The What's New screen shows you the newest posts and tweets.
The Me Tile or Card on Windows Phone is a pretty cool little app. Since Windows Phone 8 allows you to connect to various accounts without installing any apps, Microsoft made the Me app your centralized accounts aggregator - sort of. It's not a full-fledge app for all your accounts like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn but you can see recent updates and post to all three in one step. That ability makes having to login to each app separately to post a thing of the past. You can post to all 3 at once or select the social network or networks you want to post to. It's one way you can efficiently posts updates very quickly which is nice.
The notifications screen contains updates from your accounts. For instance if someone posts on your wall, you'll get a notification there. If you get mentioned in a tweet you'll get a notice there too.
The What's New screen shows you the newest posts and tweets.
If you have Windows Phone 8 try the Me app and see if you like it.
Windows Phone 8’s Rooms is pretty neat. It’s your own private area on your phone and on your Microsoft account for the family (or friends, coworkers, etc) to be able to share and communicate together efficiently and away from social networks. My wife and I both have Windows Phones so it makes using this pretty easy and seamless. I read online somewhere that this feature is also supported by Android and iOS devices but don’t quote me on that.
Once it’s set up, you can share its calendar, photos, a notebook, and even a chat room among everyone in the family room. So if you and your loved ones need to share something really quickly and don’t want it public, you can use the family room.
My wife and I notify each other of appointments we are going to so we are both in the loop. Or we put appointments that we both need to know about and/or attend. She puts in doctor’s appointments for the kids, games, school events, etc. so I’m aware. I’ll put in golf time, or meetings I’m going to be so that she doesn’t wonder where I am if I’m supposed to be home.
We share to do lists in the notes. Shopping lists. The chat room isn’t something we use at the moment but as soon as we add more Windows Phones to our family, you can bet that’ll be another cool feature we will be using.
As I mentioned, you can have different rooms for different groups of contacts. Friends, golf buddies, business associates, team members, managers, etc. I could see how being a manager of a team of people, who are mobile but need to get information to your entire team quickly, this can make communication so much more efficient.
So, here's a topic that I find interesting as a parent because for my wife and me, our methods and attitudes have changed. A few years ago when we only had one child, I received an email (I'm sure you've received it or saw something like it online) about how your perspective on child proofing. Basically, as you have more kids, the efforts you make towards child proofing your home are reduced with each new baby you welcome into your family. It's not that you don't care, you just are more aware of what are the really important things to watch out for versus the things that may end up hindering your child from developing into the capable, strong person they are destined to be, and because you've raised another child already, you kind of know what the really important gotchas are.
It's funny how the stuff you worry about with your first child is a much bigger list than your second, third, etc. For example, our first child was treated so differently than the subsequent siblings in that we went out of our way to "protect" the child from any perceived harm. Like we would ALWAYS wash our hands with warm soap and water before going near the child for many months before we didn't worry about it. We would go out of our way to use hand sanitizer if we didn't have a sink and hand soap nearby. I mean we WASHED them and we forced other people to before they handled our child. Now, we aren't as worried about germs because what we've notice from our 2nd child onwards is that being too cautious actually may prevent the child's immune system from developing the natural resistance to germs. It's like a vaccination. You introduce the virus in a small amount in order to give the body the opportunity to develop antibodies.
Safety gates were standard fare for all our children. That hasn't changed. All of our kids were cordoned off from no-no places. But what has changed are the areas that we deem "off-limits". The range of access has increased progressively with each child. Early on, we had a fenced off area, either a circle or square so other geometric shape in one room like a family or living room. With our youngest now, we've made it so the kid could roam then entire first floor of our house. I guess part of the reason is that we have more eyes and ears spread out to keep tabs on the child.
Stairs are another story. They were in the realm of dangers with our first 2 or 3. But now I have found we started encouraging our 1 year old to learn to climb up and down the stairs a few months ago as soon as the baby could crawl. They're going to have to learn sooner or later a. Might as well have them learn under your watchful eyes so that when the time comes they try to sneak off and climb them, you won't be as worried because they will have learn that skill, probably taken a couple small falls in the process, but can tackle that without issue now. As soon as the child hit the crawling phase we would allow the kid to climb the stairs...with supervision, of course. Yes, we'd block it if we felt that there wouldn't be enough people around to keep the child safe, but it wouldn't be such an off-limits area that they wouldn't be able to try climbing up until much later on in their development.
