How to Share Memories Online (While Still Keeping Your Kids Safe)

From birthdays and milestones to silly selfies on an ordinary Tuesday, parents have tons of opportunities to share aww-worthy moments online. But does sharing photos with family and friends on the internet put your family’s security at risk? It doesn’t have to!

Check out these tips for sharing those special moments with your loved ones while still keeping your kids safe.

Use the security features

Popular social networks Facebook and Instagram allow users to hide their photos and posts from anyone not on their friends list. As you’re using these platforms to share memories with loved ones near and far, use the security settings to control who sees them — and comb through your friends list to make sure you actually know everyone in your digital circle. Still not sure about hitting that post button? Check out the group messaging features on either platform to share your photos and videos with just a few close loved ones.

Share privately with smaller groups

Did you know there are entire social networking platforms built with your privacy in mind? Apps like Cluster and 23Snaps make it easy to share your photos with a tight and controlled group of people — so Aunt May gets the video of baby’s first steps, but that Facebook friend you haven’t talked to since 7th grade does not. Added bonus: Both of these apps also make it easy to get pictures off your phone and into your hands with the option to create and print simple family albums!

Skip the geotags

It may seem obvious to say you shouldn’t share too much of your child’s identifying info online, but the geotagging features on some social media sites make it easy to do just that without a second thought. For example, geotagging photos from your child’s birthday party can immediately reveal your child’s name, birthdate and location to the general public. If you do decide to share photos publicly, consider skipping the geotags to keep your child safe from those who could otherwise use that identifying information to open unwanted accounts in their name.

Think long-term

It’s tempting to share all the memorable moments you get to enjoy with your little one, even if it’s just to have a record for your own sake down the road! But if you’re posting publicly, consider whether your kids would want those posts popping up when they’re starting to date, apply to colleges or search for jobs. Share happy family memories online, but try to keep private those shots and stories that seem innocent enough now but could be embarrassing down the road — like bathtime, potty training developments or temper tantrums.

Talk with your kids

Yes, using social media and the internet safely requires some wisdom and intentionality, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on them all together. After all, your child will soon be using these same platforms on their own. And that’s a good thing! The internet is full of amazing tools for sharing photos, connecting with loved ones and much, much more. Prepare your child to use the best of the internet safely by modeling good practices and inviting them into the conversation now. Ask your kids what they’d like you to share (or not) before posting and discuss how you’re taking steps to protect them as you share those happy memories with loved ones near and far.

With smart practices and a secure connection, the internet can be a great tool for connecting with loved ones. Contact Race today to make sure you have the strong, secure, and reliable internet you need to share special memories with those who matter most.

“Smart” Seniors: The Best Wearable Tech for Baby Boomers

Millennials and Gen Z may be known for their mastery of technology, but they aren’t the only generations using modern tools to manage their daily lives. With so many advances in wearable technology, more resources exist now than ever before to help baby boomers live a healthy lifestyle and maintain their independence.

Here are five of the best wearable tech devices on the market for today’s older adults.

#1: Livio AI Hearing Aids

First things first: The Livio AI Hearing Aids are an extremely effective product. You can stream your phone, TV, or music straight to the hearing aids, adjust settings easily in the companion app and even use geotags to save your preferred settings for frequent locations. But the impressive functionality doesn’t stop there.

These hearing aids are the first to use artificial intelligence to monitor body and brain health and deliver a daily overall wellness score. Plus, built-in technology can detect a fall and immediately alert emergency contacts, giving you and your loved ones more peace of mind.

#2: Samsung Gear S3

The Samsung Gear S3 may look like a classic, timeless watch, but the smart features make it perfect for today’s baby boomers. For example, with convenient built-in speakers, you can easily make or take calls straight from your watch, even if your phone is in another room.

Added bonus: If you fall or find yourself in an emergency situation, you can easily send SOS messages to assigned contacts, who will immediately receive information about your location as well.

#3: Apple Watch Series 5

The latest Apple Watch is full of bells and whistles to keep users of all ages healthy. An ECG app can help you (and your doctors) know if your heart rhythm is high, low or irregular. Noise sensors notify you when surroundings are loud enough to damage your hearing.

Calendar functionality and daily alerts can remind you to take your medication and attend your doctors’ appointments. And, again, a fall detection feature easily notifies emergency services and loved ones in the case of an accident.

#4: Dexcom G6

For those living with Diabetes Type 1 or Type 2, the Dexcom G6 makes it easier than ever to monitor your glucose and share data with the people in your corner. The continuous glucose monitoring system updates your phone app with your latest glucose numbers every five minutes.

