Wednesday, August 15, 2007 Safety

Note: This guide focuses on safety while online to help parents and young people. While some of the things I talk about may apply to other sites like myspace or xanga, I am going to specifically talk about facebook here. I will also be focusing just on the safety aspects not the overall functionality.

Basic setup:

  • Account – facebook ask you to use your real name (first and last) as your account name. This will be displayed on your page and will also show up in searches as part of your basic info.

  • Email – facebook asks you for a email and confirms that email is your by asking you to click on a link sent to that email. This becomes your default email for facebook.

  • Network – This is the main group or network as facebook calls it that you will be put into. In a college or high school format this will display the name of the school along with the anticipated graduation date.

  • Info – You have the option of have a number of things displayed on your profile page (main page). Everything from political and religious views, to relationship status and even phone, email, and address info are there to put in if you want.

Privacy settings:

From the privacy page you can restrict access to what is availible in a search of facebook or you can even limit certain people from seeing certain things.


This is the main function of facebook. A friend can see your profile page, send and receive messages, write on your wall, view your photos, and generally have any access to your information that they want.

Adding Friends:

A friend is added to your list after they friend request is made. You have the ability for 1 month to view that persons profile page to help you determine if you want to add them to your list. You can also ignore the request or even have the person blocked from the privacy settings page.

Staying safe:

  • NEVER add someone to your friends list that you have not met in person. A friend of a friend does not count. Someone who says they go to your school, church, Girl Scouts, etc, does not count as knowing them. If you have not physically seen them in real life then they may not exist.

  • NEVER give out your phone number to someone online that you have never met in person. Phone numbers can be traced to owners and owners can be traced to addresses.

  • NEVER call someone you only met online. With caller id systems now they will have your number and can trace you.

  • NEVER arrange to meet someone you only talked to online, IM'd, called on the phone, emailed.

  • Meeting someone online is not meeting them. As far as you know they may not be telling the truth.

  • NEVER post any personal information on your site.

  • NEVER post any personal information on your WALL.

FOR PARENTS seems to be one of the most secure and user friendly of the social networking sites out there. One of it's major safety valves is also one of it's major vulnerabilities. In order to have access to another person's profile page with more personal information you need to be added as a friend. The power to approve friend requests lies solely with the account holder. says it does not allow accounts for those under 13yrs of age. This means teens 13 and up have to make the decision of who to add to their list of friends.

What should I do as a parent to keep my kid safe and not have them sneak around?

First the danger in not letting them any access to a social networking site like can mean that they will sneak around behind your back to do it. They will get on at a friends house, neighbors, relatives, library or even school.

If you decide to let your kids have a account then do it with them. They might not like you having some access to their personal page, but it can be a good compromise.

Here is what you should do:

  • Create your own account. You can use the local area you live in as your network.

  • Add your child as a friend and make sure they accept your request.

  • Check your child's profile page over very well.

  • Check the friends your child has listed. If you do not know who they are then look into it.

  • Work with your child to create a profile that can be safe.

  • Check your child's profile page on a DAILY basis. You can get an alert on your home page when they add new friends or applications.

  • Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Make sure they are comfortable coming to you when they do not feel right about something.

  • Don't take any of their or your concerns lightly. There are far too many Internet predators out there to now. Err on the side of caution.

  • In order to keep you child from hiding things from you do not bug them about every little thing on their page. This can cause them to regress and hide their Internet activities from you.

Use your instincts and your judgment. If you feel you really cannot trust your child on the Internet then install some type of URL blocking or key logging software. This can alert you to any access your child has on the Internet. You can get detailed logs and even screen shots of what your child is doing.

The best policy usually is to work with your child to learn how to use the Internet safely. They need to know what dangers are out there and what to look for. You need to stay vigilant.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Freedom explained by one BadAss Marine.

Here is a great video by one BadAss Marine. It is done in rap style. Sounds like poetry to me.

Here is a link to go directly to YouTube:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Common ground: Win - Win

Common ground: The art of negotiating is dying. With today's big box stores that you can buy just about everything in, people have forgotten how to negotiate. That permeates all aspects of our society. The first and most obvious one is in purchasing major goods: cars, boats, houses, etc.

The two most common tactics are:
  • "What is your cost? So I can know how much money you are making." Very weak standpoint. It puts the retailer in the position of weighing your value to him as a customer. If he prices his product to high over the cost then he will alienate a customer and loose the sale. If he cannot close the deal on a reasonable margin then he will pass, something that no business owner wants to do.
  • "What is your best price right here right now. You have one shot to get me. If I don't like what I hear then I will go elsewhere." Again, it appears the customer is acting from a position of strength. After all they hold the checkbook right? The problem with that tactic is the customer may leave and go to another store, but may end up paying a higher price from the second store. He cannot return for the first offer right? He rejected it and will actually likely pay more if he has to save face.
The Win - Win scenario is dying in our society. True successful negotiating results in a win for both parties. This is illustrated in the retail or financial world everyday. It has much broader implications in our everyday lives. We are teaching our young people that it is my way or the highway. Getting along with others involves knowing when to compromise and when to hold your ground. Winning an argument or negotiation by crushing your opponent accomplishes nothing. You have alienated and destroyed the relationship you had. True compromise allows both sides to claim a win.

Here is a good book that I have read on this subject: The Win Win Negotiator

Friday, August 10, 2007

YouTube Missing Children Channel

YouTube has partnered with The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) to help find missing children. This is an awesome use of one of today's most popular internet sites.

If have time, browse the videos that are posted there. Sometimes a picture does not convey all of the aspects of a person, but video footage can trigger memories like nothing else.

