Browsing articles in "Lifestyle"

Online Safety for Kids & Teens on the Internet (and Facebook): Do You Really Know What Your Kids Are Doing Online???

Feb 12, 2012   //   by kim   //   Family, General, Internet Safety, Kids, Lifestyle, Social Media  //  No Comments

As a parent of pre-teens and teens, it is often hard to find that balance between being overprotective (aka “smothering”) and too permissive.  We know that most kids between the ages of 10 – 18 are spending A LOT of time online… whether we know it and/or allow it. The facts and figures just don’t lie. Even if we don’t allow it in our own homes, chances are at least one (if not “most”) of their friends’ parents do… Therefore, we can’t really keep our kids totally removed from this new ‘world’ (with a whole lot of new dangers)–no matter how hard we try.

On the other hand, do we want to be ‘that parent’–the one that the ‘other parents’ complain about? You know… the parent whose house those ‘other kids‘ (usually belonging to the parents described in the above paragraph) run to in order to get online and update their facebook status?  On the account their parents don’t even know exists?

Well, I am going to admit it here and now… I am that ‘other parent’.  But… before you are tempted to write me off as some liberal lunatic ruining my kids and really, the entire future of the world as we know it, please allow me a moment to explain…

First, I don’t ever knowingly allow a child whose parents have forbidden facebook to access the site from my house. I ask before a kid comes over. Really. And I honor that parent’s wishes.

After all, just because I allow my kids to be corrupted by the potential evils of Social Media doesn’t mean I will override your decision to protect your kids from them.

With my own kids, however, social media – facebook, specifically – is not taboo.

Obviously, Facebook and the entire spectrum of social media is what provides about 75% of the income my family enjoys. Therefore, I know the platform to a greater extent than the majority of the population. I know the ins-and-outs of the system and I also know all the privacy guards that can be put into place.  I also have a few of my own tricks up my sleeve to keep my kids in check. And they were aware of these the moment I allowed them to create their accounts.

For example, I created my kids’ user names and passwords and they are never allowed to be changed while they live under my roof. Surprisingly, as this rule was set from the very beginning, it has not ever been questioned or argued.  It is 100% accepted and my kids actually expect that I will log in and check their accounts sometimes as often as every day – even at times when they are “chatting” (instant messaging; a parent’s nightmare most of the time) with others online.  (If you aren’t aware, the same “user” can be logged in to Facebook on different computers at the same time. Thus, if your child is “chatting”, you can log in and observe the conversation in real time.)

I also send updates and notifications of everything my kids do while in Facebook (including chats) to their email address. An email address mind you, that I also have added to my own personal Outlook.  Do I read them all? No. Do I frequently scan them? Yes. In fact, once a week or more, I will spend an hour or so actually searching for specific words in these posts.  Most of the time, however, I don’t even mention to the kids what I read unless it needs immediate attention. While I am raising them, I do believe this is my business. But I also don’t have to rub their true lack of privacy in their face unless it is something that really sets off warning bells.

Now, many of you are probably thinking… that sounds like way too much work. Some of you are also probably thinking I am doing way too much – sticking my nose way too much – into my kids’ business. Others of you are likely thinking I am not doing it enough. Trust me, I have heard both sides.

But here’s the thing…. Facebook – the way I monitor it – has given me much more insight and knowledge about what is going on in my kids’ lives – and in their heads – than my parents ever had of mine. I know their friends to an extent my parents couldn’t have imagined. And while I won’t say that I use these things as total determinants of who my kids can spend time with (sometimes kids act one way online when I KNOW them to be totally different ‘in real life’) – I know with who and when to be on my guard.

If you are one of those parents who doesn’t want their kids on Facebook, am I telling you you’re wrong? Absolutely not. If you are a parent who lets your kids spend time on the social networks and you don’t monitor it like I do, am I saying you’re irresponsible? Absolutely not. My job requires me to be on Facebook – an reading email non-stop – much of the day anyway.  It’s not really an inconvenience to me to perform these few extra steps to monitor their account and ensure if they are doing or saying things I don’t agree with – or even if they are being a victim or oblivious instigator of cyber-bullying – I know it right away.

But I also just added a tool that is going to take care of all these issues – alleviate every single concern I might have lingering – regarding my kids’ use of social media like Facebook. It is a tool I wish I thought of because I don’t think I will ever live without it until my kids are graduated and off to college.  It is a tool that I honestly believe every parent should have on their home computer.  And it is less than $20 a month.

