Tag Archives: iTunes

podcast for kids

Podcasts for Your Next Family Roadtrip

 By Tracey Dowdy

 If you’re like millions of Americans, at some point this summer you’ll be loading up your vehicle for a good ol’ fashioned road trip. There’s only so many hours you can fill with the license plate game, and if you’re trying to still maintain some kind of control over screen time, podcasts are a great alternative. Everyone loves a good story, and no matter your age or interest, there’s a podcast for that.

Kids Listen surveyed 400 parents about their kids listening habits and found that 80% of kids listen to a podcast more than once, and 20% of those kids listen to a single podcast episode more than 10 times!

And, according to the Audio Publishing Association, comprehension, vocabulary, reading speed, even motivation are all positively impacted by auditory learning, so listening to a podcast won’t only entertain them, it’ll make them smarter!

Here are some of the most popular podcasts for your kids:

Story Pirates

Story Pirates is an audio show narrated by actors, comedians, and entertainers like Dax Shepard, Wyatt Cenac, Claire Danes, John Oliver, and Patton Oswalt. Each episode features a story written by kids, and with titles like “Evil Cockroach Nation,” “Vampire Quest,” “Eat a Spider Day,” and “The Hamster’s Workday,” you know there’s a lot of laughs in store. (iTunes)

What If World

If you’ve ever had to answer round after round of seemingly pointless, or brain-bending questions, have we got a podcast for you. Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot, and Whendiana Joan help Mr. Eric tell stories that answer kid-submitted questions like “What if a tiny dragon lived in my closet?” “What if basketballs and baseballs were alive?” or “What if cats ruled the world?” Mr. Eric makes these worlds come alive and helps kids stretch their imagination as they daydream along with the story.  (iTunesGoogle Play)

Spare the Rock Spoil the Child

Spare the Rock Spoil the Child is the most fun you’ll ever have introducing your kids to your music. From the wacky theme song to eclectic playlists with everyone from They Might Be Giants to Stevie Wonder, and Carole King with a few kid-favorites thrown in, you’ll have a blast exploring old and new favorites together. (iTunes)

Five Minutes With Dad

Dad Nick Pavlidis and his elementary aged kids Pavlos and Angela share their thoughts on family, friends, and life in general. Each episode allows you to listen in on a little father-son and daddy-daughter time as they have organic, authentic conversations, and learn how best to communicate and problem solve together. Past episodes include, “Why Moms Rock!” “How to Be Kind at School,” and “What to Do When You Make a Mistake.” It’s the perfect podcast to help you with family or parenting resources, kid’s activities, and ideas on how to spend quality time between you and your kids.  (iTunesGoogle Play)

Wow in the World

From the brilliant minds at NPR comes Wow in the World. But before you think “No way – NPR is way too stuffy for kids!” Let me tell you that the one of the first topics explored is the question, “How do astronauts poop in space?” Now tell me that isn’t going to get your eight-year-old son’s attention. Each episode hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz take listeners on journey into the wonders of the world around them and explore science and technology.

Circle Round

Created by parents, Circle Round takes carefully-selected folktales from around the world and transforms them into dynamic and engaging radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10 narrated by actors like Ed Asner, Tony Hale, and Richard Kind. Each episode explores topics relevant to kids like kindness, persistence, and generosity, and ends with an activity designed to start a meaningful conversation between children and grown-ups. (iTunes)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

How To Manage In-App Purchases in iTunes

By Tracey Dowdy

Every once in awhile you’ll hear a parent-horror story of a child who racked up a college-fund’s worth of charges in the app store before their unsuspecting parent had a chance to intervene.

Sometimes the child isn’t aware that the charges aren’t part of the game, other times they don’t think through the long term consequences of their choices.

A year ago, Mohamed Shugaa’s seven-year-old son racked up almost $6000 in charges upgrading the dinosaurs in his Jurassic World game. His father pleaded with iTunes and was eventually able to get the money back, but it was a tough lesson for both father and son.

The good news is, it’s a lot easier to prevent those charges than it is to get your money back through a dispute with the app store. Apple’s website states:

‘All iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) have built-in parental controls that give parents and guardians the ability to restrict access to content.

‘Parental controls also give parents and guardians the option to turn off functionality such as purchasing from iTunes and the ability to turn off in-app purchases.

‘Our parents’ guide to iTunes details the steps adults can take to make sure younger players have access to the right content. The first thing we recommend is not to share your password.’

In other words, it’s up to you to ensure your child – or anyone else – can’t inadvertently rack up charges without your consent.

Off course the easiest way to avoid running in to trouble is to stick with apps that are free of in-app purchases, but there’s a better way. It’s as easy as talking about what in-app purchases mean, what to look for and making a few simple changes in your settings.

Start with a conversation. Don’t assume your child “knows better” than to rack up charges. Caution them to keep an eye out for words like “expand,” “upgrade” and “enhance” that really translate to “buy.”

