Parenting With Dignity Website


Monthly Newsletter

February 2004

















Internet Safety Tips For Parents

(Dealing with spam, pornography and pop-up ads)

Dear Parents and Supporters:

Every month we try to offer interesting parenting articles and an "Ask Mac" segment to assist you with the toughest job you'll ever have.  This month, we are offering support in a different area. . . helping your family deal with the perils and pitfalls of the Internet. 

As many of you know, our Foundation has embraced the Internet as our primary means of reaching and communicating with our constituents about our curriculum.  We have the utmost respect for all the positive aspects of the Internet.  Unfortunately, with all its potential and significant applications, the Internet can be a very dangerous place for youngsters - and an aggravating experience for the rest of us. 

Ask anyone what bothers them the most about using the Net and you'll usually get the same response... spam, unsolicited pornography and pop-up ads.  In addition, as parents we have serious concerns about the problems surrounding "chat rooms", online predators, violent and hate mongering websites, and other Internet "attractions".  We can't hope to solve all of these issues here, but hopefully our suggestions will help you regain some control of your family's Internet experience.

As a website owner whose email address is available for all to access, spam used to be a terrible waste of our resources.  We have received as many as 1,000+ unsolicited emails in one day.  Sorting through spam used to sap hours from our days. After much research and trying countless different solutions, we finally found something that really works.  Knowing that you faced similar problems, we wanted to share this with you and thought we'd also discuss some other issues you face online.  I asked our "resident geek" Tom, to talk about these problems and tell us how to solve them.

Stay safe and warmest regards,

 Mac Bledsoe

PS: Friends, take heart, there are things you can do to make the Internet less annoying for you and safer for your children.  You really can block unwanted spam and get rid of pop-ups.  Without further delay, let's talk about some solutions. 

Pop-Up Advertisements

Nothing is more annoying than the pop-ups (and pop-under ads) that are forced upon us when we visit many sites.  And, did you know that pop-ups can clutter to the point of shutting down your browser and ruining your Internet experience?  Here's a solution that will rid your computer of annoying pop-ups for good.

Our recommendation:  Get the free Google toolbar at  Downloading this free toolbar offers a bunch of helpful browser add-ons, but the pop-up blocker alone is worth its weight in gold.

Get a free toolbar that blocks pop-ups

This handy toolbar installs automatically and you can configure it to do a number of things for you such as filing out forms automatically, highlighting search words, etc. Also you can choose to allow pop-ups on sites you select.

You can eliminate spam (really)


We all get email, but there are some that your children just shouldn't see.  Much of the trash that pours into our inboxes would make a sailor blush and our children shouldn't be exposed to it.  No amount of legislation is going to solve this problem any time soon - this is something we have to do for ourselves.  Almost all spam is generated by computers, not people and most return addresses are phony.  In most cases, there's nobody to prosecute (or they host offshore).

In our opinion, the only way to receive the mail you want and block the junk is to catch the spam BEFORE it gets to your inbox.  Then ask the sender to prove they are a real person and not a machine. 

This kind of service is called "challenge / response" and it eliminates 99.9% of the spam you would normally receive.  The best service we've discovered is SpamArrest and they'll let you try it for free.

In addition, you can upload the email addresses in your address book so that all of your contacts are automatically "authorized" to send you mail.  Spam Arrest works with Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape, Incredimail, and any other email program that supports the POP3 protocol. To learn more about this incredible service, visit SpamArrest and read their FAQs


What is "spyware"?  Software that is placed on your machine to track your surfing habits and sends data to a third party without your knowledge.  It can also hijack your browser start page and even modify important system files.  Spyware is also responsible for some of the pop-ups and spam you receive.  It is recommended that you remove spyware from your computer.  There are free programs available such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy

Once you install these programs, be sure to check for updates before starting your search.  Anything either program finds can be safely removed.  Free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed.  For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web Pro News page.

Don't Fall for the "Do Not E-mail List" Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is warning about a scam site that purports to let you sign up for a "do not e-mail" list (similar to the national "do not call" list). The site at, while it states that it is privately run, imitates the look of the FTC's Do Not Call Registry site. The FTC is concerned that the site may actually be for the purpose of collecting e-mail addresses for spam lists. Here's the story:  



${token1}, our purpose in discussing these issues is to share what we've learned about blocking spam and pop-ups hoping that this may help to protect children. We are not giving a "formal endorsement" or guarantees that these ideas will work for everybody. We also cannot offer technical support for these services. Our goal is to help you and share the results of our research and experience.  We also state that if you decide to purchase SpamArrest using our link that our Foundation will receive a commission for that sale.  If you have questions about these services or products, please direct them to the service/product providers.  Thank you.







PWD on DVD - learn more!In case you hadn't heard, Parenting With Dignity is now available on DVD.  All 10 Parenting With Dignity® segments are on 3 DVDs.  They have a Spanish language track too - and come packaged in a sturdy plastic box!  We have created a page that answers your questions about our new DVDs, including cost, FAQs, and more.  To learn about PWD on DVD, follow this link

As far as the content of the lessons, there is no difference between VHS and DVD. The DVDs and the VHS videos are the same.  Nevertheless, there are many reasons for choosing DVD over VHS. The DVDs offer:

- the ability to jump to any chapter or menu topic
- the Spanish translation track
- superior picture and sound quality
- are smaller to store and transport
- don't wear out (or break down) as tape will do
- the price is the same (no DVD premium pricing)

Don't have a DVD player?  We wouldn't consider advising you how to manage your family finances, but at some point in the future you will probably have to consider buying a DVD player.  If you currently rent movies, the "big guys" have announced that they will stop carrying VHS videos in the future.  DVDs are quickly becoming the media of choice for most people.  If you think that buying a DVD player makes sense for your family, Best Buy offers some terrific deals and if you buy from our link, our foundation earns a few dollars.

VHS / DVD Trade-in Offer

After hearing from so many of you asking if we would consider a trade-in program, we decided it was the right thing to do.  PLUS... we'll accept your old VHS tapes in any condition.  For a limited time only, we are offering the opportunity for owners of Parenting With Dignity VHS videos to trade-in those old tapes and receive a $40 credit toward the purchase of new DVDs.  Click here to learn more about this offer!

Next month we will have a new article from Mac and a new "Ask Mac" question.  We hope you don't mind that we deviated from our normal newsletter structure, but we've had so many parents ask us about these issues we thought we'd devote one issue to Internet safety tips.



Make a

Invest in YOUR Family

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Friends, the meaning in the quote above is something to which we have always subscribed; that people like you and I can change the world - one family at a time. That is why we created this Foundation, to help make the world a better place for our children, and it all begins with you - parents.

We would like to make a suggestion that could have huge implications to you, your family and our foundation.  We are asking you to invest in your family and purchase a set of our DVDs. . . . and just possibly change the world.

Invest in your family, and our Foundation. If you already have our VHS videos, get the new DVDs and donate your VHS tapes to a local school, church or a family who would benefit from watching them.  Together. . .

We can change the world by making sure that our children know how to make good decisions. To do this, we must teach parents effective parenting skills that work. This takes your commitment.

Will you please help us help more kids?

Your tax-exempt donation can be made
securely online via Network For Good.

Do it today while it is fresh in your mind.
Network For Good - Click Here

Or, send your tax-deductible check to:

The Drew Bledsoe Foundation
730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901




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God bless America and her kids!


With Dignity



Drew Bledsoe

730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 752-8035