Tips For Gifting Tech This Holiday Season

Thanks to the Consumer Technology Association for hosting a lunch & learn and giving me some amazing technology to try with my family. This post contains affiliate links.

Every year so many new tech products come out on the market and sometimes it’s hard to know which to buy, especially when you are shopping for others. I recently went to a lunch where I learned more about new items on the market and also got tips for things to consider when gifting technology items. I wanted to share what I learned and hope it helps you head to the store (or shop online) with confidence!

Virtual Reality Headsets:

A virtual reality headset isn’t something anyone really needs but, trust me, it’s something that everyone on your list would be so excited to get! When shopping for a VR headset you will want to choose one that has a wide-variety of games and apps that are compatiable with it. You’ll also want to make sure the headset has a high-resolution display and comfortable fit. VR headsets allow you to step into another world and explore new things. I learned that students can even use these headsets to view coursework in a whole new way and see it all in 3D! Our whole family loves the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream VR headset that we received. It is the world’s first standalone VR headset that sets a new bar for hassle-free VR experiences because it doesn’t require PCs, phones, cables, or external sensors. Equipped with WorldSense™ technology, users can duck, dodge, lean, and move in ways enhance the virtual reality experience. The Mirage Solo also contains a powerful Qualcomm processor, a high resolution low-latency display, and a built-in battery. All of this is wrapped in an ergonomic design that makes the Mirage Solo comfortable and easy to use.

Phone cases to protect phones on the go:

With as expensive as smart phones are nowadays, a quality case is a must-have in my opinion. When looking for a phone case you will want to make sure it’s made with materials that absorb shock and that there’s easy access to ports, buttons, and the camera. Personally, I love the Speck phone cases and have a pretty pink sparkly one on my Galaxy S8+. For those with iPhones they have two new products- the Presidio Pro, a protective, slim case with anti-microbial protection tested to withstand drops of up to 10 feet, and the Presidio Stay Clear, that has a new, innovative coating that resists UV-yellowing and discoloration caused by lotions and other oils.

Headphones:

Raise your hand if people blasting music and other media in public spaces drives you crazy! ? If so, give the gift of headphones to anyone who loves listening to music on the go. When picking out in-ear headphones make sure that they come with at least three pairs of eartips for the perfect fit. Also, if shopping for someone who is going to wear them when working out, you’ll want to look for a rating of IPX4 or higher which means they are sweatproof. One pair of headphones that we learned about was the wireless Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 earbuds. The Always Aware™ eartips let you simultaneously listen to music and hear your surroundings for safer training in any environment, while soft, flexible and secure-fit earloops provide comfort and maximum stability. Sweatproof and waterproof, these earbuds are designed to hold up against your most intense workouts.

STEM gifts for kids:

As a parent of two tweens I can tell you that STEM gifts are very popular nowadays. When looking for STEM gifts you’ll want to consider the child’s interests to ensure learning will be fun! Gifts that help tweens learn essential STEM skills are a great thing to give because, in the next decade, 77% of jobs will require some degree of technology skills. I also learned that girls who were given early coding experience were more likely to report higher technology interest than girls who did not. One fun gift to give, that I know my Harry Potter loving boys would love, is the new Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit. This is the first ever Harry Potter wand that actually works. The wand its able to detect its position in space and recognizes over 30 signature spell motions from the Wizarding World universe. It takes you on a journey from beginner to coder with step-by-step challenges, creativity and fun.

On-the-go charging:

Whether you are shopping for a busy mom or an always-on-the-go young professional, I can guarantee one thing- a phone charger is an invaluable gift! According to Techlicious, 90% of people worry about losing power on our phones. When looking for a portable phone charger you’ll want to get one that not only charges electronics quickly, but has been rigorously tested to ensure safe charging for devices. The Belkin BOOST↑CHARGE™ Power Bank 10K with Lightning Connector is awesome because it is the first-to-market MFi-certified power bank to recharge via Lightning connector, ideal for on-the-go charging as you only need to carry a single cable.

