Don’t Count on Technology!!!!

If you are concerned about the things your children see on the Internet and want to try and protect them from it, don’t count on technology to do it for you. I work at a children’s home that uses the most current filtering software to try and protect our children from the bad influences of the Internet. I found out today how easy it is to defeat.

You would think that since I work with the Internet everyday that I would know about these things, but I had never heard of tunnel proxies until today. Tunnel proxies are what our children use to access blocked sites such,, and all the other sites that our filtering software is supposed to block. Type in “unblock myspace” or “tunnel proxy” in a search engine and you will get listing after listing of different sites that offer a free tunnel proxy to allow your children to access material you thought was being blocked by your filtering software.

Using several of these proxies I was able to view several of the sites that our filtering software was supposed to be blocking. Just so you know, we use top of the line filtering software installed on our server and updated daily. I am sure there are other programs that can be used to stop these proxies but I am also sure it will just continue to be a tit for tat game of cat and mouse that will continued to played with us putting up blocks and somebody else writing software to defeat it.

So the realization that I came to today as did our administrators is that protecting our children from the Internet comes down to good parenting skills; you can’t rely on technology to do it for you.

So what can you do?

  1. Be clear with your children and explain to them your expectations and under what conditions they will be allowed to continue to use the computer.
  2. Keep the computers in the public parts of the house. Children are less likely to view offensive material if they have to do it in a public place.
  3. Do not be a afraid to look over their shoulder when they are viewing the internet. Accountability goes a long ways in helping somebody make good choices. If they suddenly close the browser as you approach, don’t be afraid to look at the history and see what they were viewing. There are also programs that run in the background that can record sites viewed and everything typed by the user.
  4. If your child continues to view inappropriate material don’t be afraid to block them from the computer. There are several good programs that can be used to limit access to the computer and internet. At the facility I work at we use “Computer Time” and I highly recommend it.
  5. Don’t bury your head in the sand and think your children are immune from the garbage on the internet, turns out every kid on campus over the age for 13 knew how to do this. Be proactive, and most of all spend time with them, get to know them, and know what they are doing (have a relationship with them).
  6. Continue to use filtering software; it still works great for protecting younger children from the perils of the internet.

I believe these measures can be effective whether you are a birth parent trying to limit the offensive material your children have access to or a houseparent trying to do the same for the children in your care.

3 pieces of Technology I Can’t Live Without

I was driving one of my children to a specialist in Tupelo, a city about an hour from our facility and also the birth place of Elvis, and I realized I had three things with me I wouldn’t want to do without.

1. My Cell Phone: I remember being a houseparent when not everyone had cell phones. When we started as a houseparent only our administrator had a phone and he carried it around in a bag about the size of my current notebook computer. It was so discouraging in the old days to get back to the facility and find out there was not enough milk for breakfast the next morning and you had to turn around and drive 20 miles back to town to get some. Or to find out the kid you were supposed to pick up in 4 hours was already done and finished 5 minutes before you left town.

Our jobs became so much easier after we got our first cell phone. Needless to say, I was one of the first houseparents in the facility to get one. 10 years ago it saved us probably 400 miles a month worth of driving and today it saves us at least that much. I honestly can’t imagine being a houseparent today without one, especially considering how inexpensive they are and all the features they have now. I also figure there aren’t too many houseparents left that don’t have one.

2. My GPS Navigator: The price of the technology has finally come down enough to afford it, and as usual I am one of the first ones on campus to have one. Last month I bought a “Magellan Maestro 3100” on sale for $199 and I have to tell you it is one of the best electronic investments I have made.

A couple of days after I bought it, we had to take a group of kids to camp in North Carolina from our facility in Columbus, Mississippi. It directed me right through Atlanta and right up to the front gate of the camp in Hendersonville, NC. Afterward it directed us to our motel in a part of Greenville, SC that we had never been to, and back home with no incident. Today it directed me to the front door of that specialist, again with no problems.

The only downside I have at all with it, is that is looses some accuracy when you are out in the country. It was off by almost a mile in directing me to our church and a quarter mile to our house. Both are out on long country roads. I have found the more populated the area, the more accurate the navigator.

