Embracing the Internet of Things

Think of all the ways technology has made your life easier. Many times we take for granted all of our devices, apps, and tools that make our daily lives more productive and enjoyable. The next big thing that promises to be even bigger than the Internet itself is the Internet of Things. Simply defined, the Internet of Things or IofT, is a technology concept that takes all your devices and connects them to the Internet. It is estimated that by the year 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices. Let’s examine what the future holds for the IofT.

Benefits of Connecting All Devices

-This will drastically reduce data storage problems.

-There will be improved efficiency and cost savings.

-There will be new career opportunities for training in the field of IofT.

Potential Concerns for the Internet of Things

-What security measures will be in place to protect your privacy and information?

-How will all of these connections be maintained and monitored?

-Will there be universal standards for all devices?

-Is it possible to retro-fit your house for minimal costs?

Connecting Everything - Internet of Things


Shopping On Facebook

Shopping On Facebook

In case you missed the announcement, shopping on Facebook is about to become a reality. Although it is only in the testing phase at the moment, Facebook has introduced a new “Buy” button that allows users to purchase products directly from their site.

How Shopping On Facebook Works

Shopping on Facebook is made possible by something known as direct response advertising. You see a product and you respond by adding the item to your shopping cart. The ads will appear in your News Feed and you are able to purchase the item directly on Facebook without leaving the site. Facebook transforms shopping by conveniently making purchases easy for the consumer and simultaneously Facebook emerges as a significant online retailer. Considering that Facebook has over one billion users, that equates to over one billion potential customers with the power to make purchases on their site. The immense sales potential of the once social network turns Facebook into a powerhouse. It has the potential to transform into a serious online retail platform.

A Few Things To Consider

Here are just a few concerns that you may or may not have thought about.

1. I know Facebook is great for staying connected with friends but do I really want them to have my credit card information? After all, they have captured all my personal history and connections and now they want access to my finances as well. It is frightening to think how much personal information they will have.

2. If I need to talk to someone at Facebook about one of my purchases, need to get a refund, or have a problem shopping online, will Facebook be responsive and provide a customer care department?

3. Do parents need to worry that their children may be making “in app” purchases resulting in shocking credit card statements?

4. Cyberloafing or wasting time at work on the Internet is a major time killer. Will all of us be spending more time at work on Facebook since the “Buy” button makes  shopping easier?

Are you ready to shop on Facebook?



Meet The Instant Generation

Instant Generation

Move over Millennials and meet the Instant Generation born in the early 1990s. You can easily identify them because their eyes are usually laser focused on the screen in front of them. They have the ability to engage over many devices and multi-tasking is never a problem. They are hyper-connected and can instantly engage with not only their friends but with a global online audience. The Instant Generation  appears to be tech savvy  but many times they do not realize some of their online activities could lead to serious consequences.

5 Characteristics Of The Instant Generation

Although they are normally referred to as the Internet Generation, I believe a more appropriate distinction is the Instant Generation.

1. Using multiple digital devices they can receive, send, text, download, photo, and socialize….instantly.

2. They can search for answers, usually from doing a Google search, ….instantly.

3. They get bullied, start flame wars, and sext, ….instantly.

4. It is incredible easy to make very public online mistakes….instantly.

5. They are the Instant Generation and whether they realize it or not, they are leaving a lasting impression every time they go online….instantly.

69% of kids say they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. McAfee Research


Lacking the ability to project into the future, adolescents are creating a permanent digital record every day. Adolescents many times cannot comprehend a digital legacy because they only live for today. Yet, the online explorations of the Instant Generation are being forever recorded and stored on servers, something they never think about.

Try to remember what it was like to be 8, 10, or 15. Would you want a permanent record of your life? Are you providing guidance to make certain your child’s digital impression is one they will be proud of?

Sexual Shaming:Ask Ms. Social

Dear Ms. Social,

     My daughter just graduated from high school and we have a million things to think about before she heads off to college in the fall. Right now, we are collecting items for her dorm room, getting a new computer, and talking about a bank account for her purchases at school. We are adding to the list everyday.