This tool is the leader in web-based scanning and analysis of children’s social networking activities. Our technology goes deep beneath the social network surface and sees what parents can’t; helping you identify, understand and protect your children from potentially dangerous, harassing or embarrassing social media exchanges. It is also is easy-to-use and takes just a few minutes to activate. Simply set up your customer account online , then login to your account to register your child’s social networking accounts and let the tool do the rest. This powerful technology lets you stay in touch with your child’s activities, analyze the people they’re in contact with, and know when you need to get more deeply involved.

Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Scans and analyzes your child’s social network 24/7.
  • Provides instant alerts and prioritizes risks that most parents wouldn’t have the time or knowledge to discover.
  • Features an easy-to-read monitoring report, updated in real time.
  • Is invisible to your child and their friends, allowing you to trust and verify your child’s activity without embarrassment.
  • Empowers and enables you to teach your children responsible behavior and awareness of their social interactions online.

Does this tool take the place of active parenting when your kids are using Social Media? No. Will it help you with that active parenting by making monitoring easier and faster? Yes. Absolutely. Does it give me additional piece of mind? You bet. The name of this product is Social Shield and I highly endorse it.

The price of Social Shield? $19.99. The price of really knowing what my kids are doing online – and who they are doing it with…. Priceless.

To Learn More About Social Shield, visit www.fhtmus.com/kimbrooksv

***I want to make it clear that I am a rep for Social Shield but I would NOT be if I didn’t believe in – and use – the product or service myself. You will need my rep ID to access additional information and to register for Social Shield. That number is 4207074

 

 

 

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Bajamar Hills Costa Rica Inexpensive Ocean View Lots and Homes | Costa Rica Real Estate Properties for Sale

Jan 29, 2012   //   by kim   //   Lifestyle, Press Releases - Others, Real Estate  //  No Comments

[New Press Release we wrote for a client]

Costa Rica real estate developers launch latest phase of Costa Rica ocean view lot and new home project–Bajamar Hills. This community has many high-end amenities at low prices and with minimal down payments. Additionally, owner financing is available at a mere 7% interest rate fixed.

Bajamar Hills, Costa Rica – January 29, 2012 – An established Costa Rica real estate developer is now launching the most recent part of their current project, Bajamar Hills. Bajamar Hills offers Costa Rica ocean view lots and new homes starting at only $39K with low down payments and owner financing at a fixed 7% interest. This is one of the best deals for Costa Rica property for sale whether you are looking for a Costa Rica home as a personal residence, second home, or investment property.

The Costa Rica Bajamar Hills team believes it is this understatement and over-delivery that has made this project the best deal in Costa Rica real estate. Another factor is likely that these developers add very little markup to their offerings and commit to keeping costs as low as possible so that they can pass off this savings to the customer.

The current phase of the Bajamar Hills community has a pool, pitch-and-putt golf, as well as horseback riding and four-wheeling.

These Costa Rica new homes and lots are about one hour from the San Jose airport, 30 minutes from Jaco, and the beach is a mere 10 minutes away. Yet, the beach is also 200 yards above sea level providing protection and security from storms. Amazingly, the weather in this area is a moderate 70 – 80 degrees 8 – 9 months out of the year.

It bears repeating that the purchase terms for these Bajamar Hills ocean view lots and homes are amazing. The Developers will finance all non-cash purchases themselves with only 25% down and 7% fixed interest.

Taking all of this into account, the developers expect Bajamar Hills Costa Rica to be one of their most successful ventures to date. Says Mike:

Like any other home purchase, your investment should have a solid foundation. Don’t let others fool you. This is all available at very low costs. We feel that treating every customer right and dealing with their individual needs as far as monthly payment, down payment, building or investing. Doing this right and well is our best source of advertising. Our pre-approved, in-house financing is all arranged over a cup a coffee and then cast in stone. All the legal aspects are carried out but without the stress usually surrounding many home purchases. We WANT You Here… We WANT You to Be Our Neighbor. We enjoy this project and seeing new buyers coming in is a reminder of the first day we ourselves walked through the gates. Although it was very raw then, we could see exactly what we wanted and what we needed to do. And we did it. If you have ever considered living in Costa Rica, we really believe we are your only real choice.

To learn more about the Bajamar Development visit the Bajamar Development website.

For more information about buying Bajamar Hills Costa Rica ocean-view lots or how you can purchase your Costa Rica ocean-view home with owner financing including low down payments and 7% fixed interest, contact Sales and Marketing Director Kathy Lynn at kathylynn_bajamarhillscr@yahoo.com or call Kathy at (US) 850-502-2245 or (Costa Rica) 506-8976-4856 or 506-8743-4311.

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