Know Any Silver Surfers? Get Them Online!

Surfing the Internet is great exercise for the aging brain, says a new study according to The Week. Physicians and scientists have long advocated "brain exercises" such as puzzles and word games to stave off age-related loss of cognitive function. As it turns out, daily Internet searches are a terrific workout for the mind: They demand attention from verbal, memory, and problem-solving areas of the brain. Googling for health information or a good local restaurant is an excellent way for seniors especially, to clear the cobwebs from unused corners of the mind, says professor Gary Small of the University of California. "A simple, everyday task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry in older adults," he says, "demonstrating that our brains can continue to learn as we grow older."


Silver surfers are also using the Web to feel connected, according to The Washington Post. When U.S. centenarians were questioned in a new survey, 3% said they use Twitter at least once a week to keep in touch with their friends and family. Another 10% sent emails to stay connected, 12% shared photos on the Internet, and 4% downloaded music from the Web. "They are using new technologies, staying abreast of news and current events, and engaging in social networking -- all of which help to prevent chronic illnesses and contribute to greater longevity," said Dr Mark Leenay of Evercare. And if stranded on a desert island, 2% said they would want an iPod with them ;-)

It can be daunting for seniors (and baby boomers, and anyone for that matter) to venture into world of cyberspace, that's why NetLingo is here to help! Start by subscribing to the Word of the Day, then begin browsing the Dictionary, and be sure to read more Blog postings. There's a brave new world to explore and learning the lingo of the digital frontier will help keep you mentally sharp, physically healthy, and feeling connected.
XOXO,
Erin



The Red Flags of Cyberlove


It's another installment of "Lessons from the Online Dating Front." That's right, real life stories again from the good, the bad, and the OMG what were they thinking!? As an on-again, off-again online dater, I can't tell you how many silly situations I've experienced and crazy stories I've heard. My friends and I? We couldn't make this stuff up!

It's true, according to SafeInternetDating.com, the Internet has become the hot new place for smart, eligible people to find romance, and those looking for love are swarming into cyberspace. As a result, many individuals are beginning relationships online with people they have not met and know little about. It made me wonder, does traversing the digital dating frontier change the dating game and if so, what are the new red flags?

As I listen to friends and research "how to play it safe on the online dating front" these 4 red flags stand out:

Red Flag #1: Someone who seems too good to be true. Misrepresentation and lying about age, appearance, income, or anything else is immoral and worse than that, illegal, because the profile could be fraud or phishing. The fact is, lying about age and marital status runs rampant on the Internet and don't think it's just the guys ladies; women are some of the biggest perpetrators of misrepresentation.

Red Flag #2: Someone who is evasive. They won't answer straight questions like are you married, how old are you, or they won't send you a picture. Tread with caution.

Red Flag #3: Someone who won't meet you in real life, or even talk on the phone, instead they only want to communicate digitally. Clearly this person is physically unavailable to carry on a relationship, and possibly emotionally unavailable at that particular time too. The fact is, many people are not serious about meeting someone online, they are "trying it on" only to see "what's out there."

Red Flag #4:
Someone who wants to rush into everything, or move at a speed you're not comfortable with. "The bottom line is it doesn't matter one bit how many responses you get - how many of them are good, bad, or OMG - it only takes one person to make it all worthwhile." And even in real life --if you get passed the red flags-- it can still take time.
AML,
Erin

America's Texting Champion

OMG!!!! WSJ's Andy JORdaN witnesses the crowning of AmErica's top txtr. LOL!



CUL8R,
Erin

10 Tips for Safer Instant Messaging

Last week I talked about 10 Tips for Safer Chatting and I received dozens of emails from parents saying "my kids tell me they don't chat anymore, but I see them IM'ing all the time, are the safety tips the same?" The answer: No. Communicating using an instant messaging (IM) program has unique security and privacy risks that you need to be aware of, both for you and your kids too!

10 Safety Tips for Instant Messaging:

1. Never open pictures, download files, or click links in messages from people you don't know. If they come from someone you do know, confirm with the sender that the message (and the attachment) is trustworthy. If it's not, close the instant message.

2. Be careful when creating a screen name. Each IM program asks you to create a screen name, which is similar to an email address. Your screen name should not provide or allude to personal information. For example, use a nickname such as SingerSue instead of SyracuseSue.

3. Create a barrier against unwanted instant messaging. Do not list your screen name or email address in public areas (such as large Internet directories or online community profiles) or give them to strangers.

Some IM services link your screen name to your e-mail address when you register. The easy availability of your e-mail address can result in your receiving an increased number of spam and phishing attacks.

4. Never, ever provide sensitive personal information, such as your credit card numbers or passwords, in an IM conversation.

5. Only communicate with people who are on your contact or buddy lists.

6. If you decide to meet a stranger that you know only from IM communication, take appropriate safety precautions. For example, do not meet that person alone, (take a friend or parent with you), and always meet and stay in a public place, such as a cafe.

7. Don't send personal or private instant messages at work. Your employer might have a right to view those messages.

8. If you use a public computer, do not select the feature that allows you to log on automatically. People who use that computer after you may be able to see and use your screen name to log on.

9. Monitor and limit your children's use of IM.

10. When you're not available to receive messages, be careful how you display this information to other users. For example, you might not want everyone on your contact list to know that you're "Out to Lunch."

Referred to by many as the "coolest way to communicate online since email" you can now use a service like Meebo or Trillion to connect with people who use all kinds of different IM services like MSN, Yahoo, AOL, MySpace, Facebook, Google Talk, and many more! Download Meebo and Trillion IM programs here ;-)

IHAIM,
Erin

10 Tips for Safer Chatting

In the 21st century online cyber safety has become just as important as personal safety in the real world. Don't believe me? How about this statistic: 20% of children age 10-17 have been solicited sexually online (that's 1 out of every 5 kids) and 89% of sexual solicitations are made in either chat rooms or via Instant Messages.

Surely you know what chat rooms are by now, but if you're a parent and you've never visited one of these virtual places on the Internet, it's time to check one out. Chat rooms are a popular form of communication for kids and unfortunately online predators know this. Since chatting poses a particular threat for kids and teenagers, it's time to have a talk with your children and follow these 10 chat guidelines.

10 Safety Tips for Chat Rooms:

1. Never give out your personal information in a chat room.

2. Never agree to meet a stranger in person whom you met in a chat room.

3. When you're asked to enter or sign up for a chat username, choose a name that doesn't reveal your personal information. For example, you might use SingerSue instead of SyracuseSue.

4. Be wary of other chatters who ask you to meet in private chat rooms.

5. Check the terms and conditions, code of conduct, and privacy statement at the chat site before you begin chatting.

6. Monitor your child's use of chat. Remember, kids can participate in chats using Web sites, chat software programs, cell phones, and even certain online games.

7. Tell your child that if something in a chat room makes them feel uncomfortable, they should immediately leave the chat room and tell an adult.

8. Insist that your child never send photographs of themselves to anyone they meet in a chat room.

9. Tell kids to stick to moderated chats.

10. Learn the chat lingo. Kids often communicate using shorthand while 95% of parents don't recognize the lingo kids use to let people know that their parents are watching.

NetLingo is here to help. Read more online safety statistics; keep up-to-date with the chat lingo; sign up for our Acronym of the Day email; and then check out some of these teen chat sites; what you see may surprise you.

CWYL,
Erin