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Top 10 Tech Resolutions for 2014

It’s almost time to turn the page on yet another year and welcome in 2014. It’s also traditionally a time to set a few goals for the year ahead. Whether it’s losing weight, drinking less coffee, or exercising more often, we all hope that our New Year resolutions will last past the end of January!

But what about our rapidly expanding digital lives? Maybe we should also come up with a few technology-related resolutions that will improve things in the virtual world as well as the real one. Here are a few suggestions…

1. Back up your computer

OK, this is the year you finally make a habit of backing up those important files, photos, and videos. With free cloud storage options and USB flash drives that can hold up to 128GB of data, there really are no more excuses. And while you’re at it, why don’t you back up all your smartphone contacts and apps at the same time. Again, cloud storage is the easy option (iDrive for iOS, Google Drive for Android) or you can do it through your wireless carrier.

2. Recycle those old electronics

With all those discarded cell phones, printers, and no-longer-used desk top computers, your garage is starting to look like a digital junk yard. Do the right thing and recycle your electronics. You will feel so much better when you do!

3. Delete unwanted Facebook friends

And if you’re going to dump some old electronics, why not dump a few Facebook friends at the same time! The new year is a perfect time to do a little housekeeping when it comes to your favorite social network. You can even have a little fun. That old high school “friend” who keeps posting those unfunny jokes? Gone! That ex-colleague with all those annoying political rants? Zap! Besides, having 1,000 Facebook friends is so 2012. Nowadays, it’s all about quality over quantity.

4. Make meal times tech free

We love our smartphones and tablets but we still need the occasional tech-free zone. Make it the dinner table or your favorite Friday night restaurant. And set a good example: if you don’t reach for your smartphone, your kids will be less inclined to reach for theirs. Use meal times for talking and catching up.

5. Delete unwanted apps

Ever wondered why you get all those flashing smartphone ads and your data usage always seems to be higher than it should? The answer could be all those apps that are happily tracking your location and web browsing habits, even though you never use them anymore. Make a habit of going through your smartphone apps at least once a month and clear out all the junk you no longer use. Come to think of it, do the same exercise on Facebook. Often times, you will have to go to the app web site to de-register and get rid of it completely, but your increased privacy might just be worth the effort.

6. Do something with all those photos

Let 2014 be the year that you finally organize all those digital photos. It’s an unfortunate fact of modern day life that great photos never see the light of day because they are swamped by hundreds of other images that are far less worthy. Whether they are trapped in your camera, sitting on your laptop, or taking up space in that brand new camera, it’s time to liberate the keepers and consign the rest to the digital dumpster.

7. Change your passwords

The new year is also a good time to stop using “qwerty” or “password” as the password to all your bank accounts and other online services and start taking Internet security a little more seriously. Identity theft and online fraud is a real and growing problem, and it can prove disastrous for both your professional and personal life if you become a victim. Update your privacy settings on Facebook and your other social networks at the same time.

8. Cut out the notifications

You might like the sound of your smartphone buzzing, beeping or playing the first few bars of the Star Spangled Banner every time a tweet or Facebook update arrives but I can assure you your work colleagues and fellow concert-goers are not so impressed. Turn off notifications and you will be amazed at how productive you become…and how peaceful the world seems without all that unnecessary noise.

9. Bluetooth, Bluetooth, and more Bluetooth

Still getting tangled up with all those wires and cables? It’s time to clear the clutter and switch to some of the amazing Bluetooth products that are on the market today. Whether it’s headphones, speakers, keyboards, fitness trackers, or even heart-rate monitors, Bluetooth-enabled devices offer hands-free and cable-free possibilities than can be life-changing. And Bluetooth capability means that many of these devices can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.

10. Read more

We blame technology and the Internet for the fact that kids (and their parents) don’t read books any more. But we have better access to books now than we have ever had before. Whether you own a Kindle, an iPad, a laptop, or just a smartphone, millions of e-books are just a couple of clicks away. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Apple and Google all offer huge selections, including many of the classics free of charge.

Do you have a New Year’s tech resolution that you want to share? Tell The Online Mom!

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