Look creative for free!

Today’s featured tool: Animoto

Animoto is a cloud-based video production site. Users must create an account (free), then they can produce 30 second videos for free. You can use the stock music, videos and photos from the site, or you can upload your own files. Animoto links in to various social media sites, so take advantage of all those online photo albums you’ve already created.

Get started at www.animoto.com

Be sure you have permission to use any copyrighted images or music. But royalty free music can be found here: http://www.danosongs.com/ as well as on the Animoto site.

View the video I produced in less than 2 minutes here.



Staying Safe on the Internet – Pt. 2

As more of our internet use goes mobile, filtering, monitoring and managing time on the internet becomes more difficult. Here are a few products and settings to help:

Apple Settings

Apple devices offer basic restrictions, but unless they are password protected, they can be easily changed back. To set restrictions, go to the device SETTINGS (look for the cog icon), GENERAL, RESTRICTIONS, ENABLE. You will be prompted for a password. Write the password down and save it.

You may want to disable Safari and install the free MetaCert for iOS, which offers customizable filtering for the internet.

If you would like to be aware of the apps that are on the device, turn off “deleting apps.” Then your children can’t download and delete apps they know you may not approve.

Look at the ratings for ALLOWED CONTENT and set it appropriately.

Do not allow LOCATION SERVICES. These services can “place stamp” photos or posts your child puts out on the internet.


K9 (mentioned in the last blog post) is a FREE internet filter available for Android devices as well as desktops.

Monitoring Software

Spectorsoft offers eBlaster Mobile, which monitors and reports on smartphone activity in detail. They also offer products for PCs and Macs.

TeenSafe is another detailed monitoring software that works for iPhones and android phones (not blackberries).

Curbi  is a less detailed monitoring software for Apple devices. It works on any iPad except the first model, iPhone 4 and newer, and iPod touches running iOS 6 and newer.

Of course, none of these products and settings replaces conversations we need to be having with our children about making wise choices and allowing ourselves to be accountable for our choices. However, it’s nice to have tools to help guide them toward independence and freedom.


Staying Safe on the Internet – pt.1

I just attended a great info session about internet safety, and I’d like to share some of the tools that were presented. I plan to concentrate on a different category of products each post. Today’s products: filters for desktops

Google has a search safety mode that can be activated on desktops (not mobile devices). Search “safe search” for step by step instructions on how to set it up on your computer. Then lock it, write down your pass code and put it somewhere private. The settings will need to be changed for each profile that is on your computer.

You Tube also has a safety setting (again, only for desk tops). Search “safety mode you tube” to see instructions. Again, the setting needs to be locked with a pass code if you don’t want young users to simply turn it off. This also needs to be set for every profile on the computer.

In addition to those two safeguards, you may want to install one of the following products to filter internet results and have some time controls on your Macs or PC (not mobile devices): K9 is a FREE filter that was highly recommended. Two good fee-based filters are Net Nanny and SafeEyes. I use Net Nanny at my home, but I may switch to K9 now that I learned about it.

Next post: safeguards for mobile devices



Equipping and encouraging with information and knowledge