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Category: Online Safety for Kids

How Much Screen Time Is Too Much For a Distance Learner?

How much is too much screen time

With a major shift in the world towards distance learning, the discussion of how much time kids can safely spend looking at screens has only become more vital.  Whether it be on smartphone, tablet or laptop, parents have usually been concerned with the time kids spend playing games, interacting on social media or watching TV shows and movies.

Even in a normal world you would also need to add the screen time spent on school computers used for a variety of purposes, such as searching Google and doing research. All of these online activities add up to a staggering number of hours per day looking at screens. And now we must also take into account the time spent doing online school. 85% of parents worry about the amount of time their kids are spending online these days.

The WHO & CDC both recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time for children under 18.  Finding further specifics, The American Academy for Pediatrics urges a 1-hour screen time maximum for children under 6 years old. 

Furthermore, it has been found that children under 2, who regularly watch at least 1 hour of television on a daily basis, may face an increased risk of cognitive, language, and motor delays. Similarly, other studies have claimed too much screen time can cause social and family dysfunction, as well as development delays and depression. 

With home learning comes more indoor time. However, this makes it especially easy to develop a screen addiction. Did you know excessive screen time can be toxic to our mental health? 56% of teens feel anxious or lonely without their phone.

Yet, distance learning sessions last more than our government recommends we spend on screens altogether – even with compelling data proving its potential to be mentally and physically dangerous. 

Ask yourself: How often are your kids exercising since the quarantine? How social have they been since distance learning began?

The value of education should never be downplayed, but please double check to ensure distance learning isn’t taking a toll on your little ones.

In the meantime, check out the infographic below. It may help you shape a better understanding of how much screen time is too much for your children. 

How Much Screen Time Is Too Much For a Distance Learner?
Source: ubreakifix

With a major shift in the world towards distance learning, the discussion of how much time kids can safely spend looking at screens has only become more vital.  Whether it be on smartphone, tablet or laptop, parents have usually been concerned with the time kids spend playing games, interacting on social media or watching TV shows and movies.

Even in a normal world you would also need to add the screen time spent on school computers used for a variety of purposes, such as searching Google and doing research. All of these online activities add up to a staggering number of hours per day looking at screens. And now we must also take into account the time spent doing online school. 85% of parents worry about the amount of time their kids are spending online these days.

The WHO & CDC both recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time for children under 18.  Finding further specifics, The American Academy for Pediatrics urges a 1-hour screen time maximum for children under 6 years old. 

Furthermore, it has been found that children under 2, who regularly watch at least 1 hour of television on a daily basis, may face an increased risk of cognitive, language, and motor delays. Similarly, other studies have claimed too much screen time can cause social and family dysfunction, as well as development delays and depression. 

With home learning comes more indoor time. However, this makes it especially easy to develop a screen addiction. Did you know excessive screen time can be toxic to our mental health? 56% of teens feel anxious or lonely without their phone.

Yet, distance learning sessions last more than our government recommends we spend on screens altogether – even with compelling data proving its potential to be mentally and physically dangerous. 

Ask yourself: How often are your kids exercising since the quarantine? How social have they been since distance learning began?

The value of education should never be downplayed, but please double check to ensure distance learning isn’t taking a toll on your little ones.

In the meantime, check out the infographic below. It may help you shape a better understanding of how much screen time is too much for your children. 

How Much Screen Time Is Too Much For a Distance Learner?
Source: ubreakifix

McAfee Gamer Security

Gamer Security

Got a kid that loves to game? Or maybe you are an avid gamer yourself. Have you thought much about gamer security? There has been plenty written about protecting your home computer with an anti-virus program, but what about increased performance while gaming?

A big problem arises when the anti-virus is turned off completely because it interferes with the online gaming experience.

McAfee Gamer Security solves the debate within families regarding how much security one can compromise in order to maintain computer performance while playing.  McAfee created Gamer Security as a complete gamer software solution.  Security + Performance.  It was not designed to merely prevent a decrease in gaming performance while staying protected online, the software boasts a faster, more quiet, and safer gaming experience thanks to cutting edge performance enhancing technologies.

