8 Tech Tips To Help You Deal With The Coronavirus Pandemic
Our day to day lives has been disrupted in a variety of ways as we try to save humanity from COVID-19. Social distancing has had a huge impact on how we attempt to complete everyday tasks such as shopping, working and staying in contact with loved ones. Thankfully, we live in the digital age and there are many ways that technology can help us maintain a sense of a normal lifestyle in this crisis. Are you struggling with keeping a sense of balance with your day to day life? Here are some ways technology can help you cope with the social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic.
1. Wash your hands ... and disinfect your tech devices. Everyone knows that you need to wash your hands to prevent the spread of COVID19, but most folks forget to disinfect their tech. While it's tempting to use anti-bacterial bleach wipes or sprays on your computers, keyboard, and smart devices, you want to avoid them. The abrasive chemicals and can leave scratches on your screens and can wear down the protective coating on your devices. My suggestion is to use Pure and Clean Surface Cleaner (www.pureandclean.us) This eco-friendly cleaning solution is safe to use on all your tech devices without exposing yourself and your devices to the harsh chemicals that are in other cleaning products. If you didn't want to splurge for Pure and Clean, you can make your own homemade surface cleaning with 50% water and 50% of 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol. When disinfecting the surface of your keyboard, smartphone or tablet, let the cleaning solutions sit on your devices for no less than 5 minutes to kill the germs and bacteria and always use a microfiber cloth. Never use paper towels or other standard cleaning cloths. Also, consider purchasing an anti-microbial case for your computer, smartphones, and tablets from Tech21 (www.tech21.com). Anti-Microbial cases reduce the number of microbes that can grow on your devices up to 99% keeping your devices germ free.
2. Purchase items online. Social distancing means you need to keep your butt home as much as possible. Every major retailer and mom and pop shops have online stores where you can purchase items. Go to the Google Play store and the Apple App Store and download your store apps. Shopping online means that items are shipped directly to you, reducing your chances of being exposed to the virus. Beware of price gouging when shopping online in a crisis like COVID19, independent retailers may try to charge extra for items in order to increase profits. You can prevent this by downloading Honey (www.joinhoney.com) or CamelCamelCamel (www.camelcamelcamel). Both apps are available for every tech device and will help you make sure you're paying the correct amount for the items you purchase online.
3. Eat out by eating in. Cooking at home can become a chore and to break up the humdrum routine that you've probably fallen into, it's not a bad idea to order food from your favorite eatery. If possible, visit the website of the restaurant you love and order directly from them. Especially look for Mom and Pop businesses, as they are the ones who are most affected during this crisis. You also have the option of using UberEats (www.ubereats.com) , DoorDash (www.doordash.com) and GrubHub (www.grubhub.com)
4. Take Advantage of Your Smart Home Tech. Your smart home devices such as your Amazon Echo (www.amazon.com) and Your Google Home (www.store.google.com) can help automate those day to day tasks around your home, entertain you and your family, and help keep you informed with what's going on in the world. Think of the possibilities. You can have your devices help your kids with their homeschooling. Yes, board games are great for family game night, but did you know many popular board games can be integrated into your smart home hubs, giving you a more interactive experience? You can also use your Smart Home tech to make voice and video calls to your loved ones.
5. Use Apps and the Internet to Stay Informed. You can help keep yourself and your family safe when you keep on top of how fast the COVID19 is spreading in your area. There are many websites and apps that claim to be official trackers, but you want to stick with only apps and websites from WHO (The World Health Organization), CDC (The Center for Disease Control) and the Health Lynked Corona Virus Tracking ups https://www.healthlynked.com/corona-virus-tracker/. Another great app to use to keep up with what's going on in your neighborhood is the NextDoor app (www.nextdoor.com). Not a COVID19 tracker, but a great source to visit to see updates from city government. Beware when downloading apps or visiting websites to track this virus. Cybercriminals have created fake apps and websites that are designed to steal your data.
6. Check out educational sites. I know many of you are homeschooling kids and there are many sites you can have your kids visit to keep them up on their education.
DK find out This web site has resources for parents, as well as videos and interactive modules on a wide variety of subjects. www.dkfindout.com
Epic! Epic! has thousands of books and videos online for kids. www.getepic.com
Khan Academy Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that promotes free education for all. Find educational stuff for all ages. www.khanacademy.com
Brainpop This website offers free access for students whose school is closed due to coronavirus. www.brainpop.com
7. Limit Your Kids Technology use. It's tempting to let the kids run wild on technology, but because of the addicting nature of technology, it's best you limit them to no more than 2 hours a day. Need help with maintaining control, check out these apps.
Windows and Macintosh Computers. There are parental controls built into both Windows and Mac computers. Once, there you can block or limit access to websites and areas you don't want your kids to use.
Nintendo Switch App. The Nintendo Switch App allows you to set time limits with your kid's Switch with the click of a switch. You can set limits per each individual game and you can prevent them from playing games that aren't age-appropriate. This App will give you a monthly report allowing you to keep track of playing time. You can control multiple Switch consoles with this app.
Playstation App. This app allows you to control playing time for a PS4 as well as Internet Access for the gaming system.
Apple's Screen Time. You can track screen time for kids (and yourself) and block apps and set limits for specific games and apps.
Microsoft Launcher. Track screen time and limit apps for Windows computers, XBOX and Android Phones.
8. Take advantage of Video Conferencing Apps. Video conferencing is the best way to stay connected with friends, family, and co-workers. There's been a lot of fear with using video conferencing especially with Zoom Bombing, but with the right configuration, you can keep your video calls safe and secure. Don't want to use Zoom? You can use programs such as Skype, Facetime, GoToMeeting and HouseParty. These programs are easy to use and offer encryption and secure video chat. Zoom is secure as well, just make sure you set it up properly.
Thanks to the digital age, social distancing doesn't have to make you feel isolated and disconnected. Take advantage of the technology items I've recommended and your time isolated at home will seem like a great staycation for you and your family.
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