Health & Ftness Smartwatches:

If you have a fitness lover on your shopping list a smartwatch, if they don’t have one yet, makes the perfect gift. When debating which smartwatch to purchase, one thing you’ll want to consider is if the gift receiver would prefer a rugged look or if they’d prefer a more stylish watch. Fitbit’s newest smartwatch serves as the ultimate daily health and fitness companion that empowers users to make the most every moment, stay connected and reach their goals, and simplify their lives. With on-screen workouts, 4+ days battery life, personalized reminders, female health tracking and all-day activity tracking, the Versa Fitbit is the perfect gift for those at all levels of fitness. It’s also available in rose gold or silver aluminum with a variety of stylish accessories. Have a child interested in a Fitbit? My nine year old asked for one this year and Santa is bringing him the Fitbit Ace!

Makeup mirror:

Searching for that perfect gift for a woman who loves doing her makeup? A makeup mirror is a unique gift she probably doesn’t have yet! When searching for a makeup mirror you’ll want to find one that uses full-spectrum LED lighting to illuminate their face for the most natural makeup application. The iHome Vanity Speaker was designed to be as elegant and full featured as any vanity available and it boasts a tilting, distortion-free mirror on one side with a magnified mirror on the reverse side. Best of all, it’s Alexa enabled with tap-to-talk capability. It can play music and audiobooks along with being able to control smart home devices, get weather, news, traffic and more!

What tech will you be gifting this holiday season?

Family-Friendly Halloween Movies To Stream

Thanks to Best Buy for sponsoring this post.

Halloween time is always a favorite holiday for my kids because it means lots and lots of candy. It also means evenings curled up under blankets while we have spooktacular family movie nights at home. Here are 20 family-friendly movies to enjoy during the Halloween season:

1) Hocus Pocus

2) Toy Story of Terror

3) Coraline

4) Casper (there’s lots of versions but the 1995 one is my favorite!)

5) The Addams Family

6) Spookley the Square Pumpkin

7) It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

8) The Nightmare Before Christmas

9) Monster’s Inc.

10) Halloweentown

11) Goosebumps

12) Scared Shrekless

13) Hotel Transylvania

14) Ghostbusters

15) E.T.

16) Scooby-Doo

17) Monster House

18) Frankenweenie

19) Monsters vs Aliens

20) The Corpse Bride

With the Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player you don’t have to have cable to have access to the best Halloween movies because you can stream your favorite entertainment (movies, shows, live TV, YouTube, and more) from over 2,000 apps directly from your phone or other devices.

Using the Chromecast is easy, just plug it into the HDMI port on your existing HDTV to power and stream your favorite entertainment right from your phone with just a tap. With it’s high-speed wireless connectivity you can watch shows, listen to playlists, and more. And while streaming, you can still use your phone as you normally do.

If you have other smart home features, like a Google Home, you can even control your TV hands-free- no need to get out from under your cozy blankets! With Chromecast and Google Home working seamlessly together you can start streaming with just your voice by saying what you want to watch from compatible apps.

I love discovering new tech that makes movie night better! Don’t you? You can find the Google Chromecast at Best Buy here.

For even more fun on your Halloween movie night, pop some popcorn, order a pizza (and top it with fake spiders!), and serve a ghoulish treat (like these fun, strawberry swirl eyeball cupcakes). What else do you like to do on family movie night? Come chat with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Summer Tech Camps For Tweens And Teens

Thanks to iD Tech for sponsoring this post.

Looking for a unique summer camp option for your tweens or teens? Make screen time learning time at iD Tech Camps! Students ages 7-17 learn to code, design video games, mod Minecraft, create with Roblox, engineer robots, print 3D characters, work with AI, build laptops, design Fortnite-inspired games, learn about cybersecurity, and more! Read about iD Tech Camps below and make sure to grab the exclusive discount code at the end of this post!

iD Tech is the #1 tech camp and they’ve been around for over 20 years, paving the way in STEM education, with over 350,000 alumni passing through their programs. There are 150+ locations nationwide at prestigious colleges and universities including Northwestern, Loyola University, Lake Forest, Stanford, MIT, and others.

With world-class instructors, customized learning, and partnerships with the biggest names in tech (like Adobe, Android, and Microsoft!) their programs provide tools that empower students to create and innovate like the pros and instill in-demand skills that embolden students to shape the future. They are a passion driven company encouraging all kids to pursue STEM activities and they are helping bridge the digital divide by reserving 10% of camp spots for underpriveledged studens and they created a special all-girls program that is now the country’s largest tech camp for girls. Awesome, right?!

Students can choose from 50 cutting-edge summer courses from RoboCoder: LEGO Robotics and Visual Programming (for ages 7-9) to Build, Invent, and Code Your Take-Home Laptop (for ages 10-12) to Coding and Development 101 (for ages 13-17). I think my boys would be most interested in the video game creation classes. There’s even one for all those teens obsessed with Fortnight!

