9 Most Dangerous Apps for Kids

You may or may not be in this stage of life yet, but we need to keep educating ourselves, and keep up-to-date on the potentially harmful apps that are available on smart phones today.   I like what they said below "your child’s safety is more important than their privacy".  Sometimes I felt like I was invading their privacy, but it's better to know what's going on, than to have a situation like the below occur.                 Shelley Brooks  

9 Most Dangerous Apps for Kids

Felicia Alvarez  /  Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

In 2013, a twelve-year-old girl was lured away from her home by a 21 year-old-man. Once they met, he took her to a motel and took advantage of her. How did this little girl meet this terrible stranger?

Through an app called Whisper on her handheld device (yep, the one her parents bought her). And Whisper is only one of many dangerous apps, apps that every parent should be aware of.

The Scary Truth 

“The bad guy’s not just at the bus stop anymore. He has entrance right into your kid’s bedroom and hand-held cellphone device.” Sexual predators can target your children even when your child is in the room down the hall. And sexual predators aren’t the only problem. Cyber-bullying and exposures to sexually inappropriate content are additional concerns.

New apps are constantly being created, so it’s important to monitor what your child downloads. Being aware of the online tricks predators use will help you know what to look for. So here is a current list of some of the most dangerous apps:


Whisper - This app allows you to post secrets anonymously and also allows you to chat with other users in your geographic area.

Why It’s Dangerous: Many children are drawn to communicating with strangers, feeling that their secrets are safer with them than with their friends. This app is a perfect tool for ill-intentioned strangers looking to connect with young people because it allows you to exchange messages with people nearest to you (so anonymity can be easily lost).


YikYak  - All Yik Yak users are anonymous. They don’t create a profile or account, but they can post comments that are accessible to the nearest 500 people (within a 1-5 mile radius). A psychiatrist called this the most dangerous app he’d ever seen because it “can turn a school into a virtual chat room where everyone can post his or her comments, anonymously. Untruthful, mean, character-assassinating short messages are immediately seen by all users in a specific geographic area.”

Why It’s Dangerous: This app is causing problems in schools across the United States, with students maliciously slandering teacher, staff, and other students. In fact, several schools have now banned smart phones from campus because of this particular app.


Kik - A free app-based alternative texting service that allows texts/pictures to be sent without being logged in the phone history. (Similar apps: Viber, WhatsApp, TextNow)

Why It’s Dangerous – Makes it easier for your child to talk to strangers without your knowledge since it bypasses the wireless providers’ short message services (SMS). Children also think they can “sext” without parents finding out. In addition, strangers can send your child a “friend request.”


Snapchat – Allows you to capture an image or video and make it available to a recipient for a specific time. After that time limit is up, the picture/video automatically disappears forever…or so Snapchat claims. (Similar apps: Poke, Wire, and Wickr)

Why It’s Dangerous – Kids can receive (or send ) sexually inappropriate photos. This app also makes kids feel like they can “sext” or send inappropriate pictures without consequences because the image will self-destruct automatically. The truth is that nothing sent over the internet disappears. There are always ways to retrieve and capture those images.


Vine – Allows users to watch and post six second videos.

Why It’s Dangerous –While many of the videos are harmless, porn videos do pop up into the feed, exposing your children to sexually explicit material. You can also easily search for/access porn videos on this app. Predators utilize this app to search for teens and find their location. Then they try to connect with them via other messaging apps.


ChatRoulette and Omegle– These apps allow you to video chat with strangers.

Why It’s Dangerous – Not only are users chatting with strangers, they could be chatting with a fake stranger. “Chat sites like Chatroulette and Omegle have done their best to produce systems that warns users when the people they are chatting to are potentially using fake webcam software, however developers still manage to slip under their radars with frequent updates.” So a fifty-year-old man could set up a fake webcam and use images from a 15-year-old boy that looks like a teen celebrity to convince your child to send inappropriate pictures or get information about your child’s location.


Tinder – Users post pictures and scroll through the images of other users. When they think someone is attractive they can “flag” the image. If that person has also “flagged” them in return, the app allows you to contact them.

Why It’s Dangerous – This app, and similar apps such as Down, Skout, Pure, and Blendr, are primarily used for hooking up.


Poof – Hides other apps on your phone. You select which apps you would like to hide and their icons will no longer show up on your smartphone screen.

Why It’s Dangerous – If children have apps that they want to keep hidden from their parents, all they have to do is download this app and “poof,” their screen is clear of any questionable apps. So, if you see the poof app on their phone, you may want to ask them what they are hiding.


