An iPad Through the Eyes of a Nine Year Old

A few months back, I wrote a post on the Covenant Eyes blog about how much my wife Priscilla liked her iPad 2 Christmas present. Perhaps you’re wondering, is her iPad still “feeling the love.” Or, what about the kids using her iPad?

Well, we’ve reached Spring, and I’m happy to report, that not much has changed on the iPad front. Priscilla still really likes (and always uses) her iPad. She’s discovering new “opportunities” (helpful software downloads) all the time. In fact, when we went out for a “date night” last night, one of the first things she said to me after we ordered our meal was: “I still can’t get over how much I love my iPad.” (Note to self: this deserves another blog story.)

So I thought I’d write a short piece about how the iPad has affected our younger children. Do we let them use it (when available)? Assuming yes, how much? I also thought you might be interested to hear about the iPad directly from my son Paul, who is nine years old. I’ve included a brief video of Paul using the iPad, allowing him to describe what he likes to do with his precious moments using Mom’s cool device.

First some background. We are a not a family who is fond of video games. Yes, we have a few hand-held “educational” toys, like Leapster. But even the use of those fun (and educational) programs is rationed in our household. We homeschool our children, and for the most part, watching TV is very limited (and closely monitored by “the management.”)

Nevertheless, when the iPad showed up, the kids started getting as excited as their mother. Questions like: “what can we do?” were rampant. Over time, and with the advice and guidance of other homeschool moms who had gone before us, Priscilla started letting Paul and Lydia (ages nine and seven) use the iPad to play educational games that helped with math, geography and spelling.

Wow! What a difference. We noticed that Lydia, who never liked math and was not doing very well, started to improve very quickly. Paul was equally enthralled with the iPad – taking every possible opportunity to learn facts about geography and history around the world. He’s even challenging our 21-year-old geography-wiz Grace to games of “Stack the Country.” Remarkably, the competition can become a problem with heated arguing over who is doing best.

But as I mentioned last time, I am not a commercial message for Apple. The iPad is just another tool – albeit a very successful one. Still, we are seeing huge benefits to using the educational games on the iPad, and our kids our getting smarter thanks to the energy and “buzz” created by having the opportunity to use Priscilla’s iPad.

Yes, Priscilla limits their time online. No, we don’t allow them to download their own items. Yes, we use the single device as an opportunity for them to learn how to take turns and appreciate what valuable time they are given on the device. No, our children are not exceptionally talented to use the iPad. Yes, we make mistakes. No, we haven’t figured this all out yet. Yes, we monitor them closely.

But my point is that this iPad craze can be used to your advantage in teaching your children. Talk it over with your family members, but don’t be afraid to engage your children with new technology. The benefits can be huge.

So here’s Paul:

  • Posted on: April 4th, 2012
  • By: Dan Lohrmann
  • Under: Video Blog

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An Informed Conscience Regarding Online Content Sharing

I came across an interesting article worth reading about stealing content online entitled: Dear Conscience – Internet Piracy

It is interesting that, in this case, they have the devil against stealing and the angel supporting the “sharing” of copyrighted content. Here are a few excerpts:

Shoulder Devil: “Forget the legality of file sharing, in my opinion nothing is illegal until you get caught. This is an issue of quality. Most pirated downloads are crap.”

Shoulder Angel:  “Sharing is caring!

This has been one of the first rules of being one of the good guys for a very, very long time. Share and share alike; that’s what I always say!

Besides, artists do their thing for the love of the arts anyway. All they want is to reach more eyes and ears around the world. They want to spread their hearts and souls to enlighten and inspire others’ day to day lives.”

This goes on and on, but the arguments do seem like the kind of things I hear people say about this topic – if they discuss it at all.

I must say, for the record, this is one of the few times that I’m with Hollywood. Sharing (of copyright material) is not caring – it’s stealing…

What are your thoughts?

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Can Online Privacy or Anonymity Be Used Like Dr. Jekyll’s Potion Creating Mr. Hyde?

I don’t normally point to my own professional blogs from CSO Magazine or Government Technology Magazine, but I’m making an exception in this case.

I recently read an intriguing blog on the Harvard Business Review’s website that began with some excellent commentary on the news headlines surrounding our leaders behaving badly in cyberspace. However, the blog went on to offer advice to all of us with “Three Ps” to manage online indulgence successfully.

My analysis suggested that this guidance is a bit like turning Internet anonymity or online privacy tools into the secret potion that turned Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde, in the famous 19th century story.  If you go there (and I strongly advise against it), you can expect similar results as Dr. Jekyll – namely that you start to turn into Mr. Hyde without taking the potion (and involuntarily).

