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Tips for Parents Raising Kids in a Digital World

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Raising kids in a digital world is as much of a curse as it is a blessing. Namely, they have the means to learn, grow and entertain themselves, which helps them become more independent early on- Then again, they also grow more and more alienated from the environment. Furthermore, you have no control over what kind of content they’re exposed to and, frankly, with the ever-growing trend of VR, chances are that they might soon be in danger of having a hard time telling the difference between the real and virtual world. Having said that, parents need to be extra careful and take some additional steps of precaution.

1.      Encourage playtime

The first mistake that parents often make is trying to force their kids to play outside or go on playdates. Prohibiting, forbidding and ordering your kids around seldom does the trick. If anything, it will make them enjoy less and even openly defy you. Instead, you need to encourage playtime by coming up with fun activities, organizing playdates that they really want and giving them a reason to go outside. In other words, you merely need to help them develop intrinsic motivation and they will look forward to this playtime in the real world.

2.      Use parental control

In the previous section, we might have gone too hard on the technology and digital environment but these tools and tech trends are a part of the reality that we live in. This means that you’re doing your kids a disservice by pretending like they don’t exist. Instead, you need to guide them by gradually introducing them into this world and the easiest way to achieve this is to introduce some parental control on the device they’re using. Some devices like iPhone have a parental control in form of iPhone restrictions that are so sophisticated that it may help you give your child the ultimate kid-friendly smartphone experience.

3.      Screen time shouldn’t be alone time

Not all content is necessarily bad for your kids when you put it into proper context, which is why you need to ensure that not all screen time is alone time for your kids. Some parents just allow their kids to play with tablets, smartphones and computers, seeing as how this is a (physically) safe activity for them. In other words, they can just leave their kids to the care of these devices and go on about their own business. In parenthood, and in life in general, the easy way out is seldom the right thing to do.

4.      Set a good example

The most important thing of all is that you are a good role model for your kids. To achieve this, you need to set a good example by showing restraint when it comes to the use of these devices. Kids often try to reflect the behavior of their parents, so if they see you looking at the screen all the time or trying to take a picture of everything they do, they might start doing the same. In other words, don’t set any rules or expectations that you yourself can’t fulfill.

5.      Tech-free zones

The last thing you can do is try to gamify this experience by creating tech-free zones for your children whenever and wherever you can. For instance, instead of getting a huge flat-screen TV to serve as the focal point of your living room, you could make it into a tech-free zone. We already talked about the fact that forbidding things to your kids might backfire and give an adverse result. However, by creating a tech-free zone, you’ll make the execution of this rule into something passive and easy to uphold. Your kids will come to accept this as a way of life, instead of seeing it as a stern rule, especially since it doesn’t apply just to them but is something that everyone must uphold.

Conclusion

Raising kids was never easy, to begin with. However, now you’re facing more and more challenges than ever before. However, the end result is always more than worth it and, as a parent, it’s your duty and your obligation to do all that’s in your power in order to help your kids grow into decent and functional human beings. For that reason alone, you shouldn’t be too eager to prevent them from using even those trends that you personally dislike.

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AWS launches Amazon Honeycode, a no-code mobile and web app builder

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AWS today announced the beta launch of Amazon Honeycode, a new, fully managed low-code/no-code development tool that aims to make it easy for anybody in a company to build their own applications. All of this, of course, is backed by a database in AWS and a web-based, drag-and-drop interface builder.

Developers can build applications for up to 20 users for free. After that, they pay per user and for the storage their applications take up.

“Customers have told us that the need for custom applications far outstrips the capacity of developers to create them,” said AWS VP Larry Augustin in the announcement. “Now with Amazon Honeycode, almost anyone can create powerful custom mobile and web applications without the need to write code.”

Like similar tools, Honeycode provides users with a set of templates for common use cases like to-do list applications, customer trackers, surveys, schedules and inventory management. Traditionally, AWS argues, a lot of businesses have relied on shared spreadsheets to do these things.

“Customers try to solve for the static nature of spreadsheets by emailing them back and forth, but all of the emailing just compounds the inefficiency because email is slow, doesn’t scale, and introduces versioning and data syncing errors,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “As a result, people often prefer having custom applications built, but the demand for custom programming often outstrips developer capacity, creating a situation where teams either need to wait for developers to free up or have to hire expensive consultants to build applications.”

