children-online-safety

How to be A Responsible Online Parent

Parenting is so easy – said no one, ever. But, the advent of the internet has made it even harder. When we were kids, our parents had almost complete control on our environment, and by extension on, of what and who we came in contact with. Our play time was limited to a few friends from the neighborhood and the playground nearby. Fortunately or unfortunately, we came in contact with the internet when we were old enough to tell the good from the bad.

Fast forward to today, and you see a 3-year old playing on a tablet; a 5-year old can find a video they want to watch on the internet. This is good and bad. Internet is an essential tool in today’s world. As a parent, it is our duty to get our children acquainted with all the tools they need to be successful in life. However, there is no denying that there is a dark side to the internet. We cannot expose our kids to the internet unexpectedly and expect them to make the right decisions by themselves. We have to guide them through it. This brings us to the question – how exactly do you do that? For starters, here are some pointers for you to become a better parent in this new digital age.

Be there when they access the internet

It is the small things that count. Sit down with your kid when they are taking baby steps into the world of internet. This will not only help you spend some quality time with your child, but also enable you to supervise what your child is doing on the internet. An open channel of communication like this will help your kids clarify their doubts. Of course, you cannot be with them every single time they go online, but you can teach them how to be responsible on the internet.

Keep an eye on their social accounts

Social media is everywhere. If your kids are on the internet, they are bound to stumble across social media sooner than later. When that happens, they can be exposed to a lot of bad elements that exist on these sites. So be careful.

You should make sure that they seek your permission whenever they want to access their social media accounts. You can also keep control over them remotely by befriending them on these sites. But, until your child is old enough to make their own decisions, you should know all of their log in credentials to these sites. This is a non-negotiable.

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Tech solutions for parents

There are many parental control software solutions available online. Install any one such software on each and every smart device your child has access to. You can then filter out the content that is not suitable to their pristine minds.

You should also let the child know that they are being monitored. More importantly, explain to them why you had to take such steps. Remember that it is important to trust your child, but it is more important to protect them from the dangers they are unaware of.

The Online Stranger Danger

Remember how your parents taught you to beware of the strangers, who might want to get chatty with you. This is the same thing. Only the context has changed. You should make them realize how the internet is full of predators. They should know that they are not supposed to accept any friendly advances online.

You have to put stress on how those unknown people may spell danger, and how you are the one who is trying to protect them. It is easier said than done. But, a small chat with your child can open a line of communication that will help your child come to you in case they are facing a problem out there in the online world.

Either you have ‘The Talk’ or the internet will teach them

Pornography and sex are not the easiest topics for parents to talk to their kids about. That being said, if your kids are active online, they may stumble upon inappropriate content at some point. When they do, it is important that they are mentally prepared for it. Parental controls will considerably reduce the probability of this happening, but it cannot eliminate it.

Eventually, the responsibility falls on you to share your views about such content with them. They may be as awkward as you are or may have a lot of questions for you. In either case, be patient and let them know that you are there to help them and protect them.

Final Words

This is the age of the internet. So it is almost impossible to avoid it. The best way to keep your child safe is by being an approachable parent, who is there to listen and who has time to talk. If you are there when your child needs you during their developmental years, they won’t feel a void in their life that they need a stranger to fill.

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Sling TV Review: Is It Worth the Cost?

Sling TV has received more than a warm welcome by the TV viewers. Cord-cutters in particular rejoiced when they learned that they could now enjoy sports programming without a cable subscription. They welcomed it with open arms. Why wouldn’t they, it is cheaper and more convenient to use than the traditional cable television. Sling TV prided itself on being the first to bring live TV to the streaming audience. Since its launch, Sony has launched its own service PlayStation Vue, which too is offering live TV. Between the two of them, Sling TV is a lot cheaper. Not to mention the fact that Vue is available in a select few markets only. To be fair, in case of Sling TV  there is both good and bad going on, which we will discuss in detail here. But, there is no doubt that it has the potential to become a major player in the industry.

The Good

At $20, Sling TV offers 30+ channels to its subscribers. Subscribers can always add extra packs in accordance with their liking. A great thing about the service is that the users do not need to sign any contract with Sling TV. Cheaper and convenient, what’s not to like? But, the icing on the cake is that the sports lovers do not have to compromise in any way, when they cut the cord. They get their fair share of sports programming on Sling TV.

The service is compatible with a wide range of devices. It works well with most of the commonly used streaming devices and more. It works well with smartphones, laptops, desktops, smart TVs, and even gaming consoles. Sling TV is also compatible with Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV & Stick, Nexus Player, Roku, Google Chromecast, Macbooks, PC, and iOS and Android-supported devices. Needless to say, you do not have to worry about compatibility at all when it comes to Sling TV.

Sling TV offers a pretty simple interface to its users. All they need to do is launch the app and go to the channel that they want to watch. There is also a ‘What’s On’ tab that allows the users to pick from all the programs that are live. Most of the channels also have the rewind, fast-forward and pause buttons, which is nice. But, channels like ESPN and TBS, do not support this functionality.

Another amazing feature that you can enjoy with Sling TV is the 3-Day Replay. The name itself is quite self-explanatory. This feature allows the users to replay the programming that was available on some channels for up to three days into the past. There is another Sling TV offering called ‘Start Over’ which allows subscribers to watch a show from the very beginning. This is absolutely amazing.

