How Digitally Savvy Are You?

By Tracey Dowdy

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues “varies greatly depending on the topic, term or concept.”

The survey consisted of ten questions designed to test Americans’ knowledge across a broad range of digital topics, “such as cybersecurity, or the business side of social media companies. The median number of correct answers was four. Only 20% of adults answered seven or more questions correctly, and just 2% got all ten questions correct.”

To be fair, some of the questions are a little obscure, and even someone like me who regularly reports on digital matters wouldn’t necessarily be able to answer. For example, only 15% of adults correctly identified a recognize a picture of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

The survey was conducted in June 2019, with data collated from the 4,272 respondents to the test. 

Some of the results: 

  • 49% weren’t clear on what private browsing does
  • Only 30% knew that “https://” means that info entered on a website is encrypted
  • Only 28% accurately identified an example of two-factor authentication
  • 67% knew that phishing scams could take place across a variety of platforms
  • Only 24% of Americans are aware that “private browsing” or “incognito mode” only hides the user’s online activity from other individuals using the same computer, and does not mean the user’s actions are masked or not being tracked by the websites, the ISP, or even an employer if the browsing is being done on a work computer. 

Unsurprisingly, younger adults generally scored higher than older adults across digital knowledge questions, as did those with a bachelor’s or advanced educational degree. 

For example, 18- to 29-year-olds correctly answered a median of five out of 10 questions, compared to a median correct response of three among those ages 65 and older.

“Adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree and those under the age of 50 tend to score high on these questions,” Pew said. “Adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree answered a median of six questions correctly, compared with four correct answers by those who have attended college, but have not obtained a degree and three by those with a high school diploma or less.”

Only one in five adults answered 70% or more of the questions correctly, and only 2% answered all ten questions correctly.

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.

Websites and Resources: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Tracey Dowdy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign by the National Breast Cancer Foundation to increase awareness of the disease. One in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, making it the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Fortunately, the research that’s gone into finding a cure means breast cancer is no longer the death sentence it used to be. A study published in February of this year found that advances in treatment have saved hundreds of thousands of American women, though there’s still much work to do. This year, an estimated American 41,760 women will die from breast cancer.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with breast cancer, these sites provide valuable resources and information to help you navigate your treatment plan.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is, of course, the premier site for cancer-related support and resources. As a nationwide organization dedicated to cancer research, education, advocacy, and support, ACS offers resources to help understand your diagnosis, explore options for treatment plans, and find resources to help cover the cost of treatment. They also provide resources for your caregivers and family as they support you during treatment.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure raises funds for research, education, and outreach, though probably best known for their community events such as Race for the Cure. Komen has affiliates throughout the United States and internationally. Their website offers financial assistance and insurance information, educational resources on screening and detection,  treatment options, and ways to fundraise and get involved in their efforts. 

CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide free, professional help to people with all cancers and their loved ones through counseling, education, support groups, and direct financial assistance. You can search for help by diagnosis or topic, find stories of hope and encouragement from cancer survivors and medical professionals, and much more. is an easy-to-use online platform that allows patients to create a personalized web support community to keep family and friends updated. You can share photos, participate in discussion boards, assign a friend to delegate tasks, get help with website management, access resources for financial issues, health insurance, treatment options, clinical trials, diagnoses, nutrition, and much more.

BreastFree is a site designed for women who are considering or who have decided to have no reconstruction after mastectomy. You can read the reasons behind breast cancer survivors’ decisions and experiences, see photos of women pre- and post-mastectomy, get insight into post-mastectomy issues, and get advice and tips on living breast-free.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of women affected by breast cancer. In addition to their website, LBBC offers the Survivors’ Helpline, educational conferences, a quarterly newsletter, consumer-focused materials, and outreach to medically underserved women. The site provides resources specifically geared to young women with breast cancer as well as resources in Spanish.

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.

The Best Cooking Sites For Parents And Kids 

By Tracey Dowdy

According to National Today, October 4, 2019, is National Taco Day and National Cinnamon Roll Day. It’s also National Vodka Day, but that’s a post for another forum. 

Whether you’re celebrating your love of tacos or the ooey-gooey deliciousness of cinnamon rolls, it’s a perfect opportunity to get your kids into cooking. Cooking together is so much more than providing life skills that will help your kids avoid a steady diet of ramen throughout college. Research from Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that kids who eat family dinners get better grades in school, develop communication skills and are less likely to try drugs. It also improves math skills, helps them understand what’s in the food they eat, appreciate the work that goes into preparing the food they eat, and teaches them how to work with others. Raising an adventurous eater takes patience and persistence, but pays off in big ways. On the other hand, raising picky eaters not only means more work for you but may lead to health challenges for them down the road. 

These websites offer delicious, nutritious recipes that you and your child can prepare together and build memories you’ll treasure forever. 

Spatulatta was developed by a mom, her two daughters and their neighbor for latch-key kids. The recipes range from the very simple to more complex, so no matter your skill level, there’s something you can tackle. Choose from a variety of categories, diverse flavors, and styles. They have a YouTube channel so you can watch demos of their recipes.

The Kids Cook Monday is actually an initiative that encourages families to be intentional about eating and spending time with your family every Monday.  The webite provides examples of family-friendly recipes and video demonstrations of its recipes along with a Weelfree starter family dinner toolkit – making it easier for families to commit to cooking and eat together every Monday. “Start your week off right: Make Monday family night!” 

It’s no surprise that The Food Network has its own Cooking with Kids site that encourages families to work together in the kitchen to create simple, kid-friendly meals. Familiar Food Network personalities like Ree Drummond, Tyler Florence, Giada De Laurentiis, and Guy Fieri demonstrate kid-friendly versions of their recipes like Ree’s Prarie Sushi, Giada’s Spaghetti Nests, and Bananimals

Weelicious was created as a resource for parents to see how easy it is to expose children to wholesome, delicious homemade food. Recipes are divided into useful categories like Occasion, Sensitivity, Ingredient, and Cook Time, making it even easier to search for recipes your kids will love. Host Catherine has demonstration videos, ideas for school lunches, and useful resources like tips for how to make groceries stay fresh longer. 

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.