If your home is anything like mine then you probably have at least one television set in the family room plus a couple more in the bedrooms. You have a landline telephone line for the house favorite music while you’re cooking dinner in the kitchen and yet another one that helps you keep from falling asleep on the treadmill. You have a PC and a laptop or two. Does this sound familiar?
Technology is definitely a part of our lives and that is a very good thing. The availability of modern technology contributes positively to our quality of life. Technology, especially modern technology is helping all of us live longer and healthier. Technology is always changing and evolving, so much so that at times it feels as if we are always trying to learn and acquire certain skills.
Technology is helping us to share the gospel in ways that we only dreamed of 30 or even 20 years ago. Just a few weeks ago during General Conference technology enabled hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the world hear the words of our beloved prophet, President Hinckley. Technology is helping us take the gospel to every man, woman, and child who is willing to listen to our message.
Technology, in all its faces, is indeed a blessing in our lives. However, technology can also be quite dangerous in the wrong hands or when used improperly. Computers and the Internet are among the first things most people think of when they think about modern technology.
The Internet is an amazing tool for education and for the advancement of our collective knowledge. It ranks in my book as one of man’s greatest inventions. So what can be so dangerous about the Internet? The Internet is perhaps the single most accessible way for filth such as pornography to enter your home. The Internet has given the world at large almost free access to your home and family. Recent headlines aross the country tells the sad tale of how the Internet contributed either directly or indirectly to failed marriages. Even more disturbing are reports of kids being lured by molestors posing as friends online.
So what can you do to protect your family? Dismantling your computer is not the answer. Getting rid of your computer altogether is not the answer either. Remember, computers and the Internet are excellent tools and they can contribute considerably to the overall educational goals of your child. What you can do is educate yourself to the pitfalls of Internet use. It usually doesn’t cost you anything to read everything you can get your hands on about the best websites for kids or how you can minimize improper Internet use in your home. There are guidelines and suggestions for parents available free on the Internet that cover topics ranging from where to put your family computer to the best filtering software available for your money. There are books written on the subject available completely free from your local library.
Take some computer classes if you can. You can’t prevent improper use if you don’t know what to watch for. Most communities offer free or low cost computer and Internet classes that anyone can sign up for. Free tutorials are also available – yes, you guessed it – on the Internet.
Be aware of how long and how often your kids are on the computer. If they are spending over 5 hours on the computer each night, they are probably not just doing homework unless they are working on a Master’s thesis. Of course not all non-school related Internet use is bad. There are other perfectly safe and legitimate research and activities your kids can be engaged in when using the Internet. The point is that you as the parent should know enough about the Internet so that you know what is proper use and what is not. The point is that you as the parent should know enough so that you can keep your family safe.
You wouldn’t let just anyone walk into your home so why should you let anyone who wants to walk into your family room via the Internet?