A new year always feels like a fresh start and this year is no different. While some things will remain the same, it’s nice to feel hopeful about what may be in 2021.
7 Tech Resolutions for the New Year
As you open a blank calendar for 2021, create a vision board, and cherish your new word of the year, be sure to make some tech resolutions for the new year. These practical suggestions are designed to preserve memories, keep your family safe, get you organized, and find things you love away from the screen.
Here are 7 tech resolutions for the new year to choose from. Any one of these would be a great starting point to get your digital life in order for 2021.
Backup Your Phone
Backing up our phones is a task that often forgotten if it’s not easy or automatic but thankfully there are devices that can help you make this tech resolution for the new year a reality.
Ixpand is the world’s first wireless charger with automatic local backup that automatically backs up full-resolution photos, videos, and contacts just by placing your phone on the base. Mine lives on my desk and tops the list of my favorite tech accessories from 2020. For my full review, read Ixpand Wireless Phone Charger Provides Automatic Backup for Busy Families
If you’re just looking for a way to backup photos, try Ibi. ibi ($79.99 on Amazon) is a smart photo manager that lets you backup, organize digital photos across devices. This compact device stores up to 2 TB of your family’s most precious memories. It automatically uploads photos, regardless of what device you’re on or where you might be. It also allows you to privately share with your inner circle of family members, or even close friends.
It’s brilliant, easy, and provides peace of mind that if you have a phone mishap, your memories will be preserved. For my full review, read Meet Ibi- A Way to Organize, Backup & Share Photos Privately
Revisit Parental Controls and Game Ratings
Parental controls are available on video game consoles, PCs, mobile phones, and tablets. You can set limits for play time, money spent, whether or how your child can communicate with other players, and the type of games or apps they can access based on their ESRB-assigned age rating.
New gaming consoles that come into our homes as holiday gifts remind us to check default parental control settings but if your child has been playing on a system for a while, it’s a great time to revisit parental controls. As kids get older, you might want to revisit the Block by Age Rating on your console, reconsider who they’re allowed to communicate with as more friends get their own gaming devices, and replace your credit card with their debit card to teach them lessons on spending.
In case you’ve always thought ESRB ratings are just for video games, they’re not! The three-part ratings system also applies to digital, VR or mobile versions of games. You can see ratings on Google Play, Microsoft Store for Windows and Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, Nintendo eShop, Oculus Store, PlayStation Store, PlayStation Now, EA Origin, Steam, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and more.
Online retailers, such as Walmart.com, Target.com, BestBuy.com, Amazon.com and GameStop.com, also feature ESRB ratings on the information pages prior to purchasing.
Have Conversations About Safe Streaming and Gaming
Digital devices make great gifts but it’s important to teach your kids how to be safe when using their new devices. Teaching our kids how to stream safely and keep your families safe from the risks of pirated content is important.
Educating kids about the risks associated with pirated content keeps your family’s home network secure and sensitive information safe. The last thing we want to do is give a gift that could make our families susceptible to malware attacks and identity theft. Here are 5 things to keep in mind.
Teaching kids the risks of streaming illegal content and how to protect themselves keeps everyone safe beyond the holidays. Check out the graphic below for safe streaming tips you can use all year.
ESRB says staying involved is the best way to understand the games your children are playing. But if you’re not quite sure how talk about the games they love, their Family Discussion Guide page features questions to get the conversation started.
Monitor Your Child’s New Smartphone
If you’re feeling like there isn’t a handbook guiding us through the tween and teen years when it comes to our kids, mobile devices, and social media, you’re right! Fortunately, there are tools that can help. If your child received a new smartphone as a holiday gift, now is the perfect time to install Bark.
Bark is technology that keeps children safer online and in real life. The app works as a monitoring tool to help you stay on top of your kids’ online activity and communication. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to keep from invading their privacy. AI works to monitor 30+ platforms, including messages, emails, and social activity for signs of harmful interactions and content constantly.
Bark is always working in the background monitoring for signs of cyberbullying, sexting, potential drug use, acts of violence, profanity, online predators, thoughts of suicide and depression, and SO much more! As scary as is to think about these topics, it’s much scarier to be unaware. For a full review of Bark, read How Bark Lets You Monitor Your Child’s Smartphone Without Invading Their Privacy
Get Your Kids the Academic and Mental Health Help They Need
With the end of the semester upon us, it’s a good idea to take stock of how your kids are really doing both academically and mentally. Online school has been challenging for students of all ages and kids are really suffering.
Revisit my post about How to Help Your Child Have a Great Virtual School Year. Be honest with yourself, your kids, and their teacher about how they’re doing.
We want our kids to know that we love and support them so now is the time to get them the academic help they need or seek help from a therapist. Some past posts that might help:
- What You Need to Know to Make Your Child’s Mental Health a Priority
- 3 Ways to Ensure Mid-Year School Success for All Ages
Reviews of academic resources that provide virtual tutoring and enrichment for all ages:
- Build Academic Confidence with On-Demand Help from Varsity Tutors
- Introducing Tútit On-Demand Pay as You Go Virtual Tutoring App
- Why We Love the Tútit App for On-Demand Homework Help
- Sumdog Provides Online Personalized Math & Spelling Practice for Ages 5-14
Streamline Your Family Calendar
Whether you’re a digital calendar or paper planner type person, now is the time to revisit your family calendar to find a system that works.
If you’re more of a paper planner person (like me!), you can’t go wrong with MomAgenda. MomAgenda planners are 18 month calendars that feature luxe covers in cheery colors and finishes that are a pleasure to look at even on days that I dread the items on my to-do list. It’s also the perfect size to slip into a purse or laptop bag for your eventual return to the office.
If virtual school schedules are still a pain point, Skylight Calendar is the perfect solution. This Wi-Fi connected digital calendar features a 10” color touch-screen that displays your family’s schedule. Skylight Calendar works with Google, Apple, Outlook, Yahoo, Cozi, and Readdle 5 calendars.
Vow to Unplug and Spend 1000 Hours Outside as a Family
One of the best ways to unplug as a family is to do something you love. This year set a goal for 1000 Hours Outside. This global movement is designed to encourage engaged time outside by anyone anywhere and gives families a great goal to strive for this year.
1000 Hours Outside challenges us to set aside screens and get outside in any way we can to help our kids thrive academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. Sign up for the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge to get encouraging content that will inspire you to unplug and go outside.
You can also download gorgeous free tracker sheets to keep track of your family’s 1000 hours.
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