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3 Ways to Protect Your Foster Child From Online Threats


Foster parents can be real heroes to a child undergoing a rough time. All parents have to deal with challenges, but foster parents have extra challenges that others don’t.

Foster children can have a wide variety of emotional needs and issues, which can make them especially vulnerable to online predators. Additionally, birth parents and relatives can use social media to make contact with their child, even if contact isn’t supposed to occur.

New social media sites pop up all the time, and keeping track of your child’s online activity can be challenging. But help is available!

Here are three ways to protect your foster child from online threats.

1. Online pseudonyms

Unfortunately, birth parents or other relatives will often defy the courts and attempt to contact a foster child. The easiest way to search for someone online is to search for his or her name, so an easy and effective way to maintain anonymity online is to use pseudonyms.

A child has no particular need for his or her real name to be attached to social media sites, so simply create a fake name for your foster child to use online. The best type of pseudonym is something simple and generic; a variation of the child’s existing name is probably not a good idea.

2. No photos

Not too long ago, a pseudonym would’ve been enough online protection. Today, however, a wealth of information about someone can be obtained simply from a photo.

With Google Image Search, and similar photo-based search engines, it can be possible to find people online even if they’re not using their real name. It’s also not terribly complicated to determine their location from a photo.

This can be an issue with birth parents and relatives who attempt to find the foster child. Make sure your foster child knows not to post pictures of him- or herself online, in addition to removing any “tagged” photos.

3. No hidden passwords

Children don’t usually understand how sneaky an online predator can be. What may seem like a harmless online interaction to the child can actually be something a foster parent should know about.

While your foster child should have privacy and space, you should also know every password to every social media site he or she visits. And you should regularly “check in,” to see who your foster child is in contact with online.

Foster children can often feel like they don’t fit in anywhere, and this can make them especially vulnerable to improper attention from strangers online. On top of that, birth parents or relatives also use social media to instigate unwanted (or even illegal) contact with the child.

Great foster parents are a must for children in need, and becoming a foster parent can be a wonderful experience for both the adult and child. These tips should help both you and your foster child feel safe and secure.

Mobile:

The 3 Best IPhone Apps to Help You Quit Smoking

The US Census Bureau (USCB) estimates that the world population exceeded 7 billion people on March 12, 2012. Astonishingly, more than 25 percent of those folks are still smokers.

That’s right! According to the World Health Organization, there are about 2 billion people on the planet still lighting up every day.

For those who are wondering whether technology can assist in their efforts to quit, here are three of the best iPhone software applications available in the market today.

1. Quit It Lite App

The free Quit It Lite app is described as a “tiny motivating program, supporting and encouraging smokers to quit smoking,” while stopping ex-smokers from ever puffing again.

It works through a reward system that tallies all the cigarettes you resist and calculates the savings accumulated by not smoking. Additionally, it displays the tar you did not take into your lungs, and it allows you to share your successes with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and email.

2. Craving to Quit App

Though a bit pricey at $99.99, Craving to Quit is a full 21-day program based on a successful cessation program developed and tested at Yale University.

When used properly, this app provides a constant presence through daily playlists of audio and video tracks, goal-setting tools, and reminders. As you progress through the program, developer GoBlue International states, it “will walk you down to 0 cigarettes/day by teaching you important concepts about overcoming the habit and giving you the tools you need to successfully quit smoking.”

The “Want-o-Meter” helps you smoke mindfully during the early stages and assists with distractions to pass the time until your cravings stop. There’s also a built-in alarm system that alerts users to check in regularly with the app to stay on course.

3. Stop Smoking Cigarettes App

The official name for this app is a mouthful. It’s listed in the Apple Store as the “Stop Smoking Cigarettes Now Quit Smokes Forever Tracker, Counter, & No Smoker Cigarette Quitter Coach App.” As a free app, it’s a motivational program that reminds you why you need to quit, and accomplishes this by tracking your cravings.

It even shows you real-time stats pertaining to your health improvement, money saved, cigarettes not smoked, and a lot more. There are a lot of positive reviews about this one, which should encourage you to give it a try.

e-Cigarettes

If you don’t want to go “cold turkey,” consider a cigarette substitute without all the harmful effects of actual cigarette smoking. ECigaretteReviews.com is a helpful and insightful resource. It lists a good number of surveys and ratings of the products on the market today, and provides visitors with a thorough overview of what experts have to say about e-Cigarette smoking.

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last update: April 23, 2014

Social:

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Buy a Gift for Your Skater Boyfriend

It’s hard to know what to get for that special guy of yours — especially when he’s a daredevil skater boy. If he’s already got a great board, a pair of quality kicks, and all the ripped-in-the-knee jeans he could ask for, gifts are going to be hard to find.

