This page is a starting point for updates and tips on digital resources and content our children may be using. All parents are encouraged to learn more about these and other updates at:

Creating a Cyber Secure Home

posted Nov 18, 2015, 10:05 AM by Jill Felty   [ updated Nov 18, 2015, 10:06 AM ]

Cyber security in our world continues to be a current and important topic. Most workplaces employ cyber security measures for employees, computers, and networks. But what about at home? SANS has published a poster "Creating a Cyber Secure Home" with practical and easy tips to keep your online life at home safe and secure. Topics include:
  • Securing Yourself
  • Securing Your Home Network
  • Securing Your Computers/Devices
  • Securing Your Accounts/Passwords
  • What to Do When Hacked.
To open the poster and review all the tips, click on the link below this post.

Digital Citizenship Journal at Home

posted Oct 14, 2015, 10:41 AM by Staff.Jeffery Billings   [ updated Oct 14, 2015, 10:41 AM ]

In support of Digital Citizenship Week (October 18-24, 2015), Common Sense Media has shared a resource for parents to have "The Talk" with their children about how to practice and model positive digital citizenship skills online. The concepts include: 
  • Be Kind
  • Keep Private Things Private
  • Don't Believe Everything You See
  • Don't Overshare
  • Stand Up for Others
Here's an idea . . . start a shared digital journal with your children ("How to Start a Digital Journal With Kids,"using pvLearners/Google docs and incorporate the concepts fromCommon Sense Media's "The Talk" as topics to write about. Your child can practice writing skills, you can share in the conversation, and you will both have a productive conversation about this essential topic.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

posted Oct 2, 2015, 2:42 PM by Jill Felty   [ updated Oct 2, 2015, 2:45 PM ]

PV Schools is a registered champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, helping lead the charge with other partner champions (educational institutions, businesses, government agencies and associations). In recognition of how valuable the Internet is in our daily lives and the collective effort needed to protect it, the theme for the month is "Our Shared Responsibility."

Internet Safety and Security Tips for Parents

Texting Tips for Parents

posted Sep 15, 2015, 1:25 PM by Staff.Jeffery Billings   [ updated Sep 15, 2015, 1:42 PM ]

What is Minecraft?

posted Jul 18, 2015, 8:06 AM by Staff.Jeffery Billings   [ updated Sep 16, 2015, 9:34 AM ]


What is

posted May 26, 2015, 9:18 AM by   [ updated May 29, 2015, 6:09 PM by Staff.Jeffery Billings ]

New Parental Controls Nix the Fear, Up the Features

posted May 13, 2015, 10:18 AM by   [ updated May 29, 2015, 6:10 PM by Staff.Jeffery Billings ]

From simple content filters to robust home network solutions, new parental controls offer a range of media-management options.

Many parents subscribe to the "cross your fingers and hope for the best" philosophy of managing their kids' online access. But even if you've had the conversations around screen-time limits, responsible online behavior, and safety precautions, it's still really tough to manage what kids do when you're not there (and even when you are). Parental controls -- the real, technical kind -- can support you in your efforts to keep your kids' Internet experiences safe, fun, and productive. They work best when used openly and honestly in partnership with your kids.

Thankfully, a new crop of parental controls offers a lot more features and flexibility than previous versions that were overly restrictive and too easy to defeat and that preyed on parents' fears about online risks. These updated solutions also reflect a new, more progressive philosophy about parental controls: They're way more pro-Internet and less fear-mongering. Of course, nothing is entirely fail-safe -- and you'll still want to have conversations about making good choices.

Only you can determine the level of protection you need for your family. Here's a primer:

Operating systems: Both Microsoft's Windows and Apple's Mac OS come with built-in parental controls. When you create user accounts, you can select different protections for different users. To get the most benefits, you need to use the most updated version of the operating system. The Android operating system doesn't have built-in controls -- but there are many parental-control apps for Android.

  • Good to know: Operating-system parental controls work well because they apply globally to everything the computer accesses.

  • Good for: All ages.

Web browsers: Browsers -- that software you use to go online -- offer different ways of filtering out websites you don't want your kids to visit. Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer all allow you to type in specific websites and domains (which apply to whole categories of sites, such as porn) that you want to block. If you use Firefox, you need to download an add-on, because the basic browser does not offer content filters.

  • Good to know: Browser-specific solutions don't carry over to other browsers. So if you have more than one browser on your machine, you need to enable filters on all of them.

  • Good for: Younger kids. Older kids -- especially very determined ones -- can easily defeat browser restrictions either by figuring out your password or simply downloading a new browser.

