[simplycharlottemason.com] “Screen Time”

Let’s talk about screen time and technology in your homeschool. Obviously, Charlotte Mason didn’t say anything about the use of computers or other electronic screens in homeschooling. Yet screen time is a real concern for many homeschoolers. And we get questions about that topic regularly. So I asked my friend, and co-founder of Simply Charlotte Mason, to share his thoughts about it. Doug Smith is here with us today.

Sonya: Hi, Doug.

Doug: Hi, great to be here.

Sonya: Thanks for joining me.

Doug: It’s good to be on this side of the screen for a little while.

Sonya: Now, you oversee our technology and some of the business aspects of SCM. So you spend a lot of your time on the computer?

Doug: Yes. If we’re going to have an open, honest conversation about screen time, I need to make a confession: I spend most days, all day on the screen. That’s my job.

Sonya: Yes, it is. So you’re speaking from experience. What is your view on screen time?

Doug: I think a lot of times we confuse it with television. When we talk about screens, we have a variety of devices. We have our phones; we have computers; and we do have television; but they’re not all the same. And for me, it comes down to how we use those devices. Are we being creators or are we being consumers? Is it a tool or is it a toy?

Sonya: Those are good thoughts. Let’s un-layer those a little bit more. What are some ways that it could be used to a disadvantage in the home? And I think that’s where most homeschoolers are concerned about the issue.

Doug: It depends a little bit on the child’s age or even for ourselves. For younger children, it’s very important for children to have a lot of unstructured play time to be creative. They develop social skills that way; they develop their language that way. There was a time I remember when our kids were quite young, and we went camping. While we were at the campground, we camped next to another family that had a boy who was about the age of our children. So they naturally wanted to play together. Our kids went, and they played for a little while, but it was only a few minutes before our kids were back inside. We said, “Are you done playing already?” And they said, “He doesn’t know how to play.”

Sonya: Oh, how sad.

Doug: “Everything that he plays, every toy that he gets out, becomes Star Wars for him.” The only thing that this child could do was repeat the things from the movies; he could not play creatively. Our children had a lot of opportunity to read books and play creatively and use their imaginations; and they just weren’t interested in playing with this boy because of that. And he didn’t have that opportunity because of the screen. Now, that was TV. We can also have some things with our other devices—with computers or phones—that can take away our social interaction. It can put us into isolation. And we want to avoid that as well.

Sonya: You see that all the time. I see kids walking down the sidewalk on their phones, not even looking at God’s creation around them, not acknowledging people that they pass. Or sitting in restaurants and the whole family is just staring at their phones and nobody’s talking.

Doug: I saw a family one time walking through the airport, and one of the fairly young children had headphones on and was looking at the screen. And as the family in this busy airport was walking one direction, the child was off the other, and they were calling after him. He couldn’t hear them; he had no awareness of that.

Sonya: That reminds me. The other night when we were out to dinner, I saw at the table across, there was a little girl sitting there with the headphones and the iPad. Her mother was in the other room, getting the drinks to bring back to the table. And if you watched her, that child never blinked.

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: She just was staring. And then she would get up to go find her mother with that iPad, the whole way just staring like she was a zombie. It was kind of a little startling. So that’s definitely what we don’t want.

Doug: While we’re on that topic of restaurants and such, one of the . . . I’m going to step on some toes here probably, a little bit.

Sonya: All right.

Doug: One of the things that happens, that I see commonly, is a child will fuss in a public place, and so to keep the child quiet, a parent will often hand them their phone to let them play some games or something.

Sonya: I see that too.

Doug: If you step back and think about what that’s doing, what you’re telling the child is, “If you threaten to throw a fit in a public place, I’m going to give you entertainment. I’m going to reward you for that behavior that I don’t want you to do.”

Sonya: Rather than doing the hard work of training that child and working with that child, interacting personally to help them.

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: Wow. Any other disadvantages you want to talk about before we move on to the happy place?

Doug: No, let’s move on to some happy things.

Sonya: So what are some ways that we can use screens and computers and technology well in our home schools and in our homes?

Doug: Kids today are learning skills that, hopefully, they’re going to use in careers in life. And they’re going to be competing against other people who have grown up with computers: “digital natives,” if you will. So having foundational skills . . . Think about all the jobs that are out there. What doesn’t get touched by computers now?

