Introducing your kids to email

Digital Citizenship

By Carissa Swenson

CarissaSwenson-smallEmail is an important communication method, with adults using it daily at work, in school and for personal needs. However, with so many ways to communicate, many children are drawn to interact through Facebook, Twitter and text messaging. It’s therefore important that we teach our children the value of email as a form of correspondence.

Consider the following guidelines for introducing your young one to email.

  • Contact your local telecommunications provider and ask them to set up a new email account for your child.
  • Talk to your child about how beneficial email can be for the future, and the importance of using it right now. They can use it for sharing ideas and tips, asking questions, assigning tasks to family members and even sending funny jokes.
  • Email your child a few times each week. Ask them about their ideas for weekend activities, send links to educational websites or even mention a recipe that you want to make together.
  • In the evening, open the emails together and demonstrate how the content is beneficial and sometimes couldn’t be shared through another method.
  • Try to foster an understanding that not all communication has to be done through social media, and that email will be an important part of their life in the years ahead.

Email is a great tool, but it also presents its own set of hazards. The benefits of educating your child about email outweigh the challenges, as long as you teach them these important guidelines:

  • Only open and reply to email from people you know.
  • If you receive an email from a company or a bank asking for information, never reply (and your child should inform you about this email as soon as possible).
  • Never share sensitive information, such as date of birth, social security number, physical address or passwords in an email.
  • Never open email attachments unless you are absolutely certain they are from a known source.

Put these tips to work and start teaching your child how to properly use email. It’s an important part of becoming a good digital citizen.

Carissa Swenson is the owner and technology specialist of TechTECS, a technology training, education, consulting and support company.

 

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The IP evolution

Regulations must change to accelerate advances in technology

Two letters — IP — are changing the way we connect as a society. Short for “Internet Protocol,” the term refers to the standardized method used to transmit information between devices across the Internet. This goes well beyond accessing websites on your computer. IP technology is used today for connecting everything from security systems to appliances, and it enables you to share photos, watch TV, chat over video and more.

As innovation continues to bring us new ways to use IP technology, it is important for industry regulations to support the adoption of that technology. As your telecommunications provider, we are working with other companies like ours across the U.S. to encourage changes in FCC rules that will help consumers take advantage of the IP evolution.

We are doing this work through NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association. In coming issues of this magazine, we will take a look at incentives NTCA is recommending to the FCC. In the March/April issue, we will explore the idea of universal support for standalone broadband service — and explain why current rules prevent us from being able to sell a broadband connection without some type of phone line bundled with it.

The IP evolution is here, and our mission is to ensure your home and community are ready for all the benefits it brings.

 

FCC addressing rural calling issues

Rural telecommunications providers work through NTCA to encourage government action

By working together and being involved in the regulatory process, rural telecommunications providers are seeing progress toward resolving rural calling issues.

NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association represents the voice of rural providers across America. For three years, NTCA has been working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the issue of rural call completion, where subscribers in rural areas report significant problems receiving long-distance or wireless calls on their landline phones. These problems include failed connections and poor call quality.

The problem appears to lie in the fact that some long-distance and wireless carriers, in an effort to cut costs, are contracting with third-party service providers to route phone calls into rural areas.

In its latest ruling toward the end of 2013, the FCC took steps that the NTCA described in a statement as “positive developments for rural consumers and their loved ones who have suffered the frustration or fear of a call not completing, lost business or endured public safety concerns because of circumstances beyond their control.”

Shirley Bloomfield

Shirley Bloomfield

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA, expressed gratitude for the FCC’s efforts, adding “there is still much work to be done to ensure that no consumer will be cut off from critical communications, but NTCA is hopeful that this order will help to minimize consumer confusion by precluding false ringing, provide immediate incentives for providers to better manage completion of their calls, give the FCC a useful tool in identifying bad actors for enforcement, and serve as a springboard for further conversations about what else remains to be done to achieve truly universal and seamless connectivity.”

As your telecommunications provider, we will continue to keep you updated on this important issue through the pages of this magazine.