POSTS WITH TAG: technology

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    The other day my husband and I were reminiscing about our baby-raising years, when entire days would revolve around naps. How we'd tiptoe around the house when someone was sleeping, putting off noisy activities like emptying the dishwasher or speaking above a hushed whisper, because god forbid if that two-hour nap was interrupted and we got screwed with a measly 45 minutes.

    We would have done anything to ensure we got the full, allotted naptime. That time was so unbelievably precious, I can still remember the whole-bodied relief of it. The blissful silence. The sense of somehow reconnecting with your own self while temporarily drawn away from the fierce parental undertow: Oh, you're still here. Good.

    Our kids are well past the napping stage now, and thankfully, they're not nearly so demanding. But I've learned we can easily recreate that napping atmosphere -- and oh god, it's so hard not to abuse this power.

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    How many times have you thought: "I'll just plop the kid down on the couch, let him watch TV, and I'll finally have a moment to breathe"? It's easy, after all. They're entertained and you get to enjoy some peaceful moments. Sorry, Mom, but you might have to find a new way to get some me time.

    Even though we're constantly surrounded by TVs, computers, the Internet, video games, and our phones and tablets, their negative effects far outweigh the good.

    From developmental delays to health and mental illnesses, too much time spent in front of screens has been found to cause lifelong harm to children. Especially when they consume far more than the recommended two hours daily.

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    More than 60 emergency responders, including a SWAT team, swarmed a house in New York after police received a call from someone claiming to be a 17-year-old boy who had just killed his mother and brother. The caller contacted police over Skype yesterday afternoon to say he was Rafael Castillo and that he had not only murdered his family members, but was prepared to shoot even more people. The caller even provided police with his address.

    But when cops responded, they discovered everything was just peachy keen. Rafael's mom was alive and well -- making coffee in the kitchen -- while his brother had just returned home from lunch. And where was Rafael? Doing the one thing that gave police some idea of who may have been behind the vicious prank call that cost its department $100,000 -- he was playing video games. 

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    Even though cursive writing, or script, seems to have gone the way of the telegraph in recent years, some states -- including, most recently, Tennessee -- are working to try and preserve it. A bill is about to go before their state House that would make it mandatory for children to learn how to write in script at school, most likely in the third grade. One lawmaker, who is also a teacher, was reportedly inspired to write the bill after he discovered only about half of all children in the state could read a teacher's writing if he or she wrote in cursive. The move is a step in the right direction -- now if only every state would jump on the script bandwagon.

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    It seems like decades ago we were using rotary phones. Ah, that's because it was decades ago, wasn't it?! Can anyone else remember sitting on the couch or standing in the kitchen and letting their fingers dwindle on the rotary dial. Never mind whether you had to make an urgent call or not -- just placing that call was going to take minutes longer than it ever would on a cell! Remember what a dial tone sounded like? What about a busy signal? Can you even imagine not being able to get in touch with someone because he or she is already on the phone with someone else? Puh-leeze.

    It's easy for adults to forget the crazy, hazy days of rotary phones. Now imagine placing one in the hands of a 5-, 9-, or 13-year-old and expecting them to know how to even hold the prehistoric device. That's exactly what The Fine Brothers did and the children's reactions -- caught on video -- are priceless.

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    As an adult, you've probably signed your name on more random slips of paper than you can fathom. And few of us probably suspected that the common practice of swiping our credit cards and signing a receipt has a lot to do with why half of all frauds take place in the United States, even though we only make up about a quarter of all credit card use in the world. After a massive and scary credit card breach took place over the holidays at big retail stores like Target and Neiman Marcus, big changes are in the works: as of October 2015, you'll never swipe and sign again -- and, with hope, stolen data will become a thing of the past. 

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    With the news that Target and Neiman Marcus revealed more than 70 million pieces of customer data to hackers, I thought it would behoove me to inspect my credit card bill. Sure enough, my card number had been stolen and used to buy $10 worth of something somewhere in Ohio. 

    I won't go into what to do when someone steals your credit card (cancel it immediately, report fraudulent charges, subscribe to a credit watch service, keep track of your bills like a hawk) or how to prevent it in the first place (use Paypal online, cut up your debit card, use one credit card for "unsafe" purchases at companies that have been compromised). Instead, let's look at how my credit card information was stolen and where it probably went.

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    In every parent’s Christmas nightmare, one family in Virginia had some explaining to do with their kids after an 8-year-old found pornographic images on his new handheld Nintendo system.

    The newly bought DS was bought at Walmart on December 23, but somehow contained 12 still images saved in a file that the kids accessed when they started using the device to take pictures of each other.

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    If my child was suddenly and unexplainably diagnosed with cancer and died 11 months later, I would be searching high and low for answers that may or may not exist. I would be so heartbroken that I wouldn't know where to turn, what to do with myself, or how to create a positive situation out of a heartbreaking, horrifying one. So I can't fault these parents from New Zealand for blaming the death of their 10-year-old son, who was diagnosed with brain cancer less than one year before he lost his battle with the disease, on their son's school's Wifi and iPad usage. But, in spite of some surprising coincidences that have been revealed, they may be taking things too far by fighting all schools in their district to get rid of technology.  

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    We take a risk each time we swipe our credit or debit cards, whether we're using them to pick up bread and milk at a small grocer or buying all of our holiday gifts at one of the largest merchandise retail chains in the country. If you used your card to shop at a Target store anytime between November 27 and December 15, you need to be aware of this breaking news: the retail giant has announced that about 40 million customers may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season took off. Here's what you need to know about the data breach and how you can protect yourself. 

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