Editor’s Note: Kids are more connected than ever these days and OpenDNS is the preferred choice to keep them safe online. But we wanted to take a deeper look at how kids today are balancing time online and off. To get some insight, we talked to Jonathan Rhodes, IT Consultant for the Cole YMCA.

Jonathan RhodesOpenDNS: Kids are more connected then ever these days. How do you help kids balance active choices with the time they spend online?
JR: It’s been my experience that kids will choose to be active if the option is there. At the YMCA, I often see kids playing basketball after putting their backpacks down in the stands. Classrooms are getting more and more technologically sound and because they are surrounded by technology all day they seem to appreciate the opportunity to set it aside to run around and play with their friends.

OpenDNS: What trends do you see in kids using the Internet while away from home?
JR: You might be surprised to hear this but one thing that really impresses me about the kids I observe on our network is that they make really responsible choices. Our local high school provides some of its students with laptops to take home and I see many of them using our free Wi-Fi to finish up homework assignments or do research before hitting the basketball courts or the pool. The schools trust the kids to use technology responsibly, and since we go one step further and protect our networks with OpenDNS, it’s easy for them to focus on schoolwork.

OpenDNS: What can facilities like yours do to help parents understand the importance of Web security for their homes?
JR: While the children are in the YMCA their browsing is protected from malicious sites and adult content. This is as much for the protection of our network and guests’ equipment as it is for the parents’ peace of mind. We let parents know how we filter content so it’s easy for them to replicate the same OpenDNS filtering settings at home, but we also want them to teach them about Phishing and malware.

OpenDNS: Why do you love working at the YMCA?
JR: I came to the YMCA for the first time at age 25 and this place has had such a positive impact on my life. Everything about the YMCA is geared toward health and wellbeing. Whether I’m installing network computing equipment and making choices on the best security and content management programs to support it or I’m coming for a strength training workout, I just love being here.

OpenDNS: What are your favorite offline activities?
JR: I enjoy strength training at the YMCA, as well as spending time with my family, and reading tech news. Okay, that’s online, but I can’t help myself!


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