Thankfully, when you don’t know what to buy, there’s always social media to help you out! Here are four ways to use social media when you’re gift shopping for your skater boyfriend.

1. Ask a friend

Do you have a friend who knows what your boyfriend really likes — perhaps his best friend? If so, get on Facebook and send a private message!

You can create a Facebook Group specifically to help you chat with your boyfriend’s friends, and ask them for ideas about what he’ll really like for the perfect gift. Why not a brand new set of headphones, or a new pair of quality kicks?

2. Ask a stranger

The beauty of social media is that you can reach people around the world, and get hundreds of ideas in mere minutes. Join a skaters’ forum or a discussion group on your favorite social media website, and see what ideas real skaters recommend.

3. Check Pinterest

If your boyfriend uses social media, he’s probably got a Pinterest account that has all his favorite skating paraphernalia pinned. Check it out, and see what items interested him enough for him to pin them to his board.

If you see something that looks like something he’d enjoy, that will make gift shopping that much easier.

4. Check for coupons

Online shopping has made buying pretty much anything easy — and not just easier than it used to be, but cheaper too! You can find coupons for dozens of great skateboarding items, including boards, clothing, shoes, and more.

Get on your favorite social media sites and ask around for coupons, or hit up Google for “skateboarding coupon codes.” You’ll find some pretty sweet deals on great gear!

Not sure what to get him? Don’t worry about it! Let social media help you to find great ideas, and get advice from friends, family, and strangers when you go on the hunt for that perfect gift. If you can’t come up with anything you are fairly certain he’ll love, why not check out the great designer gifts that are available?

Lifestyle:

How to Find Furniture Items for Techies

When I moved into my first apartment, I didn’t care what kind of furniture I had. My parents got me a futon, I parked my bicycle where the dining room table should have been, and I stuck my mattress on the floor: Bachelor Pad 101.

But as I’ve grown up and become a bit more sophisticated, I’ve started to care about my furniture. It happens to the best of us, I suppose. But what do we do when we want to merge our furniture with our love of technology? Well, science has answered that question, and answered it with vigor.

Go online

If you’re looking for high-tech anything, the Internet is a great place to start. One quick search and you’ve got millions of hits.

People might wonder: how high-tech can furniture get, really? I was astounded by what a search came up with, and you probably will be too. But how do we narrow down what we are going to buy for our techie friends?

Price

This is always a big consideration in gift giving or home decorating. How much are we willing to spend? And will it fit in with the space?

Think about this: someone makes a couch that looks like it belongs on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Would this couch really fit in with a tiny living room decked out with IKEA end-tables and a bookshelf made of cinder blocks? Probably not.

But what would go well in a room like that is a couch with built-in wooden end-tables that include charging docks for a variety of electronic devices.

Function

Returning to the bridge of the Enterprise, is Captain Kirk’s couch useful (or comfortable)? Obviously, there’s a subjective element here, but it’s important to look at furniture in terms of what you can use it for.

If it’s too high-tech, it loses its purpose. Case in point: a bed shaped like an egg is not going to be good for the claustrophobic among us. We’ll end up sleeping on the overly-curved ultra-modern couch, and that just makes for a bad night.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend investing in anything high-tech if you’ve got small kids. From pulling over the TVs to throwing Barbies through a projector lens, kids can wreck anything. Keep it simple while they’re little, or buy the high-tech furniture for the home office that they’re not allowed to enter.

Another thought to remember when looking at high-tech furniture is reliability. If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks, do your research and make sure it works. Coffee table with USB port that transforms into a giant tablet? Yeah, awesome, until you put your mug of coffee down and the heat sensor goes haywire, and suddenly you’re stuck in an endless loop of Angry Birds.

Perhaps I’m a pessimist, but you get my drift. Just because something is new and cool doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

Style

Someone who loves TV and gaming will probably find the canopy bed with a built-in HD television screen absolutely amazing. The person trying to enhance his sleep will like curling up in the egg-bed.

If you’re buying for yourself, consider what you need out of your furniture, and how this high-tech option is going to help you get it. If it doesn’t meet your needs or lifestyle, move on.

Also, consider the rest of your home. Most of us aren’t going to be able to techie-trick-out our entire pads at once, so we have to buy bits and pieces. Don’t make your home look odd and unbalanced by having, say, a completely integrated touch-screen desk that you’re eating your Ramen noodles off of.

I’m not judging; I’m just suggesting you prioritize a little.

