Category Archives: wiredmoms

Do you know what your kid is posting on Facebook?

Recently a kid named Hannah blocked her parents from her facebook page and then proceeded to post a rant on her page about having to do chores around the house. Of course, her dad saw that rant and made a video response to his daughter.

There has been a huge response from parents everywhere and many of the Wired Moms sent messages to make sure I saw the video too.

There are a number of things going on here.

1. It’s important to have natural consequences for bad behavior – when a child brings home a bad grade the natural consequence would be to impose more study time at home not necessarily to take away their iPod. Removing an iPod does not help your kid get a better grade. This video seems to be a demonstration of natural consequences (even though it is a little extreme ).

2. Technology is a privilege not a right.

3. It is important for parents to be involved with their kids online life. If you have a child over the age of 13 (even though many kids under 13 also get pages) there is a very high likelihood that they have facebook page, a tumblr, a twitter and possibly other pages like MySpace. First of all talk with your kid but then also Google them.

Watch the video and then let us know what you think.

PS Many people have said that the Dad should have just sold the laptop to recoop his software expenses. But after watching the video with my kids they all agreed that this guy could still sell the laptop as is on Ebay and get way more for it than he spent on the software. This laptop is now Legendary.

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Filed under facebook, Internet Safety, wiredmoms

What to do about texting and driving

The numbers are in and they aren’t good. People are still texting and driving. More men than women are texting according to a recent report but the overall number is still too high. In a split second tragedy can happen and it is just not worth it.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

The important thing for us to remember is that our kids are watching us to set the example. Some studies show that kids’ driving records can be directly correlated with their parents driving records. This is really interesting because it definitely shows us that it doesn’t matter so much what we tell our kids as it does what we show them.

If you must talk on your phone while your driving – which is still not optimal either – use a handsfree device.

My favorite bluetooth of the year is by far the LG Tone Wireless Bluetooth

It is super easy to connect with your phone and even easier to use. The great thing is that it doesn’t sit in your ear but instead hangs around your neck like a wonderful fashion accessory. When your phone rings the device vibrates just a bit which is wonderful. The ear buds sit in either end of the device and you only put them in your ear when you are actually making a call. The comfort level on this is super high. The voice dial feature is very easy to use. I got one for my husband who had only briefly used a blue tooth once before and did not have a good impression of using a blue tooth device. He is loving the LG Tone.

This is possibly my favorite tech gadget of the year. It still doesn’t solve the problem of people texting and driving. We still have to work on that.

(The only thing is you still have to watch yourself when talking on your phone while using this bluetooth in a public place. People will think you are a crazy person talking to yourself. People are getting used to looking for a blue tooth gadget resting in a persons ear when they see someone talking to themselves in the store – but they are not used to seeing the bluetooth hang around your neck.)

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Join the discussion:  “Like” the Distracted Driving Safety Alliance on Facebook and let us know about your experiences with other people texting and driving. ( a Facebook Like button can be found on the right hand side of this page).

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Filed under Distracted Driving, Mobile, Texting, Travel, wiredmoms

Best Gift for the Holidays

This last year has been an amazing year for new techy gadgets. We tested out a new blue tooth for our smart phone that is amazing. The iPad, Kindle and Nook have all come out with new versions of themselves that are amazing. As an early adopter it is hard to put all these new tablets on my wishlist since I have the original versions and they are all working great. Netbooks have bigger screens, more power and weigh less than ever before. And of course, the smart phones are smarter than George Jetson and Cogsworth would have even imagined.

So, what do you get your socially networked, gadget happy friend for the holidays?

Reach out to someone and send them your love. It doesn’t even need fancy wrapping. In these busy times where we communicate with each other in 140 characters or less, this is a very powerful gift. It is amazing how a person can have over 500 friends and still at times feel alone. Letting someone know that an actual person out there cares is the best gift of all.