Kids' browsers: Sometimes called "walled gardens," these are protected environments that fill up your entire screen (so kids can't click out of them). They're sort of a cross between an operating system and a browser designed specifically for kids with games, preapproved websites, email, and various activities. Examples include Zoodles, Kido'z, and Kidzui.

  • Good to know: Kids' browsers are typically free for the basic version, but they cost money (usually a monthly subscription fee) for a premium upgrade. The ones that are entirely free usually offer content that the company has licensed from a kid-friendly provider -- and may display ads or promotional content.

  • Good for: Younger kids. Walled gardens are too limiting for older kids who need (or are allowed) greater access to the wider Web.

Computer-software controls: These are the classic, full-featured parental-control programs that let you block websites, impose screen-time limits, and monitor online activity (for example, which sites your kid visits). Many of these programs also offer added security against malware and viruses and will send you a summary of what your kid did online. Products in this category include NetNanny, Qustodio, Safe Eyes, and BSecure.

  • Good to know: Because they are so full-featured, computer-software-controls programs carry a high initial cost plus a monthly subscription fee.

  • Good for: Kids of all ages -- and especially kids who need a lot of support in following your rules.

Mobile devices: Some mobile devices have rudimentary parental controls -- but the options vary a lot depending on what you have. At the very least, without downloading anything extra, you may be able to prevent unwanted purchases (including in-app purchases), restrict what kind of content can be downloaded (M-rated games, for example), and delete or hide apps and functions you don't want your kid to use (such as video chatting). Amazon's growing family of Kindle Fire tablets come preloaded with Kindle FreeTime parental controls.

  • Good to know: To add content filters to your kids' mobile device, you'll need to disable its existing browser and download a kid-friendly browser or a content-filtering app such as Mobicip (Apple), AVG Family Safety (Windows), or Kid Mode: Kids Games and Videos(Android).

  • Good for: Younger kids. Once kids get older, they will either resist any attempt to limit their access or simply figure out a way to defeat what you've restricted.

Home networking: Having trouble managing what kids access on their mobile devices? Are Internet-enabled devices mushrooming throughout your house? If so, you may want a more robust solution. Take a look at your Internet router -- that thing that brings the Internet into your house. You can get a software program such as OpenDNS, which works with your existing router to filter Internet content. Or consider a hardware/software solution such as Skydog, which lets you manage Internet access and usage for every networked device and every user. Skydog incorporates Common Sense Media's website reviews to make it easy for kids stay on age-appropriate sites.

  • Good to know: These router-based solutions apply to an unlimited number of devices in the house connected by WiFi (including smartphones), and they prevent unwanted content from entering your home.

  • Good for: All ages.


“New Parental Controls Nix The Fear, Up the Features.” New Parental Controls Nix the Fear, Up the Features. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>

A Parent's Ultimate Guide to YouTube

posted Apr 30, 2015, 5:34 PM by   [ updated May 29, 2015, 6:12 PM by Staff.Jeffery Billings ]

Until YouTube's app for kids really catches on with fans, the original YouTube poses a challenge for parents.  Anyone can create YouTube channels, they crop up seemingly out of nowhere, they don't follow program schedules, and they're cast out among thousands of other videos. Still, there are clues to figuring out which channels and creators are OK for your kids. YouTube clearly has a huge impact, and you'll learn a lot about your kids when you really dig into what they're tuning into.
From Common Sense Media
Click here to read the complete article.


posted Apr 13, 2015, 9:10 AM by   [ updated May 29, 2015, 6:12 PM by Staff.Jeffery Billings ]

From Common Sense Media:
Vine is a social media app that lets users post and watch looping six-second video clips. This Twitter-owned service has developed a unique community of people who post videos that are often creative, funny, and sometimes thought-provoking. Teens usually use Vine to create and share silly videos of themselves and/or their friends and families.

What parents need to know

It's full of inappropriate videos. In three minutes of random searching, we came across a clip full of full-frontal male nudity, a woman in a fishnet shirt with her breasts exposed, and people blowing marijuana smoke into each other's mouths.

There are significant privacy concerns. The videos you post, the accounts you follow, and the comments you make on videos all are public by default. But you can adjust your settings to protect your posts; only followers will see them, and you have to approve new followers.Parents can be star performers (without their knowledge). If your teens film you being goofy or silly, you may want to talk about whether they plan to share it.

Setting Parental Controls on Devices

posted Apr 1, 2015, 11:41 AM by   [ updated May 29, 2015, 6:13 PM by Staff.Jeffery Billings ]

How Do I Set Parental Controls (from Good Digital Parenting)

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