Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Four Practices of A Cyber Savvy Parent

With the use of cellphones, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and countless other forms of technology rapidly increasing-and the ages they are being used at rapidly decreasing- many parents are beginning to worry about being left in the dust of this social networking storm

Various parental controls have proven themselves to be relatively effective, but it's not the entire solution to keeping your kids safe online. The variety of software devices parents can use to limit their children's access when surfing the Internet or turning on the TV are definitely helpful, but kids' seemingly infinite knowledge has allowed many of them to figure out ways to get around these boundaries, far exceeding our own knowledge of such technology. Luckily for parents, there are certain practices to try and limit sneaky online behavior and emphasize safe Internet use-five of which we've laid out for you!

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1. Communicate
Opening up a dialogue between you and your children is key when it comes to appropriate use of the Internet, cell phone, television, and other various forms of technology. Make sure to be clear with your children what sites and shows you consider acceptable and appropriate and which you do not. 

2. Familiarize 
There are so many sites that are popular for kids and teens, with new ones popping up every day, that it can seem overwhelming. Ask your kids to take you online and show you what sites they are surfing and how they work. Becoming more familiar with what they're up to can minimize confusion and maximize supervision. 

3. Centralize
Put the computer so it is in a central, open space in your house. For example, in the kitchen or living room. This way it is easier to view and monitor what it is they are getting up to and limits the amount of unsupervised Internet use. 

4. Create Awareness
Along with the increasing use of technology comes increased exposure to potential predators or cyber bullying. Be sure to stress the importance of never ever giving out personal information online about themselves or family and friends. Explain to them the dangers of talking to strangers online and why it is crucial they don't engage in such risky behavior. Also talk to your children about cyber bullying. It is important they understand that whether they are being bullied or if they are the bullies themselves, that such behavior is not acceptable in any way and they need to tell an adult they trust if such behavior is occurring. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Teaching Kids Internet Safety

The Internet and other forms of technology are becoming an increasingly important part of our daily lives, a trend that will only continue to grow. For this reason, it is crucial to teach your kids how to use such technology safely and appropriately. If used in the right ways, the Internet can actually be quite beneficial to education and provide many tools for learning

Parents often fret over the horror stories they've heard about kids and the Internet, but so many of these worries can be eased by simply teaching children acceptable Internet usage. 

Many schools are incorporating Internet safety education into their curriculum, but don't rely solely on that for teaching your children how to use the Internet. In addition to school education it's important to monitor and inform when allowing your child to use the computer and other technology. 

Jerry Crystal, the technology coordinator at Carmen Arace Middle School in Bloomfield, Connecticut, is taking steps to increase Internet awareness and safety that exceed simply having a block on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Every teacher at the school is informed and educated about the uses of technology and incorporates it into daily lessons. In addition to that each student is issued his or her own laptop and taught how to appropriately use it. Crystal also feels that it is important to create awareness about the negative outcomes of things such as cyber bullying, sexting, downloading bootlegged music, and sites that can introduce viruses into computers. 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

It is critical that parents understand that even if they just ban the use of Facebook and Twitter, their children are probably going to use it anyway. So instead of having your child sneak around behind your back, potentially opening up even more doors for inappropriate Internet usage, try to create an environment where your children feel comfortable talking to you about what it is they are up to online and stay involved in their Internet activity. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conner and Cayden Long Win Sportkids of the Year and Inspire Many [Video]

For many brothers, running around and playing sports is how they spend time together and bond- but for most siblings in Conner and Cayden Long's situation, this would not be possible. Conner Long is nine years old and his little brother Cayden is seven.

 At just four months old Cayden was diagnosed with hypertonic cerebral palsy, a condition leaving him unable to walk or even talk on his own. For many years Cayden was not able to participate in any sports-related activities and his parents were advised to put him in a home, but even such grim news didn't stop Conner from ensuring his little brother would have those opportunities. 

A year and a half ago, Conner and Cayden began participating in triathlons together. Since then they have travelled up and down the East coast competing in races. While Conner swims he pulls Cayden behind him in a raft, while he runs he pushes Cayden in a little trailer, and then when he bikes he pulls Cayden behind him in the same trailer.

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

 Although often finishing in last place, the two brothers always finish with smiles on their faces- never feeling more like winners. This touching story of the human spirit and the incredible heart of one little boy is what landed the pair in Sports Illustrated Kids as the 2012 Sportskids of the Year. 

Since Conner first got the idea from seeing an advertisement for the Nashville Kids Triathlon, he and Cayden have competed in 14 races, varying from "fun runs" to triathlons. 

 Now when Conner and Cayden attend races, many people stop and tell them how inspiring they are or ask for a picture. Their Facebook page receives tons of new posts of encouragement each day from strangers, especially parents of special needs children. 
When asked about how he feels about being referred to as a hero, Conner says he doesn't really understand all the hype, that he just sees these races as an opportunity for him and his brother to have fun together

Conner may not see himself as a hero, but his actions for his little brother have inspired countless people. The Long brothers provide hope for people who may have been told there isn't any and a reminder that kids with special needs can also be a part of the same activities that other kids are doing everyday. 

