Technology And The Internet: Keeping Your Children Safe And Informed

The birth of computers for domestic use, gradually seeped into everyone’s homes, schools and libraries across America as the advantages of having such an advanced piece of technology seemed to outweigh any known risks. With just a few decades of technology under our belts, the dangers have become more prominent in the media, and although we may consider ourselves as parents to be quite savvy in avoiding the digital world’s pitfalls, the kids may not possess the sense of awareness you have. This could make them vulnerable to digital world dangers. Which is why the pointers below highlight some of the risks and benefits to help keep them safe and informed in the virtual world.

Educate About Risks

You could begin by sitting them down to have a chat, maybe using your own PC/laptop/phone as an example to make the experience more interactive and walk through some of the dangers and solutions on the internet. However, use a bit of discretion to work out what’s age appropriate.

 

  • Spam email – Encourage kids not to give out their email at every opportunity and to limit it to close family and friends only, otherwise they may receive an influx of spam. Explain the difference between genuine and spam emails. For instance, opening and toying with spam email could allow viruses on to their computer or phone, causing it to stop functioning.
  • Cyberbullying – Showing them how to block/ban other people who are harassing or insulting them online is essential. Use the prevent cyberbullying extract from the government website for more information on this subject.
  • Social Media – Explain why it’s best to limit your personal info and pictures online and not to entertain friend requests or private messages from people they do not know.
  • Private Information – Encourage your children to keep their passwords in a safe place, and only share with you if they want to. Explain this will stop people gaining access to/controlling their accounts.

Educate About Benefits

Alongside a whole host of danger technology brings, there is also a long list of benefits that kids could use to their advantage.

 

  • Safety – Encourage your kids to look after their technology as one day they might need it to look after them. Phones, for example, could be a handy tool if they’re in danger, allowing them to call you or emergency services. Which is why every effort should be made to look after their technology and treat it with respect. Such as buying a protective phone case, phone stands to prevent dropping it when they’re trying to watch a Youtube video, screen protectors, laptop cases and so forth. To survey the top 10 stands for cell phones, the best phone cases, and screen protectors, there’s an abundance of protective equipment you can order online.
  • Knowledge and skills – A distinct point of children having technology is the world of knowledge it opens up to your children. Also using technology is advantageous in helping them to build computer skills, which are no longer desirable but essential in most jobs today.
  • Connecting – Using the internet can be a good way for kids to keep connected with friends and family, it can also be a way of you connecting with your children, such as playing co-op games together or watching funny Youtube videos.

 

As a parent, your worries are no longer limited to looking after your children in the real world but are extended to looking after them in the digital world too. By using the tips above to educate them on the risks, you can help them avoid technology/internet pitfalls and be cautious of danger..

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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The Best Winter Vacation Home Report 2018

Vacasa recently put out a list highlighting the Top U.S. Winter Destinations to Buy a Winter Home and I was surprised with the results! Getting away for the winter is a dream of mine, relaxing by a beach, staying warm in the sun, all of the things you can find in summer but during the winter. Oh how wonderful that would be. Working with travel agents, or real estate agents in finding the perfect spot in one of these amazing locations should probably make your new year’s resolution list.

In December home prices already are discounted, so maybe Santa should put a nice winter vacation home under the tree this year. Check out this great list and comment on which location you would love to get away to during these cold St. Louis winters.

The data collected and provided by Vacasa is an excellent way to explore some of the countries hidden gems when Jack Frost decides to come hang out around town. Why bother with slippery roads and fighting the defrost when you can work with one of the largest vacation rental property management companies in North America and find that dream winter vacation home.

Now, not all of these spots that made the list are free from Queen Elsa’s wintry grip, but even those are fascinating in their own regard. Such as my favorite #2 – Mount Hood, OR. It doesn’t sound too familiar but maybe the Timberline Lodge looks familiar when you visit, because it was featured in 1980’s Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining! I’m not exactly sure if it’s available for purchase, but why not check out room 237 when you drive by and see if there is anything interesting going on in there.

Honey, let’s get a winter vacation home…

Eventually, I find myself getting out of St. Louis for a few weekends out of the mid-west winter, maybe this is my push to start really considering it. Probably should clear that with St. Louis Mom first. I know she will love getting away from home for a nice winter vacation. Our vacations are usually during those summer months. We can get out on the water and soak up that sun. But maybe, just maybe we can get a little crazy and cozy somewhere like Colorado, or Utah… Baby, I’ll even put a pretty bow on it.

St. Louis Dad was compensated in exchange for this post.

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How Video Games Can Foster Childhood Magic

There’s quite a bit of connectivity between family and technology, and seeing as our kids are being raised in a digital world, it’s no wonder you’re introducing technology and all its wonders and dangers to them at a young age. But there’s some tech out there that can really help to foster the same sense of childhood magic you once had, and looking to the video game world to help you out might just be the best bet. So here’s a couple of reasons booting up a console and sitting down as a family to play is a great idea.

How many arcades out there still have these old school games? Why not bring these systems home?