( WIRED MOMS pro tip: Don’t send your #love in a tweet or to a bcc mailing list – this should be a one on one thing with an actual message that shows the person you understand them and are there for them when they need you even if it is just virtually there. )

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Keep your laptops off your lap

By Mary Heston

Last week an article was published on Reuters titled, “Laptop Wi-Fi said to nuke sperm, but caveats abound”. The caveats in this article are provided by Dr. Oates, the president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, who told Reuters Health he doesn’t believe laptops are a significant threat to male reproductive health. It is understandable that he doesn’t want parents to be concerned without real evidence and I can fully appreciate this.

At the same time they quoted him as saying that he was able to father two children even though he owns a laptop and an iPad. The point here is that laptops and iPads have not really become popular for in-home use until just recently. Parents today did not grow up having access to these tools until they were heading off to college.

The problem is not even so much the laptop, or the Wi-Fi, as much as it appears to be the heat that is given off by these devices. This heat, being directed right on our young boys mid section, may affect their sperm. The research is not fully conclusive yet and more research needs to be done. The research done in Argentina seems to be a good starting point.

We could, with some certainty, say that if our children would abstain from using laptops until they were in college, like most of us did, then there would probably be no concern about their reproductive abilities. But since our kids are using iPads and laptops as early as 3 years old now, there is reason enough to at least think about what that direct heat may be doing to our little boys.

If your little guy is going to use a laptop or iPad or other heat producing tech gadget it may be good to consider the following precautions:

1.      Get them in the habit of sitting at a desk when using a laptop (even though the name of the devise is laptop)

2.      Have them develop the habit of not placing these gadgets right on their laps

3.      Monitor their time spent on their laptop

4.      If they do want to sit with their laptop on their lap consider getting them a laptop chiller or some other device to keep the heat off of their body

5.      Ensure that they are eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and getting in regular exercise every day

Eating a healthy diet is the one thing that we do know for sure will positively benefit both our sons and daughters. But until the evidence is clear, I will be making sure that my sons keep their laptops off their laps.

This article was also published on Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act blog

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Watch out for those Crazy Drivers!

On the Information Super Highway you have to look out for the crazy drivers!
by Mary Heston

With four kids in the house who are all approaching or newly driving we have been focusing on teaching them how to be good drivers. And they are. They walk all the way around the car before getting in to make sure there is nothing behind the car before pulling out. They put on their seatbelts. They do not text and drive. They come to a complete stop at the stop sign (something I have to remind myself to do on occasion). Overall, they are excellent drivers.

The only thing is that they are not the only ones out there on the road. Pretty much every time we get in the car my husband drills it into their heads “Watch out for the crazy drivers”. You may be driving along following the rules of the road and minding your own business when some idiot ahead of you falls asleep behind the wheel or decides that it is ok to drive home after that holiday party even though they lost count of just exactly how many drinks they had.

This last weekend we had a little run in with a couple of Crazy Drivers on the Information Super Highway.

For the past 15 plus years our family has been growing up with the Internet along with Parry Aftab, the worlds leading Internet safety expert, at hand to help guide us through some of the interesting and unexpected challenges that have presented themselves along the way. The Internet really just became part of everyone’s world when my kids were very little. And so we basically learned how to drive this highway together.

This last week there were two different cases where my kids pointed out some “crazy drivers”.

VIDEO GAMES and Under age drivers

Tuesday November 8 was not only election day but it was also the midnight release party for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. This is an M rated game and it is pretty violent. It was designed by grown up gamers for a mature audience who like to play this kind of game. It is a game that can be played online with other players around the world. My 20 year old went to this midnight release ( which as we mentioned before was on a Tuesday which is a school night anyway ) and there were some very young kids waiting to buy the game. This was discouraging to my son whose first thought was for himself – the game is way more fun when you can play it as intended and you don’t have to worry about hurting some 11 year olds feelings who is playing the game but really shouldn’t be. And then he thought to himself ‘Wait a minute. It’s a school night and I would have never gotten away with this when I was 11’.

CELL PHONES and the new driver

Giving your teen a cell phone is a big point of discussion that goes on with Wired Moms all the time. It is a great tool but it is also really easy for even a good kid to run into trouble in a blink of an eye. A video can be recorded and uploaded to the Internet before anyone really even thinks about whether or not that was a good idea. Pictures can be forwarded and then get passed along like wild fire. One weak moment with a bad decision could result in months of agony.