I will definitely dread driving to new places a whole lot less now that I have traded in my wife for a navigator that is much more accurate and doesn’t yell at me. I’m sure it will also help our relationship when we travel together, because we won’t be arguing over being lost or where my next turn is.

3. My Satellite Radio: Again I was the first on campus to have one and I can tell you I will never not have one again. It has been such a blessing to me with all the time I spend driving in the van. I am able to listen to my favorite music (without listening to commercials), or my other favorite pastime NASCAR radio.

The other great thing is when you travel you never have to change Cd’s or look for radio stations. When we traveled to North Carolina, we never had to change the station except to switch back to the NASCAR channel. It costs about $14 a month to have, but I would have spent that much on Cd’s each month anyway.

There you have it, three things I will always have with me when I am on the road, which I am a lot.


I love the satellite radio. It’s the only time I get to check up on news or talk radio.

If you have a cell phone but can’t afford the gps units check out TeleNav. A few cell carriers are offering it now for download. It gives audible and screen turn by turn directions. You can mark waypoints and even tell your current speed. It costs about $10. a month. I like it because I can always take it with me.

The only problem I have had with it has been in the city. A lot of times it will be off a block or two. Sometimes it will tell me a business is on the left side when it is actually on the right. Basically it gets me in the vicinity. I really wish I would have had a GPS when I was driving a truck .

As far as the old bag phones? I remember when they first came out- my step-father would drive to the top of the mountain to be able to use his. (Thanks for the memories webdaddy!)

Campus Security

I’ve become very concerned about our campus’ security plan and have broached the subject with our executive director. He doesn’t seem too concerned about it and seems to believe he can call all of the necessary people in an emergency and all will be well.

I keep thinking of all the emotionally unstable people we come into contact with each day/week/year and wonder how long it will be until one of them decides to bring a firearm on campus and start going crazy. I am also wary of ex-spouses, etc. that may be looking for kids and female partners within our campus shelter. There is no good way of performing a “lock-down” on our 100+ acre campus.

I’m looking for ideas. What kinds of security steps have you seen in places you’ve worked? Were they effective? Expensive?

I have had those same concerns in the past. Our last facility I kept a 45 in my quarters loaded with one in the chamber. I had a internal lock on it so only I could use it. I know this statement will freak some people out here, but I truly believe VA Tech would not have had the body count it did if some of the Teachers and staff would have been packing.

Here they do not allow firearms on campus. I keep a tire “Thumper” in our quarters and I also always carry a knife that I can operate quickly. I keep the 45 in my off duty quarters fully loaded and ready to go.

I know it sounds rough, but being a good shepherd means being prepared to put a cap in a wolf that is trying to harm a lamb. I have never had a situation as a civilian where I was put in a situation to even pull out a weapon on someone else, but I am more than happy to do so if anyone came looking to mess with the kids or my family.

I do think 99% of the time you can take common sense precautions to keep the boogey man at bay.

  1. Always carry a cell. Even if you have no service in some areas if you dial 911 you can be routed thru another cell tower. Always grant permission for others to see your GPS location on your cell. So if something does happen or the call is dropped the good guys can find you.
  2. Pepper spray works awesome. MUCH more effective than CS or mace.
  3. Light up the perimeter of your house.
  4. Lock down the house before going to sleep.
  5. At the first sign of “Feeling” like something may not be right put yourself on guard. If the doorbell is ringing at 3 am, I don’t answer it unless I got my shoes on, skivvies pulled up and my tire thumper in hand. Whoever is there had better be real certain they need to be there at that moment. 
  6. Emergency numbers always at hand- programmed into the cell.
  7. I keep a big Mag light close by the door in my quarters. If power goes out or if I need to run out in the middle of the night, it’s an easy grab.
  8. Question anyone you even suspect has no business being on campus. Kids, adults- it’s all the same. If they aint local they need to be escorted by staff or under supervision of someone while on campus.
  9. Keep all underbrush and bushes trimmed around the house so you can see through them if need be.
  10. Keep all vehicles locked with windows up.
  11. Put together an emergency house plan and practice it. If the kids hear a code word they know to run to their rooms and lock the doors or keep them closed.
  12. Get a house alarm system. (I guess if your facility is to poor to afford it you could try the cans on a string across the door way trick).
  13. 11. Lift weights and watch at least one season of the Sopranos.