Have a social savvy teen? They’d probably love to take social media classes like Photo Booth: Pro Photography for Instagram (for ages 10-15) and Video Production and Special Effects for YouTube (for ages 13-17). I wish I would have been able to take social media classes before social media became part of my full-time job!

Not only will your child master new tech skills but they will also have FUN! Camps include things like dress-up days, raffles, outdoor activities, gaming tournaments, music video parodies, pie-your-instructor Fridays, and more. The fun camp culture takes the pressure off so students can build a lifelong passion for tech alongside new friends.

I am pleased to be able to offer Making Time For Mommy readers an exclusive discount code to recieve $75 off when you register your child with code CHIMOMS18 before 5/31/18! Courses sell-out quickly, so get started today at www.idtech.com or call (888) 709-8324 for personalized course recommendations. I’d love to hear which camp your child would enjoy and feel free to tweet with me (@aliciamarie112) to tell me all about your child’s experience this summer. I can’t wait to hear all about the fun and learning!

Keeping Kids Safe Online With The CUJO Smart Firewall

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

The internet can be an amazing tool for kids when it comes to learning, finding entertainment, and more. As a parent though, I’m well aware of all the safety issues that come with children exploring the world wide web. From what our children are watching online to cyber bullying, technology has created a whole host of issues that we want to protect our children from.

As much as I try to stay on top of my kids when it comes to online use, I appreciate anything that helps me provide a safe internet experience for them. CUJO, a smart firewall, does just that. Not only does it protect all our devices connected to the WiFi router with business-level internet security (blocking malicious sites, viruses, and hacks) but it lets us control what our kids access online and keeps them safe.

CUJO offers a number of parental control features including:

  • parental controls for all devices
  • internet filter
  • time limits
  • social media monitoring
  • pause internet
  • alerts and reporting
  • remote administration
  • user profiles and settings

My favorite feature is the ability to pause the internet by device. My boys love to watch YouTube videos in their free time and we’ve made it clear that using the internet is a privilege, not a right. If they talk back or otherwise misbehave, they lose electronics for the rest of the day (or week depending on the behavior) and we can simply “pause” their internet so they can’t access it. It can also be paused temporarily so if they are trying to use the phone or tablet before their chores are done we can cut internet on the one device until the chore is done and then give them access again afterwards.

 The CUJO Smart Firewall can be found at Best Buy. What are your favorite features of the CUJO?

Teaching Children To Code

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.

As a parent, I want my children to have the best chance at success as possible. Nowadays, that means learning tech skills like coding. Though my children are young, I think it’s vital for them to learn how to use technology in as many ways as possible because I see tech jobs only becoming more desirable in the future. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than one million unfilled tech jobs within the next three years. I want my children to be qualified for the jobs if they choose to work in the tech industry when they get older.

In my research into places that offer coding, I’ve found a number of introductory classes but not much that helps kids really dive into coding and lets them explore all that can be done with the skill. That’s why I was excited to learn about Codeverse, the world’s first hackable classroom and vertically integrated technology platform designed to teach children ages 6 to 12 the vital skill of coding. Children and Tweens aren’t only learning the basics but using the skills they learn to bring technology to life by coding projects, games and apps. Kids learn code in an immersive environment full of cutting-edge technology and every object in the studio can be controlled by their code, including drones, robots, 3D printers, lasers, and more!

The flagship state-of-the-art coding studio will open in the Chicago area (Lincoln Park) this July. The million-dollar, 3600 square foot interactive and collaborative space has on-site staff, made up of certified K-12 teachers. Kids use their iPads to navigate the space and write with the company’s proprietary kid-friendly coding language, KidScript, which enables them to build games and apps as well as hack hundreds of objects ranging from lasers and 3d printers to robotic arms and fog machines. 

Codeverse is the brainchild of Craig Ulliott and Katy Lynch who, along with friend Dave Arel, are on a mission to teach a billion children to code. They are well on their way to that goal with the Lincoln Park classroom opening in July and three more Codeverse studios planned for Chicago over the next 18 months. Additionally, they will be opening studios in every major metropolitan area within the next five years before expanding internationally.