This last weekend we encountered a person who is new to the cell phone texting world and sent way too many text messages to one of our family member’s phones. We didn’t think too much of this because we figured we could just block that incoming number. But apparently, that is now a premium service with our phone company which they will gladly provide for an additional charge. In my next post you will get to read the back story and hopefully the resolution to this one.

Technology is changing. Parenting is not. We still have to watch out for our kids and keep an eye out for all those crazy drivers.

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You can change the world for another Mom with just the click of a mouse

If you could change the world with a couple of clicks of your mouse would you? A typical week at Wired Moms is filled with discussions of video games, social networking, gadgets and other technologies that can bring the family closer together. For some reason this week was all about reaching out and helping women around the world. And thanks to technology it can be so easy.

THE RIGHT TO DRIVE

In Saudi Arabia a woman was charged with Driving and sentenced to 10 lashes for this offense. Driving. I cannot even imagine a life without my driver’s license. Women in Saudi Arabia recently won the right to vote but they still cannot drive. The twitter hashtag #women2drive was lit up this week following this story. Finally, the tweet on Wednesday that we had all hoped for started circulating RT @AmeerahAltaweel: #women2drive Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King. I’m … Next time you get the urge to text and drive put your cell phone down and think about these women in Saudi who would love to just have the right to drive their car without fear of being lashed.

WOMEN SUFFER THE MOST FROM THE WORLD WATER CRISIS

Our friends at the Balancing Act on Lifetime Television sent us information on the cause “A Spring for Hope”. A Spring of Hope is a non-profit foundation that builds water wells in rural African schools to improve community health conditions and to promote education at a grassroots level. You can support this cause with just two little clicks.

Chase American Giving Awards is donating money to the cause with the most votes. Voting is now open – CLICK HERE TO VOTE. For more information on this project visit their Facebook page

WORLD PEACE ONE MICRO LOAN AT A TIME

One way we can empower women around the world is by helping them start and run their own business. In many parts of the world this might be a small matter of $200 for fabric to start or expand their own business. Kiva is a company that helps match a lender with a micro loan project around the world. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Hillary Clinton has been a long time supporter of the micro loan. “For many years, I have believed in the power of these small loans,” Clinton said, standing in a modest village temple as turquoise ceiling fans whirred over her head. “You are really making a better future for yourselves, your families, your villages and your country.”

Find out more about this program here

AT THE END OF THE DAY

So at the end of a really hectic day, when you feel like you may not have made any progress and your kids are complaining about what you have planned for dinner, pour yourself a tall glass of cool water instead of that glass of wine. Take a look at that glass of water and realize how lucky we are that we have fresh water at our fingertips, food for our kids to complain about and a driver’s license in our wallet and pick up your mouse and start clicking.

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Filed under Social Networking, wiredmoms

Real People – August in Review

– by Mary Heston

August was an amazing month. What should have been a quiet month when families are spending more time offline actually ended up being a super busy month at Wired Moms.

Programming NOTE: Tune in to MTV August 30 at 8pm EST for Seventeen magazines big reveal in its Pretty Amazing cover contest. Our friend, and very Real, Pretty AND Amazing friend Nina Montgomery is one of the top 5 finalists in this contest. Meet Nina:  View NINA’s slideshow HERE Check out Seventeen Magazine’s Pretty Amazing Contest

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One of the big conversations on Twitter this month was about teachers and facebook. With schools reopening their doors and getting ready for a new batch of students schools and communities are still struggling with what to do about social networking. Some school districts have fantastic, transparent policies in place that protect their students and establish clear guidelines for their teachers. But other communities missed the mark this summer.

READ PARRY AFTAB’s response to Missouri’s attempt to legislate Facebook use by teachers to the extreme.

Teachers are just real people trying to do their best. They need our support in helping our schools develop reasonable social networking policies that make sense for our children and our families.

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Filed under Distracted Driving, Internet Safety, Mobile, Texting, Twitter, wiredmoms