It’s no surprise then that Honeycode uses a spreadsheet view as its core data interface, which makes sense, given how familiar virtually every potential user is with this concept. To manipulate data, users can work with standard spreadsheet-style formulas, which seems to be about the closest the service gets to actual programming. ‘Builders,” as AWS calls Honeycode users, can also set up notifications, reminders and approval workflows within the service.

AWS says these databases can easily scale up to 100,000 rows per workbook. With this, AWS argues, users can then focus on building their applications without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

As of now, it doesn’t look like users will be able to bring in any outside data sources, though that may still be on the company’s roadmap. On the other hand, these kinds of integrations would also complicate the process of building an app and it looks like AWS is trying to keep things simple for now.

Honeycode currently only runs in the AWS US West region in Oregon but is coming to other regions soon.

Among Honeycode’s first customers are SmugMug and Slack.

“We’re excited about the opportunity that Amazon Honeycode creates for teams to build apps to drive and adapt to today’s ever-changing business landscape,” said Brad Armstrong, VP of Business and Corporate Development at Slack in today’s release. “We see Amazon Honeycode as a great complement and extension to Slack and are excited about the opportunity to work together to create ways for our joint customers to work more efficiently and to do more with their data than ever before.”

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Slack announces Connect, an improved way for companies to talk to one another

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Virtual events are the new norm for product rollouts in 2020, with Slack taking to the internet earlier today to talk about a new part of its service called Slack Connect.

On the heels of Apple’s lengthy and pretty good virtual WWDC that took place earlier this week, Slack’s event, part experiment and part press conference, was called to detail the firm’s new Slack Connect capability, which will allow companies to better link together and communicate inside of their Slack instance than what was possible with its shared channels feature. The product was described inside of a business-to-business context, including examples about companies needing to chat with agencies and other external vendors.

In its most basic form, Slack is well-known for internal chat functionality, helping teams talk amongst themselves. Slack Connect appears to be a progression past that idea, pushing internal communications tooling to allow companies to plug their private comms into the private comms of other orgs, linking them for simple communication while keeping the entire affair secure.

Slack Connect, a evolution past what shared channels offered, includes better security tooling and the ability to share channels across 20 orgs. The enterprise SaaS company is also working to give Connect-using companies “the ability to form DM connections independent of channels,” the company told TechCrunch.

The product could slim down email usage; if Slack Connect can let many orgs chat amongst themselves, perhaps fewer emails will be needed to keep different companies in sync. That said, Slack is hardly a quiet product. During his part of the presentation, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield noted that the service sees up to 65 million messages sent each second at peak times.

According to the CEO, Slack Connect has been piloted for a few months, and is now available for paid plans.

Slack shares are off 3.8% today, before the news came out. Its broader company cohort (SaaS) are also down today, along with the market more broadly; investors don’t appear to have reacted to this piece of news, at least yet.

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Apple has acquired Fleetsmith, a startup that helps IT manage Apple devices remotely

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At a time when IT has to help employees set up and manage devices remotely, a service that simplifies those processes could certainly come in handy. Apple recognized that, and acquired Fleetsmith today, a startup that helps companies do precisely that with Apple devices.

While Apple didn’t publicize the acquisition, it has confirmed the deal with TechCrunch, while Fleetsmith announced the deal in a company blog post. Neither company was sharing the purchase price.

The startup has built technology that takes advantage of Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, allowing IT departments to bring devices online as soon as the employee takes it out of the box and powers it up.

At the time of its $30 million Series B funding last year, CEO Zack Blum explained the company’s core value proposition: “From a customer perspective, they can ship devices directly to their employees. The employee unwraps it, connects to Wi-Fi and the device is enrolled automatically in Fleetsmith,” Blum explained at that time.

Over time, the company has layered on other useful pieces beyond automating device registration, like updating devices automatically with OS and security updates, while letting IT see a dashboard of the status of all devices under management, all in a pretty slick interface.

While Apple will in all likelihood continue to work with Jamf, the leader in the Apple device management space, this acquisition gives the company a remote management option at a time when it’s essential with so many employees working from home.

Fleetsmith, which has raised more than $40 million from investors, like Menlo Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Upfront Ventures and Harrison Metal, will continue to sell the product through the company website, according to the blog post.

The founders put a happy face on the deal, as founders tend to do. “We’re thrilled to join Apple. Our shared values of putting the customer at the center of everything we do without sacrificing privacy and security, means we can truly meet our mission, delivering Fleetsmith to businesses and institutions of all sizes, around the world,” they wrote.

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