PCA News

Will There Be a New Device Under Your Tree?

We recently had the opportunity to host Parents Who Fight for a parent education night.  They also led student seminars the following day for each grade division and had a wealth of information for all age levels.  73 percent of the logic students reported they learned something new that they did not know before.  75 percent said it would change the amount of time they spend on a device, or that they would be more mindful of how they are being marketed, or their digital footprint.  If you missed the parent night and have not had a chance to watch the replay, I am including it here.  

A few quick action steps you can take to make sure your students are safe…

  1. Know the difference between filtering, blocking, and monitoring.  Filtering has to do with what internet content is excluded or allowed.  Blocking is what prevents a certain site or app from being accessed.  Monitoring is a report on what has been accessed or blocked.  It is good to have all 3.  


  • Go to and turn on “safe search” to filter out explicit information from appearing in google searches.  Safe search is also available on Bing.
  • Gather each device your family owns (phones, tablets, TVs, etc) and set parental controls on each.  
  • With apps like Netflix, Hulu, and others used for streaming, set up profiles for each member of the family along with viewing preferences for maturity.  Password protect any profile that has a higher maturity viewing capability so it cannot be accessed by younger family members.  
  • Utilize YouTube Kids instead of the basic YouTube.  You can also assign profiles on YouTube Kid.  If using basic YouTube, enable “restricted mode.”
  • Set options that will turn off automatic preview ads along with continuous play and “recommended” viewing options.  
  • Vid Angel is an app you can use to filter out unwanted content out of movies and TV shows.  It allows you to choose which content you want filtered out.
  • Consider having a whole house filter like Circle or Gryphon They are both easy to install and will help filter out material for all devices in the house and send you a report.  They also allow you to “pause” the internet for the house or a certain device.   


  • Remember that filters like Circle and Gryphon do not work inside apps.  These apps are owned by their developers and cannot be accessed by overall filters on phones, TVs, or laptops.  Be mindful of this and only allow your child to have apps that you feel add value to their life.  With the ones you choose to keep and use, go into each app and set parental controls.  One great option is to turn off messaging capabilities within these apps as it keeps strangers or predators from being able to privately message them.  Paying for the ad free version is also vital to keeping them from viewing ads that may be inappropriate.
  • Block any apps or websites you do not want them to visit.
  • Common Sense Media  and Plugged In  are great resources to utilize to preview content and reviews before deciding if a movie, tv show, or book  is appropriate for your child.  


  • Consider having Bark, Covenant Eyes, or other monitoring help that will report to you any concerning activity or websites.  
  • Monitor their devices on a regular basis to ensure safety.  This is part of teaching them how to utilize devices in a way that is beneficial and healthy and not harmful.  Engage them in conversation over anything concerning.
  • Be sure to also check their google activity log ( as well as their documents on their computers.  
  1. Know that social media is not allowed by law before the age of 13. Delaying use until 16 is recommended for positive mental health. The amount of research that connects increased use of social media with decreased mental health in teens is astounding.  If you choose to allow them to have social media, be sure their account is set to private, their location is turned off, and their messaging capabilities are also off.  
  1. Remember that tablets have almost all of the same capabilities as a smartphone.  Be diligent in checking them as you would a phone.
  1. Consider downloading family friendlier apps like YouTube Kids, Yipee, Pure Flix, Angel, Dove, or RightNow Media.  Many of these will still need to be monitored but are known for being more family friendly in their content.  

If you feel it is best to delay having a device, you are not alone!  Only 58 percent of logic students report having a smartphone.  So, close to half do not have a smartphone.  10 percent do not own any device at all including a tablet!  There is a movement called Wait Until 8th that encourages parents to wait until 8th grade before allowing smartphones.  If you are interested in learning more about that you can visit  Students have enough pressure as it is in middle school and being able to delay the stress that comes with smart phones as long as possible is incredibly helpful and highly recommended.  The more families that make this choice, the easier it is to shift the culture.  At the end of the day, our goal as parents is to protect what they are exposed to as children, help guide them as teens, and teach them so they know how to encounter the tech world with wisdom once they graduate and are on their own.  We want them to enjoy childhood as much as possible.  A lower tech life means more time in nature, playing a game of hoops outside with friends, being engaged with family, reading the Bible, and making memories they will carry for the rest of their lives.  

If you feel you could use some additional guidance to keep your family safe, Parents Who Fight offers consultations to walk you through the steps.  They will even come to your home and help you set it up if desired!  If interested, you can contact and mention you are with PCA. is also another wonderful resource.  Last but not least, don’t forget you have free access to Axis compliments of PCA.  They also have several great discussion guides on technology, social media, etc.  Working together, we can create a safer online environment for our families and take back some of our valuable family time.  May your Christmas break be full of family time and happy memories!