Sonya: Not too many.

Doug: Almost nothing. Even if it’s just for some record keeping or collaboration with other people.

Sonya: Even car mechanics are having to do a lot of computer work and stuff. So even if you think about the trades, they still are having computers involved now.

Doug: So those basic skills, I believe, are very important: to be able to use a computer, to learn how to type, to be comfortable with some of the common apps that are used in business and in life. Those are very important.

Sonya: I use the computer a lot. For work, of course, but also in my personal life. I’m using it to do a lot of shopping. It saves me time. I order my groceries online.

Doug: Sure.

Sonya: So I can see how it would save a homeschool mom, or any mom or dad, a lot of time to have those skills in place. And I assume it’s just going to grow exponentially in the future, all the things done online.

Doug: Yes, and then there are specific skills. There are things that our children can develop. And it’s great for a Charlotte Mason-style afternoons free, where they can dive into something that they have a lot of interest in. So web design, or just graphics design, is something that’s very much done on the screen. We have a child who’s interested in 3D modeling. One of our sons is a computer programmer by trade; that’s his career.

Sonya: I know one of your sons was very interested in making videos and editing videos as he was growing up.

Doug: Both of my sons and all of our children, and your children as well.

Sonya: They’d do it together, yes.

Doug: Did projects together, and they’d learn the basic skills. We got them some equipment, we got them some software, some books, and then got out of the way and let them create.

Sonya: And may I thank you for that, because now he’s my son-in-law and he edits these videos.

Doug: Exactly. He’s going to be editing this. And if you look at some of our products, their fingers are all over those products. Handicrafts Made Simple, for example, was a project that our children from both families came up with on their own.

Sonya: Yes, collaborative and based on those skills that they had.

Doug: That’s true.

Sonya: So when you say that you “give them the tools and get out of the way,” I assume you had some guidelines in place to make sure it didn’t go off in one direction. I think keeping the balance is a key. So do you have any practical tips that can help the parent navigate that, and give them the tools but still guide the child to form good habits?

Doug: When children are younger, their time should be limited. They should have supervised time when they’re using technology, and not just free reign of that, but with plenty of room to get out and do other things: be outdoors and to have creative play.

Sonya: And to work with their hands in other ways.

Doug: And to work with their hands. Now there are things on the computer where working with their hands develops motor skills as well: when they’re typing on the keyboard, when they’re using the mouse. Even some games are beneficial in developing some of the motor skills and thinking skills, if they are creative puzzle games and things like that. They can be useful, but we don’t want too much of it. And so, as the child grows and matures, we would want to give more time, based on how able they are to handle the technology. They need to prove, in little steps along the way, that the technology is their servant and not their master.

Sonya: So let me throw this at you: What about social media? There are ways to be creative with our laptops and with software, and I can see that; but are there any ways to be creative with social media? It seems like that’s a big land mine for many kids.

Doug: Sure, and it can be a time sink and all sorts of things. But on the positive side, sometimes it can help us connect and have those real relationships with each other. A few years ago, there was a writer who wrote for the online magazine, The Verge. I can’t remember the author’s name, but he did an experiment with them where he completely disconnected for an entire year, and then wrote about his experience. What it came down to is, he found that he had fewer real relationships with people that he cared about, because he was unplugged. And a lot of the organization of “how we’re going to get together” was happening online, and he was missing out on that.

Sonya: So it wasn’t so much that he couldn’t connect with people through letters and phone calls. It was that they were all on the social media and he was not.

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: So they kept missing each other.

Doug: And he went into this thinking that “If I don’t have that, I’m going to eliminate some of these bad habits.” And what he found was he developed new bad habits that weren’t online.

Sonya: Oh, that makes total sense, now that you say it. Of course!

Doug: Yes.

Sonya: So what are some other guidelines, we can use to help our kids for social media—some of the older kids; what else can we do to help them?

Doug: Well, of course, we can talk about being safe online and guide them into who they gave information to. I think one of the things is just to train them to come to us if they have any questions, and to help them. For older children, teens especially, I like to have a contract with them. That’s an example that says “This is your conduct when you use these devices.” For example, “If I, as a parent, ever ask you to give me your password to log into your account, so that we can look at that together, you need to do that or you are going to lose your device.” And those guidelines could be whatever you need to make it for your family, but that’s just one example.

