Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Smart Life!

Technology – it is the buzzword going around for the past two or three decades. Once considered a luxury, it has ambled its way into our lives making it a necessity one just cannot do without. I remember the time when tech and gadgetry were terms associated solely with our male counterparts. Well not anymore! While statistics show women are far more active in using social media platforms particularly Facebook and YouTube, it is not untrue to say that we have yet to tap into its immense potential.

But before that, let’s investigate the great pull of the World Wide Web for us ladies and specifically mums. I remember the time when my young cousin became pregnant for the very first time. Trigger fingers, we used to teasingly call her. Was there anything she didn’t google. Forget about reading the day to day details in “What to expect when you’re expecting,” from Baby Center to many others, she was a member of them all. Why? “I just want to know what’s going on. I feel awkward asking my mom the minute details and honestly don’t want to wait till the doctor’s next appointment,” she would quip and it really made sense. Surfing the net and googling did not only help her getting to know what her pregnancy was all about; it also helped her relax.

Yes being a mum is hard. I definitely don’t agree with it being a thankless job, but sure it has its ups and downs. And during those down moments, the internet plays the part of a good Samaritan. It’s where we can snack information while doing the mundane or a place to spew and spit fire, vent and let it all out – anonymously or otherwise. And boy does it feel good! For many of us, it is a platform from where we can reach out to others like us, help them with stories of our own or find solace in others’ life’s works. It is definitely a place to learn, evolve and to a great extent, be entertained, via shopping, playing games, listening and watching videos and so much more.

While being on the virtual map, one of the biggest challenges we as moms face in the fast paced world of today is how to maintain boundaries, in terms of privacy, spending time, money as well as determining limitations for our kids. Question is how much is too much. For a lot of us, we have indeed embarked upon a journey into an unchartered territory. So I would say, learn to discover!

Being virtually smart!

Being active on Facebook or other social media platforms is not merely about connecting with your friends. It is that and even more! With scams and abuse rampant online, it is the best way to keep tabs on your kids – albeit subtly! In this day and age, knowing what your kids’ online behavior is crucial for protecting them from sexually explicit or violent activities.

If your kids have access to the iPad or any smart device (which is a given, particularly in a tech savvy country like the UAE), merely turning on the parental control is not enough! One of the best app for iOS, Android as well as Windows, Mobicip offers great protection by customizing your family’s internet experience by age-based filtering. Another cool app is AppCertain through which parents can get email alerts the instance an app is downloaded. Not only that, moms can also monitor more than one device by making an in app purchase for one time only.

Playing with fire?

Before it was Farmville and then Candy Crush took over and consumed the entire lot. It is indeed quite something to be glued to your smart device on a lazy (or even a busy) afternoon. As far as playing on the Internet is concerned, make sure that you security software is running while gaming. It is also smart to be careful while communicating with other gamers.
But the biggest threat for us ladies (for men and children too) is the lure of the in app purchase. Seeking a life, in need of cash and other materials at a highly critical point in the game more than often leads people to click on the buy button. Sure it looks innocent initially but at the end of the month, your bills are saying something else. Disable the in-app purchase option and set a passcode to enable restriction and purchase confirmation.

Last but not the least; make sure you know the full details of the app you are willing to download, especially if they are free. According to experts: “Among free apps, location tracking was the most prevalent risky behavior, with 70 percent of free apps tracking the user’s whereabouts. Only 44 percent of paid apps used location tracking.” This is an important issue because most of these software then have access to the user’s address book and other online credentials.

There is a fine line between balance and excess. Learning the craft of being 'smart' will not only empower you; it will most certainly help protect you and those who look up to you for guidance.

Stay tuned: We talk about savvy online buying next week!


  1. A well written piece and definitely learned a thing or two about parental control apps.

  2. Interesting read, looking forward to the next one.

  3. Good post Sabin. Can't wait for the next one :)