What about outlet covers and cabinet safely latches? Or those spinning doorknob covers? I think we stopped using those with our 3rd child. In our experience, training the child to understand boundaries without chains is more beneficial. It definitely helps that people are everywhere in our house. And I don't believe everyone can get away with not having those devices. It's just for us, we've been able to train our kids what is OK and no OK to touch. Our one year old knows not to touch or open certain things after several or many times of stern warnings.
I'm sure I can come up with many other examples of how our child proofing has changed throughout the years, but you get the idea.
Microsoft Windows Phone 8 has a great family friendly feature called Kid’s Corner. Having small children and living gadgets presents some challenges when it comes to technology at home in a way that allows the kids to experience the new technology and have the peace of mind as a parent knowing that I’ve done as much as possible to protect my kids from content that they shouldn’t be seeing as well as keeping my data safe from their curious tapping and swiping of touchscreens.
Just like how you set boundaries for your kids out in the real world you want to do the same thing in the internet connected world. One way you can do that on the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 is with Kid’s Corner. I won’t go into the details of how enable it. You find out how to enable Kid’s Corner anywhere on the web.
But once you enable Kid’s Corner, it is real easy to access. Swipe left from the Lock Screen then swipe up. All you have to do enable the feature, add the apps you want your kids to access, set up a lock screen password and you’re done. You can customize the lock screen with a picture and screen title for some customization. The kids can resize and reposition their tiles in Kid's Corner as well as choose a theme color. They won’t be able to get onto the web, your email, settings, etc - basically any area or app you don't want kids to access.
So whenever your kids want to play with your Windows Phone, swipe left then up and put them in the Kid’s corner. I can’t tell you how much this has made my life easier when the kids ask me for my phone to play games. I have two, the Nokia 925 and the HTC 8x, and both have the Kid’s corner enabled. My wife has the Nokia 1020 with Kid’s Corner enabled.
You can't set up multiple profiles like you can on the Kindle Fire's Kindle Freetime which I blogged about earlier, but for me that's ok. At least my kids can still use the Windows Phone's in our house without my wife and eye having concern about them getting into or changing things in our corners.
Hello there. John Gamboa here starting off my blog posts. For my first blog, I chose to talk about one of my favorite family tech toys. Our Kindle Fire HD which my beautiful wife got me last Christmas 2012. For this blog post though I want to focus on how the Kindle Freetime app, which is free on all Kindle Fires no matter the version, has eased my parenting life and lowered my stress in regards to having my kids use it.
I have five kids. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway) they really like playing with the electronic gadgets – laptops, tablets, smartphones. Even my 1 year old finds touchscreen computers and tablets fascinating - always needs to grab and swipe or tap the screen.
I found that certain tech toys in my house are less worrisome than others to hand over to my kids without worrying about them getting into things they’re not supposed to. At home, on road trips, or wherever, I can hand them out without worry because of nifty features like my Kindle Fire HD’s Kindle Freetime app. I find it extremely comforting that I can hand the Kindle over to one of my younger kids and not worry about them getting into sensitive areas like my work email, the web, or messing around with my settings, or using or buying apps, or other stuff like that. It’s so easy for them to rack up crazy charges if you're not careful especially with 1-click enabled for some things like books. We've heard the stories about parents getting charged hundreds and thousands of dollars in app, music, or other charges.
What is Kindle Freetime?
It’s a cool app that allows you to create a digital play area for each of your kids. In their play areas they only get to use the apps, games, and books that you want them to have. I have 4 kids who use my Kindle Fire HD. Each of them has their own profile which I set up with apps, books, and games that I am ok for them to use. My 11 year old has apps that my 3 year old doesn’t need and my 11 year doesn’t want toddler designed apps in his profile so I don’t add those to his. And all my kids’ profiles don’t have access to my email, books, or apps that they don’t need, use, or want.
Another thing it has which is pretty cool is screen time limits. It allows you to customize how much screen time each child can have on your Kindle Fire device. It goes much deeper with classifications - Video, Games, and Books. Each type can be set individually really making it easy to set it and forget it.
Internet and app purchases are automatically disabled in Kindle Freetime which for me, is important. It really allows me to be able to hand off the Kindle to any of my kids knowing that I’ve set it to parameters I feel are appropriate for the age and situation of each child.
I use the unlimited free version of the app which is really all I need. There are subscriptions you can get per kid or for a family which gives you access to Amazon's content for children. Check it out on Amazon.com.
If you’ve got kids and need to have a kid friendly tablet that can be shared among the kids as well as the adults in the house, then I highly suggest looking at a Kindle Fire and Kindle Freetime.