What Now?

Remember, your child’s safety is more important than their privacy. As a parent, you aren’t being nosy by checking their cell phone on a regular basis; you are being responsible. Perhaps your family could establish family media rules, such as having to check with a parent before downloading a new app or game. Having a common charging area so you can easily check phones could also be a good system for your family.

Also, take the time to explain to them (at an age-appropriate level) why you are asking them questions and checking their phone and privacy settings. Many children do not realize just how much information they are putting out there and how dangerous it can be.

If you have an older teen, and find some questionable apps on their phone, it may be a good opportunity for a discussion. Here are a few conversation starter ideas:

Conversation starter for YikYak– What kind of things would a person want to post anonymously? How would you personally use this app? What would you post anonymously? Why?

Conversation starter for SnapChat – Why do you want to send pictures that disappear? Would you be okay with anyone seeing that pic?

Conversation starter for Whisper – Why would you tell your secrets to strangers? If you are struggling with something, will a stranger care or be able to help you? Do you think it would be safe to accept their help/friendship?

Conversation starter for any app – Are you being safe with that app? Are you encouraging others or tearing them down? Are you being bullied? Are you putting out too much information about yourself? Is this an app that brings God glory?

Christian parents are called to instruct their children in biblical wisdom (Deuteronomy 6:6-8) and today that includes teaching them to apply biblical wisdom to media. Teaching your children how to choose appropriate apps and use them responsibly is vitally important in our media-saturated world.

Internet safety is just like any other kind of safety. You don’t just teach your child how to cross the street one time; you repeat “look both ways” to them for years! Similarly, we need to talk continually about internet/app safety. How much information should you share? With whom should you communicate? What should you post?

A wonderful tool to help guide you in the internet training process is available at Netsmartz.org. They have many resources for internet safety available, including resources for different ages. And it’s all available for free! You can use their videos for jumping-off points for discussion and incorporate biblical principles into your conversation. As Christians, we’re not simply training children to keep them out of trouble, but so they can grow in wisdom as well.

“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him” (Proverbs 23:24).


UncategorizedShelley Brooks
Perfect Isn't The Point

I read this article the other day, and it made me think back to when my kids were younger, and how I worked full-time, raised two kids, all while trying to have the perfect house.  I grew up with a mom who stayed at home until I went to High School.  Our house was immaculate (you could actually do the white glove test on her furniture), and she made a home-cooked meals, every night.  I tried very hard to do the same thing, and failed miserably.  I did manage to do pretty good at having a sit down dinner most nights, even if it was something simple, as I felt that was important.  I finally realized what was important, and what wasn't, and that I needed to let God be in control.  I hope you enjoy the following article, and remember, God doesn't care if you have a little dust on the furniture, or a clump of dog hair in the middle of the family room carpet.  : )     Shelley Brooks  

by Jill Savage

I was putting the finishing touches on the sweet potatoes when I realized that the Jell-O salad I'd made for dinner didn't set. The rolls I'd made from scratch weren't rising, and our youngest son was having a meltdown. Then my husband phoned to let me know he would be home late. My plan for a perfect evening was unraveling.

Many of us long to create the "perfect" family, but more often than not, we fall off the pedestal of our own expectations. We long for quiet, but children are naturally loud. We desire a neat home, but family life inevitably brings clutter.

Too often we set up our husband, our family and ourselves for failure. We have a fantasy picture in our mind of how our day or an event will unfold. When our expectation doesn't play out, we find ourselves frustrated, disappointed and even angry.  Perfectionism isn't healthy for us or our relationships. It feeds discontent. It fosters judgment. It causes us to compare our insides with other people's outsides.

When we expect our kids to be perfect, we become a controlling mom. When we expect our husband to be perfect, we become a criticizing wife. When we expect ourselves to be perfect, we heap judgment on our failures and become our own worst enemy.

So how do we break the chains of unrealistic expectations? How do we get out from under the pressure of perfectionism? It all starts with grace.

God sees the best in us. His grace frees us from striving. It accepts. It heals. And more important, it equips us to give the gift of grace to one another.

Moving from disappointment to grace requires two shifts in perspective. First, we need to shift our perspective from who we think is in control (us) to who is really in control (God). When we trust that God knows what He's doing, we become more flexible, especially when things don't go as we planned.

