Friday, October 30: Towards a Healthier Lifestyle

VERIZON MOBILE LIVING TWITTER PARTY

#VZWBuzz

When: TODAY, Friday, October 30, 2015
3:00 – 4:00 pm ET
12:00 – 1:00 pm PT

‘Towards a Healthier Lifestyle’

Join @TheTechDad @RobynsWorld @TheOnlineMom and friends TODAY at 3 pm ET (12 noon PT) as we examine how mobile tech can help us transition Towards a Healthier Lifestyle!
Dozens of connected devices and a host of innovative apps are encouraging us to become more active. Join @TheTechDad and friends as we take a look at some of the latest offerings in this rapidly expanding marketplace, and examine the ways wireless technology can help us adopt a healthier lifestyle!
RSVP and attend the party for a chance to win a Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband or an all-new Droid Turbo 2 smartphone!
Plus, join Monica Vila and her special guest on the Video Recap right after the chat for another chance to win a Droid Turbo 2 smartphone!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: VZWBuzz) and include your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://ow.ly/ToCv9      
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#VZWBuzz) today between 3 – 4 pm ET
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon Wireless.)

Apps to Help Manage Allergies

By Tracey Dowdy

Guacamole is easily one of my all-time favorite foods and I used to love avocado on my scrambled eggs and toast long before Pinterest and hipsters discovered it. Then one dark day avocados turned on me. In the midst of enjoying my lunch, my mouth and the back of my throat started to itch. A lot. Fortunately it wasn’t a severe reaction, but bad enough to let me know that avocados were maybe a no-no. I rolled the dice again a couple of weeks later and had the same reaction. Sigh. No more guacamole for me.

I was fortunate. For a lot of people even a trace amount of the wrong food or ingredient can lead to a much more serious reaction and even result in hospitalization. Food allergies and sensitivities are a serious matter and having easy access to the right information can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

These apps are a great resource for preventing an allergic reaction and can help you or a caregiver make the right decisions in case of an emergency.

First Aid

first-aidDeveloped by the American Red Cross, First Aid offers step-by-step instructions on what to do in the event of an allergy emergency. Videos and quizzes help reinforce the information so you can do your homework ahead of time, and content is preloaded making that information available offline. Tell the app the symptoms being experienced, get first aid advice and call the hospital or get directions to the nearest emergency room – all from within the app.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free


AllergyEats

allergy-eatsAllergyEats is your mobile guide to allergy-friendly restaurants across the U.S. With feedback based on other users’ first-hand experience, you’ll know exactly how allergy friendly and accommodating the restaurant is to patrons’ requests. The app uses your phone’s GPS to find local restaurants and allows you to call the restaurant or get directions from within the app. Users have access to allergen lists, nutrition data and more without having to wait for a server to check with the kitchen.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free


AroundMe

aroundmeAroundMe is the most used local search application internationally and is available in six different languages. Allergic reactions can hit hard and fast, so the app is invaluable for finding a doctor or an emergency room when you’re on vacation or simply outside the range of your usual services.

Platform: iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free


Find Me Gluten Free

find-megluten-freeFind Me Gluten Free is a god-send for all those who’ve discovered gluten allergies or sensitivities in the past few years. The app helps you find gluten-free options whether you’re looking for a restaurant or grocery store and provides average prices and reviews from other users so you can stay on budget too.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free


Med Helper

med-helperMed Helper provides more than just a reminder to take your medication so you can stay ahead of those allergy symptoms. Manage your medications by setting reminders for when your prescription is about to run out, track the number of refills remaining, and take notes to track side effects and reactions to discuss with your doctor next time you visit. You can even export the information directly to the doctor’s office. The app allows for multiple profiles, so you can efficiently manage meds for everyone in your care.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: Free

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Mobile Tech Insurance: Is It Worth It?

By Tracey Dowdy

Here’s a sobering factoid: according to a survey by Plaxo, 1 in 5 people have dropped their mobile phone in the toilet. Whether it fell from the back pocket of a pair of jeans or tumbled out of a hand, 20 percent of cell phones have gone to a watery grave.

Clearly that’s a less likely scenario for your laptop or tablet, but accidents do happen. Should you consider insurance for your mobile tech to help protect you against a loss? Is it worth the peace of mind or is it simply a way for retailers and manufacturers to grab more of your hard earned cash?

