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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.

Learning to Love Your Smartphone

If you are little geeky like I am, there is nothing more exciting than bringing home a brand new smartphone. I can’t wait to pop in the SIM card, snap the battery in place, and start exploring all the amazing features that today’s state-of-the-art mobile devices have to offer.

But even though I love playing around with gadgets, a new smartphone can be a little intimidating, particularly if you are making a switch to an unfamiliar operating system. How do you customize the home screen? What about setting up e-mail? And where do you find information about all those built-in apps?

Fortunately, most manufacturers and network carriers recognize the intricacy of today’s smartphones and have established multiple resources to help the first-time user or anyone else who may be struggling to master the many complex features. Here are just a few of those helpful resources:

Settings

Settings is the engine room of your phone; the place where you can adjust everything from your display to your location services to your security settings. While different operating systems may use different terminology, Settings is invariably the starting point for device customization, as well as activating important features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Internet sharing (your mobile hotspot), and more.

Most operating systems also make Settings the starting point for setting up e-mail and other accounts. And while there are usually a couple of different ways to set up Facebook and access other social networks, Settings will often provide a useful checklist of what needs to be done.

Whatever else you do with your new phone, spend a little time with Settings. You will be very glad you did!

In-app tutorials

Many of the built-in apps that come with brand new smartphones now feature in-app tutorials. While you may think you already know everything about a particular app, take the time to work your way through these short but helpful on-screen lessons. Even standard apps like Clock and Calendar are adding new features all the time and in-app tutorials are invaluable guides to what’s new.

The same applies to downloaded apps. You usually only get one shot at an in-app tutorial (the first time you use the app), so have a little patience and take advantage of the free instruction.

Verizon Support

If you are a Verizon customer, you are truly in luck. There is a huge amount of information to be found on the Verizon Wireless web site. Once you log in, hover over Support and then select Get Help With Your Device. Here you will find detailed information on hundreds of Verizon Wireless devices. Topics include everything from inserting SIM and SD cards to setting up your e-mail accounts to using custom apps like VZ Navigator. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied by interactive screen shots, so you know exactly which icons to tap and where you stand in the set-up process.

If Get Help With Your Device isn’t enough for you, then Verizon Support also offers dozens of device videos and a whole series of community forums organized by operating system as well as individual topics. Still not enough? Then there are hundreds of additional support pages organized around a range of FAQs.

Verizon Workshops

If you are averse to spending too much time online and would like a more personal touch, then there are always Verizon Workshops – in-store tutorials hosted by Verizon service personnel. Verizon offers both basic and advanced classes and most sessions will include hands-on training, so concerns can be addressed on an individual basis.

So don’t be discouraged if your shiny new phone appears more complicated than you thought. Help is everywhere – you just need to know where to look!

The Online Mom receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon Wireless.



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