The other perspective change is this: The moment in which we find ourselves is just as important as the moment we planned to be in. We need to embrace "what is" instead of dwelling on "what could have been." When we allow God to lead and we embrace the moments we're given, our hearts become compassionate and flexible.

A grace-filled mom handles her kids' shortcomings with love. A grace-filled wife allows her husband to make mistakes without holding his failures against him. A grace-filled woman see's herself through God's eyes and resists the temptation to beat herself up when she falls short of perfection. By moving away from unrealistic expectations, we crawl out from under the pressure of perfectionism.

Coming to grips with my unrealistic expectations of a perfect evening, I sat down with my kids to eat our imperfect meal. When my husband got home an hour later, he had dinner as we sat at the table talking together. Then we enjoyed ice cream sundaes with the kids (not a part of my original plan), and the evening was filled with laughter, love and grace.

UncategorizedShelley Brooks
God Made a Family

In the beginning, God created an environment.  And in that environment, God saw that a caretaker would be needed, and that caretaker would need a partner, and so God made a family. God said, “I need people who will care for infants for no other reason than they are and I created them.”  So God made parents.  “Someone who will provide for and nourish their young out of a deep, unexplainable love.”  And so God made a family.

God said, “I need someone with arms strong enough to lift a child toward me, to allow them to dream of what they might reach.”  So God made dads.  “And I need someone whose arms are always at the ready – to hold and to hug – when that reaching turns to a stumble.”  So God made moms.  And God made a family.

God said, “I know these little ones will need lifelong friends – those they can travel alongside, who know the deep pains of the generations and stand in it together, elbows linked, so the climb doesn't seem so lonely.”  So God made siblings and cousins.  And God made a family.

God said, “There will be times when moms and dads are tired, when family is far and arms won’t lift, and these families will need Aarons and Hurs to hold their hands steady as they continue to reach, because these lives, this fight for their hearts, is worth it.”  So God made faith communities.  And God made a family.

God said, “I need an expression of all of the unspeakable joy I feel when I see my creation, an expression of the peace and contentment I can offer, an expression of the passion with which I will fight for my people.”  And so God made a family.

God said, “I need people convicted enough to stand firm against the wind and waves, because they know that my mission to redeem people is eternally important, because they have a deep love for me and for people.  I need groups of people who can extend grace and mercy, tangibly accepting people into those arms that reach and arms that comfort, so people will know the intangible, unconditional love I have for them.”  And so God made a family.

And God saw faith being passed from generation to generation, because of what was reflected in His creation of a man, a woman, and a family.


Serving in Kids Connect 2014-2015

It's that time of year again when the Kids Connect team starts preparing for a new year.  On August 17th, kids will move up to the next age/grade group. During the months of June-August we are busy calling, emailing and talking in the hall to parents, and non-parents about serving in the children's ministry for the next year.

Would you prayerfully consider how you might help?  There are many areas to serve in, with many commitment levels.  If you have been contacted, please let us know what you are thinking.

It takes hundreds of volunteers to support Sunday morning and Wednesday night, and make a difference in a child's life...what part will you play?


Contact Kathy at kathym@cccomaha.org or 402-938-1520 for more information, or with questions.

Finding Treasure


It was obviously the first time he had held a treasure of his own.  Clutching it to his chest, two arms wrapped around, a spring in his step and a giggle in his voice, not containing the excitement over the precious treasure he held.  He looked down at the box clutched to his chest and then up at me, eyes sparkling with anticipation as he thrust his treasure toward me.  Every cell in his body said, “THIS is precious.”  I asked if I could have a closer look, and he eagerly raised the treasure just a little and released the tight grip he had on the box.  I gently took it, carefully communicating the same care and wonder as I opened the box and saw the gold edging on the pages and name imprinted on the front, carefully running my hand over the leather cover and binding and returning it to the box.  “THIS is a very, very special gift.”  Because this treasure – his precious Bible, will last long in his heart.  I watched as he showed his treasure to every adult who would look – offering them a peek in the box, thrusting it outward and upward.  And each adult responded with misty eyes – perhaps reminded of this treasure they so often take for granted.

This 5th grade boy is new to church and new to this treasure he holds.  Before he came to church, he wondered why God created him so miserable.  After one Sunday in KidsWorld, he told a pastor, “I actually think God wants me to be happy!”  And now he holds in his proud possession, the key to this joy that he has found.

