Category: Tips and Tricks

How tech can help keep kids safer with crowds and separation

When we saw the reports coming out of Manchester last night, we were completely devastated. And, we found ourselves thinking about what we would have done if our children (some of whom are tweens, and Ariana Grandé fans, by the way) had been separated from us like so many were. So with that in mind, we’re sharing tips for parents on how to talk with your kids about crowds and separation over on Cool Mom Picks today. From teaching kids what to say if they’re dialing 911 from a cell phone, to how they can use social media (even...

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Worried about your tween or teen’s mental wellbeing? Avoid this popular app.

In a recent survey of 1500 young people aged 14-24, researchers discovered that Instagram was cited as the most damaging to a young person, followed closely by Snapchat, and then Facebook. In fact, YouTube was the only of the 5 networks (which included Twitter, as well), that was seen as positive. Yikes! Related: The deadly Blue Whale online suicide game targeting teens. Respondents noted that using Instagram (and Snapchat) increased their feelings of anxiety and inadequacy, which researchers speculate is due to the increased visual nature of both apps. Of course, these are two of the most popular apps for tweens...

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How to use the fun new Instagram 3-D facial filters. Wheeeee! Snapchatty

As someone who’s not on Snapchat (what? I’m old!) I admit I’m excited about the novelty of the new Instagram 3D facial filters, as anyone who follows our @CoolMomPicks Instagram Stories can tell today. I put together the quick, Cliff’s Notes version below, for you visual learners, but here’s step by step just what to do to use your fun new starter pack of 8 Instagram 3-D facial filters. Related: How to use new Facebook story. It’s like Facebook and Instagram story had a baby!   1. Be sure to update your Instagram app for iOS or Android to the May 15 release....

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How to find and listen to podcasts on your iPhone. And why you should.

Just yesterday I was chatting with a couple of my mom friends at my daughter’s track club about podcasts and I was surprised to discover that neither of them knew that they could easily access podcasts right on their iPhone. “Wait, they’re free?” one mom asked. “When would I listen to them?” asked the other. So, after giving them a quick tutorial on how to find podcasts on their iPhone (Yes, they’re free!), and explaining to them that podcasts can be great for commutes, gym, running, making dinner, or just giving your eyeballs a screen break, I figured it would...

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Do you know these 3 handy iPhone email tricks?

We’re not huge fans of sending emails on the fly, even with the “Sent from our iPhone and talk-to-text hates us” warning at the bottom. But if we do, there are 3 handy iPhone email tricks we use to make them look as buttoned up as they when we’re sitting at our laptop, well other than deleting that tag line at the end. Related: 2 quick iPhone tricks for sharing texts and voice mails 1. How to insert a photo into iPhone email You don’t have to email someone from a photo. You can insert photos and videos very easily...

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5 ways to use tech to help your tweens and teens get better sleep

Just this week, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) released new recommendations for middle and high school students, stating they should not start school until 8:30am, which for my middle schooler would be a full hour and a half later than she needs to be at school. Additionally, they suggest kids 13-18 should be getting at least eight to ten hours of sleep per night, because, as they noted, it can greatly improve everything from school performance to reaction time (which is important if you’ve got kids who drive). Until schools are able to make adjustments to their start...

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New research: snooping on teens doesn’t work. Oops.

If you think spying and snooping on your kids’ social media behavior will help keep them safer, a new study in the Journal of Adolescence actually suggests otherwise, this recent post on Well Family discusses. In a survey of 455 adolescents, researchers found that teens who believed their parents were snooping on them shared less information that teens who felt their parents were respecting their space and boundaries. Related: Internet safety tips for families you can start using right now And this supports previous research that suggests snooping behavior from parents can negatively affect the home environment for families with teens. So...

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How to take better Instagram photos of kids

So, you’ve seen all the cool photos that parents are sharing of their kids on Instagram and you’re wondering how to take better Instagram photos of kids. Well, you don’t need to be a pro-photog to snap fantastic photos of your own kids. You just need to know what tricks they use to get them. Related: Tips from a pro for taking better family vacation photos With the weather finally warming up, which for those of us camera-happy parents means lots of photos of our kids, we’ve got 6 smart tips to help you take better Instagram photos of kids....

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New study says screen time during the day is affecting your toddler’s sleep at night

If you’ve got toddlers on screens during the day, a new study out of England suggests it could be cutting into their sleep at night. And as we parents know, sleep is a precious commodity. Looking at data from about 700 British families, researchers discovered that kids between the ages of 6 months and 3 years who spend more time playing with touch-screen devices during the day got less sleep at night compared to kids who used touch screens less often. And, they took a lot longer to fall asleep too. Double whammy.  Related: 8 smart ways parents can manage screen time...

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10 questions parents should ask when writing a cell phone contract for kids

Last year my husband and I gifted our two older kids with their own iPod and Kindle, and along with the devices came a contract that outlined our expectations for using them. As my friends have started getting wifi-connected tablets or phones for their kids, these contracts have been a big topic of discussion. So, we’ve pooled our collective ideas to share the top 10 things to we’ve considered before writing a cell phone contract for our kids. It really does help us start on the same page with our kids when it comes to how they use tech. And having less...

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Ultimate Birthday Party Gift Guide

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