Tag Archives: social media

Lessons Learned by Taking a Break from Social Media

Taking a break from social media had been something that I had been thinking about for a while.  I had actually first thought about having a break from social media over a year ago.  Each time I tried though, I seemed to get drawn back into this modern day addiction.  It took a series of issues with my computer and my mobile phone to force me to stop checking all of my accounts for a while.

A Social Media Obsession

As a blogger, social media is an important part of my everyday life.  Promoting blog posts, finding blog posts from others to read and interacting on all of my social media pages is enjoyable but very time consuming.

It is so easy to get sucked into reading lots of social media updates and articles online.  All sorts of articles grab my attention.  One moment, I will reading about how to decorate a birthday cake the next I find myself watching a hair tutorial.  Before I know it, I’ve read about politics, Disney Land, how to save money, the 50 best slow cooker recipes, how to pack a suitcase effectively, what the cast of neighbours from 1989 all look like now, I have looked at a lot of photos from the 1900s on a local history page and have watched some of the build up to the birth of a giraffe.

What ever did I do before social media?

A Forced Break from Social Media

I spent some time in the countryside, where internet is very limited and broadband is the stuff of dreams.  This was the beginning of my social media break. Continue reading Lessons Learned by Taking a Break from Social Media

Social Media, Technology and our Children

After completing a survey by My Voucher Codes about Social Media, Technology and the impact it has on our children, it has got me thinking about the dangers that there are online.  As my children are seven and three years old, I am able to monitor what they are doing on their tablets and on the computer.

Steps I take to make sure the children are safe online

  1. The computer is in the living room so that the screen faces the whole room.  It is quite a big screen so I can see what they are looking at in a glance.
  2. I have the parental controls set on H’s Hudl.  I really like these as I feel in control of what she has access to.
  3. S’s tablet is linked to his Dad’s email account so that if he tries to purchase any content that is not suitable, even if it a free game, his Dad knows immediately.  This has happened once before, when S first got his device.  His Dad messaged me at 11pm to say that S had downloaded a game unsuitable for him so I went straight to S (actually before he had had time to play on it) and discovered that he’d sneaked his tablet to play on in bed.  Cheeky monkey!  We had a long discussion on this and nothing like that has happened since.
  4. S has some regular, fantastic talks at his school about e-safety.  I am informed of when these are so we discuss them further when he comes home.  He also watches Newsround at school, which has some great advice.
  5. Any YouTube videos they want to watch, I view them first to ensure they are suitable.  I still haven’t figured out the parental controls on here so I was pleased to hear that YouTube for Children has been set up recently.
Technology is fascinating
Technology is fascinating

What parents are most concerned about

The results of the survey concluded that parents are most worried about online bullying (58% were extremely worried), accessing adult content (49% were extremely worried) and sharing inappropriate images (49% were extremely worried).  Other concerns included grooming, access to extremism, addiction to social media, effects on education, privacy and the effect on long term health.

I must say that I am quite worried about my children accessing adult content, as it is so easy to stumble across such material when you are looking on search engines or on YouTube, for example.  For now, I am not concerned about online bullying as my children do not connect with others on social media due to them being so young.  It is a worry I have for the future though, when they do start having social media accounts.  But then again, bullying in general, online and in the offline world, is a concern I think that most parents have.

How to combat these worries about technology

The survey found that parents were active in trying to protect their children on these new, evolving online threats.  Some parents use their routers to block access to inappropriate adult content.  Others felt able to trust their children to report any instances of online bullying or grooming with them.

I think that the most important thing to do is to talk to children about the dangers they could face online and how to deal with them if something does happen.  Like with anything, I think openness and transparency, even on tricky issues, is the way forward.  We are here to teach our children how to deal with problems when they arise and how to keep themselves safe in a world full of all sorts of dangers.

I am glad that I took part in this survey.  It has brought the issues about technology, social media and how our children could be affected by online threats, into the spotlight.  I think that all parents need to be aware of the aspects of e-safety and actively keep an open dialogue with their children.

Do you worry about the dangers of technology and social media, in relation to your children?  What do you do to keep your children safe online?

One Year Blogging: What I Have Learned (Part One)

After blogging for one whole year, I am pleased to say that I am still here and still loving every minute of it.  This is my hundredth post!  At the beginning of my blogging journey, I had very little idea about what I was doing.  Through joining in with conversations with other bloggers in the wonderful, supportive blogging community on a range of social media sites,  I have learnt a massive amount in this time.

Setting up as a Blogger

The first thing I did when I thought about setting up a blog was to read some other blogs.  My friend from school set up her blog a few years ago, Mummy of Two, and I regularly read her posts, via her Facebook Page, for a while before being inspired by her to set up my own little piece of the internet.