Share your info with up to 10 people, who can access your data and trends from their own phones. Plus, check out easy-to-read graphs, trends and statistics based on your health data, then email it directly to your doctors to keep them informed.

#5: Freedom Guardian

No smartphone? No problem. This medical alert watch is a standalone device designed specifically for older adults (think simple interface and large touch-screen icons). Helpful features include weather forecasts, reminders and alerts and text-to-speech messaging. Plus, you can simply press and hold the side button for three seconds to request emergency assistance.

Friends, family and caregivers love it as well. With the companion mobile app, they can easily add important daily tasks in your calendar, track your location, message you and know right away if you’ve requested emergency assistance.

Each of these wearable tech devices makes life easier for baby boomers — just like high-speed internet from Race! Contact us today to make sure you have the high-speed internet you need to make the most of today’s technology.

The Hottest “Connected” Gifts for Kids This Christmas

With so many cool gadgets on the market for today’s kids, how do you narrow down the options as you do your Christmas shopping? This guide should help! Read on to discover some of this year’s best “connected” gifts for kids of all ages.

LeapPad Academy Tablet (Ages 3-8)

The preschooler in your life will be entertained and school-ready with a little help from this kid-friendly tablet. It comes preloaded with more than 20 educator-approved apps and the ability to access additional games, apps, videos and websites. (You even get a three-month free trial for LeapFrog Academy’s progressive, interactive learning program!) Plus, the tough bumper and shatter-safe screen are built with active little ones in mind, so parents can relax as their kids watch, play and learn.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 10 Kids Edition (Ages 3+)

You probably already know that adults love the Kindle Fire, but did you know Amazon makes a great kid-friendly version, too? The 10.1-inch screen and vibrant HD display make it easy for kids to enjoy games, books, digital comics, videos, photos, and more. Connect it to Wi-Fi to stream or download content that can be enjoyed at home or on the go. And with up to 12 hours of battery life, this is the gift that keeps on giving during long road trips or boring layovers! Finally, parents can keep kids safe, create screen time limits, set educational goals and filter content with the easy-to-use parental controls — making it the ultimate all-around connected gift!

VTech KidiBuzz G2 Smart Device (Ages 4+)

Meet the smart device that has everything a kid — or parent — could ever want in kids’ tech. Designed to look like an adult’s smartphone, this device allows kids to send voice and text messages over Wi-Fi to parent-approved contacts, take pictures and videos, play music, access LeapFrog Academy learning games and much more. It’s the perfect device for a kid ready to explore more of the internet but in a safe, protected environment.

Anki Cozmo Robot (Ages 8+)

Skip the should-we-get-a-dog-for-Christmas conversation and invest in this real-life robot as your low-maintenance family “pet” instead. The Cozmo Robot learns your face and name, plays games and even develops its own personality. Kids can even learn coding and robotics in the accompanying app to make their smart friend sneeze, sing a song, dance, and more!

Polaroid Mint Instant Digital Pocket Printer (Ages 12+)

Are the teens in your life always snapping pictures everywhere they go? Gift them this wireless mobile printer, and they can easily print their favorite shots straight from their smartphone! Photos print in under a minute on smudge-proof, Zero Ink Paper with a peelable, adhesive backing for extra fun. At only 5.7 ounces, this pocket printer is a little gift sure to offer big fun to any budding photographer.

Sphero Specdrums Rings (Ages 12 and up)

Inspire your teen to explore music production and creative playing with Specdrums, a set of rings that turns the world around them into an interactive drum set. Connect the rings to the Specdrums MIX app and drum on books, countertops, clothing or the included playing pad. Every color they tap on will produce a unique sound! Teens can play alone or with a friend and produce one-of-a-kind songs with loops, beats and more.

Will your kids be enjoying the latest tech toys this Christmas? Call Race today to make sure your internet can power them all for uninterrupted play on Christmas day and beyond!

 

Tech Tools to Help You Master Your Budget

If you’d rather pull your toenails out one by one than work on your budget, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are people out there who actually love budgets (hard to believe, we know), and they’ve built some pretty amazing tools to make it easier for the rest of us.

Check out some of our favorite tech tools below and take your financial game to the next level.

Tech Tools for the Budget Beginner

Getting better at managing money doesn’t mean you have to track every penny on a color-coded spreadsheet. In fact, the best way to set yourself up for success is to start with small, attainable goals. And there are apps for that!

First, check out Trim, which scans your bank account, alerts you to subscriptions you forgot you were paying or maybe no longer want, and texts you with an offer to cancel them for you. Saving money doesn’t get any easier than that!

You can also make sure you’re paying your bills on time with Prism, and download PocketGuard to see at a glance how much money you have left to spend for the day, week, or month after paying your bills and contributing to your savings goal.