Consumer Reports electronics editor Glenn Derene cautions, “Our reader surveys have shown time and again that extended warranties are not a good deal for most consumers…Many products are reliable and don’t break during the period covered, and the plans cost as much as you’d pay for a repair that might never be required.”

Keep in mind that when it came to smartphones, only 15 percent of consumers were given a new phone when the device needed repair. When you factor in an average cost of $10 per device per month and a deductible for as much as $100, the additional coverage really doesn’t work out to be such a bargain.

But what about other devices? Is coverage worth it for bigger ticket items? Again, not necessarily. With regular use, barring dropping or immersion in water, most devices are well made and don’t require a lot of maintenance or repair. It’s a matter of high cost and low risk, so purchasing an extended warranty often isn’t worth the expense.

“Only 15 percent of products in our survey were covered by the manufacturer’s regular warranty when they broke, and about 10 percent were under a service contract or extended warranty,” said Derene.

Courtesy of Plaxo Inc.

Courtesy of Plaxo Inc.

 

Having insurance is one thing – getting insurers to pay out on your claim is something else. There’s a lot of fine print in those contracts, so make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully before signing. Often the terms and conditions will exclude common accidents like dropping the device. In addition, many insurers reserve the right to choose whether they’ll repair or replace your phone with one of equal value, meaning you’re more likely to get a refurbished device rather than a new phone.

In the end, it’s up to you to determine how likely you are to lose or break your device. If you’re clumsy and know only too well the misery of a cracked screen, it might feel like it’s worth it. But keep in mind the cost to replace an iPhone screen is about $110 out of pocket which is cheaper than the insurance offered by most carriers.

On the other hand, if you’re likely to lose your device or have it stolen, the additional warranty could mean significant savings even with the deductible factored in. Also remember that your existing policies may cover loss or damage. Home owners and renters insurance generally comes with a fairly high deductible but may cover damage or loss of your device. And if you purchased the device with a credit card, the company may offer a less expensive version of the extended warranty that covers device malfunction once the manufacturer’s original warranty expires.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Setting Digital Boundaries for Our Kids

By Tracey Dowdy

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 38 percent of kids under the age of two use smartphones and iPads. Depending on your perspective that statistic can be inspiring or cause for concern.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new study and with it recommendations on technology use and how best to teach our kids to be mindful citizens of a digital world.

Parents magazine advisor Ari Brown, M.D., Chair of the AAP’s Children, Adolescents, and Media Leadership Working Group, points out, “We are here to help parents. We know the challenges and we want to be realistic in our approach. As a pediatrician and a mom, I have personally struggled with how to advise families (and my own family) with the explosion of technology as there are many benefits, but definitely some concerns.” In other words, finding a balance is key.

Pediatrician Dr. Donald Shifrin notes, “The most dangerous thing we can do for youngsters nowadays is to deny them access to the digital world. But the second most dangerous thing is to give them unlimited access.”

setting-boundaries-1

So how do we follow Dr. Shifrin’s advice and find that balance? How much is too much and how little is too little? Fortunately, there are a few other factors to consider and by following these tips it will be easier to set boundaries for your little ones and continue those healthy habits as your kids get older.

  • Start by being a good role model. If your kids only ever see the top of your head because you’re always looking down at your phone or tablet, they’re learning that what’s on a screen is generally more important than what’s going on around them. Put down your device and engage in face to face conversation, making eye contact and consciously engaging with your child. Give and take conversations, learning to read body language, and hearing you use words in sentences are critical to a child’s vocabulary and general language development.
  • As in every area of a toddler’s life, boundaries are crucial. We set bedtimes, playtime, schedule our meals and snacks and screen time should be no different. Consider establishing rules like equal time for imaginative play indoors or outdoors for every hour spent online. We had a “no phones at the table” rule with our girls growing up. Those dinner conversations are some of our best memories and we still laugh at the stories we told.
  • Stay engaged with your kids while they’re online. Even if the game or activity is simple enough for them to do on their own, play with them when you can. Letting them lose or teaching them to wait their turn is a big part of learning sportsmanship.
  • Just because the app claims to be educational doesn’t mean it is. There are thousands of “educational” apps available for download but many don’t live up to the label and provide little cognitive value for your kids. Do your research and look for suggestions from trusted sources like The Online Mom to help you determine which free and paid apps are worth downloading.