“Learning to code at a young age is an absolute necessity for all kids,” says Lynch. “Coding today is so much more than computer science; it’s a way of thinking that promotes intellectual curiosity, problem solving and creative expression. These are the real skills kids need for their futures.”

Codeverse membership starts at $125 per month, and gives children recurring use of the studio space as well as access to the coding platform from home. The platform and curriculum is designed for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Parents and guardians can learn more and register students at www.codeverse.com.

 

Keep Your Eyes On The Road With Navdy

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Navdy but all thoughts are my own.

As a mom of two busy boys I feel like most of my time is spent in the car. Whether I’m dropping the kids off at school or picking them up, driving to a sports practice or game, or just running the errands on my never ending to-do list, my car is like my second home. Since so much of my time is spent in my vehicle, I’m excited to share that I’ve been partnering with Navdy to review their new device that makes it possible to safely stay connected while driving – something that makes life so much easier when I’m on the go!

Navdy is the first Augmented Driving device that leverages augmented reality to project information directly in the driver’s line of sight, for an all new driving experience. Navdy enables simple, gesture-based access to the phone functions drivers need most and projects everything directly in their line of sight on the road ahead. A comprehensive eyes-forward solution, drivers can manage all their phone necessities like maps, calls, and messages, while keeping their eyes on the road.

Here’s a video that shows Navdy in use so you can get a better idea of how it works:

Navdy was pretty easy to install in my older model van. It took Sinisa about 30 minutes or so to install it after he watched the short installation video they have on their site. Installation consists of three things: mounting the display unit on the dashboard, attaching the dial to the steering wheel, and downloading the Navdy app.

The part of installation that took the longest was mounting the display because he wanted to put it in the best place possible. Every car’s dashboard is designed differently so you want to try the unit in different places on the dash to find the spot where it will sit well and have the display in your line of vision when you are driving. The unit’s clear screen is flexible and can be adjusted for different heights. One feature about the main unit that I like a lot is the fact that it can be removed from the base and hidden so you don’t have an expensive piece of technology sitting there on your dash when you leave your car in a parking lot.

Once your display is mounted you will want to attach the dial to the steering wheel which is really simple to do. First, pick which side of the steering wheel you feel most comfortable with, then use the dial’s strap to fasten it securely with the dial on the inside of the steering wheel. The Navdy Dial is your main tool for interacting with your phone and the display while driving so make sure it’s in a place near where your hands sit naturally on the steering wheel. You can scroll through menu options by spinning the dial with your thumb, and can select songs, contacts, routes and more by tapping the button in the center.

The last thing you need to do when setting up your Navdy is to download their app to your phone. Sinisa added the app to both his iPhone and my Android phone easily. The Navdy app works with the Navdy display, allowing you to control your phone without having to pick it up. Choose a song that’s in tune with your mood, view incoming callers, messages and more. With the Navdy App, your car is completely connected with your phone and the road ahead.

There are lots of features and uses that make the Navdy amazing. Here are some of my favorites:

Google Maps- The navigation is what I use Navdy for the most. For years I used a GPS but every time I had to look at the map I needed to take my eyes off the road. With Navdy the map is in front of me, which means that I can follow the map without having to look away from the road. I like that I can zoom in and out with a turn of the steering wheel dial. Navdy also makes it easy to search for destinations, routes, and traffic, even while you are offline.

Notifications- Navdy alerts you to notifications that you think are important. You can customize which notifications you see. I chose to have Navdy alert me when I receive calls and text messages because those are the only two notifications I really need on the go. Navdy can read your messages out loud (if you’d like it to) and lets you respond using Siri or Google Now. You can also accept, or dismiss calls (and hang up) with a swipe of your hand so you aren’t having to fumble with your phone.

Music- Navdy lets you control your favorite music apps with a turn of the dial on your steering wheel. I love this feature, especially when the kids are in the car, because it lets me skip songs that aren’t really appropriate for the kids to listen to.

Navdy is intuitive- Navdy detects low fuel, monitors traffic, and automatically re-routes if there’s congestion ahead. And the longer you use it, the more it learns about you. Based on habits and calendar events, it can anticipate your needs and make helpful, time-saving suggestions.

Overall, I have had a great experience using the Navdy Head-Up Display and think this piece of technology is well worth the $499 price tag. You can learn more about Navdy and how to purchase it here.

20 Songs I’m Streaming This Month

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I love listening to music. Whether I’m working, cleaning, or driving in the car, it just brightens my day. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite songs that I’ve been streaming this month and I’d love to hear what songs you’re loving right now, too!

