Technology: A Few Thoughts

1516 1516_ () 1516 1516 I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

While I pride myself on not being too technologically advanced, I am painfully aware that I couldn’t live without my gadgets. Or maybe that if I tried to live without them, it would be painful.

In our home, we have only one television. BUT, it’s a 42-inch high-def flat-screen with decent cable.

Our children do not have their own cellphones. BUT, my husband and I now have Blackberry’s and our boys can maneuver them just as well as we can.

When it comes to the computer, it’s more of the same — some days love, some days not-so-much. Right now, where our boys are concerned, I am wary of so much online while also recognizing the vast benefits of the information superhighway.

As a family, we enjoy watching funny clips or reading interesting facts. And of course we use the Internet for all kinds of research — official or otherwise (did you know the tallest woman in the world currently lives in China? It’s a FACT.).

BUT, a while back we had a wake up call. One Easter, Augie and his cousin, both five at the time, got on the computer without asking. It would have been harmless enough except they decided to look for a game called Teen Titans and accidentally typed in something else. My sister-in-law saw them jump back from the computer, their sweet innocent eyes burning at the pornography that popped onto the screen. In the three seconds it took me to exit the page, my eyes were burning as well.

Which is why we will always keep our computer in a very central location. And when my boys are online, I try to be right there with them — they are not allowed to google without my help, or at the very least without my permission. And we limit the time online. After all, all the cool facts in the world are no match for being outside shooting hoops.

Like I said, I love it. And I hate it a bit too.




  1. Anonymous says:

    I’d recommend a “crap filter” of some sort (that’s what I call it!). We’ve had one for years and it’s great! There are many to choose from, such as Integrity Online. They will block the stuff from their headquarters. It’s a blessing!

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are great filters- you owe it to your boys to get one! The average kid hits on porn by accident before age 10 and the gaming sites are full of stealth porn advertisers trying to lure boys at the height of puberty. You have to be careful of gaming online with other players- b/c sometimes they aren’t real players but pornographers. Trust me, my mom learned the hard way!!!
    There are great web-based filters that are very good and very easy to work with. Look at Bsafe or SafeEyes. Many a priest friend of mine cannot talk enough about how we catholic/christian familes need to have filters. IT won’t stop everything, and it won’t stop someone who’s really trying hard to get at the bad stuff- but it can help with the accidental stuff.

    Love my bsafe!!!

  3. Patti Doughty says:

    We had a similar situation. Dane came to me one day and told me that he and Daelyn had been looking for an on-line game when “bad pictures showed up on the screen”. Dane directed Daelyn to close his eyes, then closed his own while exiting the Site. He immediately came to me and told me. We didn’t have filters because they had never done a search before and didn’t even know how. Apparently, a friend showed them, but they won’t be doing searches anymore. Thank goodness I had talked to the children about porn on the Internet before they stumbled across it so Dane was quick to respond and protect himself and his brother.

  4. It’s love/hate at our house too. And I’ve been thankful for having the computer in a central location, both due to violent game sites his neighbor friend tried to introduce him too, and the innocent-seeming site that, when I looked over his shoulder, ended up having some adult language and jokes. We have yet to buy the filters but I’m sure we will in the next couple years for added protection.

  5. Filters are essential! There’s NetNanny, CyberSitter and the others mentioned. Get one now, Justme! It’s devastating when your innocent child finds that garbage.

    We have had a filter for several years. Once a neighbor asked me if we had guns in the house since her boys played here often. I said “No, Do you have an internet filter?” To me, the consequences can be just as devastating.

    Now we block YouTube completely because the filter didn’t block certain videos and one of ours recently did a YouTube search and found very nasty stuff. And our computer is in a central location.

    Evidently we also have to block their cell phones from receiving image files because that’s another way the porn is spread. 🙁

  6. Jackie Parkes says:

    It’s a difficult one..

  7. Jennifer F. says:

    I also have a love/hate relationship with technology.

    One thing that is just so scary is to think of how when I was in elementary school we’d sometimes sneak over to the unabridged dictionary in the library and look up some of the words we heard the older kids using on the bus. Can you just IMAGINE if you typed some of that stuff into Google?!

    Great tips on keeping the computer in a central place.

  8. Bridgit Vinson Dresser says:

    Mine Googled “Naked Brothers Banded” that was on the Disney Channel- you can’t image what came up. Did not help that he forget the word “Band”!!!

  9. Rachel, is “that store” really sponsoring your post?

  10. jerseygirlmama says:

    My kids (at ages 2 and 1) are way too young for the internet and cell phones and call me what you want I will never buy them cellphones and the only computer time when Mom or Dad is present. I can’t say I rely on a filter because of two incidents from my teenage baby sitting days. Both of these families had the best and newest filters available on their computers. One had a son who was 9 and studying his “heritage” as a southerner and was allowed to use the search engine because of the filter. While doing this homework he asked me what a “n” word was (yes that derogatory term used by hate groups for a minority group). When I asked him where he heard that, he showed me the webpage he located about southern “heritage”: it was a white supremacist site. I turned the computer off and had the unfortunate job of letting his parents know so they could address what he had seen.

    The other incident still horrifies me to this day. This little girl went to a “safe site” for Christian children that her parents had pre-approved and clicked a link only to find a terrible anti-Catholic site. She was in tears about herself, her family, me and others in our parish burning in the eternal fires of damnation. The name of the link this little girl clicked on was called “Jesus Loves Me”.

    Don’t get me wrong filters have a purpose but they certainly can never be a substitute for Mom and Dad’s close and watchful eye. You are your child’s only advocate and true defense on the internet.

  11. Michelle, yes they are. It’s through my advertising gig.

  12. Anonymous says:

    rachel, your blog is getting a little too commercial for me. what gives? Are all of your posts now going to be geared toward your sponsors? technology+ Best buy. Cookies + vanilla wafers?

  13. Give me a break, anonymous. This is the first post I’ve ever done like this!

  14. We had the internet in the house by the time I was in middle school, and absolutely, keeping your computer in a public space of the house is a good tactic. We had a large living/dining room and the computer was at one end behind the kitchen table. Knowing that mom and dad were generally in the same room, and being able to hear them talking (sometimes to me) kept me aware of how I should behave and prevented a lot of wandering. The real danger of the internet is that we forget not only that other people are human beings and act cruel toward them, but we also forget that we are people who strive to live a certain way. This is especially important to consider as the internet is getting increasingly tied to real life, and one’s personality online is much more easily linked to one’s real identity (and expected to be). Great post!

  15. Great post Rachel!

    And I personally am THRILLED to see a little link at the bottom of the page. I think it’s wonderful when great writers like you have an opportunity to be compensated for their work online.

    Keep it up!

  16. Hey, I can SO relate to this. My oldest son was looking up something for social studies (something about the Caribbean Sea) and was trying to find a place called “Devil’s Mouth”…. you can imagine the horror-laden images that came up (he was doing a Google image search). ugh!
    That’s the kind of stuff a kid can’t UN-see.
    On the other hand, a friend just had her cable cut off. She LOVES it (she has three boys). I nearly have my dear husband talked into it. muah ha ha ha

  17. Another point for filters (no offense to Rachel!)- I can’t see any of the ads you guys are talking about!! It blocks a lot of them.