Dad Hack 4 Protect Your Kids Online fb

Dad Hack 4 – Protect Your Kids Online

Dad Hack 4 – Protect Your Kids Online

Cyberbullying and Child Predators are Lurking Just Behind Your Cable Modem

How do you protect your kids online?

At this point, it’s probably no secret that I am a fan of technology. I work in IT and have tons of gadgets.

Then it should come as no surprise that my kids are all about tech as well, primarily gaming.

YouTube is a favorite in the house. For me, it’s a tool to educate and promote. For the kids, they watch some YouTubers all the time.

All these things require the internet. Gaming on a PlayStation or Xbox. Playing on the iPad or Nintendo switch. The internet is needed for most of them to work correctly.

Games like Roblox, Among Us, Minecraft, and Fortnite are super popular with lots of kids, and yes adults, playing them.

All the games I just mentioned have a feature that parents should be wary of. They all have the capability to chat with other users of the game.

This blog post is a cautionary tale based on a real event and my acute knowledge of the technology world’s dark side.

My son is very social. He loves to talk to people and won’t miss an opportunity to make a friend. He no longer plays Among Us but did for a while. He would also chat with people on Among Us. (Hold your judgment until you finish reading this blog).

He began chatting with a young girl around his age on Among Us. Within a very short period (less than a day) they took this conversation to text messaging. My son has an iPhone SE because of an incident at school a few years earlier. That’s another blog post entirely. Let’s just say it’s sad what our kids must endure in school these days.

My kids know I will check up on their activities on all devices. My son’s phone and daughter’s iPad are also monitored for what apps they use, where they are, and how long they use them. We do not let our kids use their devices whenever they want. There are rules and restrictions.

There are so many reasons to do this. Child predators and cyberbullying are two of the biggest.

among us predators lurking

The day after he started this new friendship with a girl from Among Us, I spot-checked his text messages. Sure, enough I saw the out-of-area code text message with no name attached to it. I scan the text messages and see that the girl had sent him a picture. She was a very pretty young girl. First red flag. I’ll get to that in a minute, but it immediately raised all kinds of alarms.

The second red flag was the text that immediately followed her picture that said, “Get a makeover and send me a picture”. Does that sound like something an 11-year-old girl would say to a boy? I didn’t think so either.

I asked my son about the conversation and innocently enough he thought there was nothing wrong with it. I explained to him that this person was not who they claimed to be. I put her picture into Google Image Search and sure enough, this picture was a stock image used all over the internet. How would a preteen boy know this, right?

I explained what was more likely happening. This was probably a child predator looking for new victims to groom. We had a long conversation about some of the dangers that lurk on the internet.

Parents be Vigilant

Predators and cyberbullies are also having fun on Among Us, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox. They have different motivations than my kids have. The internet is a great resource for games, information, work, school, and a lot more. It’s also a very dangerous place. The aforementioned games are not the only games with chat features and not the only places on the internet where very evil people seek out victims.

Cyberbullying and social media are big problems on social media as well. It’s also harder to monitor on TikTok or Snapchat. Games like Madden, Grand Theft Auto, and many more allow online chatting and communication.

Some parents will argue that I am violating my kid’s privacy. They’re not adults and my job is to protect them. I will do whatever it takes to make sure they’re OK. Your job as a parent is to create a safe space for your children, to raise them to be productive citizens, and to provide a better life than the one you have.

You cannot create a safe space if you have no idea what is going on in their digital world.

how to protect your kids online

Dad Hack Number 4 – Keep Your Kids Safe Online

I get asked a lot about how to protect your kids online. Here are a few pointers.

Beyond the monitoring, tracking, and restrictions we have in place for our children’s screen time I also routinely check their activities. I check messages on all apps. I check browsing history. I check pictures and videos taken and downloaded. And I pay attention to their behavior. Changes in behavior are a sign something is off.

Here’s the important part. I am honest with my kids. I tell them I am going to do this and why. The internet is a dangerous place and I just want to make sure they’re safe.

I am not naïve. I know kids are tech-savvy and can hide things which is why I also monitor and approve app installs with the profiles I set up on their devices. So many parents set up devices and never put any parental controls on them.

