Does technology make parenting harder?

51a241c5ddd8b47e50aa3c59a964910a25464_640Does technology make parenting harder?  This is a question I struggle with every day.  But when I really stop and think about it, I have to say, “Yes! Technology does make parenting harder.”  Some may say it makes it easier too, but that’ s a topic for another day.

The Huffington Post came out with this article today about “How Technology Has Made Parenting Harder.”  Hold on, don’t go read it yet, let’s talk about some ways that this typical every day parent thinks technology makes parenting harder.

The dangers of technology 

Spams, cyber bullying, inappropriate content, stranger danger and viruses just to name a few of the dangers I worry about every time the kids get on the computer, smartphone or iPad.  One day I was letting the 6 year old watch what I thought was a “My Little Pony” video, and well it was and it wasn’t!  Good thing I was sitting right there to change the “channel” fast.   They want to video everything they do and share it with the world.  While I am thrilled at their creativity and self-confidence, I feel like I’m stifling them when I look into their pouty faces and say, “No baby sorry you can’t post that on YouTube.”   Which leads me to the next way that technology has made my job as a parent harder.

But everyone else does it!

The video is made and the children are ready to post it.  “No girls you can’t post that on mom’s work account.”  “Okay we will make our own! ” Which is followed by the discussion that you are too young to make your own according to (insert social media tool here ) rules.  “But other kids do it! My friends all have accounts!” Followed by more pouty faces, flounces and bounces to their room.  However, in a few years I’m sure that flounce and bounce will be followed by a text message, status update, tweet – or whatever it may be called in about 3 years – that “My mom is so mean!” or a similar type comment.  Which leads to the next way that technology makes parenting harder.

Gripes, moans, complaints, half -truths and untruths (lies) 

Now, I admit, I’m a “mean mommy” quite frequently, if that’s what it takes to get the job done. But do children really need one more place to complain about how horrible their life is since mom (or dad) made them do their homework or grounded them from this weekend’s fun?  But that’s just the sugar in the cupcake of all this bit$#ing and moaning.  Next is how mean their teachers are.  How they hate the kid next door. It graduates to making fun of someone because they are different  And, it snowballs from there into lies, cyber bulling and fighting online and off.

How else does technology make parenting harder? Oh let me count the ways . . .

  • Fighting to get homework and chores done.
  • Text talk instead of an actual conversation.
  • Headphones so they don’t even hear me when it is a real conversation.
  • Less exercise.
  • Demands for bigger and better technology/toys and honestly one of the kids sounds like a walking, talking commercial as she shares with me all the reasons I need to buy her X and X.

Now sure there are lots of advantages to technology too.  But we aren’t talking about those yet.  Maybe next week.

But I know for sure, that technology does make parenting harder for me. I have a 25 year old and a 6 year old.  There is a huge difference in how I have to parent now and how I parenting then.

What does all this mean?  It means I have to be a better parent.  I have to be more aware and I have to “step up my game.”  But hey if the kids can figure out my iPad I should be able to figure out how to be a better parent right?

What about technology makes parenting harder for you?

 

Lilly Collins is 2013 most dangerous cyber celebrity according to McAfee

52138b9d17c94a2c82116f12fe87bba10a365_640It’s nothing new and she won’t be the first celebrity search term which could land your computer on a page filled with malware, spam, and viruses, but right now she is the hottest.  McAfee advises that “Looking up the ‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ star (and daughter of rocker Phil Collins) on the Web gives you about a 14.5% chance of landing on a page that tested positive for spam, adware, spyware, viruses or other malware,” according to a study by Internet security company.   This means you have about a 1 in 7 chance of finding much more that you ever wanted when your search lands you on a page.

Other top ten searches that may give you more than you bargained for are celebrities: Avril Lavigne, Sandra Bullock, Kathy Griffin and Zoe Saldana.  Katy, Perry, Brittany Spears and Emma Roberts are also among the top 10. According to McAfee’s report women celebrities are more likely to land your computer in hot water than searches for men celebrities.

Miley Cyrus came in at number 20 and her twerking performance on the VMA’s caused a surge in searches using her name, as well as a surge in cyber celebrity dangers.  My dad’s computer reported a virus on a site that was supposedly referred to him by a friend, alleging that she had committed suicide.  Of course that old story is well known spam as it has been used far too often, but not often enough to keep it from going viral. Want to know all of the percentages this year for your favorite celebrity?  The Wall Street Journal breaks it down for you so you can see your chances of encountering a celebrity cyber screw up.

