Plan B for summer camp

Ok so CrossRoads camp was canceled because of COVID 19… time for a backup plan!!  Yes we have one!  We have secured a place in Sparta GA called Lundy Creek Lodge.  It has room for all of us, a pond, a pool, and most importantly it will be a trip that we can look forward to and where we can hang out and spend some time together! It will be the same week as we’re scheduled to go to camp and if you already paid the deposit you can transfer it to this trip.

You can view the schedule here: Schedule Plan B Summer Retreat

When: July 13th-16th, 2020 (Monday – Thursday)

Cost: $209/ person

Where: Lundy Creek Lodge, White Plains GA

Lundy Creek Lodge Features:

  • 2,000 acres
  • a working grist mill and glistening ponds
  • 17 Bedrooms (24 beds total)
  • 16 Bathrooms (plus 2 half baths)
  • Kitchen
  • Pool (bring your own towel)
  • Volley ball
  • Pavilion

MZS Summer Kick Off Party 2020

MZS will be gathering for our summer kick off party on Wendesday, May 27th, at 6:30pm on the ball field at Mount Zion.  This will be our first time back together since March 11 and we are excited to see everyone again!  The night will include a cookout with burgers and dogs, games, music, and we will enjoy our time together.

Regarding the threat of corona virus and community spread:  Masks will not be necessary, but they will be available, we will have gloves/hand sanitizer out, and we will ask everyone to practice social distancing.  With that being said, if your student has been exposed to someone with COVID symptoms, or has exhibited symptoms themselves, or if you are not comfortable with your student participating in group activities just yet, please keep them at home.  Additionally if your student has regular exposure to an older family member or anyone that is vulnerable to COVID 19 it may be best that they do not participate in large group activates. We are trying to balance the desire of everyone to see each other again with the safety measures the pandemic requires.


Should weather prevent us from meeting outside we will not meet and reschedule this event for next week.

Family Table Time Resources

Opera The Center For Parent Youth Understanding ( has produced this series to help equip you to disciple your teenagers as you are spending more time at home with your teenagers due to the COVID 19 pandemic.  Use these to spur meaningful conversation and disciple your teenagers.

week 1








week 2








week 3











MZS Online meeting during the Corona Virus Crisis

During the current situation of the Corona virus and in compliance with civil authorities’ request for social distancing, MZS will meet online for Sunday LifeGroups and Wednesday small groups until in person group gatherings can resume.

Groups will meet on the Zoom meetings platform unless otherwise posted.  LifeGroups will meet Sunday mornings after the 9:30am livestream of Mount Zion’s worship service.  Wednesday night small groups will meet after the MZS 6:30pm livestream.  Both livestreams can be seen on the church YouTube channel, “MZ Online”.

Instructions for accessing meetings on Zoom:

  • On  computer: Go to
  • On device: Download the Zoom app
  • Click “Join meeting”
  • Enter meeting code (This 9 or 10 digit code will be texted and or emailed to you and your students.  You can also reach out to MZS leaders for this information.)
  • Once you enter the meeting code you will need to give Zoom access to your device’s camera and microphone.

Zoom is free and requires no account.

It seems Covid-19 has up-ended and disturbed all aspects of our lives, it is my goal to keep contact with your students as regularly as possible.  I really believe it is important that we try to maintain our time together and keep connecting with students as well as stay on track as much as possible.





Teen Anxiety

Research is all over the place saying that anxiety and stress are at all time highs for teenagers.  It’s not surprising with the pressure to perform in all aspects of their lives.  Here’s and older article for Psychology Today that I came across that lists 10 specific contributors to the teen anxiety phenomenon.

If your student is struggling with anxiety and stress.  Please let me know if you need a reference for a counselor or how I can help.



How to select an internet monitoring service


Written by Tony Bianco

Teens and kids today are spending more and more time online through mobile devices.

Simply seeing our kids’ actions and behavior in the physical world is no longer enough to know how they are acting or who they are with since the rise of social media and these digital devices.

So, what is a parent to do?

Well, according to a 2016 PEW Research report, 61% of parents check their kids’ web history, 60% monitor social media, and 48% check their kids’ text and phone calls.

So, it seems the question is not, “should I monitor my kids?” but “how do I monitor my kids?”

There are a few things to consider when you are looking at these types of services.

One, how much control are you wanting?

Some services allow you to do very little or a variety of features.

If you have a younger child, you may only be looking for internet protection, but with older students, you may also be looking to monitor messages and social media.

The second thing to consider is, do you want your child knowing that you are monitoring them?

Some parents are open and honest when it comes to monitoring. Other parents want to monitor in the shadows anonymously. There are services for each type of parent which we will discuss below. However, I believe that being honest with your student about your intentions is one way to generate buy-in and understanding when it comes to kids and their technology.

There is already a disconnect between parents and their kids when it comes to the things with screens but being honest is a way to bridge this gap and build trust.

The third thing to consider when selecting a monitoring service is the ease of use.

If you purchase a great software but do not know how to use it, then it does you no good. The good news is that many of these services offer a multi-day free trial, so you can try them out before you fully commit.

The last thing to think through is will this service only work on mobile devices like phones and tablets or will they also work on computers or even smart appliances like your T.V.

Knowing the range of your service or services is important before committing fully to any of them.

Now that we have discussed a few things to look for, here are a few suggestions based on what you might be looking for.

Below we will identify 8 different monitoring options and look at how they measure up to each of these pieces of criteria.

Again, the criteria will be:

  1. How much control do you want?
    2. Do you want your kid to know you are monitoring?
    3. Ease of use.
    4. Will this work on all technology or just mobile devices?


