by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
When I was a small child on our dairy, there was a large heifer that was nothing but trouble, and probably not right in the head. Before we sent old #8 to the butcher shop, she managed to aggressively take down every member of my family with extreme pain, except for my dad. Though the fences could hold her in, our daily chores, and sometimes our curiosity placed us accessible to her terror. Dad always made sure he was in earshot when we were around old #8 so we could holler out for the cavalry if necessary. We all knew the danger and usually took appropriate precautions.
There is another danger terrorizing American families in the form of regular unmonitored access to the internet. The availability to volumes of pornography and other dangerous content can tear apart marriages and hold children captive. I am not against the internet. It is one of the greatest ways humankind has applied the creativity God placed in us to have dominion over His creation. But it is dangerous. On the dairy, my dad always made sure the dangers of #8 were well understood and that the fences were in good repair. In the same way it is vital that we as parents understand the dangers of giving access to the internet without appropriate fences in place.
As my own children are nearing the age of having more internet access, and as the world around us continues to change rapidly, I have renewed my interest and research in placing fences around this danger. I have used the products Covenant Eyes and Open DNS in the past. But over the past months I have been test driving a product from Accountable2You. It is not a filtering software, but a monitoring software. Any questionable browsing activity is recorded and provided in reports based upon my chosen frequency. I can even choose to receive immediate text messages if questionable activity is detected on any devices being monitored.
For $9.95 a month, I can place up to 20 devices on the plan. It will monitor app usage on each device and provide fairly detailed records of the usage. It can also be programmed to monitor activity during nighttime hours, providing alerts for after hours usage. It also includes GPS tracking of cell phones. It even alerts me in real time to suspicious words used in text messages. Its extension that can be placed on a Chromebook account appears to be one-of-a-kind. While the service does not provide filtering, it does provide suggestions for additional free filtering options.
If my dad really wanted to ensure our safety on the dairy, he never would have let us leave the house. But he knew we needed to learn how to live outside those walls, but not at the sacrifice of our safety. He made sure the fences were in good repair, that he could check up on us, and that he himself was prepared anytime he came close to #8. Filtering serves its purposes, and is utilized in my own home. But it has its limitations. Our children need to learn and practice wisdom, but once again, not at their peril. A clearly understood and utilized monitoring program ensures that our children have fences, and that the injuries caused from crossing those fences are used to maximize learning and gaining wisdom.
Some of the wisdom learned as children will remain as helpful fences when they become adults. Just because my dad had the wisdom and strength to overcome #8 in the right situation, he did not remove the fences. He didn’t need to be constantly distracted or attacked by #8. I encourage each of us to apply similar wisdom in protecting and training our children, as well as our marriages.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
*To add this extension to your child’s Crosshill account, please contact the school for settings information.