Even if it takes some time, choosing your niche is very important.  Being a Stay at Home Mum meant that my niche would certainly be parenting.  My blog was originally an online scrapbook of my experiences with my two children as well as the many activities we do in our daily lives, with an educational slant (as I am a qualified Primary School teacher).  Due to my daughter and I having food intolerances, I decided, after some time, that I would also include recipes on my blog too.

I then had to decide whether to have a free site hosted by WordPress or Blogger.  I opted for WordPress and the sign up process was very straightforward.  I was able to start writing straight away.  At this point, I had no idea how to publicise my posts but soon realised the importance of the different social media outlets to do this.  I set up my Facebook Page, which seemed to open up all sorts of possibilities and opportunities for my blog.

This free site did not allow me monetise my blog in anyway, due to WordPress rules.  So I opted to change to becoming self-hosted and buying my own domain name.  I did quite a lot of research on which hosting site to go with and asked a few other bloggers what they would recommend.  I use iPage.com.  The set up process was quite straightforward and they had a fantastic online support chat feature to help with any issues.  Plus, now I could explore and use a wide range of widgets and plugins for my site to make it more personal to me.  Eventually, I was also able to change some of the coding to change the colours of my website.

Social Media and the Blogging Community

Once Dillydrops had a Facebook Page, I started to look into using other forms of social media.  Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, Bloglovin’, StumbleUpon and Networked Blogs were the main ones I linked to that helped me to publicise my posts.  I have not started a vlog yet (Video Blog) on YouTube but I would like to build myself up to this in the future.

I discovered many Facebook Groups and realised that the blogging community is an extremely supportive one.  Communicating with each other, commenting on each other’s blog posts, sharing ideas as well as interacting with each other on different social media is a massive part of setting up and maintaining a successful blog.

I found that all of these are very useful tools for enhancing my blog.  Focusing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whilst dipping in and out of the others seems to work well for me.  It depends on the blogger as to which social media are most useful to them.  I would suggest only focussing on about three as otherwise, it is possible to stretch yourself too far and have blog burnout.

Adding Social sharing buttons at the bottom of each post is useful to publicise each post too.  Your readers can click on one (or more) to share your post to their account, e.g. on Twitter or Facebook so that more people have an opportunity to read it.

Read, Read, Read!

Reading is a much larger part of blogging than I first realised.  I thought blogging was mainly about writing to start with.  My advice for anyone starting out in the blogging world is to read, read, read!  I read and comment on many, many blogs each week.  I find them through the different forms of social media and click through to blog posts that interest me.

On Twitter, I search for hastags such as:

  • #pbloggers (parent bloggers),
  • #mummybloggers,
  • #mbloggers (mum bloggers),
  • #daddybloggers,
  • #dadbloggers,
  • #fdbloggers (food bloggers)
  • #lbloggers (lifestyle bloggers)
  • #bbloggers (beauty bloggers)
  • #bloggers.

Taking part in Twitter Parties, such as:

  • #mblogchat hosted by @mummy_bloggers on Fridays 8pm until 9pm;
  • #Blogtacular hosted by @blogtacular on Wednesdays 9pm until 10pm;
  • #pbloggers hosted by @pbloggersnet on Sundays 9pm until 10pm

Stats and Charts

Once my blog was a bit more established, I was asked to review a canvas and host a competition for someone to win one of their own.  At this point, my blog statistics became more important.  I was being asked for my Page Views per month, as well as my Unique Visitors per month.  Initially, I had no clue!  Luckily, my WordPress Dashboard  has a quick link to my stats page.  My Page Views (how many times my blog had been looked at) and my Unique Visitors (this counts how many people visit your site, using their IP address).  So if one person visited your site ten times in that month, then your Page views would be ten and your Unique Visitors stat would be one).

I was also asked for my TOTS100 chart position.  The TOTS100 chart is made up of parenting bloggers (about 8,000 of them).  By using the code (by putting into a text widget) on the sidebar of your blog, the badge keeps track of the number of visitors requesting to view your webpage (blog).  Using this, as well as other metrics, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Klout and Links to your site.  Each month, these statistics are compared to other blogs in the chart and your blog is ranked accordingly.  I am very pleased that my blog started off nearly 2000th in the chart but has recently reached number 438 this August.  The TOTS100 website has many fantastic blogging tips, by the way.

 

To find out more about blogging and what I have learned in my first year, you can read the second part of this post here.

What did you learn in your first year of blogging?  Is there anything you would like to know?