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Being a parent isn’t easy. It can often feel overwhelming. Throw in the Internet, social networks, computers, mobile, and gaming devices and things can often seem impossible. But you aren’t alone. Technology Safety Through the Eyes of Faith, www.faithandsafety.org, is a resource guide brought to you by a collaboration between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. and an attempt to give you some simple, straightforward advice and tools on how to navigate this digital world with your family.
From Technology Safety Through the Eyes of Faith
Here are five things we want you to know:
First—and most importantly—we want you to know that the Church cares about you, cares about your children, cares about your family, and cares about digital safety. In fact, we not only care about digital safety, but we also have something to say about it! We want to help you in a way that’s simple, straightforward, and practical.
Second, your Christian faith matters. Looking at technology through the eyes of faith is critical. Just because you can access something doesn’t mean it’s appropriate; and just because something is being used in a certain way doesn’t mean that it fits with our Christian faith and values. Any technology we use should help us grow continually in our relationship with God—that’s our primary goal!
Third, digital safety is not about spying on your kids or finding out everything they have been doing online. While some oversight of your kids’ digital habits is part of responsible parenting, teaching you how to spy on your kids is not the intent of this guide at all. Rather, the intent is to promote healthy dialogue within your family on how to use technology appropriately. With that in mind, we’ll offer you guidance on some optional tools and resources that you may find helpful in protecting your family from unsolicited and unwanted content.
Fourth, while we will be talking about things like Internet safety and parental controls, we want to emphasize one critically important thing: no technology, no piece of software, no parental control is ever a substitute for active, involved, and loving parenting. The most effective Internet safety tool is you! In fact, parents are considered the biggest influence on what kids see as appropriate and inappropriate “digital behavior”.
So get involved! Every gadget, game, and online experience is a starting point for conversation about navigating the digital world. These conversations are fundamental to your kids’ formation towards responsible and faithful adulthood. In fact, a 2011 study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that parents are more likely to talk with teens about digital safety and behavior than they are to monitor or restrict their kids. That dialogue between you and your kids is so important to online safety that each chapter of this guide ends with a family “Discussion Starter” to help you identify topics to talk about with your kids.
Of course, all of the tips, tools, and information covered in this safety guide assume that you are already an active parent in the life of your child. If you’re not an active parent or you feel uncomfortable talking with your kids, then we hope that this guide will help you take some steps down that road.
Fifth, like it or not, it will be impossible to protect kids completely from illicit content or deviant behavior. No matter how much active parenting you do, no matter how many safeguards you might put in place, some kids will still be exposed to inappropriate things. However, when such situations do occur, we strongly encourage you to use them as opportunities for conversation while—above all—providing the appropriate Christ-like love and guidance to your child.
So, if you never get a chance to read any further, please remember this one thing: Internet safety isn’t about the right software or service. Rather, real safety in the digital world is all about active, involved, loving parenting. It’s a team effort that builds a strong Christian family!
ABOUT THE GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNET MINISTRIES
The Department of Internet Ministries is responsible for identifying, leveraging, and developing technologies appropriate for Orthodox Christian digital ministry.
Internet Ministries is dedicated to wielding technology for the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel and for the advancement of Orthodox Christian ministry. In this capacity, the Department is charged with the development and expansion of the Archdiocese’s presence on the Internet and the World Wide Web.
The Department of Internet Ministries was created through the generous support of Leadership 100 and its offices are located on the Campus of Hellenic College & Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
Funding for news from this department is provided through the support of OCN viewers and by Leadership 100.
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK
The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America, originally commissioned by SCOBA to create a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for Orthodox Christianity and seekers around the world through media ministry. This 501(c)3 is recognized as a leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty years. OCN shares the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners, readers, and fans. If you are interested in supporting OCN’s mission, you can send your gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website. Your gift will ensure that OCN may continue to offer free, high-quality, Orthodox media.
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