10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

I love this x 100. Also, sign up for Common Sense Media Emails if you want to learn more (they are free) and I will paste our instructions for installing Open DNS in the box below.

10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices.


Setting up Open DNS.
  Open DNS is a service designed to make the Internet safer.  It was created by men and women trying to secure the experience for people against viruses,
malware, spybots, and phishing – as well as inappropriate or unsafe content.  It uses the rules of the Internet to allow a family access to the Internet, but
be walled off to only the section (or sliver) the parents want to use.  OpenDNS works by being your home network’s Domain Name service (DNS), the part of the
Internet which translates an internet address from its person-friendly form (facebook.com) into its machine-needed form (, today).  By doing it
at this level, it can block ads which lead to virus sites and malicious re-directs.  By attaching it to your home network, it performs this protection to
everything that uses your home network (computers, iPhones, xboxes).
Each household is unique, so OpenDNS gives you flexibility in blocking Internet content. They divide the Internet’s millions of websites neatly into 56
categories, like “adult,” “games,” “academic fraud” and “social media.” Parents can block entire categories of content, or just choose to block the individual
websites that you know are problematic or unsafe for your family.  Or, for easier setup, you can choose a filtering level: low, medium or high.  The low
filtering level blocks just adult content, where the high filtering level blocks adult content, social networking sites, video-sharing sites and more.
   Depending on the level of lock-down you want, there are 4 main parts to setting up OpenDNS.  Everything here is free.  OpenDNS does of course offer further
protection at a price.  Part 1:  Put OpenDNS addresses on your house wifi router.  Part 2:  Lock your router with a password.  Part 3:  Create a free OpenDNS
account and set your filter preferences.  Part 4:  Inventory your equipment.
PART 1:  Putting Open DNS on your router.   (5 minutes)
The main theme is to replace your router’s default DNS addresses, which are supplied by and controlled by your internet provider (Cox, QWest, Verizon,
etc.) with OpenDNS’s. This involves changing the DNS type to a “static DNS” and setting the values yourself.
Specifically For the QWest ActionTec Q1000 Router:
1. Go to opendns.com.   There are two large IP addresses on the first screen in blue.  They are and
2. Copy down those addresses.
3. From a computer that is on your network, browse to:  ( for linksys.  Other routers may vary.)
4. Go to “Advanced Setup”, then “WAN Settings”.
5. Scroll to #4 “Set the DNS type” and select “Static DNS.”.  Then enter the two OpenDNS IP addresses.
6. Save and you’re done!  Your router will reboot and that will take a minute.
Your home is now safe from the majority of phishing, malware, and virus sites.  Also, your ISP is no longer logging or tracking what sites you go to.
PART 2:  Set a password on your router.  (5 minutes)
Part 1 changes can be undone by anyone with a computer on your network.  If this is a concern, put a password on your router.
Specifically for the QWest ActionTec Q1000:  Advanced Setup. Security.  Administrator Password.
PART 3:  Set up an openDNS account. (30 minutes)
2. Choose “Open DNS Home”.
3. Sign up and select filters as you desire.
Your entire home is now filtered to your selections.  Of course test it by trying to go somewhere bad.
PART 4:  Inventory your devices.
Your home network is now the way you want it.  But if someone has an iPhone with a data plan, they can connect to AT&T 3G (or whatever) just as though they
are not in the home.  Make certain the only devices your family has are only that can only access the Internet via wifi, or have a system where family members
put their devices in a secure place for bed time, etc.
PART 5:  Sleep soundly.

My manifesto: Why I fight for children to play

I had children late in life (sort of) I was 35 when I had my first child and nearly 38 with my second. When I started working in a school I realized I was a generation older than many of the parents. Like most people, I parent based on how I was raised. I was raised in the 70’s. My parents worked. We had babysitters, community camps, we were latch key kids from time to time.

My mother lavished us with books.

My mother lavished us with books.