Check it out: Don't You Forget About Me

If you have a missing child and want to post something on YouTube then click here for instructions.

I believe that God has given us the knowledge and ability to make a difference in our world. This is an example of a technology that was used for entertainment and frivolous activities before that can do some real good in this world.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


My family and I got a chance to go canoing today. What an adventure. It didn't quite turn out as we expected. In the end we all had fun though.

My wife suggested we try canoing at the local park. It looked fun and we actually had a day when all of my family was together. To start the day we got some much needed rain. We were kinda worried that we would not be able to go because of the rain. The rain cleared up just after church and I checked the NWS and told my wife that we would not get wet. Big mistake.

We arrived at the livery and rented two canoes. My wife, 14yr old and 4yr old daughters took one canoe and I took the other with my 6yr old and 3yr old sons. Things started out pretty hectic right away. The girls nosed their canoe right into the bank of the creek right away just a few feet downstream. My wife and 14yr old were not communicating very well and they were already getting frustrated. My 3yr old was pretty scared too. He is a special needs child and was really not cool with the boat rolling side to side. He kept close to me the whole trip. My 6yr old was great the whole trip. We had to wait quite a few times in the first 10 min of the trip for the girls so as not to run over them.

We eventually got a little sideways and the girls were getting a little distance ahead of us. We lost sight of their canoe as it rounded on of the curves. I still do not know exactly what happened, but just minutes later we turned around a corner of the creek and all of the girls were standing in the creek crying and screaming. Their canoe had capsized! They were all OK, but it looked like they went in head first. They were drenched from head to toe. I caught up with them and tried to get out and help get the water out of the canoe. I though I had gotten most of the water out of the other canoe so that my wife could get it to the landing by herself. I loaded up all of the kids into my canoe and we headed out. My wife said she would be OK.

The kids and I soon lost sight of the other boat and continued downstream. There were quite a few technical parts of the creek left ahead and was quietly glad I had the kids instead of my wife. We got stuck a couple of times because the river was very low from the lack of rain this year. My 14yr old was quite helpful though. The kids wanted to know if we should wait for mommy and see if she would catch up with us. I told them not to worry and that mommy would be OK. When we finally saw a sign showing the landing was just ahead, we got a call from my wife. She said she could not even use the canoe because it was too full of water. She just dragged it to shore and had a park ranger take her to the other end of the creek to meet us. Every one was safe in the end and we have quite a story to remember about our first family canoe trip. My wife want to try again without the kids this time. We will see. Maybe next year.

I think we accomplished what we wanted to though. Regardless of how crazy a trip it was. We had a family day. I would not have changed a thing.

EDIT: I almost forgot about the main tragedy of the day. My daughters new Kodak Digital camera got fried. I know she should not have brought it. I should have told her not to. Even though she is 14 she still needs her dad to tell her to do or not to do things.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Reactionary Society

Why do we live in such a reactionary society?

Why does a bridge have to collapse, a child get kidnapped and murdered or a building get hit by an airplane before people will pay attention?

I know we live in a free and open society and we have to accept some level of danger that goes along with that. I think that far too many people rely on their government to provide for them. Wake up people! Look about you. Open your eyes!

After 9-11-2001 so many people wanted to know how this could happen. The idea that a group of terrorists could hijack 4 planes and use them as weapons shocked so many of us. There were calls for tighter security at airports and in transit in general. Many people wanted to know how our great law enforcement and military could let this happen.

Every time a helpless child is abducted and harmed the local and state governments are blamed for not doing enough.

This latest tragedy in Minnesota will have all of the media in an uproar. They will be asking all of the whys. Why did the failure occur? Who knew the bridge was deficient? Why wasn't it fixed? On and on will the debate rage.

We cannot and must not place all of the responsibility with our governments when it comes to our safety and well being. We must carry the bulk of that burden. One of the primary duties of our government i s to provide for the common defense. That is common defense. Stay vigilant! Assume no one else is seeing what you are seeing. Assume no one else will do anything about it. Stand UP and be heard!

One only needs to look to those heroic passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 back on 9-11. They saw a situation that they new no one else knew about, and that no one else could help with. They saved possibly thousands of lives that day by sacrificing their own. They defended this great nation as well as any armed and trained soldier could have.

Let us please not use this bridge collapse in Minnesota as an excuse for politicians to grand stand and pass meaningless regulations and legislation because they just want to be seen as doing something. Billions of dollars will pour into projects just because they will make us feel better. The way Congress works it is very likely that the most money will never end up where it is actually needed. It will end up in the state or district or the Senator who has the most clout not the worst infrastructure. Let us act like those brave souls aboard Flight 93 and do something about our own world.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Prayer for our nation.

Just wanted to share a prayer for the nation today.


Thank you for all the blessings you have so richly bestowed upon us. Are the most honored and blessed nation on this earth. We enjoy not only the widely available housing, food and clothing you provide for us, but also the diversions that we partake in.

Please help us to remember what is important in life. You have blessed us so that we may provide for our families an those who are not as fortunate as us. Help us to recognize our neighbor who is in need. Whether our neighbor needs money, help with his house or family or simply needs someone to talk to when he is having a bad day, help us to recognize this.

Also help us to stay connected with our own families. So many times we allow others to teach our children what is important in life. Help us to turn our children back to you and let them know that your kingdom is more important than the latest video game, tv show or web site. Also keep our eyes open to those that would filter the world for our children for their own means. Help us to make sure that the teachings about you come from us or the Church, not from the school who claims that God cannot exist anywhere but Sunday in church.

In your Son Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

It seems as though more and more we get what is important in life from a screen, whether that be a computer screen, tv screen, or video game console.