We limit screen time, especially on school days. It is unhealthy for anyone to stare at a screen for an unlimited amount of time. Devices are locked/blocked at bedtime to prevent any temptation or activity that could be damaging. You could take this a step further and remove the devices from their rooms.

Gaming systems are in public areas of the house, not in their bedrooms. They don’t have TVs in their rooms either.

Again, the key to the success of this is transparency. Be open and honest as to why you are doing these things. Help them understand the dangers that lurk on the other side of your cable modem or 5g connection so they can also recognize and protect themselves. Help them understand too much screen time is extremely unhealthy. They need physical activity. Teach them to talk to you about what they’re doing when they are online. Spend time watching or playing with them when they are online. But be transparent about your motivations.

Summary of How to Protect Your Kids Safe Online:

  • Be Transparent with Your Kids
  • Monitor Everything
  • Spot Check Activity, Especially Messaging and Browsing
  • Content Filtering Wherever Possible
  • Create Parent/Child Accounts
  • Limit Screen Time
  • Gaming Systems & Computers Should be in Public Areas of the Home
  • Don’t Assume

Our kids deserve to be safe at home, at school, and online. Do your part!

Read Dad Tax 3


teaching children financial literacy the dad tax

Dad Hack Number 3 Your Kids Financial Future Hangs in the Balance

How Dads Can Better Prepare Their Children Financially

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Let me start by saying I am not a financial guru.  I don’t have any degrees or certification in anything related to finance.  I never learned anything higher than Accounting 102.  This advice is purely my own experience in life and in raising my children.


A Better Future

We have the obvious things in place.  A Life insurance policy that will ensure that our kids don’t financially struggle if anything were to happen to us.

We have a good agent who looks out for our best interests.

We have a college plan that goes beyond hoping our children are the best ballers in the state.

This post isn’t about making sure the kids are set in the unfortunate event that we pass away early in their lives.  I don’t want that to happen, but we are prepared.

This isn’t about college planning or anything like that either.  We are planning financially and if the kids continue to excel the way they are then college expenses will not be a concern.

This is About Financial Literacy

The schools don’t teach it.  Most parents don’t teach it.  I was not taught financial literacy.

The lack of financial education dooms most children to a lifetime of struggling financially even if they receive a lot of money from life insurance or inheritance.

I took it upon myself to learn, and I am still learning, as we all should.  The financial world evolves just as rapidly as any other world.

Dads should pass financially literacy on to their children.  Because it is extremely important and is not taught anywhere else.

When I was done with college I was in a lot of debt but I did not understand the impact it would have on me.  I did not know how it makes it harder to get credit and if you do you will have higher interest rates that can cripple you financially.

Financial Literacy written on a notepad sheet.

I didn’t know that bad debt stays with you for many years.

I didn’t know there are ways to take care of the bad debt.

I didn’t know how important it was to have money saved up somewhere.

I had no clue about the stock market or other ways of investing.  If I did I would be much better off now.

If I knew in my teens what I know now I would be so much better off financially.  Instead of blowing my entire paycheck on nothing during a time in my life when I had very little responsibilities financially I could have been saving and investing.

I did not receive this education.

My Children Will

Dad Hack Three – Use Stash Investment App For Your Children’s Financial Future

We have already started investing for both of my younger children.  To do this I use an app called Stash.

There are a number of apps today that can accomplish your goals but I had been using Stash for a little while for my own investing.

To be clear this is not the only means of me investing but something that makes it easier to pick what sector/fund and in some cases stocks you want to invest in.

The cost to you is minimal.

If your account balance is under $5000 then it costs $1 per month.  If it is over $5000 then it cost .25% per month.

Trades do not cost anything.

Seems reasonable to me.

What Can You Invest In?

Stash allows you to invest as little as $5 initially.

You can invest in one of the numerous funds.  Funds are industry focused so there’s tech options, healthcare, defense, and green initiative funds.

There are also funds that you can select based on risk.  Higher risk usually means higher reward (or higher loss).

