Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Trying to Keep Up With Your Techie Kids? Here’s Help

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

It’s no secret that many kids today are more technologically advanced than their parents. They practically grew up with a mouse in their hand and spend a great deal of time IMing, texting and "Facebooking."

Rosemary Blandford, a 37-year-old Chicago-area mother of three who formerly worked as both an ER nurse and a teacher, recognized that she didn't know as much about all things techie as she wanted to in order to keep up with her kids. So she created

In addition to tips on using Twitter, Pandora, Skype, Netflix and a lot more, the site includes an entire section about social networking so that parents can join their kids online and stay involved in their digital lives.

Rosie offers free videos, step-by-step instructions and tutorials. And check out Rosie's blog for even more tips. Here are some to get you started:

Rosie's Tips for Saving $$ on the Web

•    Communicate in a new way - Skype lets you have a long-distance phone conversation with other Skype users without the long-distance charges. (Now we've all heard of Skype, but Rosie's video tutorial will show you how it actually works.)

•    Buy or sell using online classifieds or auctions - Ebay and Craigslist will help you make money or buy someone else's goods at good prices. (Both sites can seem a bit confusing at first. How do you bid? How do you pay? Rosie makes it easy.)

•    Find great entertainment without leaving home
  - Watch videos or TV shows on Hulu or  documentaries on Use Netflix to watch and even stream popular movies. 

•    Give the gift of a family tree
- Use to create a family tree. It won't cost you anything, and may be cherished by family members more than any pricey gift.

Can you tell I LOVE this site?

How Does This Social Media Stuff Work, Anyway?

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Chances are, if your kids are hitting the teen years, they're there. Or they want to be.

What's the best way to know what they're up to? Get involved with social media yourself. It's not that difficult — and it's a lot of fun. More and more parents are sharing tips via social media. Many parenting magazines now have Facebook pages, and the parenting community is "tweeting" like mad these days!

I wrote an article, for the April issue of the American Society of Journalists and Authors newsletter, about how writers can use social media to advance their careers. But the article is really helpful for anyone who wants to get started with social media. Check it out here. You can download the PDF at no charge. The article is on page 10.

I'd love to hear how you're using Twitter, Facebook or other social media to connect with other parents. Please leave a comment!

P.S. Of course, when I'm sitting her tweeting away and chatting with my parent buddies on Facebook, I look JUST like this model! ;)

Follow Your Favorite Parenting Magazines on Twitter!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Twitter is everywhere these days. As a parent, I love it. Looking for
links for everything from potty training to college-savings advice? Type in key words on Search Twitter.
Looking to connect with other parents? You'll find plenty of friendly

And if you'd like to follow your favorite parenting magazines on
Twitter, just start right here:

Calgary’s Child - @CalgarysChild
Chesapeake Family - @ChesFamily
Columbus Parent - @ColumbusParent
Houston Family - @HoustonFamily
Metro Family (OKC) - @metrofamily
New Jersey Family - @njfamilymag
O.C. Family - @ocfamily
Our Kids San Antonio - @OurKidsMagazine
Parenting and Babytalk - @parenting
SW Florida Parent & Child - @gulfcoastmoms
Wilmington Parent - @WilmingtnParent

If you're the editor of a parenting magazine, and you'd like to be added to this list in the future, please drop me a line at Thanks!   

Are Your Kids Sexting?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Terrific piece by Nick K. Mandel, over on the Consumer Reports electronics blog today, on sexting, where cell phone users — usually teens — exchange provocative, sexual photos of themselves using their cell phones' built-in digital camera.

(Disclosure: I work for Consumer Reports as their social media reporter. You can follow me at @CReporter on Twitter. I primarily cover consumer issues there, but that also overlaps with my parenting reporting here. After all, we parents are some of the biggest consumers around!)

Mandel notes that a survey from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
suggests that one in five teens have "electronically sent, or posted
online, nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves." A percentage that high means that many parents who think "my kid would never do that" may be surprised to learn the truth.