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Internet Filter
  • Accountability Report Available
  • $11.99/month (personal) $15.99/month (family)


  • Control: 5/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 4/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Set Time Limits
  • Internet Filter
  • Block or Allow Apps
  • Set Log-Off Times and/or Bed Times
  • See History
  • Pause Internet
  • Give Rewards
  • $99 for the unit (no monthly fee) $5/month to enable features off home WiFi


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 4/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Internet Filter
  • Activity Reports
  • Set Time Limits
  • Block or Allow Games & Apps
  • Monitor Social Media
  • Monitor Calls (Android only)
  • Location Tracking
  • $4.58/month (5 devices) $8.08/month (10 devices) $11.50/month (15 devices)


  • Control: 2/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • com
  • View Web History
  • View Text Messages
  • View Calls & Contacts
  • Location Tracking
  • See messages sent & received from WhatsApp & Kik Messenger


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: Yes
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • com
  • Monitor Social Media (Snapchat, Kik, etc.)
  • Alerts for Inappropriate Words & Images
  • Monitor Mobile Apps
  • View Web History
  • Location Tracking
  • View Installed Apps
  • View Calls & Contacts


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: Yes
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: ALL


  • com
  • Internet Filter
  • Accountability Reports
  • $5.83/month (single user) $8.33/month (family use)


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 3/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • com
  • App Usage
  • Daily Reports
  • Web & Search History
  • Time Limits
  • Block Apps & Games
  • Pause
  • Schedules
  • Bedtime App Blocker
  • FREE (limited features & 1 device per child) $4.99/month (all features)


  • Control: 4/5 Stars
  • Do They Know: YES
  • Ease of Use: 5/5 Stars
  • All technology or just mobile: MOBILE


  • iOS 12
  • App Limits
  • Daily & Weekly Reports
  • Internet Filter
  • Web & Search History
  • App Store Restrictions
  • Tracks “Pickups” & Notifications
  • FREE with iOS 12 compatible device

As you can see, there are a variety of options that parents have at their fingertips, and these are only a few. As it was stated earlier, find something that you feel comfortable using and move forward with it. I would also recommend you stick with it for at least a month, or the trial period. This will give you a more “real life” look and feel to the application you choose.

It is a growing world out there, and the Internet is only getting bigger. Schools are incorporating screens more and more, and “being connected” is a desire of the next generation.

As parents, the best thing that we can do is to prepare and parent our kids through this digital world. Face to face conversations are still needed, but the assistance of a service like these are a great resource in your parenting tool belt!

Written by Tony Blanco

TONY BIANCO has been in Student Ministry for 10+ years with his wife Diamend with whom they have two amazing kids. He is a former Radio DJ, Technology Reviewer, GameStop Manager, Apple Store Expert, and the author of The Family Technology Plan.


How teens hide porn on their phones

If you’re worried your teen is viewing porn on their phones you should be because two of the mot popular social media apps, Instagram and Snapchat, can be gateways to pornography. Today’s teens don’t need to go looking for porn because they have a porn app on their phone. Thanks to the internet and social media, pornography is out to find them whether they want to see it or not.

Heres an older article to help you monitor your teens cellphone use:

Anti Porn: How Porn Hides on Popular Teen Apps

Top 10 Ways to Tame the Cell Phone Beast


Here are the Top 10 Tips that Real Life Parents use to stop cell phone fights before they begin.

10. Use the Parental Controls.

All the Major Cell Phone Carriers have some sort of Parental Controls. There are some pretty great features that help parents. Some carriers let you set the hours your teenager can use their phone and others allow you to track their whereabouts through GPS. You might pay an extra fee for these services, but parents tell us that it is well worth it.

9. Have Your Teenager Take a Picture of Their Destination

Instead of just having them call you when they arrive at their destination, have them send a picture which gives visual evidence that they are where they are supposed to be. This gives them an amazing opportunity to earn your trust.

8. Don’t Give a SmartPhone Right Away

A lot of the parents we talk to gave their teenager an older phone to start with and let them have more features as they earned more trust. This sets your teenager up for success and avoids giving them too much too soon.

7. Learn the Texting Abbreviations

You are one Google Search away from being an expert in the language of text message abbreviations. It’s true that teenagers have their own language when they text, but the smart parent chooses to be- come fluent in that language so they can understand what their teenager is saying to them and others.

6. Use a Cell Phone Contract

Sit down with your teenager and work together to set guidelines for cell phone use. Write them down, sign the bottom of the paper, and hang it up in a public place in your home. This will give you a reference point to refer to in the future.

5. Shut Down Texting and Driving

Talk early and often with your teenager about Texting and Driving. It will be one of those subjects that they are tempted to ignore, but it is crucially important that they respect. By the way, if you text and drive in front of them you will fight an uphill battle convincing them not to pick up the habit.

4. Break the ICE
Make sure your teenager has a contact in their list titled ICE (In Case of Emergency) with your phone number listed. Emergency Responders are trained to check the phones they find for this contact.

3. Fight for Your Right to Read Texts

You might disagree with us and that is OK, but we believe that you should have the right to read your teenager’s text messages. The older they get the more right they have to privacy, but we believe they should earn that right over time. If you are watching their texts you have a chance to teach them how to act responsibly.

2. Plug In The Cell Phone By the Parent’s Bed at Night

This is a Parenting Ninja Secret. To keep their teenager from texting until 2 am in the morning, we know some really smart parents who have their teenager charge their cell phone in the Parent’s bedroom at night.

1. Teach Your Teenager Early That Their Phone is a Privilege not a Right

If you pay the bill then you are in control of whether or not your teenager gets to use the phone. When we asked parents for tips on taming the cell phone beast, this was by far the most popular. We hope it helps!