Sonya: I have a friend who, one of their guidelines is that the computer for the kids is always kept in a public place where it’s well trafficked by the rest of the family. So they’re not working or looking at things in private that no one else can see. I think that’s wise too.

Doug: That is very wise. Another thing that you can do in a home is talk about the importance of those personal relationships with each other and demonstrate those. Now, that’s going to be hard for us, as parents, sometimes, because we’re tied to our devices as well.

Sonya: Sometimes we don’t realize how much.

Doug: Right. So maybe, . . . I know some families who, after a certain time of night, they put their phones away and they don’t go back and get them. I know some others who, at meal time, they will have a phone basket or do a phone stack. A phone stack is kind of a game where everybody takes their phones and they put them in a stack. And if anybody has to get their phone, the first one to do it gets the penalty. So maybe we agree that that’s the person who clears the table and does the dishes. A phone basket is just everybody puts them in the basket for the meal time, so that we can have that importance of being face to face with the people that we care about.

Sonya: I think those are very helpful tips for keeping a balance between online relationships and in-person relationships that are so important, and doing things “manually,” if you will, being present where you are. That is so important as well. What do you think, then, is the goal for teaching our children to use technology well or teaching them to use technology at all? What’s the goal in this?

Doug: We’ve already said it several times. It comes back to Be a creator, not a consumer. Be someone who contributes to society, who values the people around you and the people that are important to you.

Sonya: Good word. Thanks for joining us, Doug.

Doug: Thank you.

Excellent advice + tips — thank you for sharing! 🙂

Some things I would add:

  1. compare “screen time” with “read time” (which was very controversial controversial in the 19th Century) or “drive time” (which may be more controversial soon)
  2. can you define “social media”?
  3. do you think that if Google or YouTube know that I might be interested in a handicrafts store, they might sell this information about me to other handicrafts stores?

Those are just a few off the top of my head. I look forward to your responses, because you appear to be quite knowledgeable on these very important topics.


[2020-04-15 16:40 UTC]


#drive-time, #google, #handicraft, #handicrafts, #read-time, #retard-media, #screen-time, #shop, #shopping, #shops, #social-media, #store, #stores, #youtube

[joyfullyyou.wordpress.com] “A little encouragement for you”

Hello dear readers! Caroline here popping in to share some encouragement for your week. I recently listened to “You Already Know” by JJ Heller and am absoluting loving it. It speaks so beautifully to the weird, uncertain times we are living in, and I really wanted to share it with y’all. I have been listening to it a lot and singing it…A LOT. 😀 I would highly recommend giving it a listen.

Also, I just want to encourage y’all that even though our times are weird and can really ignite fear, don’t let them cause you to fear. Just don’t. I have learned so many times that fear does absolutely nothing. It’s plain old not helpful. It’s a direct tactic of Satan. So, don’t. let. Satan. steal. your. joy. period. To read more about fear, I wrote a whole post on it which you can view here [joyfullyyou.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/how-should-we-respond-to-fear].

During this time, I’ve been trying to prioritize and get better at being joyful and not worrying as much. In fact, when worries start, I remind myself and will literally say in my head “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). A verse I use to remind myself to be joyful is Philippians 4:4, because y’all we really do have so much to be joyful for: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Oh, and verse 7 of that chapter talks about peace. Just what we also need to hear right now: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Fun fact: I’m also memorizing Philippians 4:4-9 right now which has honestly been perfect timing 😂. So, I would encourage you to choose one thing/one word to focus on and work on during this time of uncertainty and quarantine. It really helps. 🙂

As you go about your week, remember that God already knows everything you’re scared of, He holds your tomorrow, and everything tomorrow holds God already knows (<—from JJ Heller’s song. Don’t forget to listen to it! 😉 ).

Do you have any favorite songs that speak to times like this? Please share in the comments! ❤

God Bless,

Caroline K.

Thanks for sharing, Caroline! 😀

I almost didn’t click on your post, but the title seemed so heartfelt I guess I just couldn’t resist.

