It’s almost time to turn the page on yet another year and welcome in 2012. It’s also time to set a few goals for the year ahead. Whether it’s losing weight, drinking less coffee, or exercising more, we all hope that our New Year resolutions will last past the end of January!
But what about our rapidly expanding digital lives? Maybe we can come up with a few technology-related resolutions that will improve things in the virtual world as well as the real one? Here are a few suggestions:
- Back up your data
Backing up important files and data seems like such an obvious step, but surveys continue to show that less than 10 per cent of us do it on a regular basis. But with free cloud storage and automatic syncing between devices, there is less excuse than ever for shirking this basic routine. Don’t be one of those unfortunate people that wait until a hard drive crashes or a phone is lost. Back up your data today!
- Make meal times tech free
This one is all about setting a good example. If you don’t reach for your phone or iPad, your kids won’t reach for theirs. Use meal times for talking and catching up.
- Change your passwords
Like backing up data, regularly changing passwords is something we know we should do but we rarely get around to doing it. But with a dramatic increase in online fraud and ID theft, it’s becoming more important the ever. Make sure you change your important passwords at least once a month.
- Recycle those old electronics
With discarded cell phones, old printers, and disused desk top computers, your house can quickly start to look like a digital junk yard. Do the right thing and recycle your electronics – you will feel so much better when you do! (Start with those unwanted cell phones. Take advantage of the Verizon Wireless Trade-In Program or support their HopeLine project.)
- Learn how to play video games with your kids
With the Wii, Kinect for Xbox 360, and Sony’s Move motion controller, video gaming has never been more family-friendly. You can dance, sing, play sports, cook, solve puzzles, and yes, even fight off a few aliens! Ask your kids to teach you how to play some games and join in the fun!
- Do something with all those digital photos
Let 2012 be the year that you finally organize all those digital photos. Whether they are trapped in your phone, sitting on your laptop, or forgotten in your camera, put them into a nice album for grandma or send them to the trash!
- Delete unwanted Facebook friends
OK – you’ve reached 200 Facebook friends and it’s time to be a little more selective. Do you really want to be sharing personal information with people you don’t really like or can’t even remember? Get rid of those not-so-friendly friends – they won’t even notice!
- Understand your phone bill
Your monthly phone bill is no longer a small luxury that you don’t have to worry about. With family plans, data plans, and an increasing number of devices, it’s starting to eat up a significant percentage of the family budget. Make 2012 the year that you really get to grips with your wireless costs. Check with your local provider to make sure you’re on the right plan and you understand every line item on that bill. You could end up saving hundreds of dollars a year.
- Use technology to read more
We blame technology and the Internet for the fact that we don’t have time to read any more. But we have better access to books now than we ever had before. Whether you have a Kindle, a Nook, an iPad, a laptop, or just a smartphone, millions of e-books are just a couple of clicks away. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Google all offer a huge selection, including many of the classics free of charge.
- Don’t become a digital spy!
Finally, here’s something we should resolve not to do: let’s not spy on our kids! While it makes sense to install parental controls on home computers, some of the spy software that’s now available goes too far. If you have a well-adjusted teen, then be happy and let him or her have a little online privacy. Trust is just as important in the virtual world as it is in the real one!