Check out Mandel's post and the articles below. Then talk with your kids if you think they may be fooling around with sexting. Chances are, they have no idea how serious the consequences can be.

Get Your Consumer-Information Fix at @CReporter

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Are you, like me, a big Consumer Reports fan? Wish you had a place to go for great links to all things consumer-related?

Starting today, I'm the social media reporter for Consumer Reports, and I'll be sharing all sorts of great info over at If you're on Twitter, please follow and say hello. You'll also want to stop by CR's terrific blog.

Not on Twitter? It's easy — and free — to get started. Just go to

I'll still be here, of course, bringing you lots of great parenting ideas as always. I see this new project as a great complement to what I'm doing here. After all, who needs helpful consumer information more than parents?

P.S. Stop by the CR blog to learn more about tomorrow's free breakfast offer at Denny's. Bring the kids!

One Home, Many Hopes

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

My Twitter buddy Warren Sukernek, over at Twittermaven (great site!), just brought to my attention something I think you'll want to know about. (I love how we can share info like this so easily through blogs!)

One Home Many Hopes is
an organization that is working to improve the lives of orphaned girls
in Mtwapa, Kenya. They use education and family support as
ways to lift children out of cyclical poverty. Today, there are 35
parentless girls living as one family.

These girls, who had spent their
earliest years surviving on Mtwapa’s streets and trash piles, now live together, attend school and care for one another. Although their
lives are so much better, there could be so much more. The vision of One Home Many Hopes is to build:

• A new three-story building with each floor serving as a distinct family unit headed by a “house mother.”

A university education for the girls so they will be able to support
themselves and be agents for ending poverty in their town, region,
country and continent.

• An on-site kindergarten and school, free of the prohibitive private-education fees that are common in Kenya.

They've started a campaign, Race to $20K, which will get the building started. They're asking people to donate toward
their ambitious goal of raising this money over the next 26 days. You can donate here.

With the holidays coming, many of us are thinking of ways to help others around the world in a meaningful way — as opposed to adding just another sweater in a box under the Christmas tree. By making a contribution in the next three weeks to One Home Many Hopes, you know you'll be helping these girls improve their lives, not only in 2009, but beyond.

So Your Kid Won’t “Friend” You on Facebook?

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Facebook, Inc.

Thanks to writer Liz Seegert (who is also the mom of a teenage son) for telling me about a terrific article by Lisa Belkin in The New York Times Magazine: "When Your Kid Won't 'Friend' You."

Belkin talks about joining a Facebook group called “Moms of Kids Who are Embarrassed They Have a Facebook.” Apparently its ranks are growing quickly.

How old should a kid be before joining Facebook or another social-media site? Is it strictly his business what he does there — or are you, as a parent, obligated to see what's on his page and to make sure he's making good decisions, not giving out too much personal information, not posting something that might hurt his chances of getting a job after college, etc? (Man, life used to be so much simpler, didn't it?)

I had no idea how wide-ranging the opinions are on this topic until I started reading the comment after Belkin's piece. Let's just say there's no clear agreement here. But reading others' thoughts on the subject might help you look at all the issues and decide what's right for your kid.

And, really, with all the craziness surrounding kids and Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Who-Knows-What-Will-Be-Invented-Tomorrow, that's all we can do, right? Look at all sides of the issue, try to put pressure (from our kids, their peers, other parents, the media) aside and decide what's best for our family.

Hey, nobody ever said this parenting thing would be easy.

With PimpMyNews, My Blog Can Talk!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

I feel like a proud mom with a big announcement: My blog said its first words yesterday! Seriously. Now it just won't shut up, and I couldn't be happier.

I met the good folks at PimpMyNews on Twitter recently, and before I could say "Hey, pimp my blog!" CEO John Atkinson was talking with me about all the cool things Parent Talk Today could do when it could talk.

PimpMyNews offers your favorite blogs in audio form. And I'm not talking about just blogs that feature podcasting or video blogging. PimpMyNews translates the written text to audio. (And it sounds surprisingly less mechanical than I thought it would. This technology has come a long way recently.)

