Daily Archives: May 11, 2019

On Mother’s Day, Show Your Love for Your Mom by Introducing Her to Helpful Apps

A mobile chat with my mother usually goes off like this:

Hello! Can you hear me! I am very busy so can’t talk much! I have a question.”

“Umm OK but is your speaker on? Can you please speak a little softly?”

Yes, yes, OK… I know how to operate smartphones. Still smarter than a lot of you! Don’t waste my time; I need to go to the dentist so please book a cab for me.”

Despite pushing 80, my mom has a strong competitive spirit and has taught herself how to operate a smartphone, sign up on social media and listen to music. I have often been ticked off for not being considerate enough to read and like her posts!

The man-phone tussle senior citizens experience

As I drove to her place, I thought about her and all other Moms who are past their middle age. They must be struggling to come to terms with technological progress. It must be so difficult for them- from having the whole neighbourhood dropping in to watch Doordarshan on their new shiny black-and-white TV set to streaming the latest movies on their personal devices! From typing out letters on typewriters to emails on computers- they have a lot on their plate to adjust to.

It occurred to me that I need to help out more and not assume she can pick up the rest herself. I needed to show Mom how she can use her phone for booking cabs, ordering her meds, buying grocery and so on; it would be of immense help to her. She would feel tech-savvy and happy not to be dependent on others. Not wishing to waste a single moment, I made a date with her and took her out to lunch. Over lunch and a leisurely conversation, I introduced her to the several ways apps can make life easier for her.

Mother’s Day Idea

Why not try this idea out on Mother’s Day? Take your Mom out for a picnic or a movie-and-meal; sit, chat and regale each other with your childhood stories- the stories she probably likes the best? Give her your undivided attention- and this may mean keeping your own phone on silent- and instead show her what all she can do with hers?

Apps can indeed make life easier

  • Online grocery- these are really helpful as she can decide and buy and have everything delivered home.
  • Recipe Apps- she is growing old and it will become progressively tougher for her to remember all the recipes and ingredients. You can download apps of her choice of cooking and show her how to navigate through the site. I have one on my mobile that gives me a new salad recipe everyday! Life is so easy, and oh so happily healthy
  • Apps to keep track of doctor’s visits- Many hospitals too have apps that keep records of visits, tests etc. Download if her clinic offers an app service
  • Apps to book cabs: Remember to add your name and that of other family members, so that you receive intimation when she travels
  • Calendar app: Show her how to save birthdays, anniversaries, appointments and reminders so that she is free of the onerous task of remembering petty details
  • e-wallets – She will be able to place orders online without being worried about credit card fraud. That would be very helpful for her
  • e-reader app- If she loves reading, she will bless you for an app that will bring the library into her hands

There are many, many more. Take your pick as per your mom’s interest.

This will be akin to killing three birds with one stone:

  • Make her tech-savvy – Smartphones confuse older generations, with new models offering yet newer features and functionalities. Spend time with your Mom and take her through the new features. Take this opportunity to install mobile security if you already have not.
  • Add a zing to her life- you will have the pleasure of knowing you have somewhat helped to make her life more interesting and engaging, now that she has more free time on hand.
  • Quality bonding time- The more personal attention you give her, the happier she will be- for that’s all she wants from you, your time.

Being an experienced digital user, you know well that not all apps are genuine or safe. Make it a point to download apps only from a verified source, even if you have to pay for it.

Let me sign off with a cybersafety tip – Activate a password manager, like the trusted TrueKey from McAfee, that will remember her passwords and keep them safe for her.

Tip for you: TrueKey is included in McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe. One product can cover several devices and so you can use yours to cover your Mom’s phone too. That way you can renew protection without troubling her with these nitty-gritties.

Happy Mother’s Day to all beautiful moms out there! You ladies are superwomen!

The post On Mother’s Day, Show Your Love for Your Mom by Introducing Her to Helpful Apps appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Saving Summer: 5 Strategies to Help Reign In Family Screen Time Over Break

summer screen time

summer screen timeIt’s the most wonderful time of the year — for teachers and lifeguards. For everyone else (parents) we have a little prep work to do to make sure the summer doesn’t lull our kids into digital comas.

Most of us have learned that given zero limits, kids will play video games, watch YouTube, send snaps, and scroll Instagram into the midnight hours. This ever-present digital lure, combined with the “summer slide,” which is the academic ground kids lose over the summer, means that most parents are hoping to make the most of the summer months need to get proactive — now.