Finally, keep your boundaries age appropriate and don’t forget to be flexible. As I mentioned earlier, while face-to-face interaction is best and limited screen time for kids under two is ideal, don’t beat yourself up if you pop your little sweetheart in front of your iPad so you can brush your teeth or make a cup of coffee. On a personal note, although the Barney theme song makes my teeth ache to this day with its sugary sweetness, I loved that giant purple dinosaur’s videos for buying me time to run to the bathroom or start dinner in peace.

Parenting is arguably the hardest job you’ll ever do, so take the advice in this article, give yourself some leeway, and adapt what works best for you and your family.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Thursday, October 8: TV Anywhere

TV ANYWHERE

#FiOSPhilly

When:  TODAY, Thursday, October 8, 2015
9:00 – 10:00 pm ET
6:00 – 9:00 pm PT
The idea of watching our favorite TV shows wherever and whenever we want is no longer a pipe dream. Better mobile devices, faster networks and smarter apps are getting us off the couch and allowing us to set our own entertainment schedules.
Join host @SeeMomClick and the #FiOSPhilly team on Twitter at 9 pm ET TODAY as we explore how we can become part of this exciting TV Anywhere revolution!
RSVP and attend the chat for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 8!

(Click here  to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: FiOSPhilly) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://ow.ly/T5TyM    
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#FiOSPhilly) today between 9:00 – 10:00 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon.)

Verizon Introduces go90 Streaming App for Mobile Devices

The video choices available to mobile users just got a big boost this month with the launch of Verizon’s go90 app for iOS and Android devices. Go90, which is ad-supported but subscription free, is aimed at younger users who spend more time watching video on their smartphones and tablets than watching traditional TV. The go90 name comes from the way users flip their phones 90 degrees to watch videos.

Rather than fighting the trend away from the traditional cable TV subscription model, Verizon has instead embraced the movement, first offering CustomTV packages and now over-the-top content strictly for mobile devices.

Go90 is launching with 8,000 titles and over 35 original series, which will grow rapidly in the coming months. The lineup includes networks like Comedy Central, The Food Network, ESPN, Discovery Channel, MTV, VH1, Spike and HGTV. Going forward, go90 will also add live sporting events and concerts. Although the service is available to everyone, no matter which wireless carrier you use, there is also some exclusive content just for Verizon customers.

Once you download the app, there is a simple sign-in screen where you set up a username and password. You are then asked to tap on a few favorite content categories, which include comedy, entertainment, and news and sports. There is also a “geek” category. The app then presents you with your custom feed of suggested shows and videos, similar to Facebook or YouTube. For now, go90 users seeking news will get a heavy diet of HuffPost Live but, as mentioned above, the app is expected to bring on additional content at a rapid pace.

You can also search out specific channels, shows, people or “crews” to follow. For example, if you search for Jennifer Lawrence, you are presented with a stream of video clips, including trailers for The Hunger Games movies, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. By following particular shows or people, you will further customize your go90 feed.

Crews represents the social media element of go90. You can either start a crew yourself or join a crew that already exists. Movie Lovers, Urban Dads, honest talk, and NFL Fantasy Players are just four of the dozens of crews that have already been set up. Conversation in these crews doesn’t appear to be moderated, although there is a button to report inappropriate content.

Go90 looks to be a strong addition to the world of streaming media for mobile devices and has obvious appeal to a younger audience. A promotional offer of an extra 1GB of data per month for 3 months gives Verizon customers an added incentive to jump on board!

The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional campaign for Verizon.

Thursday, October 8: A Special WWEmoms Twitter Event

WWE_SGK_Logo_Pink_Background_300

A Special WWEmoms Twitter Event

#WWEmoms

When: TODAY, Thursday, October 8, 2015
7:00 – 8:00 pm ET
4:00 – 5:00 pm PT

Join @WWEmoms @SusanGKomen and friends TODAY at 7 pm ET (4 pm PT) as we encourage you to share your stories and join the fight against breast cancer!
RSVP and attend the party for a chance to win great prizes from WWE and other Susan G. Komen partners such as Ford, New Balance, Zumba and more!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: WWEmoms) and include your Twitter ID
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed:  http://ow.ly/SUajY
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#WWEmoms) today between 7 – 8 pm ET
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for WWE.)