I’m sort of an EXPERT WRT online information. 😉

So I decided to use DDG to search for the title / artist you mentioned — Of course since DDG = GOOG – tracking , a YT video came up #1 (poor little G, they’ve gotta make some money, right?) OK, so I tried it minus the tite — and BOOM!!! (was that too loud? sorry 😉 ) Direct link to www.jjheller.com 🙂 So I click through + find out her videos on YT have 22 MM (million) plays. I wonder how much money she makes that way. Obviously, she isn’t making any money from ive appearances now, right?

Well, the newsletter signup on her website is really annoying. And there’s not a quick + easy contact form, but maybe you could figure out how to send her some FAN-mail? You could ask her — does she make a dime off of her YT videos? I kinda doubt it. IMHO she should share low-res mp3s directly on her site (so that if people like listening, then they could buy hi-res songs / albums / whatever).

Just a random idea. I doubt I will listen to the video you mentioned — is it even a video, or is it just the audio … and did she upload it herself? (I don’t use Google websites)


[2020-04-15 13:32 UTC]

#artist, #artists, #christian, #christian-music, #google, #music, #musician, #musicians, #singer, #song, #songs, #songwriter, #website, #youtube

[accuwebhosting.com] “The Importance of SSL Certificates to Search Engines”


SSL is an abbreviation of Secure Socket Layer while TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. These are the two most often used protocols today. The common factor between them is that they serve as a security layer (individually) between your computer and the server. Every website that begins with HTTPS makes use of SSL/TLS.

Another fancy name for SSL Certificate is Digital Certificate, but its job description is simple – creating a secure connection between your browser and the server SSL certificates come as tiny data files hosted on the server of the website. They are typically encrypted so that the information contained therein about your website isn’t available just to anyone.

Besides establishing a secure link between HTTPS and your site, they provide authentication, which is also essential for a secure connection. Basically, SSL Certificate is tasked with a majority of the security responsibilities taking place between you and the server, including moving your site HTTP to an HTTPS web address. Are you familiar with that tiny padlock at the start of the address in the address bar? That’s the SSL Certificate trying to secure the website. Whenever you see this padlock, know that the information transmitted between you and the server is safe. Every bit of data transmitted is first encrypted through SSL encryption to render it senseless to the prying eyes of intruders.

The biggest worry about browsing the internet is not about unknowingly downloading some malware but rather, someone reading those private details you transmit to the guy on another end. This is where the importance of the SSL Certificate becomes apparent, it will encrypt your information while on transit so that only you and the receiver can read it. And when you add hackers in the mix, the need for encrypting your information becomes even more necessary.

As aforementioned, the SSL Certificate’s primary job is to protect all communications taking place between the server and the client. With an SSL Certificate installed on a website, all information exchanged between the user and the server is encrypted. This means it will protect you from hackers while securing your passwords, your identity, credit card information, and other private information at the same.

Establishing the integrity of a website is just as important as being mindful of what you share on it. You will be shocked by how easily people lose money through phishing attacks. For instance, if someone emailed you a link of fake imitation of your bank’s website, if you are not knowledgeable about phishing, you would more than glad to surrender your banking information to the attacker. However, SSL Certificates tries to help us by flagging such fake sites and keeping us away from trouble before we do anything regrettable.

Before installing an SSL Certificate on your website, you need to complete the verification procedure set by CA (Certificate authority). The authority will eventually verify your identity, organization, among other essential details. Your website will be given an HTTPS address once you’ve been proven to be authentic. Why is this bothersome process even necessary? Well, it is aimed at preventing a faker from creating a website that imitates yours for malicious reasons.

Google made it clear back in 2014 that sites with SSL Certificates would rank higher on organic search results than those without. This was based on the assumption, which is just a fact by the way, that sites without SSL Certificates tend to fail to deliver good visitors experience. However, this doesn’t mean you are certainly assured that your site will rank highly simply because it has an SSL Certificate; other factors like SEO may influence your ranking. Google clarified that sites with SSL Certificates would enjoy benefits that won’t be available to those without the certificate.