No matter your child’s age, teaching kids to use technology in a healthy way and pick up skills and habits that will make them savvy digital citizens, becomes even more critical in the summer months. Studies show that excess screen time can lead to increased cyberbullying, low self-esteem, depression, isolation, and anxiety in children and teens. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now classified a new form of addiction called “gaming disorder.” That designation means health professionals can now treat dangerous levels of video gaming as a legitimate addiction. (Yes, this is the new normal of parenting).

Warning signs of too much tech:

  • Tantrums or inappropriate resistance to screen limits or refusing to let you see their devices
  • Lack of sleep (which can cause anger outbursts, moodiness, fatigue, and even illness)
  • Isolation and decrease in face-to-face time with friends and family
  • Complaining about family outings and declining invitations to participate in activities
  • Losing interest in physical activity

Tech balance in one family will look different than in another because every family has its own values, dynamic, and parenting styles. You may have to establish ground rules together and make edits over time — that’s okay, stay flexible. The important thing is to set limits and set them together, so your child feels as if he or she is part of the process and learns how and why to self-regulate over time.

summer screen time

Here are some tips for launching your family conversation and getting summer off to a positive, tech-healthy start.

  1. Discuss and agree on limits. Consider what an average day looks like. Where are the critical gaps where connection can happen? Maybe it’s transition times when you pick up your child from camp or a friend’s house. Perhaps it’s the hour after you get home from work, during meals, movie time, or in restaurants. Maybe it’s family outing such as the pool, the zoo, the theatre, roadmap time, or outdoors. Also, setting a device curfew in the summer months is more critical since kids like to take their devices to bed and keep scrolling.Discuss why and when your family should be screen-free and then put your commitment in writing in a Summer Family Media plan (every age range will require different ground rules). The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website has a fun, easy form you can fill out to create your Family Media Plan based on your child’s age.
  2. Pay attention to content: Setting screen limits doesn’t matter much if the content your child views isn’thealthy. A few questions to help assess content:
  • Is the content age-appropriate?
  • Are the apps my child uses interactive and learning-based or mind-numbing or even risky?
  • Do my family’s technology habits require filtering software to help block inappropriate websites?
  • Are the privacy settings on social media and gaming accounts set to restrict what strangers can see and who can send a direct message to my child?
  1. Jump into the fun. Part of teaching kids to understand healthy technology habits is taking the time to meet them where they are in their digital world — their favorite hangouts. When they understand you aren’t limiting screen time to punish them and that technology in itself isn’t bad, they will be more likely to see the benefits of balance and self-regulate in the future. What online games do they play? Consider watching them excel in their craft and cheering them on. Better yet, grab a controller and play along. What social media sites does your child love? Join in on Snapchat and let them teach you how to have fun with photo filters on the app.summer screen time
  2. Be hyper intentional. Zig Ziglar once said that to a child, “love” is spelled T-I-M-E. Under the influence of today’s digital culture, nothing is assumed, and most everything requires intentionality — especially grabbing the quality time we desire. Consider sitting down as a family and creating a summer bucket list of things you’d like to do before summer ends. Maybe it’s more movie nights, more beach time, a family craft or building project, volunteer work, board games, workout time, trips, whatever — be realistic that nothing on your list will happen without serious intention.
  3. From monitoring to mentoring. It’s always a good idea to monitor your child’s online activities. We are big fans of filtering software and understanding what social networks and apps your kids frequent. However, because you likely have more face-to-face with your kids in the summer months, think about ways to mentor them. Talk about current events related to online safety, pay attention to their friend groups on and offline, and use this extra time to reset some digital goals that may have slipped off your radar during the school year. Some possible goals: Set up your own Snapchat account, finally learn to use Twitter, educate yourself on dangerous apps, or let your child teach you how to improve your digital skills. With this extra valuable time over the summer, you can cover some serious ground by talking more about concepts like conflict-management, empathy, resilience, self-awareness, and digital responsibility, which will all help strengthen digital skills.

In your quest to establish summer ground rules that work for your family, don’t overlook the importance of the peer-to-peer connection that technology brings. Technology is the primary channel (like it or not) kids have to build their friendships, stay the loop, and to be affirmed. They need hangout time, and that’s usually online. Keep this in mind as you work together to find the balance that works best for your family.

The post Saving Summer: 5 Strategies to Help Reign In Family Screen Time Over Break appeared first on McAfee Blogs.