Game Boost Engine

Some anti-virus programs have long had a problem with bogging down computers while you are trying to other tasks.  Gaming is more than a task.  It’s be huge drain on an operating system and requires a fast internet connection.  It also craves every ounce of CPU and RAM it can squeeze out of your operating system.  The McAfee Gamer Security program works to get more performance out of your operating system and ensures your games stay prioritized over applications running in the background.

All of this increased speed happens without you having to turn off the anti-virus program that is part of the software.  Slowdowns are bound to happen so this gamer software promises to resolve those slowdowns quickly so your game is not held back from working properly.  This is especially important when playing online with a team.

App Manager

The app manager within McAfee Gamer Security gives you control to kill or de-prioritize resource heavy apps.  While maintaining operating system performance, the software automatically saves stats from your last 5 game sessions which you can look at later.  Settings are customizable, providing intuitive control over system optimization and pop-up suppression is readily available. You can also tweak the software’s multiple settings as desired.

Download McAfee ® Gamer SecurityNow 20% Off!

McAfee Gamer Security helps you achieve a smoother overall experience on your PC, from everyday performance gains thanks to the low impact MicroAV engine to the FPS stability. This also results in smoother game play delivered by their Game Boost technology. 

Pricing

Some users may not like the annual price tag on this software.  Not that it’s unusually priced above other anti-virus type programs, but the annual subscription for Game Security is only for one computer.  This may not be a problem as there may only be one gamer in the household in need of online protection, while increasing speed and customizable performance.

Gamer Online Protection with Enhanced Performance – see specs graphic

Not to be infused with parental control software that filters content, McAfee Gamer Security is a software download that allows gamers to enhance their computer performance while stay protected with anti-virus protection.  Will it work on your computer?  If you download the software and are having issues you may request a full refund by contacting McAfee Customer Support within 30 days of initial purchase.

Gamer Security System Requirements

To operate the Gamer Security software you must have Microsoft Windows 10 version 1809 (Oct 2018 update) or later.  If you already have Windows 10 and are unsure of what version is running simply update to the latest version.  It’s a good idea anyway to turn on automotive updates for Windows to ensure your systems is always secure.  The hardware needed on your computer is 2 GB RAM | 500 MB free drive space | 1 GHz Processor.  A high-speed internet connection is recommended.

How is it faster? When McAfee did tests of their gamer security software compared to both traditional and built-in AV they found:

  • A faster boot.
  • Faster shutdown.
  • Faster standby suspend.
  • Faster suspend to hibernate.

Get Performance + Anti-Virus in One – Learn More


Got a kid that loves to game? Or maybe you are an avid gamer yourself. Have you thought much about gamer security? There has been plenty written about protecting your home computer with an anti-virus program, but what about increased performance while gaming?

A big problem arises when the anti-virus is turned off completely because it interferes with the online gaming experience.

McAfee Gamer Security solves the debate within families regarding how much security one can compromise in order to maintain computer performance while playing.  McAfee created Gamer Security as a complete gamer software solution.  Security + Performance.  It was not designed to merely prevent a decrease in gaming performance while staying protected online, the software boasts a faster, more quiet, and safer gaming experience thanks to cutting edge performance enhancing technologies.

Game Boost Engine

Some anti-virus programs have long had a problem with bogging down computers while you are trying to other tasks.  Gaming is more than a task.  It’s be huge drain on an operating system and requires a fast internet connection.  It also craves every ounce of CPU and RAM it can squeeze out of your operating system.  The McAfee Gamer Security program works to get more performance out of your operating system and ensures your games stay prioritized over applications running in the background.

All of this increased speed happens without you having to turn off the anti-virus program that is part of the software.  Slowdowns are bound to happen so this gamer software promises to resolve those slowdowns quickly so your game is not held back from working properly.  This is especially important when playing online with a team.

App Manager

The app manager within McAfee Gamer Security gives you control to kill or de-prioritize resource heavy apps.  While maintaining operating system performance, the software automatically saves stats from your last 5 game sessions which you can look at later.  Settings are customizable, providing intuitive control over system optimization and pop-up suppression is readily available. You can also tweak the software’s multiple settings as desired.

