Best parental control apps for monitoring kids’ smartphones

If your kids have smartphones, you know that it’s a full-time job trying to keep track and control their usage. According to recently released data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), 94% of 15-year-olds have a mobile phone, 86% of minors are on the internet without any content filtering systems, and 28% to 38% of minors access unsafe or harmful content with those rates escalating as they get older.

Parental-control apps have made monitoring and protecting children much easier these days, giving you the ability to track locations, block objectionable or dangerous websites, restrict access to social media or games, and monitor who kids are communicating with. In the long run, these apps can also help children to develop good habits for how they use smartphones as they grow up.

Kristy CooperBest parental control apps for monitoring kids’ smartphones
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Home office tech fails – and how to avoid them

Working from a home office has a lot of perks, but if you don’t set up your technology correctly or follow certain safety protocols, you risk annoying, expensive, or even disastrous consequences. Here are some of the most common tech fails that occur in home offices – and what you can do to avoid them.

1.    Not backing up

Set up frequent, regularly scheduled automated backups for your data, so you don’t have to remember to do it manually. This is especially important if you run a small business or are a solo entrepreneur with no IT department to handle this issue. A crashed website, lost client files, missing financial records, etc. can harm and even destroy your reputation and possible your career. There are a wide variety of backup options available to fit every size of business and every budget out there.

Kristy CooperHome office tech fails – and how to avoid them
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How to spring clean and streamline your home office

If you’ve been so busy working in your home office that you can’t remember the last time you updated or organized, it’s time to let spring cleaning fever take over. We channeled our inner Marie Kondo to bring you these tips for streamlining systems and getting your home office in its best shape ever.

Let’s start with the basics – cleaning and organizing your workspace.

Kristy CooperHow to spring clean and streamline your home office
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How to access the stars from your home

In an era of news saturated with celebrities, scandals and lots of drama, take a break from it all by accessing these “real news” resources to learn about current advances in space technology that are flying under the radar, but important to know. (It’s a good way to get the kids off social media, too!)

Internationally, there have been massive steps forward in space technology and lunar missions, but unfortunately, they often don’t make the headlines. This is an important age in understanding our universe with so many issues that can and will affect us here on Earth; should we mine the moon for precious resources, should funding go toward rocket upgrades or space stations, should the use of “clean” space equipment be used by all (satellites, rovers that don’t emit greenhouse gases/use less fuel), etc. For those wanting to stay in the loop, here are a few websites and apps that will educate, entertain and just plain “wow” with news about the stars that the whole family will enjoy. 

Kristy CooperHow to access the stars from your home
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Using the internet to reduce paper waste

One of the best spring-cleaning tools you can use right now is… the internet! Using online services to cut back on paper is a great way to declutter your home or office. Plus, you’ll also be helping the environment. Did you know that Americans use more than 90 million tons of paper and paperboard every year? That’s an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person each year.

Here’s a list of ways you can use the internet to clear up the clutter, stop using paper so much, and get your life organized in a clean, green way.

Kristy CooperUsing the internet to reduce paper waste
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Best travel apps for a smoother, less stressful experience

From the time you start planning to the moment you’re back home and scrolling through all your photos, travel apps are a great way to make your next vacation or weekend getaway a breeze. Whether it’s spring break, summer vacation, or a weekend getaway you’re thinking of, we’ve rounded up a list of apps with the potential to make your travel easier, more fun, and stress-free.

Planning & Booking

Choose where you want to go, then book airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals and activities, all with the help of these apps:

Kristy CooperBest travel apps for a smoother, less stressful experience
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Technology advances to watch for in 2019

The only thing constant is change, and that’s definitely true when it comes to technology. If you’re wondering what the future holds for us in 2019, here’s a few things that tech experts are predicting will affect our homes, lives and businesses.

Cyber-attacks move into the real world

According to an Inc. Magazine article, experts are predicting that cyber-attacks will move from the digital world to the physical world in what they are calling “cyber-physical hacking.” Some examples include interference with things like manufacturing equipment, surveillance cameras, or data centers with the potential to shut down businesses or at least cost them a lot of money, along with even more invasions of identity and privacy. For everyone from the teenager using a computer at home to professionals and businesses, safe and strong security measures are an issue that will continue to be at the forefront of our future for a long, long time. 

Kristy CooperTechnology advances to watch for in 2019
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What is internet throttling and how do I check for it?

Did you know that ISPs are required to disclose certain aspects of their service to their customers, including things like data throttling? Here’s what that means, and why Softcom will never participate in blocking or throttling internet access for its customers.

Throttling is when an internet service provider (ISP) purposely slows down your connection speeds. We’ve rounded up the following information about throttling to educate our readers about this practice, give you the tools you need to research and take action, and assure you that Softcom does not participate in this practice.

Kristy CooperWhat is internet throttling and how do I check for it?
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Softcom policy on Chinese telecom equipment protects customers

There has been a lot of concern recently about telecommunications companies building their networks with gear made by Chinese telecommunications companies – namely, Huawei and ZTE. The concern centers around the Chinese government installing backdoors in the equipment to spy on users of the equipment. The equipment may be inexpensive, but the cost to security has been high, to the point that President Trump is considering signing an executive order to ban Chinese equipment from U.S. telecom networks.

Kristy CooperSoftcom policy on Chinese telecom equipment protects customers
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Were you in the “Collection #1” data breach? You might be surprised!

In what is being called the “mother of all breaches,” security experts have reported that a massive database of nearly 773 million unique email addresses and more than 21 million unique passwords was recently posted to an online hacking forum. Referred to as “Collection #1,” it appears that the data didn’t come from a single source, site, or company but is an aggregation that includes fully exposed passwords.

Kristy CooperWere you in the “Collection #1” data breach? You might be surprised!
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