Any kind of campus-wide alert system you know of?

Here we have speakers mounted in all of the cottages connected to an internal phone system. The primary purpose is for tornado and weather warnings but anything else happening can be easily transmitted over the system. The director can give warnings all over campus at the same time. Similar to a school PA system.

Bringing in baby… …we are due in a few weeks

Anybody had the experience of having a baby while being houseparents? We are due in June, and will be taking about two weeks off (and of course, it will be brand new relief as our regular relief will be in Brazil… which means the house will be crazy). How have you best found incorporating the new “foster sister” into the household? Jonathan & I are very firm that we will not treat our own biological child different from our other kiddos, and they’ve been involved in my pregnancy from the start; ultrasound pics and videos, feeling the baby kick, setting up the nursery, etc. What else can we do to help make this an easy transition?


Our daughter was born almost a year ago now. I have found it to be much easier than I thought. Our daughter actually enjoys being at the cottage better than when we are off duty.

Of course you don’t leave the boys alone with her, but they give her lots of attention, love playing with her and take enormous pride in the fact that most of them have been there from the start. Right now they are all trying to help her walk,

A big difference is my wife does the majority of the baby duties while I do the bulk of keeping the boys in line. She still works with the boys regular and yes, she still makes me change diapers.

A couple things that are a must- Baby monitor (With video if possible) and a pack and play. That pack and play works great for when they start walking and you need them to stay in a spot while taking care of some issues, it has been a lifesaver for us.

Again, congratulations!!! 

Thanks, Launchpad! We are very excited, and our kiddos (mixed boys and girls ages 2-6) are very excited. We actually have one that is going to be adopted before we deliever and he’s upset that he won’t be here and is begging for us to send pictures. We had a great experience last year when they placed a 4 day-old newborn with us and had him for six months, but I’m expecting it to be different as I’m actually having this one, am nursing, etc. We’re trying to prep them as much as possible and will probably not take all the time off we are being given after her arrival; this is our house (we don’t have a separate house or apartment that is ours; there is a small 2 bedroom duplex that we share with other off-duty houseparents if we choose to stay in the area over relief) and we will be looking forward to being in our bed with our nursery, etc.

Thanks for the advice!

Congrats on your expected arrival! Since becoming houseparent we’ve had 3 babies of our own. Our oldest is now 7 and our youngest is 3. I agree with what Launchpad said. We have found that defining our duties made the transition easier. Of course my husband and I both changed diapers and I did (and still do) spend a lot of time with the children in our home. But I handle baths and bedtime with my own children while my husband monitors study time and showers in the home.

Having a monitor is a must. From my own observations I really believe, though, that it’s much easier to have a baby when you’re already a houseparent than to become a houseparent after your own children are school-aged and then transition them into the lifestyle.

It sounds like you have given a lot of thought to the transition and I admire the way that you have already included the children in your home.

Our little boy is almost 16mos now and I agree with Launch that he enjoys our time “on” more than our time “off”. He really doesn’t understand why he can’t always go see his “Bubbas” on the other side of the door when we’re off duty. I also agree that you have to be intentional about dividing your duties between monitoring the cottage and caring for the baby. My wife and I take turns doing each whenever possible, but breastfeeding limits somewhat.

Overall, I’d say it is a wonderful experience for ALL the kids. Our own is becoming very socially adept, and our cottage kids are seeing and experiencing how a family is supposed to work.


Congratulations!!…..Jon & Deb. We always treated the kids like our own anyway….you probably do too….so the adjustment shouldn’t be that difficult. If you had teens, and wanted to insure their virginity til marriage, I would say invite them into the delivery room. Just kidding….

This is webmasters wife and we never had newborns born after we became houseparent’s but our children were young our son was 7yrs and our daughter was 3 . We worked b-mod so it was a little different but the kids in the house loved our kids. Now we work basic childcare with kids that are at times peers and even feel like siblings. When they were young they hated going on relief because they were bored but now that they are teenagers they love the quiet. But I have known a lot of houseparents here that have had babies and the family just adapts to the new little person with a lot of the same emotions that traditional families go through, jealousy, tiredness and a lot of love. I will be praying for you all and I know that God will bless your new little family.