I recently received two Google Chromecast Audio units from Best Buy and it’s made the experience of listening to music around my home so much better. They enable me to play music on speakers, new or old, wirelessly from my phone, laptop or tablet. Chromecast Audio streams over Wi-Fi which has many advantages over Bluetooth including higher sound quality.

Previously I just listened to music on my phone through the phone’s speaker but I ran into a couple issues. First, it was a pain to carry my phone with me from room to room as I was trying to clean and then half the time my battery would die before I was done listening to my music. Then, when I received a call or text, my music would be interrupted which was annoying. With Google Chromecast Audio I don’t have to worry about this because it lets me stream my music over speakers without having to worry about draining my battery or texts and calls interrupting what’s playing. I like that I can easily use my phone to play, pause, or change the volume from anywhere in the home.

Chromecast Audio makes it easy to stream music, podcasts and more through apps like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Google Play Music. I also love that I can play music throughout my home by grouping my devices together so I can listen to the same song on multiple speakers. That means that whatever room I walk into as I clean or put away laundry has the same song playing as the room I just walked out of. Listening to music is just much more enjoyable now thanks to this new device!

Do you like to stream music? Let me know what songs or artists you are streaming so I can check them out!

Upgrade Your Tech This Tax Refund Season

This post was sponsored by Samsung as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

It’s almost tax refund season which means that soon, many of us are going to have some cash in our pockets. Because of this, these next couple months are a popular time to upgrade technology. Walmart helps make that extra cash in our pockets go the extra mile by offering great deals on Samsung products. Whether you are looking to upgrade your smartphone to a newer version, get a tablet so you can stay connected on the go, want a larger television for watching your favorite shows or want to make the audio in your home better, Walmart has a variety of options to choose from. Below I’m sharing some of the best Samsung offers you can find at Walmart this tax refund season.

Smartphones

Many of us use our smartphones on a daily (usually hourly!) basis so it’s important that we have technology that can meet all of our needs. Whether you need a phone with a long battery life so you can check your work email when you are on the go, need plenty of storage space to keep all your photos. or use social media to stay connected with your loved ones, a quality smartphone is a must!

Straight Talk GS5 @ $199

Available at Walmart and Walmart.com here.

The Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE Prepaid Smartphone has a fast quad-core dual processor that is ideal for everything, from gaming to multitasking. It also has 5.1″ full HD super AMOLED touchscreen that makes all of your phone activity come alive. The incredibly powerful 16MP camera on this Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone takes breathtaking photos. The 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera can be used for selfies and video phone calls. No need to worry about memory, the Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE prepaid smartphone has an internal memory of 16GB. This phone is also designed to be water-resistant as well.

 Straight Talk GS7 @599

Available at Walmart and Walmart.com here.

The Straight Talk Galaxy S7 G930VL LTE is the smartphone your life can’t do without. It’s big on screen and slim on profile. And with an IP68 rating that protects it from spills, splashes and even dunks, you can forget about searching the internet for magical solutions to dry out your smartphone. Just wipe if off and keep going. When the sun sets and the fun starts, the world’s first dualpixel smartphone camera makes capturing low-light photos a breeze. No more photos where your awesome night out with friends looks like blurry shapes in a cave. And stop waiting around for your phone to charge. With fast wireless charging, the Straight Talk Galaxy S7 powers up from 0 to 100 percent in no time. Plus deciding which photo album to scrap just so you can add something new is now a distant memory. With expandable memory you can add up to 200GB to keep the content you love, and keep adding to it.

Tablets

Tablets are great for live streaming our favorite shows on the go or keeping the kids occupied on long road trips. If you don’t have a tablet yet, you’ll want to check out this cool Samsung one!

Tab E 9.6”

Available at Walmart and Walmart.com here.

The 7,300mAh battery keeps you powered up to watch, read and game at home or on the go. The Galaxy Tab E was made to go wherever you go and do whatever you want to do. From watching a movie with the family at home to reading a bestseller at the coffee shop, the big, bright screen keeps everyone entertained. Enjoy more of your favorite music, photos, movies and games on the go with a microSD card that expands your tablet’s memory from 16GB to up to an additional 128GB. Make shareable moments better with the Galaxy Tab E’s advanced camera features. Catch more in each photo with Panorama and Continuous Shot modes. Video chat from anywhere. And quickly toggle between camera and video modes. With the Galaxy Tab E, you won’t miss a thing.