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The Bad

Buffering issues take the better of Sling TV. Even with relatively fast internet connections, it is not possible to enjoy an uninterrupted service on Sling TV. The buffering issue becomes a bigger problem during sporting events, when you do not want to miss out on sporting action, but you have to wait for the videos to buffer.

There is another functionality issue. If you are watching something, but try to switch to another programming, you are catapulted out of the app. This can be a big pain every time you wish to watch something else.

There is another issue faced by Sling TV users. The basic pack of Sling TV supports just one stream. What this means is that you can enjoy Sling TV on only one device at any given time. This may not be a huge issue for individual subscribers, but a complete letdown for families, when multiple members wish to enjoy different content on their own devices.

The customer service offered by Sling TV is not always appreciated. Then again, it is a new company and a work-in progress. For what it is worth, it is becoming better with time.

There is a lot of competition in the streaming market today and all the competitors are trying to differentiate themselves from the rest in one way or the other. They are either offering high quality or high quantity of content, or both. Many users feel that whatever they get from Sling TV, they can get it via other avenues as well. Then again, Sling TV is offering live TV, which is a big factor for many viewers.

The Conclusion

Sling TV is not exactly the new Netflix because its value proposition is completely different. The service is trying to be a head-on competitor to cable services. This means that you have to compare Sling TV’s offerings with cable services. You cannot compare the prices of Sling TV with Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus because these services are not offering you live TV, and are completely different from what Sling TV is.

So, the real question here is – does Sling TV fare well against cable services? And the answer is a resounding YES. The service is hardly 2 years old and it has made its presence felt. It is offering people all the features of a cable subscription, minus the mess. Not only this, they were the first internet-delivered service that brought in sports programming in the picture, which is a huge step forward for streaming services.

In terms of pricing, the service costs a fraction of what a cable connection costs. Not only this, you are getting the choice of a lot many add-on packages to take care of all your likes and dislikes. Sling TV is an interesting service that offers something unique to the cord cutters. There is a 7-day free trial available for you to test the waters. After that, at $20 a month, it is not a bad deal to get your live TV fix.

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Lucille Ball Biography

Lucile Désirée Ball was a multifaceted woman who has worn many hats, including that of an actor, producer, comedian, model, and more. Born on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, Lucy left her home at a young age to become an actress in New York. However, her dreams were not realized immediately and she had to settle for modeling jobs. On one of her modeling gigs, she landed the part of an Earl Carroll showgirl. She had to take a break from her career for two years due to continued illness and had to return to her hometown. Luckily, she was spotted by an agent during this time, and she finally landed a role in the movie, Roman Scandals in 1933.

She was an official Goldwyn girl now and appeared in many of their movies, including Kid Millions (1934). Lucille Ball did many other movies for production houses like RKO and Columbia.  The year 1937 gave her a big break, Stage Door. Lucy met her future husband, Desi Arnaz, who was a newcomer in the industry, during the production of her next movie, Too Many Girls. They instantly fell in love and shortly thereafter, got married. However, the couple had to stay apart for much of the time that they were together. First, Desi was touring with his band while Lucy was working in movies. Later in 1943, Desi was drafted into the army. Lucy was signed with MGM and appeared on the Armed Forces Radio with none other than Mel Blanc. Technicolor cameras at MGM were the reason that she became a redhead, a look that would later become her signature. Her association with MGM was very successful, resulting in a trail of hit movies.

1944 was a tumultuous year for Lucy’s personal life, when she filed for divorce from Desi. Although the distance played its role, it was Desi’s alleged affairs that led to her decision. However, in a very Hollywood-like twist, the two met just the night before their court hearing and sorted things out. In fact, by 1950, Ball and Desi formed Desilu Productions that produced many theater acts in which the couple acted. Actually, the two went on this national tour to prove to the CBS executives that the public will accept an all-American girl married to a Latin man. The story is that with TV becoming more popular, CBS wanted Lucy’s hugely popular radio show, My Favorite Husband, to be broadcasted on television. Lucy wanted Desi to co-star the show, but the network executives were skeptical of the masses accepting them as a couple. Lucy admirably put her point through.

In 1951, the iconic ‘I Love Lucy’ was born. This show was groundbreaking not only in terms of its popularity, but also because she was the first woman head of a production house. The show ended in 1957 after winning 5 Emmys across its six seasons. Even after the show, the Desilu Studios kept going strong well into the sixties. Some other shows she starred in were The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy.

After 20 eventful years and two children, Desi and Lucy decided to part ways in 1960. Ball continued to perform in Broadway shows, television and movies. In 1961, she married Gary Morton, who was a well-known comedian of the time.

Lucy Ball breathed her last in 1989 due to a ruptured aorta. She was a legendary actress, who appeared in over 80 movies and performed numerous hours on television and radio.  She gave the good 50 years of her life to show business and on her death the sign outside CBS studios said it all – They needed a laugh in Heaven. Goodbye Lucy.  You can watch lots of reruns of Lucy’s TV shows when you subscribe to one of the DIRECTV satellite TV packages.