Stash recently added the ability to invest in some individual stocks.  For example, I invested in Microsoft.

You don’t have to invest in any stock on a per share basis as you do with traditional methods of investing.  If you wanted to invest just $5 into Microsoft you could even though a share of Microsoft is currently about $113.

If Microsoft pays dividends (which they do every quarter) you get a little piece of it based on your investment.

Stash Learning

Stash also has an educational component for anyone who wants to learn about investing.  This comes mostly in the way of blog posts but is very helpful for anyone who wants to learn more.

And it’s free!

I would strongly encourage anyone who needs to save money for whatever reason to consider Stash. I would more strongly suggest that you open a custodial account for your children.

Even if you put $5 a month into a trade it will help them get started in life once they become adults.

Savings accounts earn maybe 1% if anything.  Certificate of Deposits are not much better.  I am currently up around 5% on my Stash account.

Results do vary based on what you invest in and the risk factor as well as stock market performance.

I can sell and withdraw at any time without much of a hassle.  (I am not going to go into tax implications here, speak to a tax professional first).

Stash is also planning to add debit cards soon.

Financial Literacy 101

The one thing that we have struggled with concerning our kids and their financial literacy is getting them to understand the value of a dollar.

Isaiah (8) seems to be turning a corner so progress is being made.  I just told him recently about his account on Stash.  He immediately gave me $5 of the $9 he had to invest.  He’s showing promise.

Both of my younger kids always want to spend money.  I am sure all parents know the routine.

At home: Not Hungry

In the Car: Hungry – they want to go out to eat.

Every commercial that comes on TV: Daddy can I have that for Christmas?

We do give our children a few dollars every month to do with as they please.  The minute that money hits their hand they want to go to the store.

To be fair Isaiah does talk about giving some to help someone in need.  This is also very important.  I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching your children to give.

It really is hard to teach a 4 and 8-year-old why they should be smart with their money.  They cannot possibly fathom what’s ahead for them in life.

For now, we let them spend their monthly stipend as they see fit while maybe nudging them in a certain direction.


What’s the Lesson?

When they run out of money on day 3 of the month they no longer have money to do anything else.  We caution Isaiah of this before he spends it and he sometimes changes his mind.

And as I said earlier, he did give me more than half of what he had left to invest.  Progress.

Play Monopoly or Cashflow for Kids

We occasionally play monopoly.  Believe it or not, this is a great teaching opportunity as well.  Just as in real life you cannot purchase a property in Monopoly if you don’t have enough money.  And there are bills to be paid.

Just Use Your Card – the Response

This one is a little harder for them to understand at this point.  They think that little piece of plastic means there is an unlimited supply of money.

We all know that is not true.

We are considering getting Isaiah a prepaid card and putting his monthly stipend on it to help him understand.

Great Books to Help Teach Your Kids Financial Literacy

Thankfully Isaiah loves to read.  His Uncle purchased:

Get Wall Kids (and Adults Too) Should Know About Savings and Investing on Amazon>>>

I purchased:

Get Escape the Rat Race on Amazon>>>

Get Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens on Amazon>>>

A Penny for Your Thoughts

My wife and I are in agreement that education starts at home.  Isaiah and Izzy both learn at home first and then at school.

When it comes to financial literacy (and a few other topics) the only place they are going to learn is at home.  The public school system does not teach kids how to invest, save, or balance an account.

They don’t teach the consequences of bad credit or debt.

The system is not designed to keep people out of debt.  Just look at student loans.  Once a child is done with college they can be more than $100,000 in debt.

How can you start your adult life that way?

Teach Your Children.  If you don’t know it then learn it and teach your children.  End the Cycle.

financial lieteracy for children





Dad Hack Number 2 Don't Lose Your Cool

Daddy Hack Number Two – Colicky Baby [Don’t Lose Your Cool]

Dad Hack Two – Try Not To Lose Your Mind With a Colicky Baby

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Check Out Dad Hack Number One – Save a Dad’s Back>>

One of the hardest things I ever had to deal with is my oldest daughter being colicky.  That was 23 years ago, and I still have nightmares.