Televisions 

Televisions have changed so much over the past decades. When we finally upgraded to smart tv’s, watching television became much more enjoyable. Now there are even newer advancements in televisions that produce better quality images and a sharper picture.

UHD TV – U60KU6270

Available at Walmart and Walmart.com here.

This Samsung television provides 4K UHD Picture Quality which provides an incredible picture and dramatic detail. Its 4K resolution means everything you watch looks 4x sharper than Full HD. This tv has a slim design so nothing stands between you and your viewing experience. This television has Smart View which means that you can watch your tv entertainment on your mobile device or watch your mobile media on your TV via the Smart View App.

Audio

There is nothing better than being able to watch movies in your own home and have such great sound that you feel like you are in the theater. A television alone will not give you the sound you are looking for so you have to add on audio elements that have the volume, bass and power that you need to make movie night more memorable.

DAV- Soundbar – HW-KM36

Available at Walmart and Walmart.com here.

 The Samsung Bluetooth Soundbar 2.1ch 130W Wireless Subwoofer (HW-KM36/ZA) helps you to enjoy cinematic sound for a more immersive experience. It features TV SoundConnect to make it easy to set up with just one push of a button. The Bluetooth design means that you can connect wirelessly with no clutter. This TV soundbar utilizes 3D SoundPlus, a feature that makes 3D movies more incredible by analyzing the depth of the images as they appear, then synchronizing to what’s onscreen for making the illusion of three dimensions even more powerful. Its 130 watts deliver the volume, bass and power that you need to make movie night more memorable. It’s 2.1 channels of sound allow for stereo sound. You can use the Samsung Audio Remote App from your phone or smart device to control your home theater. This unit’s subwoofer gives the outstanding quality of sound that you require.

What technology are you looking to upgrade this year?

 

Personally, I hope to add some audio products, like the Samsung Bluetooth Soundbar, into our living room.

Last Minute Gift Idea For The Techie Dad

Do you have a dad or husband who has to have the best and newest tech available? If so, you are going to want to read this post to learn about this Samsung phone + Gear VR bundle special. Thanks to Best Buy for sponsoring this post.

Mobile virtual reality has finally arrived. Dad can be at the center of exciting games, watch the best of Hollywood in his own private cinema, socialize with friends, and so much more. The Samsung Gear VR drops him right in the action — and it’s only from Samsung and Oculus.

The Samsung Gear VR is comfortable and durable. It’s light, ergonomic design features a wide facial interface, flexible padding and an easy-to-use touchpad. Plus, it fits over most eyeglasses.

Does dad love tv and movies? With the Oculus Video app, you can customize trailers, clips and even your own movie files. Plus you can buy hundreds of full-length Hollywood movies and TV shows. He can stream over 1 million short films and videos from Vimeo. There is also a Netflix app on Gear VR that offers a living room experience, so it feels like you’re on your couch watching TV shows, movies and more, wherever you are. He’d love that!

Is dad more of a gamer? He can purchase and play premium games with Gear VR. He can also keep up with the best gamers in Twitch.

This bundle makes a great gift idea and if you are considering it you’ll want to head on over to Best Buy today because they have a great deal going on right now. You can get a free Samsung Gear VR, plus $50 of Virtual Reality content with purchase, or lease, and activation of select Samsung Smartphones now though 6/18 online or in stores. Isn’t that awesome!? If you were getting dad a phone anyways (like we are) why not shop at Best Buy to get the amazing free gift? Learn more and see other Samsung at Best Buy deals here.

 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

 

 

 

Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores Make Smartphone Shopping Easy

(Disclosure: I’ve been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card.)

I love getting new smartphones but I don’t really enjoy shopping for them. There’s so many choices and I’m always nervous that I’ll get a phone that isn’t a good fit for me.  As a blogger and someone who is always connected to my phone via email and social media I need something that’s fast, holds a battery well, and lets me access a variety of apps and programs.

Since learning about Best Buy Mobile specialty stores I am no longer dreading my trip to choose my next device. They offer the latest devices and carriers all in one place from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, from all the top brands, along with stylish accessories to suit any lifestyle. Stores are located in convenient places like malls and shopping centers so I don’t have to go out of my way to run this errand. Best of all their prices are the same as the carriers (with no mail-in rebates to worry about!) and their sales people aren’t paid commission so they won’t try to get you to buy a more expensive phone that’s not right for you. They can set up and activate your new phone, transfer your contacts and data and set you up with the complimentary Walk Out Working™ program.