I had a paper route that I inherited from my big sister, so I started delivering papers and collecting money from strangers when I was 7, I was a very busy babysitter by the time I was 9 and stayed busy earning and spending my own money. We lived in the suburbs, across the street from a lower income apartment complex. I spent an enormous amount of time outside with gangs of kids or alone in creeks, dumpsters, alleys, graveyards other people’s backyards where I should not have been and storm culverts under city streets.  I was not athletic and did not have any sense, but my parents were busy, I had several sisters close to me in age and that was just how it was for us.

I know a little bit about not fitting in myself.

I know a little bit about not fitting in myself.

My house was full of books, I read whatever I wanted and sometimes was busted for reading things I shouldn’t (Flowers in the Attic) or never caught (Harold Robbins in 4th grade, oh my!!). I watched TV until my eyes popped out of my head with our babysitter Mrs. Murphy, who was a somewhat tragic figure that was very gentle and patient with us. I was terribly abusive to her, she smoked endlessly in our living room and watched all the game shows on channel 21 in the morning and then all the soaps on channel 21 in the afternoon. I watched Budd Dwyer kill himself on live TV when I was home on a snow day. I read and stared and inhaled smoke and watched soaps and played atari and rode my bike everywhere and fought with kids and collected coins and stray dogs and was a giant weirdo. It was the best childhood ever.

Fountains for wading

Fountains for wading

I learned so much. It made up for my Catholic grade school which was so dull I was ready to die. I was always reading a book under my desk and being told to stop, the only person that gave me free rein was the grumpy librarian Mrs. Schupp who was never grumpy with me and would let me have anything I wanted all the time. The two greatest weeks of my school career were 1.) when my appendix ruptured and I was in the hospital for a week and overheard a nurse say I COULD HAVE DIED (this thrilled me to no end and actually still thrills me now since I did not die, it was almost as good as witness to my own funeral a long time fantasy of mine that I loved in Tom Sawyer) and 2.) when TMI had a nuclear meltdown and we were evacuated to Allentown for a week to live in my aunt’s tiny townhouse and I played with her collection of Avon bottles and carousel horses and her awesome crocheted dolly toilet paper covers. Her house had all the good stuff that I longed for with my jealous covetous, too many sisters to compete with heart.


I was never ever ever ever ever going to get married or have children. Never. I was going to be a queen and have all my stuff and a million books and a dog and a convertible and go live in a big city and fill my shopping cart with candy every time I went to the store. And that is exactly what I did until one day when I was 29 I met Mr. Dreamy and realized he was the one person I wanted to have in my life forever and wondered how could I make that happen because I was not an easy person to be around, I was very selfish and ridiculous and chaotic, but I was thin and pretty and smart and had money so that sort of masked what a nut I was..and we fell in love and got married and for the first time in my life I started to work hard to learn how to be good and kind so Mr. Dreamy would be happy living with me.

Both boys are overjoyed to reunite with their dad. We had been on the East Coast for two weeks before he joined us. This picture was taken at the airport.

Both boys are overjoyed to reunite with their dad. We had been on the East Coast for two weeks before he joined us. This picture was taken at the airport.

We were married very quickly in fact…just four months after our engagement. I didn’t want him to change his mind. I asked my bridesmaids to wear whatever they wanted as all eyes would be on me, I arranged for them to picket my wedding at the state capital, Bloggess has nothing on me with her dead animals. I had picketing bridesmaids…as a  middle child I wanted to see if people would really really really do anything I wanted on my wedding day. And they really really did, and I loved it. A very special day for me.

Haters only hate the people they can't have or the people they can't be

Haters only hate the people they can’t have or the people they can’t be

Now we lived in DC and worked and were spendy (me) and happy (us) and life went on until everyone started to die, my grandmother, my stepfather, my beloved dog. And I thought. Wow. The only thing that seems to matter is children, perhaps we should have children? And like all normal people with normal mindsets, I reached out to a girl I did not know in real life who I knew from an online community was was super nice and had baby twins and a lot going on and asked if I could bring her meals and help once a week for  a year. And she said yes, and I ended up babysitting on Wednesdays for a year and at the end of the year, I thought yes, I can do this, I can have a child.