Social:

Are You a Tech Startup? 3 Ways to Make Your Customers Happy

With the cost of building a website falling to the point where it’s almost free of charge, and the ability to have a tech startup running within hours, we’ve entered an era of mass entrepreneurship and competition. If you’re a new tech business, it’s never been so important to understand how to be better than your competition!

Once you understand your company and your competition, you can set out to understand your consumers and make them happy. Here are some tips to make that happen!

1. Understand your position

Knowing your position in the market, and your position in the eyes of the consumer, will require you to create what’s commonly referred to as a positioning statement. It’s easiest to imagine this exercise as one where you simply fill in the blanks in the following statement: [Product or service name] is the best type of [product or service type] for [consumer type] as shown by the [attributes of product or service].

Completing the above statement will require you to understand why you’re the best choice, and for which consumers. Then you can move toward making those customers happy!

2. Ask, listen, ask again, listen again

Great relationships are formed around great conversations and mutual understanding, whether in business or life. The key to having the other person feel good is to listen to the input and opinions and needs from him or her; an even more crucial part is to know what to ask.

If we go back to your positioning statement, perhaps you said something like: “Smith Consulting is the best type of advertising service for real estate agents, as shown by our exclusive access to a network of customers who are ready to buy or sell.”

Based on that statement, the questions to ask your customer (the real estate agent who would hire Smith Consulting) might be: “What type of real estate buyer is your ideal prospect? What type of seller? Is there a price range or geographic area, or type of housing that you’d like to specialize in?”

Those types of questions would make your customers happy, because you cared enough to ask, and later, you delivered on their needs!

3. Formalize the feedback process

It’s not always possible to get consistent and statistically significant feedback from customers using a manual, one-on-one methodology. Online surveys are a great tool to automate this process, and there are a few online companies that have the ability to handle this customer-pleasing activity for you!

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Social:

How to Sell Healthy Food Using Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that you can use it to sell just about anything. From sporting event tickets to unwanted furniture, to healthy snacks designed to help your friends and family eat right and lose weight.

Social media is a great place to start marketing your healthy snack business. You can use it to bring awareness to your friends with as well as your followers. You can promote not only your business but your product as well.

Using Facebook to promote healthy snacks

When you use your Facebook page as a marketing tool for your healthy food business, you do a great deal of promotion. Your friends, family, and colleagues all have the opportunity to see what you’re marketing and what you have to say about your product.

Using Facebook allows you to post stories about how much better people feel when they eat right, and how bad they feel eating fast food in a hurry. It’s a great platform for people to see what you’re offering and how it will benefit their lives.

Twitter and healthy food

With 140 characters, you can easily create a catchy phrase to place with a link to an article about the benefits of healthy eating. Once your followers notice your phrase, they’re likely to click on the link you’ve provided and read the article.

It’s a great platform for sharing professional material about eating well, the dangers of eating an unhealthy diet, the side effects and health problems that stem from an unhealthy diet, and many other things. Your followers will become more enlightened, see your product, and be more willing to look into what you have to offer.

Another advantage of using social media sites such as Twitter is that you can post about more than just your product. Your followers are less likely to care what you have to say when you’re saying nothing more than “Buy this” and “Buy that” to them.

They want personal stories, studies and research, and any other evidence you can provide that shows what you are selling is going to be worth the time, money, and effort they put into it. Keep that in mind when you post about your health food business.

Other social media platforms

Facebook and Twitter might be among the most popular, but other platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are also great places to promote your health food and snacks business. Reaching the public with your pictures and stories is an effective method to market.

Use Pinterest as an example. You can post photos of your health food products attached to your blog. This way, when someone clicks on your pin, they will go straight to your blog and be exposed to the stories, reviews, and proof you have to offer that your business will benefit their lives.

Where to buy healthy snacks for resale

If getting into the health food and health snack game is something you’re considering, try Linda’s Diet Delites. These products are designed to help you find healthy food on the go without grabbing fast food and other unhealthy alternatives as an easy solution.

The business world is fast-paced and always changing. Right now, social media is one of the hottest platforms for promoting your products and your business. With so many different angles available for you to take, you can grow your business and promote your product with ease.

Your followers and friends will love to support you and take better care of their own health when you make it worth their while. Use social media to back up your claims and offer proof that healthy snacking is a life-changing strategy.

Lifestyle:

4 Dining Furniture Items for the Digital You

If you’re a techie, all your furniture should reflect that, including your dining sets — even if you have a house rule of no smartphones or tablets at the dinner table.

After all, it just seems out of place if you have a high-tech house, maybe with some automated features, and a dining table that looks like it belongs in a French kitchen. But how can you blend the two worlds?