The TRASH Our Kids Listen To, Trashy Music


Has anyone ever told our “therapists” that there is more to problems kids face than the so called “abuse” they have been through. I have seen to many therapists focus to much on so called abuse that some kids have faced, and not enough attention on what they listen to. I am a houseparent going on 4 years now, and recently I picked up some CD’s that our kids have here at the home. Inside the CD’s was the insert that had the words to all the songs on the CD. I was utterly floored at some of the words, phrases, trash and garbage that are on these CD’s that our kids pump in their minds all the time by these portable CD players they carry around all the time listening to this garbage. MOST of the songs on the CD’s dealt with sex, demons, suicide, rape, killing, hate and violence. BUT, when you mention this to the therapists, they act like its no big deal. COME ON people, the human brain is like a computer, what you put in is what comes out. Like the Bible plainly says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. If our kids are pumping this trash in their minds all the time, maybe we need to not be so focused on the fact that “Little Johnnie or Susie” has been abused, but focus more attention on what “Little Johnnie or Susie” is pumping into their minds 24/7. NO WONDER our kids are so full of anger, violence, sexually active and troubled. Let’s pay more attention to what they are LISTENING to and WATCHING on TV……trash in…..trash out!!!
IF…you have any thoughts on this, please post them here.




Although I am a firm believer in the “Garbage in – Garbage Out” Principle and we are very vigilante (and are fortunate that we are allowed to be) to limit the type of entertainment that our children (Birth and Home) are exposed to.

However, I don’t believe that the root of the problem can be traced to inappropriate music and movies. The entire culture that these children come from affects every aspect of the child’s behavior. And it is a DIFFERENT Culture in most cases. I don’t mean an ethnic culture, many times it is a culture based on drug abuse, or poverty, crime, etc.


I am also appalled at the amount of trash these kids listen to. Funny though because I listened to some 80’s music the other day and I couldn’t believe the message that was sent through songs I thought were pretty tame. I came out ok I think.

Are you able to watch what things come in your cottage? I know at our home, the kids know they aren’t allowed to listen to any CD that has the parental advisory on it. If they do have something, it is taken from them and they are given consequences. Also, if they are listening to it in the cottage or van where others can hear, they earn consequences for any bad words that come out of the radio. When consistent, the kids are quick to jump and change the station to something more appropriate. Walmart has CD’s of the popular singers/rappers with the bad words edited out – I don’t think (and I could be wrong) that they sell any parental advisory CD’s at all. Hope this helps!

Lady Incredible

Where I work the kids aren’t allowed any cd’s or tapes at all and they are not allowed to watch any music channels either.


Even if you buy the cds at Walmart what difference does it make its not like the kids dont know what real words go in place of the edited words.

Personally I don’t care what movies my teenagers watch as long as they’re not rated R PG -13 and less, as far as music goes they can’t listen to parentally advised cds but I don’t care what radio station they have on their walkmans, they have been listening and watching stuff for years already and only letting them watch G movies isn’t going to make a difference in their treatment.

I have 8 girls between 12 – 18 all higher levels of care and they all behave pretty well, I have about 1 restraint every six months or so and most of he older kids have jobs and they all pass in school yet when I worked at a facility where they could only watch g or pg movies and could barely have any CDs those kids were in restraints a couple of times a week hardly any of them had jobs and a lot of them were failing in school so I don’t think what they listen to or watch makes a difference either way.


I agree that music can build up or tear down a kid’s spirit. All one has to do is watch how they act out after listening to certain music. In the place I work there are rules against raunchy, lewd music. But the kids still have it. One day I was in one of the girls bedroom. I looked down and saw a homemade cd that had written on it , “F@@k da police..” I confiscated this cd but another girl found it and returned it to the owner. I informed the hp about the content of the cd and they just sighed and said, “OH! These teens and their music!”

“I worked at a facility where they could only watch g or pg movies and could barely have any CDs those kids were in restraints a couple of times a week hardly any of them had jobs and a lot of them were failing in school so I don’t think what they listen to or watch makes a difference either way.”

That statement alone would give me ca
use to wonder if “Control” was not an issue and problem of the staff and not so much the result of children’s behavior. I agree that the music has less effect on the kids and more on us.

Having worked for 2 years in a Level 12 facility in California that was totally “Hands Off” with some very tough kids I simply don’t believe in the need for “restraints” at all.