Download McAfee ® Gamer SecurityNow 20% Off!

McAfee Gamer Security helps you achieve a smoother overall experience on your PC, from everyday performance gains thanks to the low impact MicroAV engine to the FPS stability. This also results in smoother game play delivered by their Game Boost technology. 

Pricing

Some users may not like the annual price tag on this software.  Not that it’s unusually priced above other anti-virus type programs, but the annual subscription for Game Security is only for one computer.  This may not be a problem as there may only be one gamer in the household in need of online protection, while increasing speed and customizable performance.

Gamer Online Protection with Enhanced Performance – see specs graphic

Not to be infused with parental control software that filters content, McAfee Gamer Security is a software download that allows gamers to enhance their computer performance while stay protected with anti-virus protection.  Will it work on your computer?  If you download the software and are having issues you may request a full refund by contacting McAfee Customer Support within 30 days of initial purchase.

Gamer Security System Requirements

To operate the Gamer Security software you must have Microsoft Windows 10 version 1809 (Oct 2018 update) or later.  If you already have Windows 10 and are unsure of what version is running simply update to the latest version.  It’s a good idea anyway to turn on automotive updates for Windows to ensure your systems is always secure.  The hardware needed on your computer is 2 GB RAM | 500 MB free drive space | 1 GHz Processor.  A high-speed internet connection is recommended.

How is it faster? When McAfee did tests of their gamer security software compared to both traditional and built-in AV they found:

  • A faster boot.
  • Faster shutdown.
  • Faster standby suspend.
  • Faster suspend to hibernate.

Get Performance + Anti-Virus in One – Learn More


Parental Controls for Google, iPads & Samsung Tablets

Parental Controls for Tablets

If you are planning to buy a tablet for your child this year you may also be exploring parental control options for Google, as well as available safety apps for iPads and Samsung Tablets. There are plenty of buzz words out there related on internet safety, security and parental controls.  It can be overwhelming especially for new parents who are giving a child their very first tablet.

We’ll do our best to break everything down for you. The last thing you need is to duplicate processes while overlooking safety and security essentials in an effort to make sure your new tablet or iPad kid safe.  Let’s begin!

  1. We’ll explore what you need to make your tablet safe.
  2. We’ll let you know what you don’t necessarily need to make it safe.
  3. We’ll talk about software programs or apps are redundant.

Parental Controls On Google

Firstly, if you are seeking a free parental control while searching Google, we have an app for that.  Download our Google SafeSearch App for any tablet and instruct your kids to only use it to search Google.  It provides the same strict filtering results as featured on the top of our website, but provided within the confines of an app.  You may want to remove/delete all other search apps such as Safari for iPad and Chrome so they are not accessible for use.

Google also offers Family Link.  It provides free tools to guide kids to good content, teach and set digital ground rules, monitor screen time and track location.

Parental Control Software and Parental Control Apps often refer to programs that block access to the entire web.  Our search app and Google’s Family Link do not block or monitor internet access. Google SafeSearch only filters the web while searching.  Our app and Family Link are free tools you can use to provide a certain level of parental control.

Greater restrictions are needed through a parental control app or software for those who want to stop older kids from taking steps to download harmful content. This may include re-downloading other search apps that you removed from the tablet.  Explore the options available within our recommended Parental Control App for complete blocking and monitoring.

Social Media Safety

Even if you have Google search covered, kids will also have access to outside content via their social media platforms.  Every parent should have an open and honest conversation about which social media websites are allowed in your home.  You can implement agreed upon guidelines as well, but this is where complete parental control apps can allow parents to see everything that is happening on any device the software is installed.

Parental control with a paid subscription model will have a parent dashboard to view app downloads on all devices.  The dashboard will also allow you to limit screen time and block specific hours when users are allowed online, such as late in the evening or when you are not home.  And of course, all bad sites can be blocked not matter what method us used to find them, even if accidentally.

KTablets with Parental Controlids Tablets with Parental Control

If you have younger kids and not looking for a fully functional device like iPad or a Samsung tablet, there are fun activity tablets that already come with their own parental controls built in.  These are very basic user-friendly tablets for kids that provide a safe environment for game downloads and internet search.  Explore these tablets here.

