering of post-modernism.plantingchurchespostmodern

  2. Promote incarnational ministry. Authenticity is essential. Postmoderns are looking for persons who are genuine and transparent. It is not the job of the unchurched postmodern to enter our culture. It is our job to invade theirs (become incarnate) with the unchanging truth of the gospel. I like the fact that this author is promoting unchanging truth! And the fact that he is not so caught up in the post-modern movement that he doesn’t accept evangelism. The fact that he wants to “invade their culture” tells me that he is strong in His foundation of the truth and still understands the Great commission.

  3. Worship experientially. Postmoderns want to experience God, not just see a show about him. A dynamic worshiping community becomes a powerful apologetic to a generation open to the spiritual but not knowing how to connect with the Spirit.

  4. Preach narrative expository messages. Jesus frequently used narratives or stories in his preaching, and often the story was the point. Preaching biblical stories connects to a culture that sees stories as a source of truth. This is true.

  5. Appreciate and participate in ancient patterns. Postmodern leaders are spellbound by the ancient- future faith of the past. There is a new interest in ancient things: Gregorian chants, Celtic Christianity, ancient art, etc. The church can embrace those that promote biblical truth.

  6. Experience visual worship. Paintings, banners, candles and other imagery can help share the gospel message. In the postmodern age, truth can be expressed in images illuminating biblical truth. this is a neat part of the post-modern era that is fun because Christians are using their God-given talents, abilities, and passions to further the Gospel in fun way

  7. Engage in service. Offer an outlet for their passion to serve. Genuine faith always expresses itself in ministry. As postmoderns see that faith produces service, the validity of the faith is proved. A wonderful outlet for this is to engage postmoderns in mission work.

  8. Connect with technology. Churches trying to reach postmoderns not only will use technology in worship, but they also will promote community through that technology. I love this too. As you might expect, a blogger/web designer for the Lord!

  9. Live community. Community is a central value in most effective churches reaching postmoderns. With a culture eager for genuine community, the Church can offer community with people and with God.

  10. Promote team-based leadership. Leadership in the postmodern context tends to be dramatically different than it was in other models. In the modern context, the leader was penalized for transparency. Leaders who shared their struggles frequently regretted it later as it became an example in future arguments. In the postmodern era, struggle and consequently transparency is more valued.