I worked primarily second shift at the time and would usually get home around 2-3 am.  Arielle’s mom worked first shift.

That meant Arielle was under my care and supervision from 6 am until her mother got home.

Like clockwork every morning at around 6 am Arielle would wake up and begin crying and screaming in obvious pain.

Dad Hack Number 2 Don't Lose Your Cool

This would go on for hours every day.  She was colicky. It took the doctors almost 6 months to come up with something that helped.

This is not an easy scenario for anyone to handle let alone on 3 or 4 hours of sleep, daily.

I still tell this story all the time.

Fast Forward 15 Years and Now I have a Son.

Here we go again.  The only difference was the timing and the resolution.

Isaiah’s colic was usually a nighttime event.  I was now on first shift.

I don’t think he was as bad because I don’t remember too many long days of screaming and crying.

Get Relief For A Colicky Baby on Amazon – Colic Calm>>>

Four Years Later and Let’s Do It One More Time.

Izzy was like clockwork as well.  8 pm every night.  I was still on first shift.  It was still difficult.

Izzy is a little different in that whatever she does she feels the need to one-up everyone else.  Even if she doesn’t know that’s what she’s doing.

It all started at birth.  She made her entrance into the world 10 weeks early and left the hospital 4 weeks before she was due.

My wife and I really try to share some of the child raising burdens like having a colicky baby.  It’s not always that simple though.

One parent is off from work the next day or one parent had an extremely tough day.  Life has a way of getting in the way.

I still recall vividly one Saturday night when Izzy started screaming at 8 pm (as usual) and carried on until 4 or 5 am on Sunday morning.  The only thing that soothed her was walking around with her.

I spent the entire night and the next morning walking around the house with her so that she could sleep.

How Do You Deal with a Colicky Baby?

Patience is definitely tested when you have a colicky baby.   As you can see from the very few details I have provided it can be very challenging.

I have created some dad hacks for dealing with a colicky baby.  These tips can be applied to anyone caring for a baby with colic.  They can also be applied to almost any scenario where an infant is extremely fussy or cranky.

Colic Calm All Natural Gas and Colic Relief on Amazon>>>

Dad Hack Number Two [Try Not to Lose Your Mind] 8 Tips to Help You Deal With a Colicky Baby.

8 tips for dads with a colicky baby

  1. Be Patient

I know this can be challenging.  A colicky baby can break even the strongest of men.

I also know that telling someone to be patient is silly.  It’s one of those things you know you need to do but it’s not easy to do under duress.

Has anyone ever considered using a colicky baby to get someone to reveal information?

  1. Listen to Music, With Headphones

I know what you’re thinking.  Shouldn’t I be listening to the baby?

Trust me when I tell you that you will still hear your baby.  The shrieking can penetrate even the best noise canceling headphones.

Plus, chances are you’re holding your baby as they’re going through being colicky.

Having another source of sound helps to draw the attention away from an otherwise relentless trail of crying and screaming.  The steady pattern of a musical beat also helps you keep your cool.

Wireless Headphones on Amazon>>>

  1. Watch TV

Now you’re probably thinking how can you watch TV with a screaming infant.  The short answer is you can’t.

But, having the TV on with reruns of something you are quite familiar with really does help.

You’d be surprised how many channels have Law and Order SVU on in the middle of the night.

Of course, I cut the cord a while ago so using Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video or Plex is what I would do today.  Even easier to watch reruns or a favorite movie this way.  23 years ago I did not have this luxury.

Having the TV on helps distract you ever so slightly from your screaming child.  The familiarity of a show you already know also helps keep you calm.

Great Deals on TVs on Amazon>>>

  1. Put Them on Their Stomach.

OK, OK. I know.  Don’t beat me up for this one.

I am by no means a doctor and I would never tell you to do this while everyone is sleeping.  I know the risks and have heard it from doctors all too many times.

Putting an infant on their stomach seems to help relieve the pressure causing the colic.  There are rules to this though.

You will have to stay awake and watch them.  You should ensure they are lying down somewhere that is safe.  Putting them down on their stomachs in a crib is never a good idea.

