Posts Tagged ‘ laptop ’

Preparing New Electronic Devices for Kids

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Chances are if your family unwrapped a new device over the holidays, you’ve already spent some time setting it up before relinquishing control but is that gadget really child-friendly? Chances are that just taking the new gaming system, tablet, e-Reader, smartphone, or laptop out of the box and charging it isn’t quite enough. Once the conversation about screen time and when it is and isn’t ok to be playing on these new devices has occurred with your kids, parents should run down this checklist to ensure that the new technology that has come into their homes over the holidays is ready.

New laptop? Your child probably knows to not share their passwords, click on suspicious content, or use the camera to chat with strangers but it never hurts to remind them while also installing antivirus protection and internet security tools. Antivirus and internet security software works to scan the computer to prevent harmful viruses that often work to harvest personal data. Both types of software can be downloaded online for free from companies such as AVG who provide protection for PCs. If you purchase software, please be aware that software licenses expire after their term and need to be renewed to continue your protection.

New Xbox, WiiU, PlayStation Vita, PS3, or other gaming system? It’s going to be hard to wrestle away the controllers to check parental controls while your kids are awake but it’s a necessary step. Often times the default settings of gaming systems are overly general. It’s worth logging in and creating a parent account. Xbox allows parents to set up different profiles for kids where games are restricted based on Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) game ratings. It’s also important to know who your child is playing games with. Since many gaming systems allow for players to connect across the internet, they could be playing their favorite game with their friends or complete strangers. Have some conversations about safe gaming and if you need tips, the Get Game Smart website provides useful information for families.

New iPad?  The wealth of educational apps available for an iPad makes it a highly coveted and engaging device for kids of all ages but be sure to purchase a sturdy case that will protect it on all sides. The magnetic covers available through Apple are slim and convenient but parents should look for a case that fully wraps the edges from bumps, nicks, and scratches. Take some time to look at the iPad settings to determine what features you want disabled when your kids are playing apps. There has been a lot of chatter about the kinds of information app manufacturers may be collecting about kids as they use apps so be sure to go into each app and manually set restrictions if needed so you’re not providing too much information about your family unknowingly.

New smartphone? Talk to your kids about who is going to pay for text and data overages for their new cell phone. A new smartphone is exciting and chances are that one of the first things a new user will do is text or share the news of their device via social networks with friends. Unless you’ve gotten your child the pricey unlimited data plan, it’s important to have a conversation about exactly how many texts can be sent and how often they should be using the data plan to access online content with their phone. Understanding data plans is tricky especially since no one really thinks about how many megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) of data are being used to send or read email, stream music, view websites, post photos to social networks, or watch video content online. The Citizen’s Utility Board provides this handy Guide to Cell Phone Data Plans and breaks down what a megabyte and gigabyte are along with how much data is needed. My advice is to start conservatively when it comes to a data plan. It’s often easier to upgrade rather than downgrade your plan.

New Kindle Fire? These robust digital products are so much more than eReaders. Since Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are highly functional tablets that can also be used to read books, enable Kindle Free Time. Kindle Free Time grants unlimited reading but restricts daily screen time, prevents kids from accessing certain categories such as videos and games, disable web browsing, and the ability to purchase content. It’s also reassuring to look over at a child with their Kindle and know that the Free Time feature is working when the background of the screen is blue, rather than the usual black.

Vector black electronic devices icons set on gray via Shutterstock

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4 Bags for Mom to Tote Her Laptop or Tablet in Style

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The Speck A-Line bag for iPad ($59.95) and MacBooks ($69.95) is a fabulous choice thanks to a super soft lining for her iProduct, lots of organizational pockets, and a modern shape that is comfortable to carry. If you’re already feeling short on time and guilty about not having a gift for mom, order the Speck bag from outfitYOURS.com for super fast shipping to ensure it arrives with plenty of time to spare for the Mac lover in your life.

Speck A-Line Bag

Cuddly Monkey’s line of canvas totes are created by designers who believe that the inside of the tote should be as fashionable as the outside is functional. You can’t go wrong with The Chica ($90), a classic beach tote with a zip pocket on the outside and a fun lining inside that features essential tech gadgets like a smartphone, iPod, and headphones along with sunglasses. The Babe ($90) is a more vertical bag than Chica and has a contrasting body and handles with a cheery watermelon print lining, snap closure, and zippered compartment.

Chica Bag from Cuddly Monkey

The Hannah Laptop Bag ($84.99) is a gorgeous choice for under $100 and has tons of interior and exterior pockets for any organizational junkie.  There’s a padded quilted compartment that fits most 15.4″ laptops, multiple exterior pockets that include magazine pocket on the back, interior pockets to hold a smartphone, glasses, wallet, and water bottle, key fob, and also a coordinating wristlet. The pretty purple pebbled leather adds a pop of color to any work wardrobe and the choice of either a shoulder strap or handles ensures that you are always carrying your laptop comfortably.

Hannah Laptop Bag from Franklin Covey

Instead of throwing your tablet into your purse with just a cover to protect the glass front, the new Leather Tablet Messenger ($179) from Jill-e Designs’ E-Go collection features built in protection for your device and combines fashion and function to keep it safe from the bumps and bruises of a busy modern lifestyle. The Leather Tablet Messenger is a streamlined bag featuring a fold-over top flap, a wide adjustable cross-body strap, and plenty of padded interior compartments that keep everything mom needs right at her fingertips.

Leather Tablet Messenger by Jill-e Designs

 

Approachable woman holding purse via Shutterstock. Product photos courtesy of the companies mentioned above.

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