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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.
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Screen Time: How Much is Too Much?

By Tracey Dowdy

Any parent who has ever braved a road trip with a toddler or simultaneously attempted to make dinner, placate a wailing, teething infant and tried to answer a phone you can hear ringing but can’t find, understands the occasional need to buy yourself some time and sanity entertain a child through the magic of television. Not that I’ve ever been in that situation. It happened to a friend of mine.

Many moms I know were adamant that their children wouldn’t sit in front of a screen and were more or less successful with their first child. The challenge came when the second child arrived and, instead of being twice as busy with two kids, Parenting Math meant that they were exponentially busier with two.

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Traveling Overseas With Your Smartphone

While I love my smartphone and can’t bear to go anywhere without it, I always hesitate a little when I’m planning an overseas trip. I’ve had too many vacations where I congratulated myself for staying within budget only to find that my cell phone bill was hundreds of dollars more than I expected. With international calling rates, costly data charges, and unexpected roaming fees, it’s easy to think that taking a phone abroad is far more trouble than it’s worth.

Thankfully, times are changing. Phone manufacturers and wireless carriers recognize the difficulties associated with cell phone use overseas and have made enormous strides in trying to simplify the process and help control the costs. By talking to a sales representative or visiting your carrier’s web site, you can now get good advice on exactly what kind of device and service plan you will need for the countries you will be visiting.

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7 Social Media Mistakes You Should Try and Avoid

If you have used social media long enough, you have surely experienced a few of those head-shaking moments when you see a Facebook post or a tweet that has you saying to yourself: “What were they thinking?!”

If you’re lucky, those moments are reserved for people you don’t know or aren’t in your inner circle, so you can sit back and not worry about the consequences. But other times, they strike a little closer to home, and, if you’re really unlucky, you’ve made one of those mistakes yourself – a moment that you may not regret but one that will have others looking at you in a whole different light.

So, in the hope of avoiding some of the more common cringe-inducing moments, here are seven things you might want to avoid when you are using social media:

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How To Make Sense of Smartphone Specs

Most of us love checking out new smartphones. Whether we're browsing the Apple Store, visiting one of those cool Microsoft stores, or just checking in at the local wireless retailer, we love to pick up the phones on display and play with all the features.

Of course, it didn’t used to be that way. No so long ago, the idea of walking into a store to pick out a new phone would be reason enough to break out in a cold sweat. But times have changed, and a greater familiarity with mobile technology in general – and smartphones and apps in particular – has given most of us a welcome level of comfort.

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7 Unique Music and Sound Apps for Your Smartphone or Tablet

By Robyn Wright

We all know that we can use our smartphones and tablets to play our favorite songs. Downloading MP3 files or even streaming live music from regular and Internet radio stations is now a very common practice. Use Bluetooth to connect your favorite set of ear buds or an external speaker and you can dance to the music anywhere you like! Even most cars now come with a way to connect your smartphone, so you play your music while you drive.

However, when it comes to sound, you can do much more on your smartphone or tablet than just create a playlist (the mix tape of our time). In fact, if you put your mind to it, you can really come up with some novel and practical uses.

Here are seven interesting ways to use the music and sound recognition features on your mobile devices:

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Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross!
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PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision? [read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain!
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Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep [read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail!
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Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations [read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help!
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How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help [read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts!
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The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy! [read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority!
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10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant! [read on]
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