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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.

What's Next

When it comes to technology, you can count on only one thing: tomorrow will be different from today. There will be new technology. People will use it new ways. And, since young people tend to be at the forefront of those changes, you better believe they'll affect you and your family. On this page, we'd like to quickly preview a few of the major trends just now showing up on the horizon. Some may fade. Some may explode. These stories are yet to be told: keep visiting this page, and we'll keep you posted!

Total mobile Internet access. The iPhone heralds an age when anyone can get the Internet anywhere, including your kids. And tomorrow's super-high-speed wireless services will make the mobile Internet as fast and as video-centric as today's 'home' Internet is becoming. But how do you control what your kids are viewing and doing online when they're nowhere near home?

iPods in school. K-12 schools are experimenting with the use of MP3 players and podcasts in everything from language teaching to guided reading assignments. And colleges and universities are taking to them big time: right now, you can download lectures from dozens of the best schools in America, from Yale to UC Berkeley.

eBooks finally coming of age? With Amazon's Kindle - and its broad selection of $9.99 books that folks actually want to read - there are signs that eBooks just might finally be catching on.

Toddlers and screens. Even toddlers don't want old-fashioned 'analog' toys anymore: last holiday season, reports The New York Times, six of Amazon.com's nine best-selling toys for 5-to-7-year-olds were tech gadgets. But, as The Times also reminds us, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children 2 and younger, and no more than 1-2 hours a day of quality content for older kids.

Personal location devices. Need to know exactly where your kids are? Where they really are? With features like Sprint's Family Locator or Verizon's Chaperone, now their cellphones can tell you.

Green computing. In an age of global warming and soaring energy costs, folks are noticing just how much energy computers use. And, with the green computing movement, they're beginning to respond. The future: computers that don't just hibernate, but turn themselves off when not in use... smaller and more energy efficient computers... computers whose parts are less hazardous and easier to recycle.

Second Life, and beyond. As 'virtual worlds' become bigger, more realistic, and more diverse, what rules will evolve there? What ethics? What morality? What will be the impacts - positive and negative - on those who choose to live ever larger parts of their lives in these immersive virtual environments?

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