Fatherhood & Family Tech & Appliances

Find Security with The Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech

Family pic with dog on couch

Tech Obsessed

Technology is a part of life. It’s more and more a part of life, it seems, with each passing year. While older people like my parents are all online and loving the tech life, people my age are even more engulfed in tech. It touches all parts of our lives and more and more people spend the majority of their days with technology. It could for for work or for play, but it’s there. With all of this ubiquity, internet safety and appropriate screen time is a real challenge.

Now, if you think that 40 somethings are big into tech, look at the younger generations. Kids and teens today literally grew up with iPhones, the internet, and apps as a part of their lives. They barely even know anything else. It’s an integral part of their lives. Be it in their classrooms and their homework. It’s the way they communicate and entertain themselves. It’s really to the point where it has taken over their lives.

Verizon Wirless parents guide to online safety

Online Dangers

As parents, we really need to both monitor and control our kid’s online lives so that it doesn’t get out of hand. I don’t want my kids to be completely addicted to technology. More importantly, I also don’t want them seeing things or being contacted by people that could endanger them. There is, sadly, a lot out there that really is in appropriate for our kids, and the access and temptation seems to be near limitless. I know I’m not the only one that worries about this.

Last year, the Pew Research Center found that 61% of parents “have checked which websites their teen has visited.” Between giving teens privacy and freedom to express themselves, and also ensuring protection from the potential dangers of the internet, parents face a delicate balance. It’s a real and constant challenge, and it’s one that parents really have not had to tackle ever before. It’s new ground in so many ways. Do you monitor your child’s online activity?

Getting Help

Thinking about all that the internet and apps and technology can offer can be overwhelming in both a good and a bad way. There’s just so much to know, keep track of, and monitor. It’s endless and it’s daunting, so parents should really seek out help whenever and wherever they can get it. I know I do, and I know my kids know I do…which definitely helps.

While there are so many companies, people, and organizations out there trying to help parents manage all of this, there’s one site that I’ve come across recently that I really like. I’ve referenced it a few times already and have found some awesome new ways to keep tabs on the kids.

Parent’s Guides

When seeking out tech help, it makes sense to go with pro that are all about tech. Experts in the field that are in business to keep abreast of the latest and great tech. Verizon Wireless‘ Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech is an awesome resource with a ton of really actionable and easy-to-read information that will help you navigate these crazy and deep waters. It’s all about talking ahoy the many issues we need to worry about as parents, how to understand it, and how to best address it. I love that specific apps and technology are right there for the picking, presented in a really interactive and easy-to-understand way.

Balancing Trust and Safety

One of the best parts of Verizon Wireless’ parent help guide has to be balancing trust and safety: How parents can monitor their teen’s digital activity. For example, while I am pretty knowledgable of social media, many parents really aren’t. There’s a section to help with that, and my favorite part was this:

Service provider or third-party tracking programs and apps — like PhoneSherriff or WebWatcher — allow parents to monitor and catalog what teens are viewing.” 

I love knew these apps existed, but this really shows me which are the best and where to find them. This is the type of information I want and need…and Verizon Wireless delivered for me. This guide also touches on how to proactively track and limit access, explaining how teens know loopholes around certain restrictions, and how it’s ok to limit their access and usage. It’s for their own good and it’s an important part of being a parent in this very modern, tech-obsessed world. Don’t feel bad for doing it, it’s what has to be done!!

Verizon Wirless parents guide to managing screen time

Managing Screen Time

Another major issue is maybe not as dangerous, but equally as challenging. It’s really difficult to manage the screen time of the kids. I don’t know about you, but mine could be online 24/7 with no problems or qualms whatsoever. It’s like water and oxygen for them, even for the 5 year old. Keeping them grounded in the real world is really frustrating, challenging, and almost all-consuming. This awesome guide to managing screen time is a great way to start to get a handle on the issue!!

I love that this guide talks about why setting limits is important, how to come to an agreement with your kids, and the best ways to go about it. It’s really essential reading if you want your kids to be as connected to real life as possible. I know, I know, it’s a new world. But I’m still of the mindset that the real world is the best world and human interaction is of utmost importance. This hasn’t changed, even with all the tech and cool apps trying to say otherwise!!

Find Out More

With tracking programs and apps that also limit teens online activity, Verizon Wireless is dedicated to bridging the gap between safety and freedom. Verizon Wireless has created tools that help balance trust and safety. With a few tools, parents can ensure their teen’s digital behavior is built on mutual trust.

To find out more about all of these amazing resources, please check out:

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Verizon Wireless. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Tech & Appliances

House Monkey App and Online Platform Keeps Your Family Managed and Organized #monkeytribelife

House Monkey App Screen Home

Does your house sometimes feel like a tornado just touched down within your four walls, had a party, got angry, took it out on your stuff, then packed up and left without saying goodbye? Maybe that’s just me. If it’s not just me (please, please tell me it’s not just me), then maybe you need to take a look at what I’m about to drop on you right here. It could change your life, or at least make it a little bit less frustrating and more enjoyable.