Click here to watch the inspirational story of Conner and Cayden Long- and get your tissues ready!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Japan Takes A Day Off for Coming of Age Day [Part 1 of 2]

Excitement is building throughout Japan in anticipation for the rapidly approaching national holiday, Coming of Age Day. Occurring the second Monday in January, this annual celebration is a day filled with rich culture and tradition.

 The significance of this nationally observed holiday is to congratulate and honor all those who have reached twenty years of age, also referred to as the age of majority. Festivals and events honor those who have recently turned twenty and welcome them to adulthood. 

Coming of Age ceremonies are held at local office buildings throughout Japan and after-parties are thrown by friends and family. 

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These ceremonies date all the way back to at least 714 AD. They began when a young prince changed his appearance in order to mark his transition into his twenties. This created a new trend that was made into an official national holiday in 1948.

 It was originally established to be celebrated each year on January 15th. It was not until 2000 that it was changed to become the second Monday in January. Throughout history it was mandatory that all those who attended the Coming of Age ceremonies had to be precisely twenty, but recently it has not been uncommon to find those just shy of twenty years old in attendance. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NFL's Adrian Peterson and #APCallBlake Show the Power of Social Media

 Blake Cognata 

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are often heavily criticized by parents, teachers, and other various people, being labeled as a "distraction", an "obsession", and an "irrational use of the web." 

But we at ONCEKids believe that social media accomplishes its original purpose -- to connect us. When experiencing moments of doubt in my previous statement, which i admittedly occasionally do, it is stories like the story of Blake Cognata which lift me up from this momentary hesitation and make me a supporter and believer in the power social media. 

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Blake Cognata is a high school senior at Fairport High School, a suburb of Rochester, New York, who received life changing news last February when he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the bones. This diagnosis forced him to give up playing the sports that he loves, football and lacrosse. His condition took another turn for the worst when in October, with just one remaining treatment in his chemotherapy, the doctors found that the cancer had spread throughout his entire body. The pain became too much to bear and he was admitted into Strong Hospital over the weekend. 

Adrian Peterson

All over Twitter his friends and family provided support and encouragement for Cognata with hashtags such as #findyourstrong and #staystrongblake, but it was the idea of Fairport High graduate, Dylan George, that truly demonstrated the power social networking sites like Twitter can have. With the knowledge that Minnesota Vikings' player Adrian Peterson was Cognata's hero, George decided to start the hashtag trend #APCallBlake. WIthin an hour and a half of starting the hashtag, the phone was ringing beside Cognata's hospital bed- and on the other line was Adrian Peterson.

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Cognata's mother, Diane, reports that "he told Blake not to give up and asked how long he had been sick. Then he told Blake that he had his personal cell number and to call him anytime he wanted to talk to someone. He's a very spiritual man and talked to Blake about his faith." She also said how despite the fact that the disease had spread to just about every bone in his body and he was in a tremendous amount of pain, even just a five minute phone conversation with his football hero was enough to have him "glowing" all night

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If it wasn't for sites such as Twitter, events such as these would be much more difficult, nearly impossible. Something such as a phone conversation may seem like a simple thing to some people, but to people like Cognata it can mean so much more. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are Mothers Out-Social-Media-ing Their Kids?

With 2013 upon us, it is seeming more and more like moms now aren't just jumping on the social media train -- but beginning to revolutionize how it's done. Social networking has become so much more than just a place for moms to keep an eye on their technology-addicted children. 

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In recent years, it has instead developed into a place for mothers to connect with other mothers, share their experiences and struggles, and even start up successful businesses

Much to their children's surprise (and often dismay), mothers have actually shown to be above average smartphone users, and the number of mothers owning smartphones is rapidly increasing. With 54% of mothers now owning a smartphone, it has surpassed the 50% of all mobile users in the United States. So that means that more moms are smartphone users than any other group in the U.S.! And smartphones aren't the only thing our tech-savvy moms are using. 

Moms are also showing tremendous skill in the social media world. Three out of four mothers reported visiting Facebook in one month, and even better news to our ears -- studies show that moms are 38% more likely to follow an online blog or become a "fan" of a webpage than any other group. 

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here.

Nearly five million moms across America are a member or visitor of Pinterest -- making up more than a third of unique visitors in a single month! Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are attracting a large population of mothers, but what these women are really dominating is the world of blogging. 

Now, one out of every three bloggers is a mommy-blogger! This news could not be more exciting to us at ONCEKids, where we are all about the expansion of mommy-blogging. Simply googling "Moms in Social Media" or "Mommy-bloggers" will bring you to countless online blog sites where moms post their own personal blogs or feature other mother's blogs about balancing their career with their kids as well as their marriage and the stresses and triumphs that maintaining such a balance brings- a subject that no one could understand better than other mothers.