We used to put them down in the middle of our bed or on a blanket in the middle of the floor.  We have a large king size bed, so this made it easier.

With Izzy and Isaiah at some point, we did start letting them sleep on their stomachs.  Again, we knew the risks and one of us stayed awake when we first started allowing them to sleep on their stomachs.

This did work.  We were still not sleeping but they were.

I cannot stress enough the dangers of placing an infant on their stomach.  I was hesitant to add this to the dad hack because of that.

You should not allow an infant to sleep on their stomach without constant supervision.

  1. Take Turns

This one is a pill a little easier to swallow.

Take turns.  Get as many people involved as possible.  Older siblings, your family, your spouse.  Take turns.

Chopping up the amount of time spent with a colicky baby makes it a little more tolerable.

It is OK to ask for help.  You’re dealing with a tough situation that will raise your stress levels to new heights.

In fact, ASK FOR HELP.  Don’t wait until you feel that you’re losing your cool.  You’re taking care of a fragile little human being.  One wrong move can have very tragic results.  ASK FOR HELP.

Take turns.  Did I say that already?

  1. Ignore Them

This might sound mean but it’s not.  They’re going to cry anyway.  Let them cry.

There really isn’t anything more you can do other than try to position them in a way that it does not hurt them as much.

If you are already stressed and need a break from walking around or doing whatever it is you are doing to help them alleviate the pain then just put them down and let them cry for a little while.

We did do this a few times and they would eventually fall asleep from exhaustion.  That will be the best sleep you or they will get for a while.  Take the opportunity.

dad tips on how to handle a baby with colic

  1. Sleep When You Can

So many new parents make the mistake of using the baby’s sleep time as productivity time.  WRONG!

My wife made this mistake and my daughter is making it now.  SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP.

Get some sleep.  Sleep is rare as a new parent.  You will be exhausted for many months, maybe years.  Get sleep where you can.

Once they have stopped crying and are finally sleeping you too should sleep.

The dishes can wait.  The floor will still be there tomorrow to clean.  No one expects your house to be perfect.

Sleep when they sleep, and you will feel better when the next round of colicky baby comes up.

  1. Keep the End in Mind

It will eventually stop.  Today’s episode will stop.  Being colicky will eventually stop.

One day you will have a story to tell your grown children who just became a parent.

It will seem like a distant, horrific and memorable time.  One that still sends chills down your spine years later.

You will get through it and become even more patient as a result.  There is an end to a baby being colicky.  A daily end and a permanent end to colic.

Then you deal with the next issue.

One Final Help for Colicky Babies and Dads (Parents)

I wish we had discovered this sooner.  We didn’t learn about Colic Calm until we were going through this with Izzy for a couple of weeks.  Colic Calm works great for temporary relief of Gas and Colic.  We purchased it locally but it is on Amazon as well.

Get Colic Calm on Amazon>>

As I said having a colicky baby was one of the most stressful things I have ever had to endure.  My patience was tested daily for months on end.  I got through it.  Each one of my children got through it.

I would not wish it on anyone. And I did it 3 times.

Those that know me know that before my children I had almost no patience.  Children have a way of changing you.  Today I know I have a lot more patience for things, mostly because of my children.

I think the most important thing in dealing with a challenging baby whether it’s colic or something else is getting help.

Now let me close with this.  As the parent of a newborn, you will be exhausted.  A few days after my son Isaiah was born I had to go out to get something.  He was still in the hospital.

I remember driving home to get whatever it was that we needed and driving back to the hospital.  I think I was only a few blocks from the hospital when I had to stop at a red light.

No more than 1 or 2 minutes later I was awakened by the sound of blaring car horns.  I fell asleep waiting for a traffic light to change.

Welcome to the club new dads!

Dad Hack Number 2 8 Tips For Dads to Deal with a Colicky Baby


dad hack one save a dads back website

Daddy Hack Number One [Save a Dad’s Back]

When I first found out I was going to be a father, 24 years ago, I really wanted a boy.  I think most fathers want their first child to be a boy.

