My first suggestion is a change in operating system. Yikes! Most reading this will be using some form of Windows operating system (98, XP, Vista), but these operating systems are not geared toward the family. Some have tried to use programs like Net Nanny, or CyberPatrol, but these can be costly and a bit hard to manage. In our home, a few years ago, we switched from XP to Linux, a free operating system that exceeds the functionality of Windows by a long shot. There was a time when only true computer nuts could use Linux, but now, the novice can use it with little effort. One great Linux operating system is which is built for the Christian is called Ubuntu Christian Edition. It is the perfect operating system for the family because it is built to protect and filter out all the rubbish one could find on the Internet. It means that our children can surf the net with a great level of certainty that they are not going to stumble upon those sites that could cause them harm. They can’t, they are blocked at the server! Further, it will also give the parent peace of mind that other users of that computer can’t look at inappropriate material.
Ubuntu Christian Edition also comes with:
GnomeSword Bible Study Software
E-Sword Bible Study Software
Dansguardian Web Content Parental Controls
GnuCash Financial Management Software
OpenOffice Suit (MS Word Suit equivalent)
Firefox Web Browser with Bible Fox Theme and extra Christian extensions
Automatix2 (a program that lets you download thousands of free Linux programs)
Daily Bible Verse Feature
The Word Installer
Daily Bible Verse on desktop using gDesklets
Gimp Image Editor (Like Photoshop)
MPlayer (DVD watching program)
and much more… . Almost any program you have in Windows you can find the Linux equivalent. Best of all, Linux is FREE. It looks better that Windows, never crashes, and runs 3 times as fast.
Now it means that for the next two weeks, you are going to have to let go everything you know about computers and relearn. But many of you are doing this already with Vista. If you can make the switch from Windows XP to Vista, you can make the switch to Linux. Best of all, you can download a “live CD: of Ubuntu Christian Edition and test it out on your CD Rom without making the switch! You can download the Live CD here. If you like it, back up all your important files (pictures, letters, whatever, onto a CD), and make the switch.
Second, if you want to keep Windows consider OpenDNS. From their site, “OpenDNS protects millions of people a day across hundreds of thousands of schools, businesses and homes. We block phishing sites, give you the power to filter out adult sites and proxies among more than 50 categories, and provide the precision to block individual domains.” In other words, it keeps your computer safe much the same way Ubuntu Christian Edition does. It is free, powerful, and very safe.
Lastly, drop Google, and switch to AltaVista for your search engine. Google has some filtering controls, but they can be turned off at will. With AltaVista, you get the same search capabilities, but under the “Settings” tab, nest to the “find” button, you can create a password that will keep the content filter on all the time (click here). Let a friend or extended family member put in the password, so no one in the house knows what it is.
These are a few suggestions to keep our homes safer. We need to protect our families from the outside forces that seek to dismantle them, and at the same time, use technology to our advantage.