By now, every user of the internet knows a thing or two about the precautions that need to be taken while surfing the internet, more so precautions regarding private information. At times, some organizations are reckless enough to lose a lot of customer information to hackers. SSL Certificate serves to provide standard security that can help stop such incidents by encrypting information shared between the user and the server. Every bit of information is essential, mainly if it can be used to uniquely identify an individual (often referred to as personal data).

We mentioned that Google is committed to make SSL Certificates mandatory. We also mentioned how these certificates help ensure the safety of internet users. Google sought to improve these measures skipping harmful websites by not displaying them in the search results and warning the users about every such website they try to open them. The same applies to malware prone websites. If Google detects malware on your site, they will blacklist your site on the spot, remove it from the organic search results, and warn internet users about it.

Because it is the most popular search engine on the planet, Google tries to play its leading role tune the ranking of websites and ensure security at the same time. The search engine regularly makes changes to its algorithm to improve the ranking and security factors. There are numerous search engines on the internet, but Google stands out of the park with its ability to effectively rank your website based on security and UX (user design).

Both HTTP and HTTPS are underlying protocols that the World Wide Web uses to define how information is transferred between servers and web browsers. Users are encouraged to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for various reasons. The reason is that the HTTPS protocol is very much like an improved version of HTTP, meaning better security and an array of their nice features that aren’t readily available on its older cousin. There are other considerable differences between the two, all of which are critical to your overall safety on the web. For instance:

All these are an effort to show you the link between three things: your safety, HTTPS/HTTP, and SSL Certificates and why Google pushes webmasters to uphold the utmost security standards for them to rank well on the search engines’ organic search results. Yet many sites continue to flaunt even the most basic standards set by Google. As a result, a typical day sees tons of websites closed.

As a webmaster, you have plenty to dread. If by any chance, Google blacklists your website, it will mean your reputation and sales are broken forever. If you are not operating without an SSL Certificate, you should start to forget about getting any significant traffic on your website. And if you are still lagging in upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS, it means your website isn’t secure at all, hence good customer experience is not assured – that’s one of the sins Google frowns upon and won’t hesitate to deliver punishment.

It doesn’t matter how minimalistic your site is (your excuse could be: Okay guys, I’m just dealing in word content over here, no need for high security – WRONG), as long as you are handling some sensitive data, securing your site with an SSL Certificate is a must.

Both HTTP and HTTPS are underlying protocols that the World Wide Web uses to define how information is transferred between servers and web browsers. Users are encouraged to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for various reasons. The reason is that the HTTPS protocol is very much like an improved version of HTTPS, meaning better security and an array of their nice features that aren’t readily available on its older cousin.
There are other considerable differences between the two, all of which are critical to your overall safety on the web.

The biggest difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the SSL Certificate. If your website was based on HTTP but you installed the SSL Certificate, it would effectively start to load on HTTPS. Hence, it won’t be much of a stretch if you said HTTPS is an improved HTTPS. More broadly, we describe HTTPS as a secured improvement of the HTTPS. Now that you know the basic technical information about SSL Certificates, let’s look at main reasons why you need it on your website. There are three primary reasons why having the SSL Certificate on your website is one of the best ideas you will ever make.

You can only hope that the visitor landing on your site and getting greeted with “Not Secure” label is knowledgeable and has an idea why the label would appear there, otherwise, the non-technical visitor will think your site has been hacked or is source of some sort of dangerous malware. This will certainly affect your bounce rate as many visitors will leave immediately as they arrive on your website.

No one wants basic web security measures to negatively affect their brand’s reputation and success. The easiest way of avoiding the needless inconveniences that come with web security measures is to switch from the insecure HTTP to the secure HTTPS. The switch comes with numerous benefits including boosting your rankings on Google and ensuring security on your website. But this doesn’t mean the implementation process will be all easy – switching from HTTP to HTTPS is complex, costly, and often risk-prone. If you look at the benefits it comes with, however, you will be more than willing to do all it takes to have it in place.

Which other search engines (besides Google) do you consider — and for which characteristics do you feel they stand out better than Google? (FYI, I found this blog post using a search engine other than Google’s)


[2020-04-09 11:33 UTC]

#ad, #ads, #bullshit, #certificate, #certificates, #google, #marketing, #paid, #propaganda, #seo, #sponsor, #sponsored, #ssl