McAfee has been providing the “most dangerous celebrity cyber searches” for seven years.  During this time celebrities like Heidi Klum, Emma Watson, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Biel and Selena Gomez have been listed among the most dangerous cyber searches.  Brad Pitt has been one of the men on the top of the list, but the men searches are fewer and far between.

Of course as part of their list, McAfee offers a number of tips and tricks to help you keep your computer from catching more than  cold including:

  • Be cautious of content offering “free” or “too good to be true”
  • Be extra cautious when searching for hot topics.   My recommendation – got to Google Trends and then head to your the topics through there, or only access those sites of “name brand” celebrity news sources.
  • Protect yourself with comprehensive security.  My recommendation, not only should you have a good security system but pay attention to it.  If your system says “STOP” or doesn’t have the check mark next to the link you probably don’t want to visit there.

mcafee site advisor

College, credit and identity theft

credit card scams

Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links, which help to support this site. However, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

This post will be a little more personal in nature.  Recently I went shopping with my 25 year old son, who is getting ready to embark on the grand adventure of marriage.  Together we visited the jewelry stores.  He was hoping to find the perfect engagement ring to give to his soon to be fiance (we were pretty sure she would say yes) and I was there to negotiate the best price.  Finding the perfect ring we discuss the price.  Once we get the price the store was ready to accept we now have to find out the best way to pay for this item.

Like many college students (he graduates this December as he worked full time his way through college) he didn’t have the amount saved because every penny counts.  Having never had any credit since his car was paid for (thank you grandma and grandpa), as was his housing and other expenses we thought now would be a good time to begin to build it.  After all the cost of the ring was not that bad and it would be a good way to get started on the way to responsible credit use. Getting his bonuses over the next six months and each of them could pay for the expense, he decided to fill out the application.  After all, who knows a few years from now the next thing I hope to help him find is a new house (somewhere closer than 1900 miles away).

“I’m sorry, you weren’t approved,” the salesperson tells us.  Crushed, he quickly becomes curious, and asked to see the denial.

Lesson no. 1 If denied credit always ask to see the written response, you may be surprised.

The denial says he has unpaid credit card bills and outstanding credit (not outstanding as in really good either!).  But how can this be he asks.  Other than his monthly cell phone bill he has not had any credit cards, no monthly payments.  Not even student loans, because although he took one out his first year they are deferral because he is in school.   “Mom! What do I do?”

Lesson no. 2 Run your credit report immediately.  He can start with his free credit report, but considering these circumstances he may want to use a service like CreditSesame because they also offer additional services to help him stay on top of his credit rating.

We ran his credit report and now the work really begins.   It’s time to clean it up.  There are a number of different problems with it, from fraudulent use of his name, Social Security Number, creation of a new identity using his old address and of course the big problem, unpaid items of credit, whether it was a fast cash item or credit card.   “How did this happen?” he wonders.

Lesson no. 3 It can happen a number of ways from old mail, credit card offers in the mail, his Social Security Number used at the college or even a so called friend or roommate which had access to his information.  Stolen wallets, filled out forms, responding to spam messages, there are a whole number of different ways that this happens.  Maybe he was just unlucky.  Most identity theft takes bits and pieces of the true to create a “new you.”  That’s where this gets messy.

What can you do?  Now it’s time to take action.  Either file a dispute through the credit monitoring service that you are using or grab some pen and paper and do it the old fashioned way.   Either way you need to contact the credit reporting agencies with the information that is incorrect, correct it and include any proof that you may be able to provide.

Lesson. no 4 Some say you can file with just one agency and that all the information will be sent to all three.  However, to be safe I recommended that my son send the information to each of them if he didn’t want to file it online.

Here are some sample letters to use when filing your dispute.

Should you take the snail mail route here are the mailing addresses for each of the three reporting agencies.

TransUnion
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

Experian
P.O. Box 9530
Allen, TX 75013

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

Remember mistakes can be made on anyone’s credit report but it has been reported that identity theft is on the rise for college students, so pass this information on to them so that they know what to do.