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Post image for The Loss of Innocence

Innocence was lost today, not just in Connecticut but across the world. Our future was tragically and horrifically gunned down in yet another act of senseless violence.

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After 9/11, our nation changed. We became paranoid, more careful and we thought, safer. Today’s events prove otherwise. Violence can come from anywhere, from strangers or from people that we know. It can be directed at a nation or at an individual. Tragically, the people who are most affected are usually the innocent, the bystanders and at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the children and those people developing these young minds into our future leaders and caretakers.

As a father of three, I have seen how innocence becomes lost. My oldest daughter’s first day of pre-school was on 9/11. Today I will pull all 3 of them into my arms and tell them I love them, forever and always.

As my children have grown, they have been exposed to more violence and more tragedy. Most likely, they don’t fully understand these horrific acts. This may, in some way, be a good thing. But I don’t want them (or me for that matter) to become desensitized to tragedies like this. At the same time, I want to shield and protect them from this crazy world. Our children are our future and we as parents and caregivers are dutifully bound to ensure their safety, success and longevity.

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Post image for 10 Tips & Some Security & Privacy Tools for Setting Up Your Child’s First Smartphone

As part of The Digital Joneses study that I’m working on with other bloggers and with Trend Micro, one of our challenges is “Staying Connected on the Go.” The study itself is one of online protection, privacy and security, using a variety of tools and software as well as tips and best practices provided by Trend Micro. This is the 4th challenge that we are undertaking and you can see some of my other articles from the challenges here.

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This current challenge outlined some tasks that we needed to do during a 24-hour period but the over-arching theme was to essentially detach from your computer, and do everything that you would normally do on your computer but on a smartphone. The funny thing is, I do this type of challenge each and every day, most typically, on the weekend. Some of the tasks we were asked to do included:

  • Posting pictures to Facebook and set the privacy so that only “Friends” could see them
  • Do some online banking
  • Catch up on emails
  • Watch YouTube videos
  • Share photos with close friends and family
  • Make an online purchase

As you can see, many of these items involve security or privacy. This is something that I don’t take lightly and neither should you. So, using the themes of safety, security and privacy, I elected to slightly modify the challenge to hopefully make it helpful to parents who are thinking about giving their child a smartphone.

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Post image for Old Fashioned Content Delivery About New Fashioned Technology – Scholastic Discover More “Technology” Book

I usually write about technology and gadgets. Anything bright and shiny really gets my attention, so much so, that I have little to no time to read books as most of my reading is confined to trade publications and articles. My children, however, especially my youngest daughter seem to LOVE reading, which is exciting. However, I just got my hands on an advanced copy of new book coming out soon by Scholastic as part of a new series called “Scholastic Discover More.” The book that caught my attention in particular was one called “Technology – How today’s technology really works” by Clive Gifford.

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Targeted towards the “Expert Reader” (ages 9-13), the “Technology” book actually was one of the first books that I have picked up and “read” in quite a long time. I put “read” in quotes because it is actually more of an advanced picture book than a book of literature. However, that doesn’t mean that it is better or worse in any way. In fact, the book is not only engaging, but it is truly educational. And, as with books about any type of technology, I would have thought that it would be instantly out of date. In fact, it is pretty current and discusses and breaks down the latest technology trends in easy to understand examples (complete with bright and shiny pictures as well). And, to top it off, each book comes with a unique code that allows you to download a digital companion to it.

Technology-ebook-cover

The structure of the “Technology” book is unique. For starters, it is broken up in to chapters around certain subjects and within each subject are sub-sections. The primary sections (and some of the sub-sections – I did not list all of them) are: [click to continue…]

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People have been searching for the Fountain of Youth for ever, the magic elixir that will keep them perpetually young. I hate to disappoint them, there really is no such thing. Youth comes from within, from your soul, your heart and your mind. If you want to be young, you will be. Conversely, you want to be old, your body and brain will act as such. Some people are born as old souls, like my middle daughter. Even as a baby, she would stare at you with a look that said, I already know everything about you. Me, I’m a young soul, a kid at heart.

I will not say whether being an old soul or new soul is better or worse. It is what it is. You just have to be comfortable with whatever soul you have been given. And what I wanted to talk about here was how to refresh that young soul. Many times, people lose touch with their inner spirit, whether it be old or new. Since I don’t understand old souls, I simply cannot say how to refresh them, or even if they need to be refreshed. I can so, however, that young souls can be recharged, re-energized and revitalized. Children epitomize the young soul, even if some are old souls at heart. Children in general are inquisitive, enjoy toys, and simply “like playing with things.” I just asked my youngest daughter, Sally, who is six, why she likes toys. Her answer was simple “because they are fun to play with.” It is this “fun factor” that we often lose as we get older.

So as a young soul that may have an aging body, how do you keep yourself youthful or, heaven forbid, regain your youth? It varies from person to person. I have found my “fountain of youth” though…gadgets. When I get a new device, I embark on a new voyage of discovery. There is a strong attraction to novelty, the unknown and newness that drives people to explore. For me, I feel this every time I unbox a new device. I enjoy exploring every aspect of a gadget, to understand how it works, why it was designed the way it was, and what it can be used for apart from just the obvious.

The funny thing is, kids are born pure, it is only through the acquisition of knowledge that they become jaded, influenced and corrupted. But I believe that the toy appeal remains persistent. For some, it evolves into being utilitarian (e.g., a car is a transportation device). For others, toys become a way to feel the excitement of youth again.

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