It’s actually much simpler than you think. Check out these four incredible dining pieces for homeowners who are more tech-minded.

1. Hampton Contemporary Dining Set

Don’t let the name fool you: the Hamptons might be known for traditional styles, but this particular dining set is all contemporary.

Featuring black tempered glass and easily seating six, it’s just what you need to bring sleek lines into your dining room. Chrome legs and simplicity make it pop in all the right ways.

2. Lyn Contemporary Dining Chair

Your chairs are the accessories of a dining table, so feel free to liven them up with innovative designs and colors that will brighten any dining area. The Lyn series is akin to a lightning bolt, yet still comfortable.

With chrome at the base and a variety of bright colors to choose from, this design can complement any table or literally stand alone as an accent piece.

3. Heriz Designer Round Dining Table

If space is an issue or you just prefer a more intimate approach, try the Heriz model. White and high-gloss, it perfectly blends retro with futuristic.

It’s also a great space saver, so you have plenty of room for your other gadgets. It seats four, with round, tempered glass and — just like the perfect little black dress — it impresses the eye without standing out too much. There’s also a touch of 60s funk involved, so it’s ideal for a little throwback design.

4. Yelena Modern Glass Dining Table

Here’s something that doesn’t make much sense: If you throw a lot of dinner parties or have a larger family, why are all the dishes kept in the kitchen where you have to trot them back and forth?

Enter the Yelena, which offers storage space right below the surface. The 3D glass cube design is also a knockout, and you can opt to keep some eye catching collectibles in this space, too.

These are just four options to choose from at Furniture to Your Door. No matter what your style, there’s something to suit every technophile.

Lifestyle:

7 of the Most Affordable Tech Cars in South Africa

For those who need an efficient vehicle in South Africa, there are many options to choose from. Some of the various inexpensive options can be found on native soil; many other great quality cars hail from places like India and South America.

Below are seven of the best and most affordable cars for the techie in South Africa.

1. Renault Sandero

This very affordable car is energy-efficient and reliable. It was first manufactured in South America but it’s now available in many other countries, including upscale neighborhoods of South Africa.

The interior is spacious and perfect for families and individuals. The Renault features very low fuel consumption, using either petrol or diesel fuel, which makes it the perfect vehicle for any adventure. Many luxury features are available, such as low noise and vibration amenities. There are also options to reduce some of the luxury items to make the care more affordable.

2. Hyundai Jazz

The Hyundai Jazz is quite reasonably priced at this time — for one very important reason. This vehicle line is being discontinued in countries such as India and South America.

In South Africa there’s speculation that this car will drastically drop in price during closeouts. The Hyundai Jazz is much like other modern hatchbacks in that it has push-button start capabilities and Bluetooth accessories in the interior. This model is almost a steal!

3. Hyundai i10

Another popular hatchback style that replaced former Hyundai models is the Hyundai i10. This car is unique for its ergonomic design in the front and passenger seats. The interior is intended to suit taller drivers and companions.

As with other Hyundai models, the i10 has experienced a facelift by total transformation of the front grill and bumper. This adds a new flavor to a very popular and inexpensive car.

4. Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra is truly a flashy hatchback. But besides that, this car has many extra features that will amaze any tech lover. For one, the Micra has a push-button start, it is Bluetooth hands-free, and it also has a CVT, so you can enjoy incredible acceleration speeds. If you’re looking for a truly innovative vehicle, this one’s for you.

5. VW Polo Vivo

The native South African Polo Vivo is one of the best selections with regard to affordability, as well. This small hatchback has the capabilities of a full-sized car and the interior room will fool you.

The Polo Vivo has a long list of safety features that includes air bags on every side, front, and back, air control, and plenty of boot space. What more could be needed in an efficient, quality car such as this one?

6. Kia Picanto

This small car has the ability to win you over simply because of its strengths and affordability. The Kia is fully loaded with six air bags, remote-control locking, and electronic stability control.

The Picanto is also very aesthetically pleasing, with body-colored bumpers and mirror handles. If you’re looking for an affordable beauty, then this is the one you want.

7. Ford Fiesta

This beautiful car is very sleek and cool. The Ford Fiesta comes equipped with a powerful transmission and uses both diesel and petrol gas. Extra amenities include best-in-class air conditioning, steering column audio, and Bluetooth capabilities.

This sporty vehicle is quite competitive with similar vehicles and has the ability to charm the buyer. If you buy it used, the Ford Fiesta is very affordable.

These seven cars are simply among the best in quality. Not only are they some of the best, they are quite affordable as well. For natives of South Africa, these tech cars are the way to go.

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