Anti-Virus for Tablets

While parental control is all about protecting kids from accessing inappropriate websites, it does not block viruses.   If you are getting a tablet for younger kids that are going to be strictly using Google safe search, then the risk for infection from computer viruses is lower.  Generally, tablets are safer than PC computers but virus infection can still happen.

iPads are more secure because Apple’s operating system is more closed.  Samsung tablets are running on an Android platform, which is more open, and therefore more susceptible.  Just be aware that parental control or any other app designed to deliver safe search does not protect against viruses or malware.

Other than visiting infected website, email is the most common way a computer will get infected from a virus.   If your child is not running email, then the risk of infect is reduced even more.  If they are using a filtering search engine like ours, they are also less likely to end up on an infected website.  To clarify, parental control software does not stop virus infections.

Read more about options related to internet safety related to virus protection.  It’s another article where were break down the various buzz words related to internet safety and security.

Lets Review for Tablet Safety

  • At the very least install our safe Google search app. It’s free.
  • And it won’t hurt to consider Google’s Family Link app.  It provides additional tools to equip families to be safe online.
  • For complete parental control, look for a software program that promises the ability to control different levels is internet access to different member’s of the family.
  • Install anti-virus software for email and consider anti malware software to safety against infected websites.

Read more about options related to internet safety related to virus protection.  It’s another article where were break down the various buzz words related to internet safety and security.

Online Gaming Security

If you have an avid gamer in the household using a PC or Macintosh computer, McAfee provides gamer anti-virus protection while increasing gaming performance.  This stops users from turning off the Anti-Virus program they may have because it slows down their computer operating system.

If you are planning to buy a tablet for your child this year you may also be exploring parental control options for Google, as well as available safety apps for iPads and Samsung Tablets. There are plenty of buzz words out there related on internet safety, security and parental controls.  It can be overwhelming especially for new parents who are giving a child their very first tablet.

We’ll do our best to break everything down for you. The last thing you need is to duplicate processes while overlooking safety and security essentials in an effort to make sure your new tablet or iPad kid safe.  Let’s begin!

  1. We’ll explore what you need to make your tablet safe.
  2. We’ll let you know what you don’t necessarily need to make it safe.
  3. We’ll talk about software programs or apps are redundant.

Parental Controls On Google

Firstly, if you are seeking a free parental control while searching Google, we have an app for that.  Download our Google SafeSearch App for any tablet and instruct your kids to only use it to search Google.  It provides the same strict filtering results as featured on the top of our website, but provided within the confines of an app.  You may want to remove/delete all other search apps such as Safari for iPad and Chrome so they are not accessible for use.

Google also offers Family Link.  It provides free tools to guide kids to good content, teach and set digital ground rules, monitor screen time and track location.

Parental Control Software and Parental Control Apps often refer to programs that block access to the entire web.  Our search app and Google’s Family Link do not block or monitor internet access. Google SafeSearch only filters the web while searching.  Our app and Family Link are free tools you can use to provide a certain level of parental control.

Greater restrictions are needed through a parental control app or software for those who want to stop older kids from taking steps to download harmful content. This may include re-downloading other search apps that you removed from the tablet.  Explore the options available within our recommended Parental Control App for complete blocking and monitoring.

Social Media Safety

Even if you have Google search covered, kids will also have access to outside content via their social media platforms.  Every parent should have an open and honest conversation about which social media websites are allowed in your home.  You can implement agreed upon guidelines as well, but this is where complete parental control apps can allow parents to see everything that is happening on any device the software is installed.

Parental control with a paid subscription model will have a parent dashboard to view app downloads on all devices.  The dashboard will also allow you to limit screen time and block specific hours when users are allowed online, such as late in the evening or when you are not home.  And of course, all bad sites can be blocked not matter what method us used to find them, even if accidentally.

KTablets with Parental Controlids Tablets with Parental Control

If you have younger kids and not looking for a fully functional device like iPad or a Samsung tablet, there are fun activity tablets that already come with their own parental controls built in.  These are very basic user-friendly tablets for kids that provide a safe environment for game downloads and internet search.  Explore these tablets here.