I think this topic is important for Christians to read and think about, so I highly recommend reading these two blogs in this order:

1) The Three Ps of Online Indulgence

2) My CSO Magazine response: Can Online Indulgence be Managed? Lessons from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

These are very relevant issues for our society at large who goes online, and I’d love to hear your views.

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What is cyberbullying? How can we stop it?

Today, Dan and I talk about the subject of “cyberbullying” and how it can be stopped.

For more information about this, read “What is Cyberbullying?” on the Covenant Eyes blog.
  • Posted on: June 24th, 2011
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Video Blog

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Freedom and Responsibility – A Christian View on Cyber Ethics

What should a Christian’s view of cyber ethics be?

In January 2011, Daniel Lohrmann presented a lecture at the Center for Ethics and Public Life at Luther College. Download the transcript of his talk, or listen to his lecture. In this presentation, Mr. Lohrmann presents a model for ethical action online.

  • Posted on: June 13th, 2011
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Resources

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What are the dangers of YouTube?

In episode #8 Dan and I talk about, “What are the dangers of YouTube?

For more information read, “6 Ways to Protect Your Kids on YouTube.”

  • Posted on: April 25th, 2011
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Video Blog

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Why are Facebook and Myspace so popular?

Below is Episode #7 of our vlog, “Why are Facebook and Myspace so popular?” In this video, Dan and I talk about the phenomenon of social networks in American culture.

See more on this topic:

You can read more about the popularity of social networks and safety tips for families in Parenting the Internet Generation: 7 Potential Threats and 7 Habits for Internet Safety. To get a PDF copy, visit

  • Posted on: February 23rd, 2011
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Video Blog

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Teaching your family responsible Internet use

Below is Episode #6 of our vlog, “Teaching your family responsible Internet use.” In this video, Dan and I discuss the importance of good technology combined with good conversation.

You can read about these ideas in the new free e-book, Parenting the Internet Generation: 7 Potential Threats and 7 Habits for Internet Safety. To get a PDF copy, visit

  • Posted on: December 15th, 2010
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Video Blog

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Are Internet Filters Enough?

Below is Episode #5 of our vlog, “Are Internet filters enough?” In this video, Dan and I discuss some of the limits of Internet filtering (blocking software).

The Internet has introduced parents to challenges that no other generation has encountered and the potential threats can change daily. Regardless of whether your child or teen is a “good kid,” they are likely navigating websites and online activities that you might not know about.

To learn more, watch Dan’s presentation, “Seven Habits of Online Integrity.” To see this, visit our Videos page.

You can also read about these habits in Covenant Eyes’ new free e-book, Parenting the Internet Generation: 7 Potential Threats and 7 Habits for Internet Safety. To get a PDF copy, visit

  • Posted on: October 29th, 2010
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Video Blog

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How Many Teens Are Exposed to Porn Online?

Just how many kids are being exposed to pornography on the Internet? The statistics gathered over the last decade are very telling:

  1. Two equivalent national telephone surveys of 1500 Internet users, ages 10-17, showed unwanted exposure to Internet pornography increased from 25% in 2000 to 34% in 2005 (Journal of Adolescent Health, pdf, 132kb). Among those surveyed (pdf, 98kb), 87% of intentional seekers of Internet pornography are 14 years of age or older. Children under the age of 14 who have intentionally looked at pornography are more likely to report traditional exposures, such as magazines or movies.
  2. In a 2001 survey of 1,209 individuals ages 15-24, 70% said they accidentally stumbled on pornography online, 23% saying this happened “somewhat” or “very” often. Of those accidentally exposed, 45% said they were upset by the experience (Kaiser Family Foundation, pdf, 1.9mb).
  3. In 2009, a survey of 433 adolescents indicated 55.4% had visited a sexually explicit website at some point (Journal of Adolescent Health, pdf, 320kb).
  4. In 2008, a survey of 563 college students showed that 93% of boys and 62% of girls reported being exposed to online pornography during adolescence (CyberPscyhology and Behavior, pdf, 98kb)
  5. In a recent survey of 16,799 college males, 82% had been exposed to pornography by the age of 14. In same survey of 11,338 college females, 52% said they were exposed to pornography by the age of 14 (Michael Leahy, Porn University).

Research from multiple angles reveals the same conclusions for parents. Unintentional exposure to pornography is on the rise among teens.

  • Posted on: September 8th, 2010
  • By: Luke Gilkerson
  • Under: Pornography

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