**New version of My Parent Plan coming out May 30 2013 while I will be at the Book Expo of America in New York City. Please check back May 30 for info on the UPDATED VERSION!
While I’m known today as “TechMam ...
On Nov. 7, I was thrilled to speak at a KidTech Meetup organized and moderated by Chandini Ammineni , Co-Founder of Activity Hero, to discuss how Kid Tech startups can get in front of their target audience. Speakers included @iRewardChart, ...
On Nov 27, I was excited to participate in the Palo Alto Tech Using Educators (PATUE) weekly edtech conference series. The organizer of this discussion was Sam Patterson (@LearningsLiving). His website, “Paperless Classroom”, is ...
At the recent launch of Office 365 Home Premium in New York City’s Bryant Park, I had the opportunity to experience the new features of Office while talking to some very exciting people (keep reading to find out who!). The Microsoft ...
I was one of the lucky ones. As a Senior Manager at a top consulting firm with a 4 year-old son and twins on the way, I was offered options. The firm was very serious about providing a family friendly workplace, so I could have taken mater ...
This has been a busy time for the Women’s Movement. Today happens to be International Women’s Day 2013 which has “thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements“. The d ...
I was lucky to be invited many years ago on a magic bus ride to CES, which was the first time I had a fun adventure with the team from Parnassus Group (Steve Broback, Jason Preston and more). Over the years they always had the pulse of soci ...
**I have doing research on educational environments for my own kids and found out about Six Seconds.org. Their about page explained “Through 15 years of global experience and extensive research, we’ve found that the scientifically-bas ...
With my busy life as a working mom, I am always on the move. This requires my technology to be flexible, fit my lifestyle and be available for the kids especially when it’s homework time. Finding the right technology tools c ...
Our busy family of five keeps organized as long as our schedule is managed and under control. A messy schedule results in a messy family life. I use technology to create a workflow and make sure everyone understands their res ...
I am thrilled to see organizations like Common Sense Media and Dr BJ Fogg of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab provide valuable information on safe social networking for teens including IMPORTANT information on privacy controls. So here are the links, parents take a look and learn:
I hope to go to the Facebook class for Parents at Stanford and will print out the Common Sense Family Media agreements for my kids. It is important for all parents to be proactive and help themselves and their families learn about/implement proper online safety.
"Latitude is a new feature for Google Maps on your mobile device. It's
also an iGoogle gadget on your computer. Once you've opted in to
Latitude, you can see the approximate location of your friends and
loved ones who have decided to share their location with you."
"Fun aside, we recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we've
built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application.
Everything about Latitude is opt-in. You not only control exactly who
gets to see your location, but you also decide the location that they
So looking back on the Twitter conversation, yes – it may be teenager's who lie to their parents worse nightmare. For example, if a parent set up Latitude PRIVACY settings to only allow parents to track their teen's cellphone – then if their teenager said they are at the library studying when really they are at the mall shopping – they would be caught.
On the cool side, isn't some of being a teenager sneaking off with friends? On the non-cool side – maybe it is easier to be honest with parents to show responsibility (which teens need to have a phone in the first place). On the other hand, it may not be appropriate for parents to be online all day tracking where their teens are. Also, teenagers could always work around or disable the settings. Well then, what is the middle ground?
In the end, my question is what about parents access to that information? Standard cellphone plans do not have "monitoring" for children included. Child monitoring services are "add-ons"including Verizon Chaperone and Sprint Family Locator.
I have been looking into this myself because soon it will be time to purchase a cell phone for my older son. It is IMPORTANT for parents to realize that just purchasing a cell phone does not provide access to tracking systems. Obviously, there should be an immediate response from cell phone companies if a child is missing, but it may be worthwhile for parents to also look at having a tracking system for their own use. And one that only allows "parents" to track their children – and not open it up to strangers (security settings are an issue).
Here are some links to reviews of GPS tracking systems for Parents (other then the family locator plans):
I was interviewed for a video Tech reporter Kym McNicholas did for Forbes.com called "High Tech Babysitter". This is relevant because beyond the moral issues of a child’s right to privacy, these days you can never be too safe. As part of the preparation for the conversation with Kym McNicholas (and what I learned from talking with her), a few products seemed the most interesting (but I have not tried yet):
IMSafer for letting parents know if their kids may be in a dangerous situation online.
Overall, I feel locator services should be standard in all family plans – but is that possible for reasonable prices? In any case, cell phone networks should be able to provide timely location information to any family that has called in an emergency. If upgrades to our networks need to be made to enable this, then that should be a priority. Or if privacy is an issue, let’s resolve parent’s access to their kids ahead of time – no matter what age their kids are.
And as parents we need to find the right balance for how we keep track of our kids, utilizing some high tech gadgets if needed with the good old low tech communication. That – or just injecting our kids with a GPS Tracking chip (when that is invented).
I was thrilled to be interviewed by Forbes.com Tech reporter Kym McNicholas for a video update on high tech babysitting (using technology to monitor your kids). The issue is a very complicated; with all the technology available to monitor your kids every move – where do you draw the "ethical versus safety" line.
Take a look at the video… I will be posting about this topic in the coming weeks.
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Beth Blecherman left her position as a Senior Manager at Deloitte for Family Management then decided to blog as a career 2.0. Her personal blog is TechMamas.com (@TechMama ), a platform to discuss technology, social media and her obsession with consumer electronics.
She is the Chief Technologist of Cool Mom Tech, the intersection between tech, parenting and style.
Beth Blecherman (a.k.a TechMama) has been choosen as one of the Nielson Power Mom 50 influencers, TIME.com 140 Best Twitter Feeds, Working Mother.com List of Most Powerful Moms in Social Media , PCMag twitter top 100 and Forbes Top 100 Website for Women.