All of us who came in contact with this boy that Sunday seemed to hold our Bibles a little tighter to our chests that day, convicted of the apathy and moved toward the awe of what those pages contain.  I have a feeling this boy’s treasure will become tattered, gold will wear from the pages turned and read over and over again.  I have a feeling his family will be changed – for generations – because of the way he reveres God’s Word.  May we all carry this precious treasure of God’s Word well.



Engaging Faith

WRITTEN BY TRACEY.URQUHART | PUBLISHED APRIL 29, 2014 Family Ministry Goal:  Parents engaging their faith in the context of their family; kids, following their example, engaging faith for themselves.

Sounds like a reasonable goal.  But what does it actually look like?  How do I flesh this out and measure when I’ve got there?  What does engaging faith look like to me?  For parents?  For kids?  What about a 4 year old?  A 7 year old?  A 12 year old?  What does this actually look like?

Enter the Holy Spirit.  Teach me.  Show me.  Story.  (You know that you the leader will always be asked to go first…)

We noticed her hair falling out sometime in December.  We watched as our happy-go-lucky 7 year old began to be subdued and shy.  Her worship changed, she no longer shared during kid’s church, and she was too embarrassed to ask others for prayer.  We sought out medical attention, but the treatment wasn’t working.  We waited.  We watched.  We prayed.  More hair in the sheets, in the brush, in the bath; less hair on her head. We tried to cover it up so no one would notice.  But I noticed and my heart broke.

These words rang like a bell as they came from a friend, a lay pastor in our church, my senior by a number of years, “The most difficult thing for me as a parent was watching my kids learn how to engage their own faith.  You can cover her in prayer, but this isn’t about you, it’s about her.  You need to step back and let her engage her faith.  She needs to have Jesus speak to her.”  Those words began a journey of sorts.  I began to ask my daughter what Jesus was saying to her.  She said she felt something in her heart, but wasn’t sure what it was.  So together we prayed for clarity.  Jesus speak and make it CLEAR.

And He did.

She saw a picture of an animal in her mind.  “I don’t know what it means, but he keeps showing it to me.”  Together we researched the animal; we prayed the positive characteristics of this animal for our daughter, together with our daughter.  Great vision, great hearing, great speed, endurance.  Each of them positive spiritual qualities.  On my own I continued to research this animal and ask the Holy Spirit what this meant for my daughter and for me.  My husband and I set time aside to pray together.  As we prayed God showed us how this animal related to our prayers, what we needed to pray through.  We interceded, we covered, we prayed through generations past.  We sought God’s wisdom, direction, revelation, healing.

And then we were done.

We didn’t know how to engage our faith anymore.  We had asked, God had answered.  We now waited on him to continue to be revealed in her.  That very same day she came home and said her head felt completely normal.  That day her hair stopped falling out.  We eventually received a diagnosis of Alopecia Ophasis.  And we still had opportunity to continue to engage our faith.  Our daughter sought out Jesus, asking him if she should do the treatment, as parents we had to do the same.  We needed to decide if his words to her were also his words to us.  We engaged our faith and believed.

So what does it look like for parents to engage their faith and for kids to engage faith for themselves?  Well, to me it looks a lot like family.  Family, on a journey, taking a risk to share with each other, trusting each other to hear God’s voice and then believing that what he says, he will do.  Because he is faithful to complete the good work he began in you! (Phil 1:6).

What does engaging faith look like in your context?

How has God asked you to “go first” with your family?  How are you sharing that with others in your family and your ministry?

Summer U and Summer U Jr

In June, Christ Community Church becomes overflowing with kids, during Summer U.  From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, June 23-27, every square inch is covered with kids from ages 4 through 5th grade. Summer U Jr is for kids ages 4 (by June) through Kindergarten (completed this year) and they will love the singing, games, teaching and activities geared just for them.  This year is a spy theme, so there will be lots of 'spying' going on.  There will be a water day during the week, with lots of fun water activities.  They will be studying the life of Joseph.  The cost for the entire week is only $25.00.

Summer U is for kids who will be finishing 1-5th grade this year.  Kids will have fun learning the truth about God's word through high-energy singing, games, hands-on activities, stories & teaching, small group time and meeting new friends. Kids will pick one Summer U course of interest and explore it all week with the Summer U professor.  Courses like Culinary, Science, Pinsperation, Sports, Woodworking, Spa and Lego's...just to mention a few.  They will be learning to be 'world changers', hearing about David and Joseph, and David's friend.  The cost for the entire week is only $25.00.

This is also a great week to invite friends from school, sports or the neighborhood.  Have them come spend the week, building friendships, having fun and learning more about God.