Kids Can Learn In Easy Ways

Video games made for kids are made with the child mindset in mind. After all, you’ve got to know your audience in order to sell your game, and you’re going to want to be sure that kids are going to love whatever disc they boot up in their console. And that means all kinds of hard to teach and hard to learn themes are going to be present in these games, ready packaged in bite size pieces and easy to understand actions the player character can perform.

Maybe your child has trouble sharing – see if you can find them a video game that’ll help them to learn why this is a good thing. Maybe your child has issues with keeping clean and tidy; once again, there’s plenty of games out there that can make this kind of boring chore a lot of fun. And seeing as video games are a lot more interactive than simple TV programs or films, there’s a much better chance the behavior will settle into your child’s head. Isn’t that just a bit magic?

Via The Introduction of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is something we’ve all heard about, and it’s something we’re all curious about. A VR headset, a fee cables to plug in here and there, a pair of special controllers, and you’re all ready to delve deeper into a video game, film, or TV program than you’ve ever been able to before. That’s an exciting idea to anyone who read about it!

But especially kids. Hearing that they can transported out of this boring world with school and homework, into another where they’re the hero of the universe, is going to be some welcome news. Being able to try out a would-be Real New World is a great way to tingle their imaginations, and get them more involved with their creative side, and hopefully give them a little bit more inspiration along the way. Kids love to be involved in important activities anyway, and this is a safe and fun way to foster that interaction.

Video games can be great for kids, as long as you know what they’re playing, how long for, and when to disconnect them from a virtual world. It’s up to you to foster their childhood magic!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Holiday Budgeting Tips

It’s that time again. Holiday festivities, meeting new people, and spending time with your family. It’s also that time again for the dreaded increase in spending. The average American can spend a lot of money during the Christmas because they are buying gifts for the kids, participating in gift exchanges, and going to holiday parties. No matter how much you say you’re going to save money, you may go overboard and spend too much money. Not this year.   This year and all the Christmas seasons to come, you’re going to save money. How? With a solid holiday budget. The following is how you make and stick to a budget, so you have money after the Christmas ends.  

1. Make Two Budgets

First, create a budget. This is an amount of money you will spend on all gifts. This is the amount that you won’t go over no matter what. The second budget is for saving the money you’ll spend during the Christmas season. This is a budget you’ll use first. For example, streamline the extra you spend during the year can go a long way to saving money without having to work an extra shift. Make more meals at home instead of going to a restaurant and skip the coffee runs. Save the money instead.   You can also work extra shifts during the year to save money. If you receive a holiday bonus, put at least 20 percent of it towards your second budget. You won’t spend the money now, and you’ll spend it later.

2. Make a Gift List

Before you start buying a single gift, make a gift list. Next, think about who will be on your list this year. When brainstorming your gift list ask one question: Do you need to give a gift for (fill in the blank)? If the answer is no, then decide to send a Christmas card. Definitely keep them off your list.   Third, think about the quality of gifts. You don’t have to pick the most expensive thing. You don’t need to buy every inexpensive thing that’s on sale or reduced. Think quality and about that person more.

3. Know Your Other Expenses

The Christmas season doesn’t stop your regular expenses like utilities, rent and daycare costs. You also must factor in other expenses like new clothes for the parties you’re going to attend or food and drinks for any parties you host. Decide ahead of time if you can afford things you want to do during the holiday season like concerts, traveling and hosting parties.

4. Plan

The worst time to save for Christmas is November. Saving for Christmas should start on January 1st. So, this means that you should plan for Christmas 2020 on January 1, 2020. This gives you almost 12 months to put small amounts of money away for your the season you’ll spend the most money.   Nickname your savings for Christmas you “Christmas fund.” Each month set aside about one-twelfth of your Christmas budget. Place that money into a savings account. Plenty of banks have Christmas savings accounts that will let you put money away without the option of getting it out before Christmas time.   Also, look for high interest savings accounts. You want to make additional money on the funds you’re saving. This extra money may pad your budget.

5. Save After the Holidays, Too

  Let’s save you did everything listed above. Maybe you saved a lot of money. Maybe you slightly overspent. You still have a chance to get that money back. If you stayed within your budget, you would be able to give yourself a little reward or start saving for next Christmas. Getting your rebates for what you purchased during the Christmas season is your opportunity.   Save all your receipts. Pick a rebate app you like and scan your receipts to obtain rebates. You can sign up for cash back offers too. Many apps ask for your email to sign up for the rebates. You also must give the app permission to scan your emails for receipts. Pick a rebate app connected to a lot of retailers. This is how you’ll make most of your money.   You’ll receive this money back on a prepaid card or in gift cards once you reach a certain limit. For example, if you reach $20 in rebates, you can collect the money and use as you choose. By working hard during the year, you can save money for the Christmas season without fearing that you won’t have enough money. Remember, stick to both budgets. You don’t have to buy Christmas gifts for everyone; Christmas is a time to focus on your family. Happy Holidays!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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