Anti-Virus for Tablets

While parental control is all about protecting kids from accessing inappropriate websites, it does not block viruses.   If you are getting a tablet for younger kids that are going to be strictly using Google safe search, then the risk for infection from computer viruses is lower.  Generally, tablets are safer than PC computers but virus infection can still happen.

iPads are more secure because Apple’s operating system is more closed.  Samsung tablets are running on an Android platform, which is more open, and therefore more susceptible.  Just be aware that parental control or any other app designed to deliver safe search does not protect against viruses or malware.

Other than visiting infected website, email is the most common way a computer will get infected from a virus.   If your child is not running email, then the risk of infect is reduced even more.  If they are using a filtering search engine like ours, they are also less likely to end up on an infected website.  To clarify, parental control software does not stop virus infections.

Read more about options related to internet safety related to virus protection.  It’s another article where were break down the various buzz words related to internet safety and security.

Lets Review for Tablet Safety

  • At the very least install our safe Google search app. It’s free.
  • And it won’t hurt to consider Google’s Family Link app.  It provides additional tools to equip families to be safe online.
  • For complete parental control, look for a software program that promises the ability to control different levels is internet access to different member’s of the family.
  • Install anti-virus software for email and consider anti malware software to safety against infected websites.

Read more about options related to internet safety related to virus protection.  It’s another article where were break down the various buzz words related to internet safety and security.

Online Gaming Security

If you have an avid gamer in the household using a PC or Macintosh computer, McAfee provides gamer anti-virus protection while increasing gaming performance.  This stops users from turning off the Anti-Virus program they may have because it slows down their computer operating system.

Introducing Kids to Positive Role Models

positive role models for kids

Child development happens partly as traits emerge from within, but another big part comes with children learning from the adults in their lives. Role models convey values, acceptable types of interaction and behavior, and ways of living in the world to kids. Providing good role models for your kids is a key part in supporting their positive development.

How do you find role models for your child? You can be a good role model yourself, of course, but children benefit from the presence of additional adults they can look up to and seek advice from. Here are some resources for giving your kids positive role models.

Historical Figures

When you’re not yet sure what your kids’ interests are, start with well-known contemporary or historical figures to see who catches their attention. There are plenty of well-known men, both historical and in contemporary culture, for boys to look up to.

And when it comes to raising daughters, there are lots of positive role models we can point to both in present times and from history. Check out this curated video playlist of powerful women in history to share with your older kids.

For younger kids, even Matel has created dolls based on historic women. It really helps your cause to point to people who actually lived: their lives, their challenges, their triumphs, and their struggles. It might just be inspiring, and at the very least, it will be educational.

As your children express interest in particular well-known people, you can start looking around in your own community for in-person role models, too.

Community Members

Ask your kids what traits they admire in those famous figures and think about people in your life who embody those qualities. You can look for role models who have the types of careers your kids are curious about, but better than that, find people who display desirable traits like compassion, integrity, and motivation. Younger kids learn what kind of people they can be from their role models. When they’re older, it’s more suitable to help them connect with people in professions they may want to pursue.

Who do you know at your children’s school, at your workplace, at church, in your own social network, or in your family who might want to form a relationship with your kids? Think about who you admire; chances are the same qualities will make that individual a good role model for your kids.

Fictional Figures or Celebrities

Though there are some limits to fictional role models, your kids may at some point idolize a fictional figure, so better to prepare for it and send good options their way. Discuss with them what they like about their favorite characters and how they see themselves being similar or different.

When choosing media to watch with your sons, consider these shows with strong male role models. Trying to find books for your daughters that aren’t just about princesses or romance? Here is a helpful list sorted by age group (from preschool through teen years) of books with strong female characters.

Be prepared for your kids to come home one day wanting to be exactly like a celebrity they saw on YouTube. The most important thing in this situation is how you talk to them about these role models. Rather than discouraging them from their infatuation, ask them what they like about their new favorite person. Keep the conversation going by asking your kids what that celebrity is up to over time (and give yourself more opportunities to discuss poor decisions said person might make).

