Jan 22

Three great apps for road trips

Yes, it’s still summer holidays here in Australia!

Australia is a really big place – as big as the USA! – so when we travel around it takes a long time, often with not much to look at on the way. We pretty much all live around the edges of the country, taking advantage of those amazing beaches, so we are all used to long road trips.


Source: bit.ly/2EJvEL3

These three apps, below, might help you avoid meltdown/boredom on your next road trip!

1. Want them playing something useful? Try Typemaster.
This game for smartphones will have them engaged and focused while also learning to type!

2. Sago Mini Road Trip is a fun game that will help younger children engage in the road trip idea!
Pick a vehicle and a destination and off you go. Get petrol and wash the car – and eventually get to your destination!



3. Your kids can make a comic out of any interesting sites or places you might pass along the way, using Seedling Comic Studio.
Take photos, add them to your comic, create a journal or a story or a record of the trip! (3 free themes, more if you pay)

Sep 18

Do Something! Getting our kids engaged and active

This week I want to share with you a great website that your kids can use to take action and feel connected to big-picture problems.

I have worked with some kids that are chomping at the bit to DO SOMETHING! – whether it’s to support the environment, end animal cruelty, support those without homes or address bullying at school. While they are passionate, excited and inspired it’s great to be able to get them involved in local, national and even international events!

The website www.dosomething.com gives our kids ways to DO exactly that.

More than just links to charity websites, this website lets you choose your favourite cause:


Then specify how long you have to spend doing something:


Then they ask for HOW you’d like to engage:

From these selections, your child might make posters or write to an MP, contribute to a discussion or sign a petition. With younger kids you’d clearly want to be supervising their activities! But there is a great range of long-term and short-term actions that they can get involved in.

A great example is the project that talks about the recent Hurricane Irma in the US. The page offers insight into how to help, and what is currently being done to support those living through this disaster.

I’ve used this website in class after we have studied climate change or damage to the Great Barrier Reef or animal testing. Sometimes the students can get disheartended at the size and scope of these problems – ‘Do Something’ enables them to take action and to contribute to solutions.

Give it a go at home and see what your kids think!



Dec 16

Using Free Wifi – what you need to know

Isn’t it great how we can get online pretty much anywhere now? At the library or at school or work. Even at Macca’s now!
It’s great to have ease of access and know that we can make use of the great resources online whenever we need. No more last minute printing of meeting agendas or minutes – just pull them up on your iPad or laptop. Even on holidays most hotels and resorts have free WiFi . Awesome, right?
Well yes and no. Open (often free) WiFi means its open to EVERYONE. Even that dodgy looking chap over there. He’s online with you too. And he’s sharing your WiFi connection.
Not usually a big deal, except that these open WiFi set ups can be unsafe.
You will likely be fine to search online or maybe even check your email. But I’d be wary of checking my online banking or shopping online with these WiFi connections.
keeping safe online
That’s because the WiFi is so open-access that techno-criminals can hack the WiFi connection and see what you are doing on your computer. Of course not everyone is a criminal. But we do have to be safe with our online information. Remember it only takes 3 pieces of ID to steal your identity. So imagine what they could do with your banking password or email login details!
My tip is to make sure you use your own WiFi connection (or 3G/4G) on your phone or iPad to do the more private tasks like paying bills or signing in to an account.  That way you are a bit more protected than on an open hotel or cafe’s WiFi network.
Use that free WiFi on holiday of course – but do think about your privacy and your information before you dive into all doing all sorts of private things online. We don’t want your holiday ruined by identify theft or a credit card hack….
Stay safe with Holiday Wifi

PS If you liked this post, you’ll enjoy our weekly newsletter.

BONUS: Receive all our posts delivered right to your inbox AND your free copy of my new ebook
‘Super Simple Cyber-Safety at Home’

Everything parents need to know about keeping your kids safe online, no matter what devices you have! Sign up now:

Sep 01

Taking photos of your kids at school events

How is your week going? cold and rainy here with a side of nasty cold to top it off. But I didn’t log in to chat about my head (nasty, painful, thanks for asking). I actually wanted to write about a question that’s come up with a few parents and different schools lately – Is it ok to take photos of my child at school and put them on Facebook for the family to see?

Seems simple enough – yes, your child, your photos, go right ahead.  But of course it’s difficult because school events usually involve many, many, well, school children. Your beautiful darling may be dancing up a storm, but it’s likely that so are 24 other darlings right next them on stage.

So your photo that showcases their incomparable talent also shows 3 or 5 or 20 other kids too. And you probably didn’t ask each of their parents if you can post the pic online.

And that’s where the challenge begins!  We do want to capture those never to be repeated (except at next  year’s concert) moments, so here are my suggestions to make sure you can keep in with the mums at school…

  • Think about cyber safety – does the pic show the school name or location or any details about any child? If they are wearing school uniform it probably does – so zoom out a bit so it can’t be read in the photo.
  • If your darling has their photo take with with their BFF and you don’t want to cut them out (how rude!), just ask  their mum or dad ‘I’m putting this on Facebook to show the grandparents – ok?’ It’s just good manners!
  • If you have a photo you absolutely need to share ( I get it, sometimes our kids are just hilarious devine), use a free app like Skitch to blur the faces of those other kids. Bonus: your child’s face is the main feature of the photo now!
  • And finally, think before you share. Where are you posting that photo? Consider who will see it and whether you are ok with that audience :0)

For me, I think this stuff is important because our kids have online profiles from a young age, before birth in some cases with all the ultrasound photos out there…So we have responsibility for their online footprint just as much as our own, and with a little thought we can make sure we aren’t over sharing other children’s photos either.