Tech Tools for Next-Level Budgeting

Once you start making some progress and feel ready to kick your budgeting up a notch, there’s Mint, a very popular (and free) app for building and tracking a budget. Mint links to your bank accounts to give you a real-time look at your spending habits, complete with budget alerts to keep you on track.

We also love Albert, a financial service that uses tech to automate your budgeting and alert you to simple, actionable steps you can take to improve your financial health. Plus, with Albert Genius, you can text actual human experts for more personalized advice and support as you navigate big purchases and chase your financial goals.

Tech Tools for Building Wealth

With your budgeting under control, it’s time to start looking for opportunities to move from simply saving money to building wealth you can enjoy in the years to come. Start small with Acorns, which rounds up your transactions and puts your “spare change” in an investment portfolio.

For a more advanced (and high-tech) approach to investing, there’s Personal Capital. This tool helps you see a full picture of your financial situation, plan for retirement, and analyze how your investments are performing.

Managing money might be causing you stress now, but these tech tools will make it easier to reach your goals. And with fast, reliable internet from Race, you can trust they’ll run smoothly for stress-free budgeting sessions that keep you on track and headed for success.

7 Creative Ways to Connect Long-Distance Family During the Holidays

Special time with loved ones is often what makes the holidays so memorable. But what do you do when those loved ones are too far away to pop over for a big meal and a heartwarming gift exchange? Well, with a strong internet connection from Race, there are lots of ways to stay connected.

If you have an iPhone and you are contacting someone who also has one, then FaceTime is the obvious choice. However, if one or more parties don’t have iPhones, there are plenty of other options. Read on to discover seven creative ways to video call, swap photos, send gifts and simply stay connected with long-distance family this holiday season.

#1: Skype

Let’s start with the obvious choice. With its long-time history of quality audio and video calls, Skype has long been the go-to choice for connecting with loved ones all over the world. But did you know its features also include low-cost texts and calls to mobiles and landlines, easy group video calling and file sharing and messaging between devices? It’s also easily accessible on a wide range of devices, including your smartphone, computer, smart TV, Playstation and more.

#2: Google Hangouts

If you’re hoping to have a video call with your cousin Jason, Aunt Lisa, niece Jenna and family friend Marc at the same time during your upcoming family gathering, Google Hangouts is the platform for you. You can talk to up to 10 people at a time, do live-streaming video, file share, text message and, of course, make audio and video calls. You can even take photos during your hangout to easily capture the special memories you’ll be making together-yet-apart.

#3: Facebook Messenger

If your family members are skeptical about downloading a new service just to video call you on Christmas, check to see if they’re already on Facebook. The Facebook Messenger app works for text communication, sure, but it also has a voice and video call feature. Simply tap the person in your Messenger contact list, then tap the video icon to begin a video call. It’s easy and free, and no new apps or accounts are needed!

#4: Cluster 

Looking to share photos and videos with loved ones without posting them for the entire world to see? No need to start an annoying group text. Instead, meet Cluster. This app features an Instagram-like feed, but only for the people you invite into the group. Create a group for all the family members that want to see baby’s first Christmas or all the friends attending your Friendsgiving feast. And everyone can share their photos in one simple place. Plus, the ability to “like” and comment on photos will keep the spirit of community alive no matter how far apart you may be!

#5: Nixplay

If you’re looking for an easy way to share photos with your not-so-internet-savvy family members, look no further than a Wi-Fi cloud frame from Nixplay. This digital photo frame creates a slideshow of the photos you add, and you can easily use your phone to add more at any time — even if the photo frame is on the other side of the world. This makes this frame a gift that keeps on giving for family members near and far.

#6: Giftster

Picking just the right present for that distant (and possibly picky!) family member can be tricky, so let Giftster do the thinking for you. This free app allows you to create a wish list and add any items you’d love to receive. Then you can invite family and friends to create lists of their own. Shop from each other’s lists to bypass that anxiety over gifting just the right thing. (Plus, your family members will love how easy it is to find the perfect gift to send you, too!)

#7: Artifact Uprising

We all know how much Grandma loves getting updated pictures of the grandchildren, but creating a photo album can be time-consuming. Help her feel remembered and included this holiday season by using Artifact Uprising to quickly create quality prints, photo books, calendars, gallery frames and so much more. Simply upload photos straight from your Instagram or camera roll, and click to buy. You can even use the gift option to send the photos straight to Grandma!

Each of these tools and apps makes it easy to stay connected with family all over the world throughout the holiday season and beyond. Contact Race today to make sure you have the high-speed internet connection you need to power each and every one!