There are better ways.

But if you are into controlling too many things that are really out of your control how can you effect any positive change in the youth?

Although I prefer Neal Diamond and good Country music, the music youth prefer is reflective of the environment they are growing up in and the most you can hope for is take the energy they are looking to channel through the music and focus it in other areas.

Try sitting down and listing to some of their music with them and questioning them on what it means to them. A lot of times they are only listening to it because “everyone else does” and have no concepts for the words or meanings in the words. I’ve seen kids start to question themselves after really stopping to think about the words and message.

Unless you are on a closed campus with a private school this is a battle that requires far too much energy for little effective outcome.


To add to the comment I wrote before regarding music, I think worrying too much about the cds and movies our kids are watching and listening to is nit picking.

All kids both abused and not abused listen to all kinds of music with inappropriate language by the time a kid is nine or ten most kids are familiar with every bad word or phrase there is regardless of how or where they grow up even if you think they aren’t.

The words they listen to may seem shocking to some of you but it’s the way the kids talk. They are listening to language they know and things they feel. Don’t nitpick with them just because they enjoy something a lot of the older generation houseparents don’t understand. Listening to cds that have the F word in them is hopefully the worst thing most of these kids ever do.

And someone earlier said you should see the way some of these kids act after listening to their music well you should pay more attention to the way they act after coming back from their therapists.

Nit picking about CD’S and movies is like the cop on a power trip who goes after some kids loitering on a corner or soaping up car windows instead of worrying about the guy down the street who’s robbing someone’s house.

These kids have such little control over their lives at the moment. don’t look to take away some of the few things they can enjoy. They need to be learning to make their own choices now not when their 18 and on their own. Maybe leaving care when they can stay in just so they can listen to a stupid CD or watch a freaking movie.


I do not think it is a matter of control so much as what is the issue you are dealing with. We have groups with such diversity of problems. I do not always think it is the rating so much as the content. I do however for the sake of group peace have to set guidelines and some things are just not accepted for public hearing or viewing

GA Sheriffs’ Youth Homes

We have the same issues with music on our campus. We do encourage the boys to appreciate all types of music. Several of the boys have asked for guitars at Christmas time. They are forming their own band on campus. They have kept it clean

Group Home Scheduling for Teens


What is your group home schedule?
For Saturdays? Are the teens allowed to sleep in until noon or whenever they feel like getting up? Are the teens required to participate in activities such as going to the beach as a group? What if one doesn’t want to go? Are the teens allowed to keep their cell phones and use them whenever at night? What about computer time? Do they earn it? Are they allowed to spend hours on it? What about visitors? Do the teens school and neighborhood friends come and go to the house, even up to the bedrooms?

Say it’s Saturday and what do the teens get up to do? Wander around listlessly? What?


The boys in our cottage get up around 8:30 on Saturday and take showers and do their chores. We have brunch at 9:30. They have pretty much a free day during the day to play video games, skateboard, etc. around the cottage. We have dinner at 4:30 and then spend time preparing for church on Sunday. They kids do not have cell phones. Well, we have one boy that is in his 2nd semester as a senior in high school and he was able to get one, but because of behavior issues, it was taken away until he gets back on track. The kids can visit with school friends, but only after we meet the parents of the kid. Don’t know if this helps at all. Just what happens at the home we’re at.


nmmommy, thank you for providing a response to my question. There have been 9 views of this question and you were the only one gracious enough to reply. I hope in the future, others will provide input to questions put forth by houseparents who are reaching out to glean knowledge and wisdom in childcare.


It depends on the facility. When we worked B-mod the children were required to be up at a certain time and be at breakfast by either 8:00 or 9:00 AM depending on what we were doing that day. Most Saturdays we spent the morning doing chores and the afternoons doing something recreational whether it was going to the lake, swimming hole, fishing, B-ball at the park, etc. Occasionally we had extra money and could go to a movie, skating, bowling or something like that.

To answer your other questions: None of the children were allowed to have cell phones, walkie talkies, etc. Depending on your level you could use the computer, we had dial up access so they could only use the internet after supper and the weekends. We would usually limit it to about 30 minutes to an hour at a time to allow others to use it. Visits from friends had to be prearranged and they were never allowed in their rooms.