Do you post photos of your kids online?  Let us know what you do or don’t do…



PS If you liked this post, you’ll enjoy our weekly newsletter.

BONUS: Receive all our posts delivered right to your inbox AND your free copy of my new ebook
‘Super Simple Cyber-Safety at Home’

Everything parents need to know about keeping your kids safe online, no matter what devices you have! Sign up now:

Aug 14

bloggers have conferences? Why yes. Yes they do.

Random post today….enjoy!
So how was your day today? Busy, right?
Well mine was mad too. I’m on a plane to the Gold Coast right now – very excited to get to this year’s ProBlogger event.
By 11am I had packed, picked a parcel (at 6am!) from the post office, driven across Melbourne, met with 2 teachers and a University colleague, had lunch and was beginning to work on my latest scholarship application…. but then I realised that my passport is out of date. I’m lucky that I have 2 passports Australian and UK. So I’d checked the UK one for our trip home for my cousin’s wedding in 6 weeks. But hadn’t checked the Aussie one, it’s expired. Ha. Not good. So spent a good hour finding out how to get a renewal, completed it online, took a quick tram trip to the Post Office in the city, got photos taken, made a post office to lodge my application on Monday and then headed back to my desk… Phew. That was a big day. And it was only 11..
After a few more hours work I submitted my scholarship application and ran for my car to get to the airport. Realised that I hadn’t booked the long term parking – so have to pay full whack. Not good.
Next got stuck in nasty traffic, found a park, shuttle bus to terminal was slowest in the world, bag check was more packed than check in (when did the ‘quick’ check-in online become so sloooowww!) and made it to the gate. SO now I’m on my way.
Anyway, now I really need to switch my brain to Blogging now… wish me luck!
Can’t wait for a bit of sunshine, a hotel room and some learning.I’ll be popping over the next few days to let you know how it’s going, It’s gonna be great!

May 18

How much are our kids really online?

Good morning! First I have to say I’m sorry it’s been so sporadic on the blog over the past few weeks. Life just gets too busy sometimes, and for me that was all about supervising trainee teachers and collecting data for my PhD (neither of which can be rushed!). I think I can see light at the end of the tunnel though….maybe!

Today I wanted to share some interesting stuff with you. For no real reason other than I think it’s important to know what’s going on with our kids’ generation. So here are two graphs that I love. They are from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (but seem to follow the pattern of other developed countries) and it tells us a little bit about what’s happening across our country….have a look!


ABS Statistics

Compared to adults, our 15-17 year olds use the Internet the most – no surprises there! But even our over 65s are online – 46% of them at least.


ABS Statistics

Where are our kids accessing the online world? Mostly at home! 97% of them in fact, that’s a lot of online interactions. Do you know what is happening at your house?

This may not be revolutionary information , but I think it is something we need to consider.  Our kids – just like in every other generation with rock music or punk hairstyles – our kids are influenced by their peers. So knowing what they are up to can help us look after out kids – and prepare them for 21st Century life :0)



PS If you liked this post, you might enjoy keeping up with the blog through our weekly newsletter. Receive all our posts delivered right to your inbox! Sign up here!

Dec 17

Have you asked your kids this week – what do you use to chat with your mates online?

What app do you use to chat with your friends? Facebook? Twitter? Good old email? Or maybe it’s your smartphone and text messages. I wonder what your kids use. I know mine don’t really engage with email. Too old-school for them. They use Facebook (a lot), Snapchat and text messages. Along with others I bet I don’t know about. My kids are older now (18 and 20), so it’s now their turn to manage their online world. Not mine – although I can’t help asking about it often :0) Poor kids having tech-know geek as a step-mum!

So I’d like to ask you to talk to your kids this week. Ask them about HOW they communicate online.

What software or app are they using, and why do they prefer one over the other.

Once you know what they are using, you can google the tools and see what they are about. Especially for teenagers, they might not want to tell you the ins and outs of the software or app. Too boring mum! But if you know the name you can look it up. I like to google the name and the word ‘review’ so like this in Google:

“Snapchat” AND “review”

That will give you only websites that have both words in them. Pay attention to the inverted commas and the capital letters. Read a couple of quick reviews and find out what the tool is all about.

The tools they are using are likely fine – but some aren’t. For example, some group quiz type websites  (there are lots) allow people to pose questions and anyone can answer them. So not just their friendship groups but ‘strangers’ too. If you know that’s what they are using you can at least talk to them about the safety aspect of not revealing too much info :0)

Being involved in their world really is the only way to know what’s going on in their world.

 Be involved in their world cybersafety

So, as we race towards the finish line of the school year (yay!) and the Christmas summer holidays approach, start off the break with a quick question and maybe a quick look online.

What do you use to chat with your mates online?


Had a good conversation with your kids about online stuff lately? Share with us so we can see what everyone else is up to!
PS If you liked this post, you might enjoy keeping up with the blog through our weekly newsletter. Receive all our posts delivered right to your inbox! Sign up here!