She was not a boy.  I got over it quickly though.  I learned about this thing called daddy’s girl.

dad hack one save a dads back website

I had never experienced this before.  I have no sisters and no female cousins.

My grandparents had 4 girls…my mom and 3 aunts, but I didn’t get to experience the daddy’s girl phenomena through their eyes either.  My youngest aunt is only 5 years older than me but I only remember her living up to the youngest child’s expectations, you know, getting into lots of trouble.

Suddenly I had this little tiny human being dependent on me as a dad.  I was the daddy part of daddy’s girl.

She’s 23 now and has her first child.  A boy.  I bet she wanted a girl.

I have my second daughter now.  She’s closing in on 5.  I am living the daddy’s girl dream again.  There is really nothing quite like it.

I have my son and we have our father-son things but there is an unbreakable bond between a dad and his daughter(s).  With my oldest, we talk life all the time.  I am probably more honest with her than anyone else.

With Izzy, I get to do it all over again.  Daddy daughter dates, daddy daughter dance (I never got to do this with Arielle), daddy daughter movies, and the list goes on.

There is one thing Arielle never really cared to do that Izzy loves.  Izzy loves piggyback rides.

My back, not so much.

How Do You Say No?

I can’t say no to her when she wants a piggyback ride.  It’s like I am breaking her heart.  The look of disappointment on her face.

It’s not that I have back issues per se.  But like 80% of adults I have back pain.  Pain from sitting too long, walking too much, sneezing too hard, sleeping, breathing….you name it.

I rough house all the time with the kids and every once in a while, they get me good in the back.  Ouch.

Whenever it’s time to get ready for bed, brush her teeth, get something upstairs or downstairs or do anything that requires leaving the current area she wants a piggyback ride now.

She has no problem tracking me down and making her best attempt at jumping on my back before we start moving.  This really does not help anyone.

I came up with a dad hack for anyone dad who also goes through this.


Dad Hack One – Save a Daddy’s Back

  1. Don’t Start on the Floor

My daughter weights somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds.  We don’t weigh her so she only gets weighed at her annual physical which is in March.  She was 38 pounds this past March.

Unless you’re a bodybuilder or athlete, trying to lift 40 plus pounds on your shoulders from the floor is tough.  I can do it as can most adult men, but it puts undue stress on your back.

Plus, Izzy (like any Gombar) does not know how to remain still.  These kids can’t even stay still when they sleep.

  1. Start from the Couch or Chair.

Starting from a couch or chair gives your back the support it needs while your child climbs on.  There’s no additional pressure put on your back during this process.

For me, it’s almost like a free shoulder massage that ends too quickly.  She climbs on and promptly puts her hands on my head to stabilize herself.

She’s actually pretty good at this.  We’ve been told she is going to be very athletic and you can already see signs of it just from her mounting my back (and the year of gymnastics she has under her belt).

  1. Life with Your Legs

It sounds cliché, I know.

It is so important though.  I spent some time working in warehouses and we used to hear this all the time.

I largely ignored those warnings and lifted with my back often.  It’s quicker and easier until you hurt your back.

When you stand up, make sure you don’t try to lift your back.  Use your very powerful leg muscles to do all the work.

Hold your daughter’s (or son’s) calves so they don’t move too much while your lifting.  A sudden jerk in either direction can be very painful, and bring you too your knees fast.

This is probably the most important part of the hack so don’t mess this one up.

Never try to lift them with your back or neck.  It might not seem that you are hurting yourself but this motion over time will have adverse effects.

  1. The Dismount

This is the hardest part because it can seem a little awkward.  Using your hands move them to one side of your neck.

Make sure you are not putting the weight on your shoulders but rather use your arms to control the weight.

Then pick them up and place them down on a chair or bed.  Be careful not to bend your back while doing this.

If you need to lower them down, then bend your knees to do this.  You will hurt your back and/or neck when if you ignore this warning.

  1. The Most Important Step

Now give them a big hug because you are still able to after following these steps.  Doesn’t it feel good?


That’s it for The Dad Tax’s first Dad Hack.  I have a few more already planned.  Let me know what you think!

dad hack one save a dads back