Some of the things that I get to enjoy because I have this website, is the opportunity to learn about new things and share them with other mommas.
A couple of months ago, my friend Ram contacted Sabrina and I, asking if we would like to help bring awareness to this new application that would empower parents and give us a better handle on our children’s internet usage.
Admittedly, I was intrigued, and started researching Visible Internet.
View this post on Instagram
Korean Style Fried Cauliflower is perfect when paired with a salad. Especially, when I share it with @sinfullysabrina for a quick lunch meeting for @motherswhobrunch. • • • • #lunch #vegetarian #vegetable #fried #delicious #greenpastures #meeting #workinglunch #work #ilovemyjob #visibleinternet #bevisible #parenting #motherhood
I learned through a lot, through the informative videos from the website, but I learned even more when Sabrina, Ram and I sat down with app creator, and CEO of Visible Internet, Tony Fawas and his partner Janice Misa.
Visible Internet has two parts to the application.
1-There is a Parent App, that I download on my phone.
2-Then there is a Child App that I can download on any of my kids’ devices.
This include their cell phones, iPads, and even their laptops.
It’s actually quite simple to set up. You can visit both the Google Play Store and the App Store for both Android and iPhone users.
Once you run through the features to set it up, you can adjust the settings to capture your child’s screen as often as you want.
Here is the process in a series of photos that I screen capped while I was downloading:
Here are some things I love about the app:
- Tex walks you through the set-up on each device so it’s super easy to follow along.
- Once the app is downloaded you can just put it in one of the folders so your kids don’t have be reminded it’s there.
- It’s non-invasive so they won’t even know it’s there once it’s on the phone.
- You can choose how much or how many times you want to check in by adjusting the time settings.
How does it work?
- Because Visible Internet is set up through the cloud, your information is totally safe.
- You cannot control what your child sees, you can only MONITOR what he/she is looking at.
- The app will take the screen shots and send them to your phone when you hit the Refresh button in your parent app.
- When you enable the app, you can also enable the location service as well. So you will know where you child is, REAL TIME.
Ok, admittedly, convincing my teens that they needed to download this app (and leave it on their phone) was an interesting conversation. To give you an idea of how I put it all into context, I had to revisit a conversation I have had with my kids before.
This conversation goes something like this:
Child: I got in trouble doing “this” at school today.
Me: Why did you do that?
Child: I don’t know.
Me: Are you sure you don’t know?
Child: Well, I didn’t think it was a big deal. And besides, so and so did it, and they didn’t get caught.
Me: If everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it too? (YES, I say this often.)
Me: I’m serious. But that’s besides the point. Would you have still done that if I was there watching?
Child: OF COURSE NOT. MOM!!!!!
Me: Ok. So this is what you need to do before you are going to do something questionable simply because your friend did it too:
- Ask yourself if you would still do it, if I was there.
- Ask yourself if you would still say it if I was there.
- Ask yourself how I would feel if I saw you do and say those things that you know may not be such a kosher idea.
STILL Me: Because if the answer is that you wouldn’t do or say it if I was there? Chances are, you’ll get in trouble for it, and I’ll find out about it anyway…
(Because moms know and see everything.)
Now, factor in all the temptations and peer pressure that our kids are subjected to on a daily basis, add in the world wide web and all of the different things they can search for without any consequence, and that is a recipe for kids definitely getting into some trouble.
Visible Internet provides an opportunity for parents like me to check in, pose some questions, continue a conversation, and get the whole family thinking about what is appropriate, and even what is inappropriate as well.
I think the conversation Nino and I initiated with the kids, went even more smoothly when we attended worship one day and the speaker was Brad Huddleston. He shared his first hand knowledge of how digital media affects our brains.
The title of his talk was Digital Cocaine.
That’s one of the things that I love about our church.
CCF takes real life scenarios we face as parents, as daughters, wives and husbands, and they teach us how we can navigate this life with His manual.
Ok, I won’t get too much into what Brad shared during worship. If you would like to see and hear what he said, you can click on the link above and you will be taken to the CCF YouTube channel to learn more about Digital Addiction.
But here are some really important points that I walked away with:
- Digital Addiction is a real and growing problem.
- It affects not only our children, but it can affect adults too.
- If you look at the MRI scans of someone who is high on drugs and someone who is addicted to digital media, you cannot tell the difference of who is high on what.
- Addiction symptoms are:
- Emotional Numbness
- Kids can have meltdowns and these meltdowns can increase as technology use increase.
- Many of our teenage children can be addicted to porn.
- BUT (this is the shocker) the average age of those addicted to digital media is 35 years old.
Ok. These (SCARY) things taken into consideration can all be remedied if we are vigilant about how we are raising our kids and limiting the technology we used with some of these helpful hints that Brad also shared with us during his time with CCF.
- Remove all technology from the bedrooms.
- Turn off all push notifications.
- Replace all smart phones with flip phones. (I dunno about that one tho.)
- Swap video games out with outdoor or family type activities.
- Replace electronic baby sitters (this includes t.v.) with humans.
- No music while studying and sleeping.
- Remember that our child is NOT the exception.
I’ll add number 8 for myself by downloading Visible Internet on all of our devices and starting with conversation at the dinner table.
Parenting really is hard. Technology should make our lives easier and not distance us from our children, although admittedly, I know that sometimes I get locked up in the things that I have to do for work (as I work in the digital world as well) and I forget what a huge responsibility we have to SHOW our children how to behave…
Seeing is believing.
And in raising children is a lot like “Monkey See. Monkey Do.”
I am thankful that I can now use another tool to make my life a little easier in starting meaningful conversations where I hold my children accountable for their behavior and what is expected of them.
AND because Visible Internet believes that Filipino Parents need this tool in their parenting lives, CEO and founder Tony Fawaz is gifting 6 lucky families the opportunity to try it out as well.
All you have to do is:
- Like Visible Internet on Facebook
- Follow Visible Internet on Instagram
- Share this blog post on FB and tag Momma ‘N Manila FB page + two of your friends who can use this app in parenting mindfully as well.
I will pick 6 winners at random through Rafflecopter. Make sure to do all 3 options to enter for a chance to win 1 year free with unlimited devices on your account!
USE THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET BELOW