The technology of the 21st century is revolutionizing the way we do everything—and it all changes so fast. For moms who want to understand what their kids are talking about and doing, it seems like a full-time degree level course with graduation getting further away every day. At the same time, all the low-tech jobs of being a mom are still there, screaming for your attention. What are the developments of the moment that really justify your time?
I made a parenting decision recently that I really didn’t think I’d ever make. Or at least not till my kids were, like, 35 or something! I gave my 6 year old a mobile phone.
I gave her ‘her own’ phone because while most families have grandparents and aunts and uncles that can pop round for tea from time to time, my children have none of that. Sure they have families, but no one comes round for tea at the drop of a hat because we’re separated at the minimum by a 12 hour flight. But that’s no reason the kids shouldn’t be able to have daily, at the drop of a hat, contact with their family.
So, I made the decision to give them my phone when I upgraded recently, but it wasn’t a decision I made lightly because young they may be, but within days they were downloading apps and recording things – the six year old even joined Flipagram and I was scrambling for an account so that I could keep an eye on her!
I have to be honest and say that no, I don’t really believe that my six year old is entitled to any privacy where her online life is concerned, and though she asks repeatedly, she isn’t allowed a Facebook account or her own YouTube channel yet. These are limits I have set. Her phone also only works on wifi, so there’s no need for her to take it out of the house. Another limit I have set.
And that’s the main lesson I’ve learned in giving my child freedom to own and be part of technology: That I can and must set limits.
Not long after I was grappling with how exactly to protect my child online, I was invited to find out more about The Right Click campaign with BT.
We went off to the BT Tower in London – what a treat that was! We even received a certificate to say that we’ve been to the rotating restaurant up at the top! – to find out more about the campaign, and I’d encourage all parents to visit The Right Click:Internet Safety Matters and find out more.Read more: Children and Technology: The Right Click – Internet Safety Matters
As a mum who depends on my laptop for a lot of things – from colouring in sheets to templates to worksheets to my blogs and the social media work I do, my laptop sees some heavy action for one that isn’t in full time employment! One of the issues I have with my laptop is battery life, so here are some top tips for conserving battery power so you don’t have to keep running back to a charger:
Close Background Programs and Apps
A lot of computers will still run programs and apps in the background unless you manually close them. Even if the program is minimized, it may still run in the background to enable you to open and access it quickly when you need it. You can see on the task bar whether any apps or programs are still open. You can also head to your power settings to see if any specific program uses a lot of your battery power. It’s best to close everything you are not using on your laptop if you want to make your battery last longer.
One great feature of Windows laptops like the G40 from Lenovo is that they come equipped with power-save mode to conserve the battery. Power-save mode makes small adjustments to enable your battery to last longer. Although the computer may not perform as well when you are in this mode, it will at least prolong the battery life. On your Windows computer, select the battery icon on the control bar to turn on power-save mode. You can quickly and easily turn it off once you have charged your battery so your computer is running normally when you have plenty of charge.
Don’t Run It Down Completely
Most newer laptops will shut down before you run your battery down to empty; however, that doesn’t mean you should try it. Running your battery down to empty multiple times eventually weakens it, so you should avoid letting it die completely. Conversely, you also shouldn’t overcharge it. Having your computer plugged in and constantly charging the battery even when it’s full can also weaken it.
Keep Your Battery Cool
Batteries don’t fare well with a lot of heat, and unfortunately laptops tend to generate a lot of it. Since heat breaks down both batteries and computers, it’s important to always keep your battery and your laptop cool. Make sure that you keep the vents open when you use your laptop, and try to set it on something that allows air to flow. Try to avoid setting your laptop on a pillow or on a heavy comforter where air can’t circulate as well. Finally, make sure the air vents stay clean. Consider buying a can of compressed air to clean off your laptop regularly.
Adjust Your Light Setting
Although your light setting doesn’t drain your battery in a big way, it can help if you are in a pinch. If your battery is running low, every bit helps. Turn down the light setting on your keyboard and your screen to help conserve battery power if you start getting low. If you want to save a little power day-to-day, turning the backlight and screen light down a bit will save some battery life and probably won’t even be noticeable.
Avoid Watching Videos
If you need to conserve your battery, then it’s important to avoid doing things that use a lot of your battery power. Videos and movies are some of the biggest power hogs. If your battery is getting low, avoid watching videos until you can get plugged in. Also be aware of some websites that may have videos automatically playing. Many websites now have video ads that automatically load. Social media sites also tend to automatically load or play videos as well, so see if you can disable this feature to save battery power.
Running out of battery power on your laptop can be very frustrating, but fortunately you can save your battery, both over the long run and when you just don’t have easy access to plug it in, to make sure it lasts as long as possible.
Image via Flickr by cheetah100