It also converts the audio to MP3 files, which you can
listen to with any MP3 player or from your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC.

Yep, now you can download and listen to Parent Talk Today on your iPod while you go for a walk, cook dinner, wait for your kids at soccer practice or hit the gym.

How cool is that?

To check it out (and I hope you will — this is amazing stuff), just click on the "listen to my blog" button at the top of the right sidebar.

P.S. You can read more about PimpMyNews below.

See Mommy Lose Weight — Week 3

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

This is a photo of last week's weigh in. Why? Because I weighed EXACTLY the same today as I did last Wednesday. Ugh. The culprits:

°    Brownies — with extra chocolate chips added. I had to go to a meeting Monday night, so I made some brownies to take along. The mistake? Making them Sunday afternoon, and then continuing to sneak past them and "even them up." (We wouldn't want messy brownie edges, now, would we?)

°    Work. I spent too many hours with my butt in the chair in front of this computer last week, and not enough hours walking the dog and hitting the treadmill. (I'm a bit of a politics/CNN junkie, especially lately, so watching CNN would have been a pain-free way to do a 30-minute treadmill session. But nooo!)

°    Twitter. Oh, boy, this social-networking tool can be used for good or evil (i.e., more butt-in-the-chair time). I'm afraid I'm hooked after just three weeks. Already I've met new writing and editing colleagues, learned about great websites, gathered article ideas and a lot more. You can also spend waaay too much time on Twitter having fun and reading everyone's thoughts on everything from the presidential campaign to back-to-school challenges to where to get the best pad Thai in San Francisco. (You can follow me on Twitter here.)

So here's the rundown so far on my Wednesday weigh-ins:

Week 1: 138.6
Week 2: 137.2 (total loss: 1.4 lbs)
Week 3: 137.2 (total loss: 1.4 lbs)

I'm already working toward next week's weigh-in. No brownies this week! I'm snacking, right now, on apple slices dipped in a bit of natural peanut butter, and drinking lots of water. And I'll be out walking Charlie the Wonder Dog later today, I promise.

How about you? What do you do when you have a less-than-stellar weight-loss week? If your week was like mine last week, let's climb back on the horse together, share tips and encouragement, and aim for a great weigh-in next Wednesday!

To see all of my weight-loss posts in this series, just click on "See Mommy Lose Weight" in the category cloud on the left sidebar.

See Mommy Lose Weight - Week 2

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

"Weight Loss Wednesday" is being posted on Thursday this week, due to magazine-writing deadlines yesterday.

But I did take time to hop on the scale, camera in hand, for the weekly weigh-in yesterday. And I'm jazzed! I lost 1.4 pounds. I know the first week is probably the easiest, in terms of motivation and water-weight loss. But I'm happy to see the scale this week, just the same. I'll be keeping a running list like this each week:

Week 1: 138.6
Week 2: 137.2 (total loss: 1.4 lbs)

Of course, there were weight-loss challenges this week, but I'm figuring out how to deal with them:

°    Randy and I celebrated our 15th anniversary at our favorite restaurant, and the food is NOT low-fat there. I decided to have salad and a pasta-with-chicken entree, and then took half of the pasta home for another meal. And I kept my mitts out of the bread basket…

°    I'm having trouble getting motivated to get my butt out the door for a walk, or on the treadmill. Work deadlines always loom (and e-mail, Twitter and Facebook are always calling!) But today I took our dog, Charlie, and met my friend Farn for an hour walk to start the day. I feel energized and less likely to want to eat junk the rest of the day. Thanks, Farn! (Oh, and Charlie is happily passed out at my feet as I write this.)

If you're following along with our Weight-Loss Wednesdays, I'd love to hear about your successes and your challenges. Some of the most active members of the Parent Talk Today community, like Ellen and Joy, will be "weighing in" from time to time to share their great weight-loss tips, too. Please join them and add your own! It's more fun doing this with friends.

To see
all of my weight-loss posts in this series, just click on "See Mommy
Lose Weight" in the category cloud on the left sidebar.