Monthly Archives: February 2013

Online Safety Presentation for Parents

On Tuesday, February 26, starting at 7:30pm, there is opportunity for parents to attend an online safety presentation by Mr. Bill de Jager of SCSBC in the MCCS gym.

The workshop “Safe Passage: Teaching kids to be safe and responsible online” explores various internet environments, highlights internet safety hazards and offers tips for managing inappropriate content and promoting ethical online behaviour. The workshop also contains information on creating Internet “house rules”. We strongly encourage all parents to attend in these times when media and technology awareness is so important.


TED – “Ideas worth Spreading”

Media and technology issues are often quite overwhelming for people who are a little out of tune with some of the more recent developments. One resource that can be very informative is TED, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading modern findings and ideas related to Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED conferences are held several times a year in various places around the world, and the organization hopes to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014 by hosting a special series of talks in Vancouver, from March 17-21. No one from MTAC expects to attend, though, as the visitors must pay a $7500 registration fee and answer questions demonstrating merit as an attendee.

While a lot of TED talks unfortunately show a clear anti-biblical bias, there are some talks visitors will find educational and may want to check out. Below are a few talks that relate to technology and the internet in particular. We may periodically share other relevant talks in the future.

One sobering talk is from Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and sociologist who has studies the impact of mobile devices on our lives, and argues that these have completely changed who we are and how we interact with others: Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

In case you are wondering what the internet really is anyway—which seems a simple enough question but not so easy to explain—have a look at what tech writer Andrew Blum has to say about it: What is the Internet, really?

Most of us know that when you go online you lose all privacy. All your internet browsing is tracked. The extent to which this happened is illustrated poignantly by Gary Kovacs, one of the founders of Mozilla and creators of the popular Firefox search engine, in Tracking the trackers. It makes you wonder who is out there watching what we do when we go online, and why they are so interested.

The first internet viruses were created some 25 years ago, and were pretty basic. Today internet viruses are created by government agencies and used for espionage and terrorism, and can threaten to shut down communication and transportation networks, energy suppliers, national defence systems, and other systems vital to national and international wellbeing.

Computer security expert Mikko Hypponen discusses how far internet viruses have developed over the years in Fighting viruses, defending the net, and argues there are Three types of online attack.

Cyber security expert Ralph Langner has a fascinating talk on how Stuxnet, one of the most complex computer viruses used as a cyberweapon to date, was cracked: Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century cyber weapon.

In case you wonder if hackers can compromise and disable other things besides your computers, have a look at what computer science prof Avi Rubin has to say. It turns out virtually every digital device you own can be hacked, including many devices you are not aware had a digital component (your car, your pacemaker, etc.).  Avi Ruben: All your devices can be hacked.

TED has hundreds of interesting, even ‘jaw-dropping’, talks, and it is easy to spend hours watching and learning from them. But there is a danger in that too, as we are to redeem our time and use it prudently. Time is short and we are to strive to take every thought captive.



What is MTAC and why this website?

MTAC is a media and technology awareness committee (hence the abbreviation) organized by members of the Reformed Congregation in North America, and answerable to the Chilliwack congregation of that denomination.  MTAC’s objective is to raise awareness for developments in the info-tech world and how these may affect the values and way of life our church promotes.  These developments are occurring at a dizzying rate and new gadgets often come into common use before their potential effect on our everyday lives can be assessed.  Some new and emerging technologies can seriously affect those who believe they should live in accordance with God’s holy Word.

We are not luddites; if anything we are on the geek end of things and like our electronic gadgets as much as anyone, and believe no media or technology is wrong in itself.  All devices can be abused, however, and it is our mandate to raise awareness for questionable and inappropriate uses.  MTAC wants to use this website as a tool to raise awareness and a resource for those who want information about internet filters, new gadgets, and interesting media and tech developments.

Most of MTAC’s recent energy has been on spent on assessing internet filters.  In 2011-2012 MTAC undertook a critical review of some of the more popular internet filters to determine which ones were most appropriate for the members of our church.  Details of this review are available here.  Of course this review is by no means exhaustive.  However, MTAC believes the internet filters most appropriate are NetNanny and iGateWeb.  To determine which one of these is most appropriate for you depends on a number of factors (how many computers you have, what you use them for, etc.), and you can use this tool to determine which of the two you should use.  The RCNA strongly urges all members and baptized members to use appropriately filtered internet, and has endorsed only these two filters.

MTAC welcomes comments, questions, suggestions, etc.  Please submit them using the online form or directly to