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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.
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5 Simple Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog

By Stacey Ross

I have built an awesome part-time business that is ideal for motherhood – namely blogging. From my blogging/online efforts, I have branched out to help others who are in their grassroots stages, and I help them with anything from building content to relationship-building, branding and multi-media campaigns. In order to approach blogging as a business, I had to embrace it as a brand and not just look at it as an online memoir or as a platform for citizen journalism.

The other day, I was asked to speak to a group of mom entrepreneurs about strategically harnessing social media, and the first thing I could think of was the secret sauce that has been the most valuable strategy for me – namely giving! They say “If you give, you shall receive,” and when the primary motivation for offering tidbits for free is to help spread goodness and value, the giving is seen as truly authentic.

The following tips for increasing blog traffic have worked for me and for those whom I have assisted both on public platforms as well as behind-the-scenes:

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7 Steps to Smartphone Safety

So, you have finally agreed to buy your tween or young teen a smartphone. Maybe it was her good grades; maybe her best friend got one; or maybe you’ve just given in to the constant pleading. Whatever the reason, that shiny new phone is now out of the box, waiting to be embraced by its grateful new owner.

But wait. Before you just hand it over, there are some important safety issues to consider. Today’s smartphones are very powerful devices and it’s easy for inexperienced users to pick up bad habits or to do something that they may later regret. Instead, why not spend a few minutes going over some basic safety issues and prepping the phone for your child’s use. Here are 7 suggestions:

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5 Ways to Improve Your Online Profile

Whether we are applying to college, looking for a job, or just reaching out to an old friend, it’s more important than ever to establish an engaging online profile. While in the past we may have been able to rely on face-to-face charm and personality to make a good impression, we no longer have that luxury. The Internet is now the official starting point for most new relationships, and if we don’t clear that hurdle then we rarely get a second chance.

But what do admissions officers and recruiters look for in an online profile? Of course, academic achievements and business experience are important, but a good online profile should be much more than a simple résumé. Your online profile needs to tell a story about who you are; your likes (but not necessarily your dislikes); and what kind of person you would be to work with. Here are 5 tips for getting your online profile in shape:

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How To Avoid Spyware

Although it sounds like it might be straight out of a James Bond movie, the term “spyware” refers to something far less exotic. In its broadest sense, spyware describes any program that’s installed on a computer to track the activity of that computer’s owner or users. More narrowly, it refers to small applications or “cookies” that track web sites visited and actions taken when individuals surf the Internet.

Spyware is usually installed on a computer without the knowledge of the user, hence the spy reference. Although it may not involve clandestine organizations or foreign powers, spyware can still be very intrusive and annoying. It can allow unauthorized parties to gather detailed information about a user’s likes and preferences and it can have a severely negative impact on a computer’s overall performance.

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7 Apps for Learning a Language

One of the best things about our mobile devices is that we can use them for on-the-go education, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to leaning a language. Whether we are walking the dog, working out at the gym, or enjoying a little quiet time at home, the ability to grab a smartphone and a pair of headphones and work on our linguistic skills is truly one of the great benefits of the digital age.

Some apps – like the Rosetta Stone series – mostly take a traditional approach to learning a language. Others – like Duolingo – take advantage of all that the Web and mobile content have to offer and utilize those tools in interesting and often compelling ways. Whatever your preferred approach, there is sure to be an app that will suit your learning style. Here are 7 of our favorites:

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