At two months, smiling at his dad.

Brady at two months, smiling at his dad.


Mr. Dreamy said, we can have two. I said SURE, we can have 12!

My favorite was watching Max build. But that's just because I'm his mom. I love when this look comes out.

My favorite was watching Max build. But that’s just because I’m his mom. I love when this look comes out.

Then I actually had one child inside me growing and I changed my mind back to one, but he talked me into two and now we have our two little freckle faced cuties. And it was definitely the right idea if I had only one child I would still be pureeing his organic food and having two lowered the bar on perfection and now we all just hang out. And I’m permissive. And I value play because I know the only way I learned anything was when I was interested and busy. And school was not interesting or busy. And being told what to do and ask to not touch things or explore makes me cringe for my kids. I assumed that kids would all play the same, no matter what year they are born but sadly this is not the case and if you are middle class and you want your child to play in a world where kids all have homework and tests and tons of private lessons and camps, you have to fight for it, you have to find your tribe and you have to work very very hard to let your kids play. Because it seems so many things are trying to make them sit still and stare.


This is why I fight for children to play, because it is wonderful and it is not as easy to find it as one would think. It is disappearing like our natural world and unless you look very hard, you will miss it. I don’t want people to get hurt but I don’t mind when people make mistakes or are embarrassed or wasteful if it makes a lightbulb come on. I’m still a work in progress myself and I might be wrong, I only have one go at it, but Mr. Dreamy is by my side and he mostly agrees with me so even if others in my life think I am a little over the top (and they are right) this is how I came to be how I am. I am a product of my time and circumstance. How did your childhood inform your parenting?


k8librarian reboot

I waste time writing in my head when I could be writing here. I think I should have a coherent page that makes sense, neatly branded with a color palette and graphics. A good headshot.


I think if I had those black glasses that everyone is wearing and good eyebrows I could hold my own online.

Today K8librarian relaunches as my personal page in this quiet way to the 11 people that read my page and hopefully the habit of tending this page will yield the other features I want. My husband and I both work from home in virtual offices and my boys go to a school I love. For the first time in 9 years, I won’t follow my boys around all day, Brady does not need me anymore, he can advocate for himself (hopefully!!). Max has a teacher that brings out his best, he has daily gym, he loves being a big kid, his school has a new building with a focus on sports.  He is in a good space, as long as he doesn’t turn around.


Max was completely freaked out when he got his kindergarten class pictures and this was in his folder. I said, good thing you did not turn around. It scared his friends too. So satisfying.

I’m no longer a school librarian, so I can write openly here. My son Brady, is rocking it–closing gaps, hanging out, his expressive language, security and development is awesome. He’s fine, no more special needy than any other child with one area of challenge as he manages everything else on his own. He’s done his work and we have worked REALLY hard, all of us, to get him to learn the things from intention that he needed to learn. I can write bi-weekly about what I wake up each morning thinking about.


inside, I will always be a librarian. Inside, there will always be something a little bit wrong with me.

I spend an enormous amount of time around topics like 21st century learning, our changing home, healthy eating (my downfall), raising the best kids I can the first time around, childish play, family travel, neurodiversity, reading, working from home, keeping up with tech, trusted voices, mental health, creativity and most especially change. I love change and I welcome the brave new world my children will work and live and love in. I’m concerned about their education, their health and their financial prospects with globalization. I’m going to use this space to write about those things, every day and see where the conversation takes me. In the end, all I know is that my brain is overflowing and sometimes I feel like I will go crazy if I don’t let some of these ideas out to get a perspective.


I hope you enjoy visiting my page and participating in the conversation because I love a good exchange of ideas. Special thanks to my friend Denise for her graphic wizardry, who has always had something a little bit wrong with her and thus has stayed friends with me for many many years for no other reason than we relate to each other. Or else she just really really likes people named Kerry.