Go to Summeru.org and get signed up today!  Class sizes are limited, so register early!

If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact Kathy at 402-938-1520.

The Best Predictor of Lasting Love

This is my beloved and this is my friend.  Song of Solomon 5:16

We were having lunch at a cafe just north of Seattle when we noticed a young couple at another table.  The man got up to pay the bill but his wife stayed seated in their booth.  After paying the check, her husband came back and stood in front of her.  She put her arms around his neck, and he lifted her up with his arms supporting her legs.  He backed out the front door with her to a pick-up truck as she continued to hold her arms around his neck.

He gently put his wife into the cab of the truck.  Everyone in the little restaurant watched.  As they pulled away you could see a folded wheelchair strapped into the bed of the truck.  No one said anything until a waitress remarked, "That man took his vows seriously".  The restaurant stayed silent for a moment longer.  A few nodded in agreement, and everyone felt a sense of reverence.

It can't help but touch your heart when you see something like this.  Saying your vows on your wedding day is one thing - living them out when life gets tough is another.  Perhaps that's why some couples are re-writing the traditional vows of marriage.  USA Today, in an article titled "Couples Take Their Vows in a New Direction," reported the following:

"The Bible is losing ground on the wedding aisle, and forever may follow obey into oblivion, particularly for those who marry in civil or non-denominational ceremonies."

The piece went on to interview the editor of Bride's magazine who said, "many couples prefer to start their lives together with 'guidelines, not a straight-jacket of rules.'"

It's a sad perception.  Vows are not rules.  And they're certainly not guidelines.  Our vows are a public demonstration of a commitment to what the Bible calls a covenant relationship.  Malachi 2:14 says that marriage is a holy covenant before God.  For Christians, marriage goes beyond the earthly promise.  It's a divine picture of the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church.  Our promise to love and honor each other is a spiritual representation of our relationship with God.

article: Devotion   loving God and each other

Your marriage is the best gift you can ever give to your children.  Current estimates of divorce indicate that about half of first marriages end in divorce.  Statistics also show that a father being in the home has a huge role on the success of kids.  So, pray daily for God to bless and strengthen your marriage, and work hard at it, sometimes it’s not easy.  Let your children see you kiss and hug, and continue to go out on dates.  It will mean a lot to the two of you, and you'll be surprised at how it effects your children.


Burned Biscuits - A lesson we all should learn

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing...never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said, "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides--a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!" As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today...that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket--keep it in your own." So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine. Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. "Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil--it has no point"

(Source unknown)


UncategorizedShelley Brooks
Elementary Kids in Church

Do you sometimes wonder whether to take your elementary aged child to services with you on a Sunday morning?  Do you struggle deciding whether to send them to Kids Connect, while you attend services, or have them attend with you? Elementary children are at a critical point in their lives, during which they begin to understand and develop their morals and values.  They will be trying to figure out who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are, and how ‘they’ impact their lives.  This crucial period in a child’s life will impact their decisions and actions throughout their life.

They attend Kids Connect for a time of learning from those telling the big God Story, and from their small group leaders.  They listen for the voice of God, and are learning how God fits into their lives.  Seeing you worship, it is a critical part of the learning process for them too.

Worship is a place for families.  Parents need to understand the importance of the religious training children need to help guide them throughout their lives.   At Christ Community Church, we want to come alongside you and help you with the spiritual formation of your children, but you are key to that formation.

Build family unity.  There's a lot of chaos going on in the lives of families today; school, work, soccer, football, ballet practice, to name a few.  One parent heads off one way with one child, and the other parent takes off to another event with the other.  Sunday mornings are a great time to come together and just sit with each other and learn from God’s word.  The kids will enjoy just being with you.

Our families need time together in peace.  Children need calm and security, sitting in worship, holding hands, and speaking community prayers together can give our families a respite.  Once families are comfortable with these practices, they'll be able to use them away from the church when a crisis or difficult situation emerges and they need family spirituality.

Build an expectation for worship. Sitting in church can be difficult for those who've never experienced it before, but when prepared, children can meet high expectations.  Let them know, lovingly, that you expect them to be still and quiet, and pay attention during the service.  Practice this.  Remember, these kids sit in school all day.   In Kindergarten Kids Connect, we offer a ‘Young Child in Worship’ class during the 10:45 service.  This prepares them for first grade, when they will attend Worship with you one hour, and Kids Connect the other hour.

Let us know how we can help you with this important step.

Shelley Brooks

UncategorizedShelley Brooks