Friday, November 22, 2013

Thinking of texting and porn

Thanks to smart phones and tablets, our society is quickly moving through a technology motivated transformation with broad impacts. Most of these are positive with hyper-networking opening doors to community and innovation that would not have been possible even just a few years ago. I think most of us now take for granted the amount of information that is available at any given time right in the palm of our hand.

But with these changes have also come pitfalls as well and we should be ever on guard to ensure we embrace the positive side of technology rather than fall into a technological hole that will destroy us. Truly there is danger for it to take our lives, darken our souls, and destroy our families.

Am I being over dramatic?

Check out these facts about texting and driving. It seems more and more common to hear of accidents due to distracted drivers. Thankfully the wireless industry recognizes this problem and companies like Sprint are now offering tools to help.

Sprint Customers may now download a free app that blocks texting while driving and provides other great safety features. From the manufacturers,some devices like the new Motorola X also come with features to improve safety while driving with inherent options.

There is another danger that is less talked about but also potentially just as impactful. Porn

Are you aware that your device allows access to any website no matter what the content? It is pretty easy to set filters and view browsing history on home computers and laptops since families tend to share these resources. Phones and tablets on the other hand tend to be more individual and therefore less observed. Sure there are in browser settings that can block content but these are easily modified and a lot of people do not know they exist or how to set them.

Sprint thankfully offers a couple of easy options to ensure your device and your family’s devices are temptation protected.

Sprint Mobile Controls is a subscription based service at $4.99 a month that provides a wide range options for parents including a web-based dashboard that shows phone usage and texting usage reports. It also allows customized settings for blocking usage during set hours and with set people. Use of such a tool to me would depend a lot on your family culture and child behavior patterns as most teens I know would see this level of control as punishment or an invasion of their perceived privacy.

Consumer account holders can also set controls for free that will block; apps, downloads, texts from specific numbers, pictures and videos.

It is easy to set these controls up online by accessing your account. Once logged in go to My Preferences and you will see a wide range of options listed under limits and permissions.

The must have setting to me is the content filter. The Content Filter helps protect your Sprint devices against adult content and malware while web browsing on the Sprint network. It allows the account holder to control access to sites or content determined inappropriate in accordance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).”

The content filter has been around for a long time but is now being expanded from just feature phones to all devices and Sprint is sending out an awareness e-mail to let customers know about this enhancement.
The huge benefit here is that this content filter setting works no matter what settings may be selected on the phone browser. A critical difference for sure. The only drawback is that this blocking does not work when browsing off the Sprint nextwork via WiFi. As a result, it is still important to ensure web browser settings are set to strict.

I have activated the filter on all my devices and now have a comfort knowing that my entire family including myself has a certain level of temptation protection. We are all human and I am glad to add any layer of added accountability that I can find.

What about you?

Have you protected yourself and your family with the addition of controls to prevent texting and driving?

Have you protected yourself and your family from temptation by modifying the browser settings on your devices to block content?

Want to go a little deeper? Check out this recent sermon from Craig Groeshel

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Catching the right attitude

“The world is what we think it is. If we can change our thoughts we can change the world” H.M. Tomlison



A funny thing about attitudes is that they are as contagious as colds. We truly tend to catch whichever one we surround ourselves with most. No one is immune.
I have often found myself in a circle of negativity fully participating in the downtrodden conversation about how terrible this or that or him or she is. Soon thereafter upon reflection, I often end up feeling a genuine sense of shame that I chose to take part and more importantly chose to enable.

There was a day during my chemotherapy that served as perhaps the best reminder. I was sitting quietly in the waiting room before the start of my treatments when the nurse came in to get the gentleman sitting next to me. This guy was in obvious pain, poor health and was well advanced in age.
The nurse asked, “How are you today?” Without missing a beat he replied, “Wonderful! My eyes opened this morning and the Lord has blessed me with another day.” His little comment turned me around for that day.
How great it would be if we could all see our lives this way? What if we could just jump out of bed every morning praising God for the new opportunity to honor Him through our actions and our thoughts? What if we could just move forward with positive passion through every challenge? How different life be as a result of a change as simple as how we look at the world.

These questions have challenged me today and forced me to look deep into my heart. I hope the same for you. I am praying today that we can and some small way be sick on attitude together. Who knows, you just might start an epidemic.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The mountains are calling


The mountains are calling…..

And I must go


I love this video from The North Face. Indeed there is something about the mountains and the outdoors that call your soul to return once you have experienced them up front and personal. I am not referencing the mountains seen from a car window or a condo but instead the kind that can only be experienced from a backwoods trail.
Hiking summer of 2012
Close my eyes and I can quickly return to a star filled night during the summer of 2012 sitting in a New Mexico mountain meadow in complete silence surrounded by nothing but nature. No machines, no electronics and even no animals. Simply silence.

It turns out you can have some pretty good talks with God when there are no distractions in your way and complete evidence of his glory surrounding you. Take such an outing with some youth and you will also be amazed to see the difference hardship, fun and learning while breathing in some clean mountain air will make. It clears the mind and it clears the soul.

Months later you will also find it somehow keeps changing you. You will find yourself longing for that moment to happen again and again and again.

Keep calling mountains.

I will keep coming.