As far as house activities: If both my wife and I went everyone went. They were not required to participate in the activity but they had to go. If it was an activity they couldn’t sit out we usually just didn’t do it. Sometimes we would split and one would stay home with the non-participants the the non-participant was being difficult. If that was the case, it usually effected their score and level.

We now work Basic Residential Foster Care and things are very different. All our big kids graduated a couple years ago and we now have only younger children except for our 15 yr old Birth son. When we had them we allowed them to sleep till noon if they wanted to, however we usually eat brunch about 10 or 10:30 and only have a snack in the afternoon. If they miss brunch, they are responsible for any mess in the kitchen. If we had a cottage activity planned they had to participate or arrange to go to another cottage while we were gone or could arrange through administration to be gone that weekend (either to a family member or approved friend).

They are allowed to have cell phones if a family member or sponsor signs the contract or they can purchase pre-paid phones with their own money. The girls in our house were fairly responsible and we never had any problems with them, however kids in other cottages had them taken away and given back to the family or whoever for talking on them all night and other things.

In our cottage computer time is based on your age and how responsibly you use it. We use a program called Enuff PC. With it each child has their own log on and we can set time limits for each child. Our younger children are allowed 30 minutes, our teens could get up to 1.5 hours. Extra if needed for homework. Some cottages allow their teens to have over two hours, others only 30 minutes. We can also block access to the computer or internet using EnuffPC.

Our kids are allowed to have visitors and that is determined by the houseparent. We have never allowed opposite sexes in the rooms and have been known to ask guests to leave.

Hope this helps.

What do you think of, I am looking for opinions


What do you think about Do you allow your children to visit it and/or have their own homepages? If so do you require that they give you access to their homepages?

My wife thinks the site should be banned by all parents period. I am beginning to wonder if she may be right. Some of the stuff I have seen, and some of the stories in the media really makes me wonder.

What do you think?

It’s blocked here, but there are so many copy cat sites just like it. I monitor EVERYTHING my kids do online, talk to them about it, look at it, etc. The internet is such a huge part of teenage life you can’t ban everything (too difficult to do that) plus blockers make you lazy not looking at what is going on, talking to your kids, etc.

I have a My Space account just to interact with kids I USED to work with who once out of managed care started a My Space page!


GREAT question!!! It is correct that there are opposing opinions regarding the dangers of allowing young teens to use MySpace. Here is my experience with it.

I noticed that the teen girls were on MySpace quite a bit….from the time they came home from school until they went to bed, with breaks for dinner. I made up a MySpace “fake” profile and screenname and was invited into one of the teen girls(14 yr old) space. (The rule is that they are not to invite strangers into their space, but they do…hence, my fake person was invited in).

I was shocked to see the graphics and text content of this particular girls space. She had cartoon soft porn pics (big breasted women in thigh high stockings, lace panties bending over peeking out from between the legs) with nasty, inviting language as banners, a pot symbol, and bulletins with the most foul content being sent out to all in her mailbox. This girl had her cell phone number posted not only in a bulletin she sent out to tons of people, but also in the profile ‘describe yourself’ section.

I let the residents know about the content of the site….verbally and in writing. After a week, I checked the site to discover that only the pot leaf had been removed. I asked the residents about it and they replied that they had the teen remove the pot leaf but the other stuff was okay…”just anime.” They had not noticed the teens cell phone number within her profile.

It was a great struggle for me to consider letting Admin know about it, but I did. (I think I asked this forum advice about all this). Admin directed that the inappropriate material be removed from the site.

A week later, the news started reporting on the death’s of teen girls from people met on MySpace.

I did NOT want to be right or “win” over the issue of the girl’s MySpace. I wanted to keep the girl safe, and it guide her to be a ‘proper’ young lady.

It is my opinion that the teens spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME on MySpace. They get on it after school, regardless of failing academically, and stay on it until bed time, breaking only for dinner and clean-up chores.

MySpace is an addiction for many of the teens.

IMO, teens should not be allowed to use the computer for ‘fun time’ if they have under a C on their current daily grade. Time on the computer should be EARNED. Everything that is received or sent out should be MONITORED. It’s our duty to protect the kids.


