familypic
 
JessPlusMess

Limited Edition

Autographed Copy

Sunlight Burning at Midnight a memoir by Jessica Ronne

 

Subscribe to Blog

Your Name:
Your Email:

Search

Just some random, irrelevant, humorous, and hopefully inspiring musings on life, love, faith, widowhood, remarriage, adoption, blended families, caring for a handicapped child, mothering seven children, chickens, cooking, grief, over-coming grief, and everything else in between. Just Keep Livin!!

Practical Ways to Protect Our Children in a Screen Obsessed World

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print
Ryan and I have realized something. We have some full blown addicts living in our home – screen addicts – an addiction that seems to have hit harder with our male offspring than it has with our daughters. We have a few children who really, truly believe that the world will come to an end if they are not able to get their daily fix on one of their devices. We are well aware that this is not just a Ronne family problem, and in fact, there seems to be an entire culture completely devoid of skills outside of using screens. We’ve explained to our children that when we were children, we did not sit in front of screens for hours on end. We had lives - lives which involved activities outside of succumbing to the pale, blue, ever flickering lights. They don’t seem to care.

kid playing video game1

They (the experts, our kids, our subconscious selves) tell us that this is a new generation, a different time, a fresh era, and screens are not going anywhere, and we get that. We really do and honestly, I’m just as guilty as any of my children.  I use the internet frequently for shopping, staying in touch with friends and family, staying informed, marketing my upcoming book, researching whether or not I’m going to die from the latest skin outbreak, and anything else that might catch my fancy. I am, hands down, on the internet more than any other family member. I own that truth, but I’m also an adult who is capable of usually making wise choices when it comes to the influence I allow the internet to have in my life. My children are still in training and need some guidance and direction in this delicate area.

Prior to the birth of our 8th child, our family engaged in limited access to anything screen oriented. Since Annabelle was conceived, these restrictions have loosened considerably and have continued to relax as we are now raising a baby and are quite often in the midst of a sleep deprived reality (and crappy weather). We admittedly find parenting eight children significantly less stressful and demanding if most of those kids are zoning out in front of a screen for a portion of the day. It’s a short lived phase, I get that, but it doesn’t mean I like it.

In the process of screens becoming a consistent part of our reality, Ryan and I have become aware of two issues needing to be addressed. The first issue deals with security and safeguards. How do we keep our children innocent and more importantly safe in their exposures through the internet, social media, and other avenues? The second area of concern addresses the possibility of using screens to our advantage while living and working in a rural community. Our kids, due to our rural environment and the size of their family, may not have the exposures or advantages that a two child family living in the city may be able to experience. Is there some way that we can possibly bridge this gap for our children through media and screens?

This post deals with the first issue involving safeguards and security. The next post (which I promise won’t take months to write) will address how we’ve decided to use the screen culture to our advantage out in the middle of nowhere.  

First safeguard –My oldest boys and my husband were both exposed to pornography at young ages. I hate this for all three of them, but it happened, and I’m determined to keep pornography out of my home at all costs. I won’t use this post to get into the harmful effects of this virtual drug, but the effects are real and they are prevalent. A fantastic resource to check out for more information on this subject is www.fightthenewdrug.com.

To do my small part in this battle, I started a Facebook Group, Innocence Restored, for parents and/or concerned adults where we are able to address and combat the problems that children are exposed to via the internet and social media. Within this community we share ideas, concepts, strategies, questions, and additionally encourage one another in an attempt to restore innocence in our homes while gaining an understanding of all things internet oriented. What one parent may not understand in terms of a particular app or site, another parent may be able to explain. Ignorance is erased, knowledge gained, and knowledge is power. We need all the power we can get in this fight for our children.

Second safeguard. –EVERY DEVICE IN OUR HOME IS PASSWORD PROTECTED. And, every computer is out in the open.

Third safeguard – This one may be slightly controversial in today’s day and age, but we do not allow our children to have cell phones. I’ve seen and read numerous reports linking cell phone usage with rising brain cancer rates – especially in children whose brains are still developing. I’m not going to argue the truth or untruths of these studies, but this is not a risk I’m willing to take. Additionally, just because “Mom and Dad have one” doesn’t mean my child is entitled to one. Mom and Dad have lots of privileges because we’re Mom and Dad. We’re not children anymore; therefore, we can purchase what we want to purchase with our money. I suppose at some point, maybe when our sons and daughters have jobs, they will be more than welcome to purchase their own phone and data plan. If it’s a priority, they’ll make it happen, but in the meantime, it is my job as a parent to provide clothes, shelter, food, and necessities, but a cell phone, in our family’s situation, is not a necessity.  

Fourth safeguard – Opendns.com is a free web filtering software that connects directly to a router. It’s easy to use, filters all the junk, and safeguards any device connected to WiFi – including any outside device that enters your home and connects to your Wifi.

Fifth safeguard – We recently purchased a product called The Circle (www.meetcircle.com). This is an amazing little, white box that has revolutionized our lives. We currently have seventeen devices set up through this product (smart TV’s computers, kindles, Ipods, Ipad, cell phones, and gaming systems). Each device has its own profile setting, safeguards, and bedtime. The one time investment of $100 has put the control back in our hands with what we are going to allow in our home with the internet and social media. We no longer wonder or second guess what the kids are discovering online or with their apps, and it’s all secure and detailed with the click of a button at the main station.  I am not tech savvy; however, this is EASY! Really. Truly. It’s a good product, and it can make your family great again (I’m starting to sound like a politician).  Fantastic product if you’re looking to regain control and peace of mind in your home. Check it out.

That’s all I have. Any other suggestions out there?

Stayed tuned. The next post will take learning to a whole new level.

Just keep livin!!

