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Protecting Your Family From Digital Dangers

*Collaborative post.

Today’s kids are growing up in a digital world. While digital technology can often have its benefits, it’s important to also be wary of the dangers it can pose to your family. Here are just some of the biggest digital dangers and how you can protect your family from them.

 

Protecting Your Family From Digital Dangers Picture

Pixabay. CCO Licensed

 

Addiction

It’s easy to become addicted to digital technology – especially now that phones, TVs and games consoles all of internet access. Some families can spend all their time staring at screens and never really socialising with each other. This can have a major impact on family relationships as well as leading to depression and anxiety.

There are also physical health problems that can develop from spending too much time using digital technology. The idea that people get ‘square eyes’ is an old wives’ tale, however a lot of people can get eye strain and headaches from staring at a screen for too long, as well as finding it hard to get to sleep (staring at a bright screen before bed can sometimes trick our brains into thinking that it’s still daytime, preventing us from producing melatonin).

Limiting screen time is the best way to prevent addiction. If the whole family spends a lot of their time staring at screens, it could be time to introduce a screen-free hour each day. This could help to encourage time spent together as a family or time spent pursuing other interests that don’t involve digital technology.

Some kids may protest to this, in which case you may have to take measures such as turning off the wi-fi for an hour per day or even confiscating devices. Alternatively, you may be able to use parental controls on devices to put a limit on screen time. If you don’t feel such measures are needed you could simply set rewards for not spending so much time on devices.

Digital addiction is something that can often be prevented in kids by taking action early. Many of us are guilty of giving out kids a smartphone or tablet as a distraction tool, but this shouldn’t become a regular habit to the point that screens replace toys. You may also want to be careful of giving kids their own phone or tablet too early – or only letting them have these devices an hour or two a day at first.

 

Fraud and theft

Digital technology has also become a new tool for criminals. While most criminals target businesses, everyday people and homes can also get targeted. Using details acquired online, criminals can hack into accounts or even plan burglaries. Such details can often be given away by kids who are generally less wary of the consequences.

The importance of online privacy is something that should be taught to kids – especially as they start buying things online themselves or using social media. Teach kids what they should and shouldn’t share on online (i.e. no financial details or passwords) and teach them to use privacy settings. You should also encourage them to only use only trusted websites (there are security programmes that can alert you when a site is not trusted).

The likes of this Borgata online privacy guide could be worth reading if you’re not sure yourself of what measures you should be taking. Many people for instance are unaware of certain fundamentals like cookies and SSL certificates.

 

Bullying

Bullying has now also moved online and can be a big danger to kids – particularly teenagers who are old enough to use social media. Online bullying tactics can include posting horrible comments about people, sharing embarrassing photos or videos or constantly harassing people on messenger platforms.

Not all kids are victims of online bullying and it can be hard to prevent, however you may be able to warn kids about it simply by talking about it and by teaching them how to react when it starts to take place. This could include immediately telling parents or teachers about a bullying problem or blocking people on social media platforms.

The threat of online bullying can also be reduced by discouraging addiction of digital technology. It’s much easier for kids to get away from online bullying if they’re able to turn off from it, whether it be not going on social media or not using certain devices.

The likes of this Understood online bullying guide are worth reading for more strategies on how to spot online bullying and stop it. You can also find many counselling services online for kids that are being bullied online and for the parents dealing with this issue.

 

Online predators

The web has also unfortunately become a common place for sexual predators to locate and target children. If your kids are going to use digital devices without your supervision, it’s important that you warn them about predators and how to prevent contact with them.

A good lesson to teach – which applies to the real world too – is to not talk to strangers. Predators will often try to connect to children through online games and apps, so try to persuade your kids not to talk to strangers on these platforms. As for when your kids start using social media, tell them to never accept friend requests from people they don’t know. Alternatively, you could teach your kids to come to you if a stranger is sending them messages – this way you can check the messages to determine whether you think they are worthy of concern.

This Bark guide could be worth reading for more information on how to protect your kids from online predators. Parental controls on some devices may be able to help prevent contact with these individuals as well as preventing your kids from accessing graphic content.

 

 

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How to Make Sure You Get Paid

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I have been meaning to write this post for some time now but with all the talk and confusion after the sudden shutdown of Mode Media (formerly known as Glam Media) and the soon to be shut down Passion Fruits Ads, this is the best time to talk about how to make sure you get paid as a Blogger/Freelancer. Many bloggers are being owned thousands of pounds by both companies, and they may never be paid. I was never part of both networks (thank God) but I know quite a number of bloggers affected by these sudden shutdown. and it is very frustrating to work and not be paid.

Here are some ways of making sure you get paid as a Blogger/Freelancer:

Now these tips work for me 98% of the time, the remaining 2% are those difficult clients that just like to mess you about. Sometimes we always have to deal with them.
1.    Do a quick background check on your prospective client
Engage in a friendly conversation with your prospective client to get an idea of what they are like in person. Is that person someone you’d love to work with? An attractive project with a horrible client is as bad as not having a job at all.
The best way to ensure you get paid is to avoid working with people who have a reputation of not paying. Watch out for people who have a habit of initiating a transaction only to cancel or ask to include details not mentioned before, like a do follow link or infographic.

2. Find out if the potential client has the budget to pay for the project.
If they have a website, go through it to find out if they’re genuine. You can ask fellow bloggers/freelancers in the same niche as you if they’ve worked with the client before. There’s a possibility that your client might have worked with someone in your niche. Always ask what the budget for the job is, and agree on a figure. Leave no room for assumption.
3.    Have a contract
Have a contract that spells out the terms and conditions of your service, including your terms of payment, how much your client is expected to pay and on what day, and what happens if your client fails to fulfill the terms of your contract, and how you would like to receive the payment. Having a contract ensures you have every detail in black and white.
4.    Get paid up front before you do any work
In my PR world, I always ask for full or half payment upfront if I am not comfortable with the client, or if it is a new client. In the Blogging world, payments are usually done after the job is done, but I sometimes ask for an advance payment, depending on the circumstances. This makes your client committed to the project.
5.    Send invoices promptly
If you have retainers or you have a client that hires you monthly, send invoices early or immediately after you have finished the project. That way your client will always be aware of the next payment. As an added benefit, you can offer your client an incentive when he / she pays early, like a 10% discount for early payments. That will encourage your client to pay you quickly.
6.   Chase Up Payments
When the client’s silent on the other end, follow-up. There’s a possibility that the reason why your client didn’t pay was because your client might not have seen your invoice or may have forgotten all about it due to a busy schedule. Don’t be afraid to pop an email to ask if everything’s alright or a phone call if necessary. I won’t leave an invoice pending for weeks, I will follow-up daily if I have to, to ensure it is paid. There is nothing wrong with demanding money you are owned.

7. Decline Crazy Terms

I won’t work for a client and wait for 30 days to receive payment. That is just too long. I know many freelancers accept those terms, but I won’t recommend them. Anything can happen in 30 days. You never know the true state of affairs of your client, so accepting to wait to receive payment in 30 days can be dangerous, especially in te digital world. I am more comfortable with 14 days, and that is the maximum I would accept.

 

I hope we have all learnt a thing or 2 from the sudden shutdown of Mode Media and the upcoming shutdown of Passion Fruit Ads. I hope all the parties involved reach an amicable resolution.

 

Are you affected by these shutdown? How do you make sure you get paid?

 

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