     Those are all the fun things to do before she leaves. We also have to cover all the not so fun but serious matters before she ventures off on her own. One of my friends told me about a new form of cyber bullying that occurred at her son’s college last year. It is called sexual shaming. She said it was a major problem and we needed to talk to our daughter about the devastating effects on girls being victimized online.

     I have a general knowledge about what sexual shaming is from the conversation with my friend. I would like to know how to talk to my daughter on this topic and what she should know to stay safe.

                                       College bound freshman

  Dear College bound,  

    Sexual shaming is also known as slut shaming. It refers to revealing explicit nude photos, compromising videos, bragging about sexual conquests, or rating girls on their willingness to have sex and placing all the details online. The images, text, or video, once posted on social platforms like Facebook, go viral.  Other people find these images in their feed.  Commenting, rating, and sharing, the pictures spreads through social media. The victim, many times unaware until someone tells them, has been sexually shamed and her sexual encounter  or compromised photo has been publicly displayed similar to placing it on a billboard for everyone to view.  Sexual shaming involves a victim, harassment, and it occurs online just like cyber bullying.

Sexual shaming has devastating effects on the victim. In some cases, suicide has been the result of online humiliation. Often the victim was recorded without knowing it.  The victim was recorded with a hidden camera or photos were taken with a cellphone.  The perpetrator shares it with his or her friends who share it with more friends.  Many times girls “shame” other girls. Collectively, they form a group to criticize the victim. This is known as victim blaming and brings another negative element on top of the public exposure.    

  You could see where a freshman at college would be vulnerable. They are meeting many new friends and they have entered a world of independence with little supervision.  Do not think, however, that sexual shaming is just occurring on college campuses. It is also happening to middle and high school students as well.   

   There needs to be more awareness about sexual shaming. Just like cyber bullying, there are always bystanders and upstanders. We need to encourage everyone involved to be upstanders and stop the victimization.  

    Thank you for asking information on such an important social topic.                                    

     Socially yours,     

       Ms. Social

Instant Messaging Apps Every Parent Should Know

The top 10 Instant Messaging Apps in the world

There are numerous instant messaging apps and chances are if you have kids then they are using one of these. Why are they so popular?  Instant messaging is an online chat that occurs in real time. It provides a great way to communicate with multiple friends, instantly. After all, calling someone on the phone is so, so, yesterday. It also provides a way for teens to take their activity private away from prying eyes that may be looking on their social media platforms. To eliminate confusion, here is a list of the most popular instant messaging apps and also some of the features of each. They all similar but some offer numerous features that allow users to engage in multiple ways. All of these require the users to be at least 13 and one requires the user to be 17+. You will want to pay attention to which apps are age appropriate.

 Instant Messaging Apps Every Parents Should Know

WhatsApp In February, Facebook announced it would purchase this product for 19 billion dollars. Obviously, Facebook recognized the popularity of this app.

WeChat  Currently, this app supports 20 international languages for translation. It was developed in China.

Facebook Messenger It features a split-screen selfie camera and has recently added record and send short video capabilities.

Line This app is very appealing because users can send emoticons and stickers with their messages.

Viber This app offers free calls, texts, and photo sharing. It also has the added benefit of free international calls if the other user has the app installed.

Snapchat Users can set a time limit on how long their snaps can be viewed. They turned down an offer of 3 billion dollars from Facebook in 2013.

QQ This app was developed by a Chinese company and offers online games, shopping, voice chat, and microblogging.

Skype You must have a Skype account to use this service since it does not connect through a phone number.

KaKao Talk Developed in Seoul, Korea, this app launched in 2010. Users can connect by simply tapping their phones together if they each have the app installed.

Google Hangouts It offers video calling, photo sharing, emojis, and group conversations. It connects through a Google account and not a phone number.

Kik Messenger Users have multiple options of talking to groups or individuals, can send photos, or greeting cards. It is rated for 17+ in the App Store.

Tango Users can text, share photos and music, send voice or video messages, and even play games.

Message Me This app  can connect with friends through Facebook authorization. It has a feature that allows users to draw or doodle on top of photos.

Does your child use instant messaging? What is their favorite app?