Funded by Kickstarter, House Monkey is a subscription-based home management solution (mobile app plus web-based tool) designed to bring your entire tribe (the people living in your home) together to organize, schedule and complete everyday chores, like making the bed, as well as home maintenance tasks, such as changing air filters.

House Monkey App Screen 1

The web-based tool is a password protected, cloud-based platform that stores and manages your data and is integrated with the mobile app. You can view, export and print reports such as appliance and utility maintenance records, tasks & chore calendars and rewards or your House Monkey Home Rating.  The platform also allows users to scan in PDF’s of contracts, warranties, receipts etc. and archives data-heavy video and pictures.

House Monkey is different in that it encourages the entire family, even the kids, to be part of the process.House Monkey has two key features that helps parents involve children in household management.  Monkey See- Monkey Do allows users to take photos or video’s, in their own house, demonstrating how-to-do chores.  Dependent upon family’s core beliefs, an optional feature called Banana points allows parents to reward individuals or the whole family when chores and tasks are completed.

House Monkey App Screen 2

I like how we can not only incorporate chores, but also events, tasks, and activities. It’s a great mix of uses all in one place. It’s a fun, gamified way to get things on people’s radars and to get things done. It’s really been a great way to build teamwork and encourage responsibility and healthy competition. It also puts some fun into the mundane, everyday stuff we all need to tackle, whether we like it or not. Finally, it’s just nice to have a game to play with the whole family. As they get older and older, those opportunities are already getting lesser and lesser. Schedules take over and people have too much to do.

House Monkey offers a 30-day free trial. After that, a year subscription is just $28.99 per year. That is around $2.40 a month, giving families a cost-efficient way to organize and manage their households, freeing up more time for your family.

Bring the concept of spending time together and caring for your home back to life with the digital tool perfect for the tribe living in your house.

For more information, and to sign up for your 30-day FREE trial, please visit: 

You can download the app in the Google Play or the Apple App Store.

House Monkey App Screen 3

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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Fatherhood & Family

Dealing With Kids And Their Online Lives

It’s something that is still relatively new. Kids being on the internet. Being so new is what makes it so scary. As a parent seeing how my kids love the internet, I can only imagine how dicey is will soon become as they and their friends branch out from Barbie and Nick. I’m sure Facebook and Twitter are not far away. Ugh, what a nightmare. I can’t even stand the idea of them having a cell phone with a camera on it. I will certainly read up about all the new and upcoming safeguards people and companies are developing.

That being said, I found an interesting piece in The Huffington Post Family section. It’s about learning the crazy acronyms kids use when texting, IM’ing, emailing, etc. Sure, we know LOL, LMFAO, and some other “old” terms that have become part of popular culture. But you know these kids have their own languages already, so it must translate to the computer as well. I can’t even utter the phrase “sexting” without dry heaving.

Here’s some goodies from the article:

There are a number of sites out there that help us decode the many seemingly crazy messages our kids are sending back and forth. Teen Chat Decoder and No Slang have Internet text “translators” to help parents decode these cryptic messages — especially the ones that discuss drinking, drugs and sex. And I can assure you, they do.

As a starter, here are 25 text message acronyms that all parents should know:

  1. ASL — Age/Sex/Location
  2. BF/GF — Boyfriend/Girlfriend
  3. CD9 — Code 9 (means parents are around)
  4. DYWTMUS — Do You Want To Meet Up Somewhere?
  5. GNOC — Get Naked on Cam
  6. GTG — Got to Go
  7. IDK — I Don’t Know
  8. (L)MIRL — (Lets) Meet in Real Life
  9. LOL — Laugh Out Loud
  10. MorF — Male or Female
  11. MOS — Mom Over Shoulder
  12. NIFOC — Naked in Front of Computer
  13. P911 — Parent Emergency
  14. PAW — Parents are Watching
  15. PIR — Parent In Room
  16. POS — Parent Over Shoulder
  17. PRON — Porn
  18. PRW — Parents Are Watching
  19. RUH — Are you horny?
  20. Sup? — What’s Up?
  21. TDTM — Talk Dirty To Me
  22. WAUW — What Are You Wearing?
  23. WTH L8TR — Want to Hang Later?
  24. WTF — What the Fuck
  25. WTTP — Want to Trade Pics?

In the case of “sexting,” or sending sexually explicit text messages, it is important to warn your child of 2 things:

    1. In most states, teens caught with “sexting pictures” on their phones can actually be charged with possession of child pornography — even if they themselves are under 18, and sometimes even if the images are self portraits.
    2. These images can be permanent. It may seem fun and risky to send sexy pictures to a current boyfriend, but what happens when the relationship ends? Can that person really be trusted not to do anything with those images? It’s not a chance your teen should take.

Ooops…I just mini-threw up…

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