Online Safety Tips for the Whole Family

Internet Family SafetyTechnology has a tight grip on today’s youth, and while there are undoubtedly some upsides to the digital world, there are also numerous dangers, especially for children. Internet security and privacy can impact what your child is exposed to via web searches, friends and bullies and advertisements, and can also help you protect personal information such as your home address, credit card numbers and even bank account information.

Here are a few tips to help you and your children enjoy the internet and its benefits with minimal risk:

  • Keep your home WiFi secure with a password to restrict bandwidth use as well as prevent intentional or accidental malware attacks.
  • Read online privacy policies, and encourage your teenagers to do the same. Many networks and websites require personal information in order to create an account or register, so make sure you know what the creators intend to do with the information before passing it along. Take the time to look into their security measures as well, to prevent phishing and identity theft.
  • Maintain open communication with your children, as well as with older members of the family. Make sure they are aware of the potential dangers, such as viruses, identity theft, credit card fraud, exposure to adult content and social issues such as stalking and bullying. Encourage them to keep personal plans private, including schedules, travel plans and pictures with identifiable details.
  • Keep live online gaming safe by switching on the safety measures in the game consoles and by educating your children about cyberbullying and predators. Games such as Xbox Live should be played under a fake name, and personal information should never be given freely.
  • Keeping your children in the loop and maintaining channels of communication is very important, but extra caution may be necessary. Parental Control tools such as BullGuard Internet Security or eSafely enable parents to monitor internet use and restrict certain activities, as well as block inappropriate websites.
  • Don’t underestimate hackers. Keep your online information and accounts safe with strong, unique passwords, and change them regularly.

“Smart Tooth”: A New Solution for the Health Conscious?

People struggling to monitor their eating habits and other aspects of their health may have an answer in the new “Smart Tooth”, which is currently being developed at the Taiwan National University. Made to cap a tooth like a crown, this small device tracks the movement of the mouth and identifies different activities such as speaking, chewing and smoking. Researchers believe it can track data that may help people who over-eat or smoke. The information can also be collected for analysis and research on a broader scale.

Learn more with Reuters:


Get the Most Out of Your Sleep

The use of phones and other mobile devices is becoming more and more common, and especially from bed. This habit may actually have a negative effect on sleep quality.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “more than 90 percent of Americans regularly use a computer or electronic device of some kind in the hour before bed.” Researchers have found that the “exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle.”

Those suffering from mild sleep disorders or disturbances may want to consider turning off all electronics prior to bed. Here are some other sleep-supporting habits to try, from

  • Go to bed earlier. As simple as it seems, going to bed earlier can help you get the extra sleep your body craves. Even if you don’t feel tired, try lying down about an hour earlier until you get a full 7-8 hours each night.
  • Relieve stress. People with uncontrolled stress are more prone to insomnia. But exercise, meditation, yoga and other techniques can help you relax. Do something to relieve stress each day.
  • Let it out. Try to decrease your brain activity before bed by writing down your thoughts in a journal. It will help clear your mind so you can close the book on today and move forward.
  • Turn down the lights. It’s more difficult to fall and stay asleep in a room that is too bright. Wear a sleeping mask and close the blinds and curtains to diminish light and set the mood for sleep.
  • Relax a little. Schedule some downtime each day for meditative activities like stretching, reading or enjoying a hot bath. This can help you unwind after an intense, stressful day so you’ll sleep more soundly.
  • Eat at regular intervals. This keeps your energy and blood sugar levels stable all day long. With fewer highs and lows, you’ll be alert all day and ready to sleep at night.
  • Add white noise. Most people can’t fall asleep when it’s too loud. Wear ear plugs to drown out disturbing sounds and turn on “white noise,” like a fan or rain CD, so you can sleep more soundly.

Smartphone App Reaches Out for the Chronically Ill

Chronic medical conditions such as pain, depression or diabetes, often leave people feeling helpless, eventually leading them to withdraw from society. Doctors or specialists may not see or treat them at all until they show up in an emergency room.

Technology has many uses these days; some of which may save lives. A new app that tracks activity and movement may help patients when they begin to draw inward by alerting the appropriate doctor or caregiver. According to the New York Times, the app tracks how often calls and texts are made, as well as movement and activities.

The United States military, insurance companies and several medical chains have begun backing these digital flares. Hospitals and medical centers throughout the country have already begun testing this technology.

Michael Seid, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, explained:

“It’s a potential human early-warning system, the body’s check-engine light.

“When your pain increases, you’re less likely to be at the park or the mall. It could be early indicators of a flare-up or worsening of the disease,” he added, explaining that the technology “measures social behavior at a scale and depth you just didn’t have before.”

Barnes & Noble Lowers Tablet Prices to Box Out Competition

Barnes & Noble, in an effort to meet the growing market demands as well as box out some competition, has lowered the prices of all three of its tablets this week.

The newest Nook Tablet, which has 16GB of memory, now costs $199, down $50 from its original price. The prices of the 8GB Nook and Nook Color have also been reduced.

Experts are not surprised by the bookstore’s move. Schools and colleges are preparing for another year and demand for hand-held computers and other media devices grows rapidly as students add them to their supply lists.

Forrester Research’s Sarah Rotman Epps explained:

“Barnes & Noble is competing with the Google Inc. Nexus, the Inc. Kindle Fire, and in the future there could be a smaller iPad from Apple Inc. They have to stay competitive with their pricing as well as clear out old inventory to make way for new products.”

Epps added that the company is currently working on a ‘product cycle,’ which includes offers of new tablets for the holiday gift season as well as e-readers for events like graduation or Father’s Day.

“You have to give them credit because they’ve become a consumer-electronics company, where just a few years ago they were just a book company. Barnes & Noble is on a rapid product cycle, and you need to sacrifice pricing on old products and constantly refresh. They’re competing with the Goliaths.”

South Korean Builds Homemade Satellite to Inspire Others to Pursue Their Dreams

In an effort to encourage people to pursue their dreams, 34-year-old Song Hojun built a satellite in his basement.

The South Korean spent years collecting pieces from back-alley electronic stores to create his $500 OpenSat, which will be launched into space later this year.

“Making a satellite is no more difficult than making a cellphone,” Hojun claims. “I believe that not just a satellite, but anything can be made with the help of the internet and social platforms. I chose a satellite to show that symbolically.”

Though universities and other science-focused organizations have launched ‘homemade’ satellites in the past, Hojun believes his is the first that was completely designed and funded by an individual.

Hojun is known to combine art and technology, seeing as he is an engineering student in university. He was inspired to begin his Open Satellite Initiative, which incorporates the two fields, after working for a private satellite company. He explained that the fact that he was just one guy actually helped him throughout the process.

“I’m just an individual, not someone working for big universities, corporations or armies, so they open up to me and easily give out information,” he said of the space professionals that he contacted around the world.

Hojun’s satellite will be launched, with the help of technology company NovaNano, from Kazakhstan in December.