My mom is 80 years old and isn’t exactly up to speed on modern technology. But after my dad died, she became very lonely. She has friends, but living alone has been hard for her. Because my siblings and I live far away, we can’t visit very often. My sister got her an iPhone and taught her to FaceTime, so we can video chat. I also use an iPhone spy app to keep track of where she is, for her safety. But I felt like that wasn’t enough. I wanted to know that she’s safe while she lives alone. So for Christmas this year, I gave her an Amazon Echo. And it changed her life. Why My Mom Loves Alexa My mom was stunned by all the different things that Alexa can do. I knew that the Echo would be good for her, but I had no idea just how helpful it would end up being. Now, my mom is cooking meals again because she doesn’t have to squint at a cookbook or a recipe card she can’t really read anymore. Because I keep track of her with an iPhone spy app, I know she doesn’t use the Internet, except for email and Facebook. But Alexa can tell her a recipe or remind her what temperature something needs to cook at. She can tell Alexa what to put on her grocery list, or even order it for her. It makes her life easier in a thousand different ways. Alexa’s reminders are also fantastic for my mom. She doesn’t have to worry about remembering to take her medication or what time her doctor’s appointments are. Alexa will remind her every morning, at the same time to take her medications, and even gives her alerts before her medical appointments. Alexa can even call her an Uber if she doesn’t feel like driving. And if my mom can’t remember a phone number or an address, all she needs to do is ask Alexa. Other Things Alexa Can Do My brothers installed smart plugs in my mom’s house, so she can control the temperature, lock the doors, and make sure the oven is off just by telling Alexa. She can even ask Alexa to brew her morning coffee. In addition, Alexa is the perfect companion for my mom. She can listen to Amazon’s virtual assistant read her books or the news in the morning. The Echo also makes it easy for her to order staples in bulk from Amazon. They’ll just show up at her door, so she doesn’t have to go out and shop for things that she can’t carry well. If you have an elderly parent or family member and you’ve been wondering how you can make their lives better, even though you live far away, get them an Amazon Echo. You will be shocked at how many ways it can improve their quality of life and help them stay safe and happy in their own homes. Plus, you can hook the Echo into security systems to become a backup, voice-activated medical alert system if they need help in an emergency. Get your senior loved one an Echo. You won’t regret it. And while you’re at it, be sure to install an iPhone spy app on their phone, too. This will give you the peace of mind you need to make sure your loved one is safe.
Some people believe that if you make friends on social media, they aren’t “real friends” because you can only communicate with them through platforms like Facebook or Twitter. It’s also a good idea to run a reverse phone lookup to learn more about them, even if you don’t plan to meet them in real life. For members of fandoms, though, these friendships can be meaningful. In fact, social media fandoms are not only changing lives, but even saving them too. How Are Online Fandoms Fighting Depression? Some fandoms for popular shows are bringing people together. In addition, they’re even helping fans with depression and other mental health challenges, such as anxiety. They make it easier for them to get the help they need so they can lead better lives. One fandom, for the TV show Supernatural, has even set up a peer-to-peer counseling network. This lets fans who suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, or anxiety reach out to a volunteer who’s been trained in dealing with these kind of mental health issues. They’ll be able to discuss the show and from there, they can talk about those mental health issues. As a result, the person suffering from mental health problems won’t feel so alone, and they can access free resources that will aid them in their situation. More Information About This Unique Network First, the volunteers have to complete an online training course that’s taught by a mental health professional. They may even be subject to a reverse phone lookup to confirm their identities. From there, they receive lists of resources that they can give to people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, or other problems, making it easy for them to get the help they need. This peer-to-peer counseling network was actually spearheaded by two of the main stars on Supernatural. When they posted on social media looking for volunteers to sign up as counselors, more than 5,000 people responded in the first 24 hours alone. Because there were so many volunteers, they had to set up a second training session! Why Social Media Is So Important Social media has changed the landscape of how people relate to each other. These days, online friends can be every bit as significant to a person as the friends that they see in real life. With FaceTime and other apps for video chat, people are making new friends through social media every day. Plus, there have been many cases where social media friends help each other out in real world situations. Whether it’s with a reverse phone lookup or just a friendly conversation, they can be there for one another. So even though you’ve met someone on social media who might be on the other side of the world, you can still bond with them. Chances are, you have a mutual love for a TV show, movie, or other particular interest. This gives you the chance to talk with someone who cares about the same interests as you. If that’s not real friendship, I don’t know what is. Plus, if you live in a rural area, the Internet gives you more ways to meet new people. This means you can be more social and connected to the outside world. Just be sure to run a reverse phone lookup to learn more about someone before you meet them in real life. In my opinion, social media friendships can be every bit as real and meaningful as other, “traditional” friendships. The digital age makes it easy to talk to like-minded people and form new bonds.
Sometimes I think the world can’t get any darker. Then I’m proven wrong, again and again. I’m not a parent, but I can empathize with people who are just trying to shield their kids from danger. Unfortunately, YouTube has failed them until recently. For some time, some sick people out there were uploading videos that imitated popular children’s cartoons, with violent and lewd twists. A lot of these videos somehow made it past parental controls. What is it about these videos that’s so disturbing, and what is YouTube now doing about them? The Content Of These Videos I’m not really much of an Internet person, so I don’t go on YouTube much myself. Actually, my friend was the one who told me about what was happening on YouTube. Her 7-year-old daughter had been using the YouTube Kids app to look up clips from the Disney movie Frozen. Instead, she came across a disturbing, fake video where Elsa’s arm was broken by Spiderman. The bloody clip upset her so much that she started crying and called her mom over. Naturally, my friend was horrified. She always took parental controls seriously – how was her daughter able to access something like this? These inappropriate YouTube videos have become somewhat of an epidemic. Kids can stumble on fake videos of Peppa Pig, Doc McStuffins, and the Cookie Monster that depict them in horrific, violent situations. Sometimes it’s impossible to tell that they’re fake until it’s too late. I still can’t understand why adults would make these videos and target them to children. For their own perverse amusement? What YouTube Is Doing About It As far as I know, this has been a major issue on YouTube for the past six months or so. These tasteless videos, which can be found on YouTube Kids, were somehow able to get past the site’s algorithms and parental controls. But YouTube didn’t respond until recently. Before, they stressed that these sinister videos were the exception rather than the norm, and would review them as needed. They barely adjusted their algorithm to block kids from seeing these cartoons. Now, any time a video is uploaded to the main part of YouTube, it takes a few days until it shows up on YouTube Kids (if it’s appropriate). This slight delay should help weed out some of this awful content. What do you think about kids having access to these types of videos? Do you believe it could impact their mental health? And is YouTube doing enough to crack down on it? Send me a message – we can chat about it.