  • Guest
    Katrina Thursday, February 18, 2016

    I worry about this a lot especially with my step son because I don't have the same control over his electronics as I do my own kids. Definitely looking into The Circle! Kids have way more internet freedoms than they should these days. Parents assume your kids are doing things they shouldn't!! They're kids, so better safe than sorry...

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Latest Blogs

Mother's Day Sale and Interview
Just a few items for consideration as you go about your week.   First - In honor of all of the wonderful mothers, grandmothers, and motherly figures in the world, I'm offering a Buy One / Get One 1/2 off sale on all autographed copies of Sunlight Burning at Midnight ordered here on the blog and also at Facebook/jessplusthemess.  It's the perfect time to buy one for yourself and then gift another to that special someone in your life. This sale will be honored all the way through to Mother's Day - May 14.  If you'd like the books sent to different ad...
Continue Reading...
Easter Memories 2017
One way we’ve been able to accomplish this desire is by peeling back many of the layers of what’s expected for a particular holiday and ask ourselves: A. Do we have the energy levels required to enjoy this activity (whatever it may be – elaborate meal, presentation, etc) or will this addition stress us out and if so, the activity needs to be eliminated or reconfigured to meet our current energy levels so that it doesn’t potentially hinder the true meaning of the holiday, and B. What simple traditions can we incorporate to ensure that our children are honoring whatever this holiday is truly a...
Continue Reading...
Two Beautiful Books, My Kid's Reactions, and a GIVEAWAY!
A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to review two recently released children's books, I’m Going to Give you a Bear Hug by Caroline Cooney / Illustrated by Tim Warnes and Bible Basics, A Baby Believer Counting Primer by Danielle Hitchen / Illustrated by Jessica Blanchard. 
Continue Reading...
Big Changes Are 'A Comin
Blessed but stressed has been our life motto for over three years now – ever since we made the decision to add an 8th child to our family. Some have raised questioning eyebrows with this decision, but we forged through, and we stand by the decision today as one of the best things we’ve done for our family, BUT we are tired and stretched about as thin as they come. Something about raising teenagers, and not sleeping because of a newborn, and then raising teenagers with a toddler who does finally sleep (PRAISE JESUS!) but never, ever, ever stops moving when she’s awake, and then there are the ...
Continue Reading...
Banana Chocolate Muffins
These are really, really good and really, really addicting so it's a good thing they have some health benefits or I'd feel really, really guilty after eating a few.  I usually make these for the kids breakfast because most days they're up at 6:00 am so they need something easy, filling, and tasty in their bellies. These always do the trick.  Banana Chocolate Muffins 3 ripe bananas. 2 cups flour½ cup maple syrup2 eggs1 tea baking soda1 tea baking powder½ tea salt2 TB coconut oil1 tea vanilla½ cup orange juice. 1 cup dark chocolate chips Mix the first 10 ingredients together. Stir i...
Continue Reading...
Pure Goodness Spaghetti Sauce
3-4 TB olive oil (depends on how much garlic and onions you add). 1 large onion chopped 4-5 TB finely chopped fresh garlic (You can add chopped celery as well if you want) Saute these three ingredients for a few minutes. Add 4 14 ounce cans of quality tomatoes (crushed or whole is fine - I like Carmelina brand) Add as much fresh spinach as the pot will hold. 4 TB Italian seasoning 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/4 cup red wine 2 cups of tomato juice (we make our own) Salt and pepper to taste Simmer all of this on low for an hour or two.  Turn heat off and blend all together with a han...
Continue Reading...
Marriage Pep Talk and a GIVEAWAY!
In my second marriage to Ryan I have valiantly attempted to right the wrongs that I naively produced in the first marital relationship. They say “ignorance is bliss,” and I suppose that I was ignorant the first time around; however, having my eyes wide open through a second opportunity has changed my perspective on life and love. A few of my initial struggles were cemented in my identity as a strong willed, first born, young wife, and often included a lack of respect towards my husband (I knew best, of course!), and one that goes hand in hand with the respect issue, a lack of grace. I usually...
Continue Reading...
Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Delights
This week’s recipe is a spin off of my go to, extremely easy, “I only have 5 minutes to whip something together” dessert. The original recipe called for peanut butter, egg, and sugar. I’ve amped up the health factor by substituting some of the ingredients and adding a few more. My kids love em. Hope you do too. Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Delights. 1 cup almond butter 1 egg ½ cup maple syrup ½ cup pecans ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Mix everything together in a big bowl. Spoon droplets onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Just keep livin!
Continue Reading...
Numero Uno Sanity System - THE BIN
At the Ronne homestead we employ many systems in order to maintain some level of functionality for the family and for the parent’s sanity. The bin system is by far the most useful and consistent tool we use as it has been in place from almost day one of our blended family. This is a system that I grew up with (as the oldest of 10 children) and loathed with every cell of my being as a child. Funny how it made its way into my grownup family as well. The bin (or the brown box that I grew up with) is just a plastic container that holds the children’s misdemeanors for the week. The system starts ...
Continue Reading...
Healthier Chicken N` Dumplings
Simmering away and filling the house with deliciousness, my healthier take on a classic - chicken n' dumplings. This version includes bone broth, organic chicken, a plethora of herbs, and lots and lots of fresh veggies. Chicken N' Dumplings5 organic chicken breasts cut into bite sized piecesVariety of fresh veggies (carrots, mushrooms, celery, leeks, even spinach, whatever you have on hand) roughly chopped.Olive oilItalian spiceVege Sal1 tea thymeSalt if you must but the Vege Sal does a great job of seasoning if you let it.Pepper to taste2 cups water6 cups bone broth (or vegetable or chicken b...
Continue Reading...