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.

Digital Citizenship: Steampunk Photo Challenge

Dear Students,

I visited the Gilbert Historical Museum and I thought of you. The ones that like to take pictures and those of you who like to draw and create

Farm equipment, front of Gilbert Historical Society

if I was a designer I would take pictures and use them to make steampunk inspired art like this

a gate designed by Antoni Gaudí – in Barcelona

if I knew photoshop, I would play with the details

I love the color and the spiderweb of the glass

you could invent a tree house

steampunk_tree_house by photofinale on Flickr

you could turn this farm machine

I imagine this as a spaceship, blasting into the clouds

into a spaceship

if you knew how

Visit Mesa artist Corinne Geertsen, she photographs beautiful antiques and makes something new

What will you make a picture of?

Stop by the Gilbert Historical Society, bring your imagination


May 3 – September 5, 2012
Appaloosa Library, Scottsdale, AZ if you want to be like Corinne, Scottsdale has a repository of old photos for you to browse here.
Solo show
May 24 – September 9, 2012
AZ Museum for Youth, Mesa, AZ
Group show: Extreme Pets
June 2 – July 22, 2012
Kimball Art Center, Park City, Utah
Solo show
June 23 – August 25, 2012
Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe AZ
Group show: Family Matters

if you are looking for something to do

Grab your camera, visit the museum

and make something beautiful to show me

Digital Citizenship: Meet Julia of 551 East Design

Dear Students,

For the middle school kiddos, I teach a Digital Citizenship class. In addition to topics about online safety and savvy,  I want my students to acquire 21st century learning skills. I ask them to articulate what they like, what they enjoy doing and do it. I want my students to be entrepreneurial, expert and passionate. Julia is a great example of that passionate, productive person. I tell my kiddos to be producers, not spectators. Kids are usually better than grown ups at finding what they like to do and do it. Julia likes what she does. And I like to look at what she makes.

Anthropologie Inspired Acid Washed Mirror

Take a look at Julia’s page to see a good example of an e-portfolio. I like how an ordinary person uses the internet to showcase amazing talent and passion. I hope this series inspires you to contribute to the global community from your own area of expertise

Chalkboard with Doves

Without further adieu, meet Julia:

How has your work changed you?

I’ve been a perfectionist my whole life and I feel like I spent most of my teenage and young adult years, limiting myself- because I was terrified to fail. When I found my first pieces to refinish and posted them on my blog, I lay in bed that night freaking out that I was going to fail. I remember the first comments I got on them and how they helped me to see that I could create something beautiful and if I failed, I could sand it down and start over.  That’s why I love going down to my garage and getting my sander out and transforming something that no one wanted anymore, into a piece that has new life. It reminds me that just because I might not always be perfect, I can always become better.

What inspires you?

EVERYTHING! Seriously, I know it drives my husband crazy when we’re out and I run over to a dumpster and pull a flaking paint chip off because I love the color so much. (Don’t worry, I sanitize my hands. :))

Finding inspiration isn’t about following a trend. I think we often feel that we need to look to others for inspiration. If I sat here and said that I haven’t been greatly influenced by others I’d be lying. But what I’ve learned over the past year is that I have the ability to inspire myself and that when I look too often at others for inspiration, I lose sight of my talents and ability. I really believe that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for having good ideas and then we talk ourselves out of trying them.

What is your greatest find?

We found this desk at a flea market in Utah. I was really intrigued by the inlaid panels on the top, but it was NASTY.

When I started hand sanding the grime off I became absolutely giddy about the diamond in the rough we had found.

My other favorite piece has to be this bohemian influenced vanity.
When we started sanding it down, the acid green started to show through. The contrast was so fantastic we went with it and finished the piece off with some antiquing glaze.
What aspect of your work do you like best? 
Probably my favorite part is finding a piece and imagining what I am going to do to it. What colors I’m going to use, what hardware to chose. The possibilites always seem endless. 🙂 And I love love love going through my paint deck and reading the color names and imagining what I could do with them.
Who are your influences?  
I am always so grateful for my husband and parents being my biggest cheerleaders and fans. I could not do this without them.
 My biggest influence is a quote I found awhile ago.

 The reason I love this simple phrase so much is that it embodies everything I love about what I do.
I’m obsessed with finding gritty, old pieces of furniture that no one wants and with some work and love they become pearls.
And the reason I’m so obsessed with it is because I feel like with each piece I finish, I become a slightly better person, a better mom, a better wife, and a better me.
I’ve had to learn to trust my gut, be patient and literally watch paint dry, to overcome my fears off failing and to let go and just try something new.
Thank you so much to Kerry for asking these questions and letting me be a part of her blog!
Feel free to stop by my place any time and see what were up to. 🙂

I had to close the post with my absolute favorite piece by Julia. Her Winston dresser.

From the 21st Century,
Mrs. Kenney