Set boundaries. If you choose not to password protect your account, or if you choose to share the password with your child, make sure you’ve established clear boundaries about how much your child can spend and establish what the consequences will be if the rules are broken.

Restrict access. The easiest way to manage in-app purchases is to make it impossible. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions. Under Allow, choose Off for in-app purchases. Voila! No more surprises. Note: Restrictions requires a separate passcode to lock the settings. Use a different passcode than the one you use to unlock your phone.

Require a passcode for every purchase. iTunes offers users the option to require a password immediately or allow a 15-minute grace period for further purchases to be made. Make sure you’ve selected the option to require the passcode every time. A lot can happen in 15 minutes!

Use gift cards or an iTunes allowance. If you’ve determined your child is responsible enough, or if you simply want to teach them the value of a dollar, using iTunes gift cards or providing a monthly allowance through the app store is a great option. Go to Send iTunes Gifts > Learn More About Gifting > Set Up an Allowance.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

You’ve Bought a New Smartphone, Now What?

By Chantal Bechervaise

It is exciting to get a new smartphone. I love the feeling of unboxing it and holding it in my hands for the first time. It can be overwhelming too, as there are always new features to get used to and learn and I just want to start playing with it right away.

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you set up and learn how to use your new smartphone, so you are up and running as quickly as possible.

Fully Charge Your Phone

This is the hardest part for me. I am impatient, so waiting a couples hours before being able to play with my new phone is torture. It is important to charge your phone first. Your new phone will more than likely have to update its operating system (OS) so it is better to have a full charge.  Plus respecting your battery is the best way to prolong its life.  I recommend never letting it drain completely and topping off the charge whenever you can. If you are out an about and need to prolong your battery life, try turning off the Wi-Fi and GPS locator.

Move Your Data

After installing all the updates, the next step is moving over prior contact lists and data to your new phone.  If you are moving contacts from iOS to iOS or Android to Android, once you sign in with the same account information, all it should take is one sync to get you up and running. (If you are using iOS and you have backed up all your info to iTunes, then just plug your phone into your computer and sync it through the iTunes back up feature.) Another way to transfer contact information is through the SIM card. If you previously saved contact information to your SIM card and the SIM card fits your new phone, then you can save the contact information into your new phone.

Media, Photos and Songs

If you used a microSD card in your previous phone for your photos and videos, then you may be able to simply pop it into your new phone and have immediate access to them.  I highly recommend using cloud storage to back up all of your photos and videos.  That way if you lose your phone or if it gets damaged, you have not lost any of those important memories.  Apple users can backup photos, videos and songs with iTunes or iCloud, Windows users can use OneDrive, and Android users can use Google Drive.

There are many other cloud storage apps and options that are available to use as well. Some of the most popular ones can be found here. Verizon also offers the Verizon Cloud storage service, which allows customers to sync and save important contacts, photos, videos, music, documents, and even text messages.

Watch the How-To Videos on Your Phone

Newer smartphones usually have How-To Videos, a Support Center, or Help app built in to the phone. Take the time to look through this feature (which can be found in the main menu) to learn the ins and outs of your phone. Even experienced smartphone users are bound to discover some new tips or tricks that they were not aware of.

Set Up Shortcuts and Personalise Your Phone

You have finished the initial set up and updating and now the fun begins – personalising your phone and making it your own.  This is my favorite part of setting up a new phone. I always begin with selecting new wallpaper.  You can usually find the place to set up and chose the wallpaper under the settings menu (it may be called appearance or personalization).  Your phone will have some built-in options but you can also download wallpaper to match your personality through your phone’s respective app store.

Next, I start creating shortcuts for my most used apps and place them on my home screen with my favorite widgets. That way they are easy to find and quick to launch. I am an Android user and my widget of choice is the Google Now Launcher which provides me with traffic updates, weather, and updates to the sites I frequent the most.

Don’t be afraid to move apps around until you find a layout that works for you.  Try out new apps that suit your lifestyle. There are so many to choose from: Best Apps for Pet Owners, News Junkies, Keeping Kids Entertained, Streaming Music and much, much more!

Using your smartphone should help to make your life easier and not be a burden.

Accessories

The last step in personalising your new phone is accessorizing it. I start with a phone case. Besides offering protection from bumps and drops, a case can add personality and style to your phone. Verizon offers many cases to choose from, including an option to create your own personalized photo case.

Accessories don’t stop at just the case; there are many more fun things to help improve the performance and use of your phone, from portable chargers to headphones and Bluetooth speakers. There are many options to turn your smartphone into a mobile entertainment system, and even a mobile office.

Do you have any tips to share about setting up a new phone and personalising it? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

CBechervaise67Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.