Yourself

You are the first and most potentially powerful role model for your kids. Your children are watching and learning from you before they can even speak—and your actions will convey more than your words. You can’t do everything perfectly, but there’s a lot you can do to show them what kind of person you hope they’ll become by being that person yourself. For instance, one tip  is to take good care of yourself, which will help you better care for your kids while demonstrating the value of self-care.

General advice is great, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to convey positive traits in day-to-day life. For instance, how do you teach your kids about healthy eating without simply telling them what to do? Try to include them in the food shopping and give them choices about what they want to eat.

Once you start exploring, you can find positive role models for your kids in all kinds of social circles and fields. A good mix of people—historical figures, community members, and fictional characters—gives your kids plenty of opportunities to identify different facets of being human they want to emulate and can provide you with ample material for discussion.

by Hilary Thompson

Child development happens partly as traits emerge from within, but another big part comes with children learning from the adults in their lives. Role models convey values, acceptable types of interaction and behavior, and ways of living in the world to kids. Providing good role models for your kids is a key part in supporting their positive development.

How do you find role models for your child? You can be a good role model yourself, of course, but children benefit from the presence of additional adults they can look up to and seek advice from. Here are some resources for giving your kids positive role models.

Historical Figures

When you’re not yet sure what your kids’ interests are, start with well-known contemporary or historical figures to see who catches their attention. There are plenty of well-known men, both historical and in contemporary culture, for boys to look up to.

And when it comes to raising daughters, there are lots of positive role models we can point to both in present times and from history. Check out this curated video playlist of powerful women in history to share with your older kids.

For younger kids, even Matel has created dolls based on historic women. It really helps your cause to point to people who actually lived: their lives, their challenges, their triumphs, and their struggles. It might just be inspiring, and at the very least, it will be educational.

As your children express interest in particular well-known people, you can start looking around in your own community for in-person role models, too.

Community Members

Ask your kids what traits they admire in those famous figures and think about people in your life who embody those qualities. You can look for role models who have the types of careers your kids are curious about, but better than that, find people who display desirable traits like compassion, integrity, and motivation. Younger kids learn what kind of people they can be from their role models. When they’re older, it’s more suitable to help them connect with people in professions they may want to pursue.

Who do you know at your children’s school, at your workplace, at church, in your own social network, or in your family who might want to form a relationship with your kids? Think about who you admire; chances are the same qualities will make that individual a good role model for your kids.

Fictional Figures or Celebrities

Though there are some limits to fictional role models, your kids may at some point idolize a fictional figure, so better to prepare for it and send good options their way. Discuss with them what they like about their favorite characters and how they see themselves being similar or different.

When choosing media to watch with your sons, consider these shows with strong male role models. Trying to find books for your daughters that aren’t just about princesses or romance? Here is a helpful list sorted by age group (from preschool through teen years) of books with strong female characters.

Be prepared for your kids to come home one day wanting to be exactly like a celebrity they saw on YouTube. The most important thing in this situation is how you talk to them about these role models. Rather than discouraging them from their infatuation, ask them what they like about their new favorite person. Keep the conversation going by asking your kids what that celebrity is up to over time (and give yourself more opportunities to discuss poor decisions said person might make).

Yourself

You are the first and most potentially powerful role model for your kids. Your children are watching and learning from you before they can even speak—and your actions will convey more than your words. You can’t do everything perfectly, but there’s a lot you can do to show them what kind of person you hope they’ll become by being that person yourself. For instance, one tip  is to take good care of yourself, which will help you better care for your kids while demonstrating the value of self-care.

General advice is great, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to convey positive traits in day-to-day life. For instance, how do you teach your kids about healthy eating without simply telling them what to do? Try to include them in the food shopping and give them choices about what they want to eat.

Once you start exploring, you can find positive role models for your kids in all kinds of social circles and fields. A good mix of people—historical figures, community members, and fictional characters—gives your kids plenty of opportunities to identify different facets of being human they want to emulate and can provide you with ample material for discussion.

by Hilary Thompson