There are over 410 Best Buy Mobile specialty stores. Find one near you. Need a new smartphone accessory? Get a $5 off coupon for one in-stock mobile phone case, shield or charger here (valid only at Mobile Specialty Stores). Coupon valid 11/1/13-11/30/13.

Protect Your Devices With Trend Micro This School Year {Giveaway}

Internet security is something that should be taken very seriously. I was a brand Ambassador for Trend Micro for a year as a “Digital Jones” family but even now, months after my contract ended, I still rely on them to keep my family safe. When I heard about their back-to-school sale I knew I had to share it with you because 1) it’s a great product 2) who doesn’t love to save money and 3) this is one of the most important back-to-school purchases you will make.

As you know, technology is changing daily, making it challenging for parents to keep up.  Parents are concerned not only with what their kids are sharing online, but also with what they are receiving and viewing online. Trend Micro want to help make parent’s lives easier.

Now through September 2, Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security is only $44.95 (usually $89.95).  This software will protect up to 3 devices (laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.), whether they are PC, Mac, or Android for an entire year: http://www.trendmicro.com/us/home/products/titanium/max-security/index.html

Here are just a few awesome features of Trend Micro Max Security:

  • Monitors and protects kids on social network websites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Restricts web content and access to desktop applications, and sets an access schedule for your kids
  • Identifies settings that may leave a family’s personal information vulnerable using the new Privacy Scanner For Facebook feature
  • Indicates dangerous links on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, Sina Weibo and Mixi

Trend Micro also offers a free 30 day trial so you can see how you like the software before you buy it:  http://www.trendmicro.com/us/security/products/index.html

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky reader will win Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security software which will cover up to 3 devices for 1 year

HOW TO ENTER:

 {Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Trend Micro on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

5) Leave a comment on another blog post

Giveaway ends September 2, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or older and a US citizen to win.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I was a Trend Micro Ambassador for a year but that campaign is now over. I was not compensated for this post.)

#SecureNewYear Twitter Party

This is the time of year to make resolutions. If there’s one resolution you must keep in regards to technology in 2013 it is this: Keep yourself and your family safe and free from security threats via your technology. With holiday spending at its highest in the past three years, Trend Micro is helping consumers start the New Year by protecting all their new tech gear against the latest security threats.

Start the New Year safe and join Trend Micro on January 15, 2013 for a Twitter party to talk about technology safety, keeping your family safe on the Internet, and tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from safety threats through technology.

DETAILS:

Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Time: 9 to 10 pm ET

Where: On Twitter following #SecureNewYear

Follow the Hosts: @girlslunchout and @fearlessweb

TweetGrid Link: http://bit.ly/10cyZMD

RSVP: You must RSVP to win. Click here to RSVP (your name is your @twitterhandle & your link is http://www.twitter.com/twitterhandle)

The Prizes: THREE winners will each win a Google Nexus 7-inch tablet with 32 GB of memory – a $250 value!!

Please complete the following requirements for a chance to win:

1. FOLLOW @girlslunchout and @fearlessweb on Twitter. Feel free to send us a tweet saying hello!

2. RSVP – You must RSVP to win.

3. PARTICIPATE during the party hour using #SecureNewYear

4. TWEET out a promotional tweet prior to party: “Join @girlslunchout & @fearlessweb to help #SecureNewYear and keep those tech gifts safe!! 1/15 9PM ET http://buff.ly/VQnjZ3 RSVP for prizes”

Eligibility:

1. COMPLETION of the above requirements.

2. WINNERS participating in the Twitter party with # SecureNewYear will be chosen at random.

3. RESIDENTS from the US are eligible only.

(Disclosure: This post is part of a study sponsored by Trend Micro that I am participating in. As a Digital Joneses family I have received assets from them to complete our challenges but all thoughts are my own.)

 

Internet Security In The New Year

Since March of last year my family has been a participant in the Digital Joneses study. This study is organized by Internet security company Trend Micro and follows seven bloggers {and our families} throughout the year as we complete monthly technology challenges. The goal of the study is to help improve and examine the struggles each family experiences with modern technology. Each challenge has identified and addressed one facet of digital security that is affecting living in a modern digitally-connected household.