My wife thinks the site should be banned by all parents period. I am beginning to wonder if she may be right. Some of the stuff I have seen, and some of the stories in the media really makes me wonder.

What do you think?

Xanga is a big one here. We don’t allow any of our girls to go any of these sites. We have had too many problems with older men, or just giving out personal information.


Kids have been allowed to have myspace sites up until this weekend. It’s gotten to be where that many of the kids have extremely inappropriate stuff on their sites. So, admin chose this weekend to block all computers on campus from accessing myspace. They probably will still do it at school and on home visits, but at least we can protect them here on campus.


Well, Myspace is blocked where I work as well, but then you gotta hope your kids don’t find and the many other places like that.

Computers, TV time and towels

I may have asked this question before and if so I apologize in advance.

What time are the computers and the TV’s turned off in your teen group homes?

I think they should be turned off at nine PM but hubby has a different opinion.

The junior high teens go to bed at 10 and the high schoolers go to bed at 11…that means lights out. It doesn’t mean showers, reading, choosing clothes for school, etc.

I think if the computers and TV’s are on up until their bedtime it only serves to distract them from preparing for bed and school the next day.

IMO, I wish admin would make a new policy that group home kids cannot use MySpace.

In addition, how do is the towel situation handled? You know that a teen will use two, three or four towels a day. Do you assign them a certain amount of towels a week?


In our house the TV is only on for a few hours in the evening. It goes off 10 minutes prior to bedtime. Teens are responsible to be in bed on time on their own, we will help remind Jr. High/Elementary kids. When we were in a B-mod house that meant in bed lights out. In our basic care house that means Jr. High/Elementary in bed lights out, High school in their room and quite. We don’t enforce an in bed rule on high scholars’ unless they have trouble getting up in the morning and then their bedtime is also lowered.

Our computers have timer software on them that prevents log ins after 9:00 PM and before 8:00 AM. This is in addition to time limitations the children already have. In our house it is anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on how old and responsible you are. Extra time can be given for homework projects with an administrator password.

I am a firm believer in the concept of with responsibility comes privilege, with irresponsibility comes structure and guidance.

Many homes agree with you on MySpace and have blocked it, ours probably will when I get back. You have to realize however that when you plug one hole in a colander water comes out another one, and so it is with the internet.

Our rule is one towel a day, except for the rare exception. We have a chore for house laundry and every child that is old enough has a turn doing it. I don’t have a problem washing and folding towels so it don’t bother me, but I have only known a few kids that have enjoyed doing it, so they do a pretty good job of keeping towel use down. Most know that if they make a bunch of towels for somebody else to wash, they will surely to get a bunch when it is their turn.

I have also seen programs where the children are given a certain number of towels they were responsible for. When they got dirty they washed them, if they lost them they replaced them. In these programs all the towels were numbered/colored so you could not take somebody else’s and claim it as yours.


I am a firm believer in the concept of with responsibility comes privilege, with irresponsibility comes structure and guidance.


As long as my girls meet their responsibilities then I am very easy going. We keep our PC room open until chore time (10pm) and then only those who have everything else finished may do a little more on the PC’s after chores are done and then at that time it is ONLY school work.

I use as much as I can as an incentive for good behavior and responsibility. If our girls do their rooms, and chores good, get along with us and each other, act respectfully, and do well in school we are very easy going and very giving to them. When they make poor decisions, act disrespectfully, etc. we begin to structure that child more until they prove they no longer need that.


Computer time is limited based on their levels (we have a 0-5 level system). If they are on the correct level, they can have 30 minutes of computer time. Homework stuff is allowed on any level. Just got info over the weekend that myspace is being blocked on all campus computers.

TV time is limited too based on level. We have to approve whatever they watch. I’m more inclined to let them watch a sporting event (baseball, football, etc.) for a longer period of time that movies, etc. Just my personal opinion though.

We haven’t had a problem with towels so I can’t really address that one. Each boy does their own laundry including towels and bed sheets.

As long as my girls have earned use of the computer, bedtime is the cut off time–as long as they have finished their homework & chores.

TV has to be earned too. When the girls don’t have school, I limit the TV to 2 hours per day until 7pm. After 7pm, if they want to unwind in front of the TV, for me it’s no problem.

As for towels… each person has 2 towels. Each one has a different color.