How Technology Is Changing the Traditional Library

By Stacey Ross

I happened upon a robust conversation about how libraries, as we know them, are evolving. Similar to how brick-and-mortar book stores have been closing down due to competition from online retailers like Amazon, maybe public libraries, one person suggested, might end up going the same route. Others piped in, remarking that the means we use today to access other services and resources will inevitably have a long term impact on libraries.

While the gradual reinvention of the public library will not eliminate physical books entirely, there is a clear trend towards incorporating more technology in the support of accessible literature. Libraries are becoming multi-media meeting places rather than merely clearing houses for lending books.

In a study released last year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project asked Americans about how they use libraries and what they want to see changed. The study showed that despite the various ways we can now access reading material, people still very much value the physical library, particularly those who lack experience with new technology or don’t own the latest gadgets.

The study’s findings indicate how libraries are at a crossroads when it comes to satisfying traditional community needs and catering to the demands of the digital age:

  • 91% of Americans ages 16 and older say public libraries are important to their communities.
  • 76% say libraries are important to them and their families.
  • 58 percent of people surveyed would be likely to checkout e-readers already loaded with books.
  • 77% say free access to computers and the Internet is a “very important” service of libraries.
  • 51% would take classes on how to use devices like the Kindle (Pew says this demonstrates “significant growth” from the prior year).
  • 63% are interested in apps-based access to library materials and programs.

New practices are popping up, which are extensions of the traditional library services: Redbox-style lending machines or kiosks that allow people to check out books, movies or music without having to go into the library itself; Amazon-style book, audio and video recommendations based on patrons’ library behavior that encourage return visits; and – I get a kick out of this one – GPS-navigation apps that help patrons locate material inside library buildings. (Be sure not to text while “driving!”).

Of course if you are just looking for e-books, you may not need to visit the library at all. Google Books and iTunes are just two of the many resources for finding free e-books online.

As one librarian polled for the Pew study shared, “I believe public libraries should move away from being ‘houses of knowledge’ and move more towards being ‘houses of access.’ This is what the public is asking for and we are here to serve them.”

Stacey_Ross_50Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

How To Find the Right Apps

By Robyn Wright

Our devices have a lot of great apps preinstalled these days, but there are thousands more available to you in the app stores. For iOS users, that means the iTunes App Store; for Android users, Google Play; and Windows Phone users, the Windows App store.

There are apps designed specifically for smartphones, some just for tablets, and some that will work on multiple types of devices. With so many apps available, it can be a little overwhelming to find new things to try. However, all the stores have tools that can help you find just the right apps.

Register Your Device

Even if you only get free apps, you still want to create an account in your app store. This will store the apps you have download in case you get a new device. It also will help you see just those apps that are compatible with your device. If you do update your device, you can change that information in your account settings whenever you need to.

Editor’s Picks

All the stores have selections made by the editors of the store that they are spotlighting. These are apps that someone who works with apps regularly has looked at and are considered worth your time. Most Editors’ Picks are updated on a weekly basis. Make a habit of checking them out to find great apps.

Top Apps

The stores also have top app lists. Usually there is a top free apps, top paid apps, top game apps, and even top apps for other categories. The top free and paid lists do not change dramatically, but it is worth checking periodically. The other category top lists will change more often. If there is a specific type of app that you are looking for, such as photography, productivity, or weather, then keep an eye on those lists to see what apps are peaking everyone’s interest.

Suggested App Collections

Similar to the Editor’s Picks, many stores have put together collections based on a theme. These app collections will contain an assortment of apps that fall under the theme. Examples might be Apps for Baseball Fans, Finance Apps, or Racing Fan Apps. New collections are added regularly, so be sure to check often to see if any new collections have been added that are of interest to you.

Check the User Ratings

I encourage you to take the time to rate apps that you have used yourself, because these ratings really can be helpful to others. Not all ratings are helpful; some do not give a lot of detail (good or bad), but many can really tell you quite a bit. The more ratings an app has, the more you can trust the overall rating (stars) it has. However, if there are only a few ratings, be sure to read what reviewers are saying to see why some may be high and some low. If the app is not a free app, then this really is an important step, since you have a limited time to get a refund.

Look for Last Update

An app may look great and it may even have a high rating, but that does not mean it is up to date. All the apps will show when the last update was in the description. If it has been a few years, then it may not still be that great since technology has improved so much so quickly.

App Developer Info and Web Sites

Look for the name of the developer of the app in the description. You will start to see some companies over and over again and may find some brands you really like and some you do not like. When you find a company you like, look at other apps they have developed. Some companies will have links to their website as well; go check that out to get even more information.

All of these tips utilize what is already in the app store. If you regularly check out the app store for new apps and updates, you will find it becomes easier to use with each visit. Remember, you can try out as many apps as you like (particularly the free ones), and just uninstall the ones that you are not happy with. Remember, there really is an app for that!

Robyn Wright is a social media specialist and blogs on her own blog, RobynsOnlineWorld.com, as well as several other sites. Robyn has a love for family, technology, food and lots of apps!