I was asked to think about what I have learned so far and what I hope to learn in this new year. When I look back I realize that I’ve learned a lot about a variety of different topics relating to online security. I wanted to share a few things that I learned from each monthly challenge I have completed and also what I hope to still learn in the coming months.

The first challenge was to complete an online quiz called “Are You {Digitally} Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”. Having been online for years and “tech-savvy” I learned that I didn’t know as much as I thought I had. For example, I couldn’t even distinguish the real Facebook logo from three look alikes! It definitely made me think about the sites I frequented and how I would have to double check the address bar before I put any personal information or passwords in a site I thought I was on. Sinisa learned a lot in this challenge too, including the difference between “http” and “https” in web addresses. Do you know the difference between the two?

The second challenge was to talk to our children about online safety. Trend Micro had some great tips on how to talk to children about this topic and even had some ideas on how I could do so with my preschooler. My boys aren’t online a lot by themselves but they do like YouTube videos and so we talked about safety on YouTube and how they shouldn’t click on anything if they don’t know what it is.

The third challenge was to spring clean our digital lives. They provided us with a checklist so we’d know what kind of things they suggested doing. The main things that stuck out to me during this challenge were suggestions on tackling the email inbox. One suggestion from Trend Micro was to delete the attachments from my emails. Another task on the list was to delete any emails that had password or account information to keep would be hackers from getting confidential information. I really got a lot out of that challenge.

The next challenge was on mobile security. I didn’t even know that I needed security software for my phone so that was a huge thing I learned. I was told of a cool app called the “Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Ed” app that would scan every application I wanted to install to make sure it was safe. That was definitely something I wanted to do before putting any apps on my phone.

After mobile security, we learned about online gaming. I learned that 41 percent of homes with kids five and under have internet connected game consoles and that more kids access the internet through game consoles than through a computer. Five and under! That’s a lot of young kids online and it’s important that they are safe while playing. I learned a handful of tips but one I didn’t know about was parental controls. I knew that TVs had them but I learned that gaming systems had them, too.

In July we tackled scams surrounding the Olympics. I never knew how many fake sites existed surrounding the summer games and how many of them looked like the real thing. This was another reminder to use the “official” sites as resources and not go to sites I was unfamiliar with.

August brought a scary story about a man who had his digital life stolen in less than an hour because all of his accounts were hooked together. It really made me think twice before I hook up any accounts. I learned about two-factor authentication on email accounts to keep my accounts out of the wrong hands.

The following month we learned some internet security facts and how we could protect ourselves online. Having secure passwords was a big focus of this challenge. Trend Micro suggests using a phrase of random words that you can remember, instead of paraphrases or single words. Having passwords of at least ten to twelve characters is a good start and they recommend more characters for passwords that protect sensitive sites (like banks).

Last month‘s challenge was focused on cyber shopping and Trend Micro shared tips on how to stay safe online while doing our Christmas shopping. Being fairly new to online shopping I learned a lot about this topic. They stressed using reliable, well-known shopping sites and making sure that they offered secure payment options. Another tip was to use a credit card to pay since they offer better buyer protection.

When I look at what I have learned and think about what I still hope to learn in the coming months I think that most of it revolves around how how my children and I use the internet. I’d love to learn more ways to protect my boys while they are on YouTube since parental controls don’t block everything I’d like to be blocked. For myself, I’d love to learn how to stay safer while using social media- particularly when it comes to links on Twitter and while on blogs that have pop-ups that slow the computer down.

I’m looking forward to the next few months of learning and so thankful for this opportunity to work with Trend Micro. To end I just wanted to share four facts I’ve learned about digital security since becoming a Digital Joneses family (please forgive the fact that I sound like a frog!)

 

(Disclosure: This post is part of a study sponsored by Trend Micro that I am participating in. As a Digital Joneses family we are receiving assets to complete our challenges but all thoughts are my own.)

Internet Safety Tips For Kids & Teens {Infographic}

The internet is an amazing resource but also one that is full of danger. I love this infographic below because it gives little known facts about what our children face while online and then gives great examples of how we, as parents, can reduce the risks associated with being online.


Illustration source: Lexero Business Litigation Lawyer
Want to add this illustration to your site too? Get the code here.

(Disclosure: I was compensated for posting this infographic.)

Digital Moms {Infographic}

Not Yo Mama’s Mama – a Digital Mom Infographic by Internet Exposure