The brainchild of Poonam, who is a parent, teacher and lifestyle blogger, rolled into one, Stir Your Souls sees the author blog about all people, places, things, situations and experiences.
The blog also sees poetry, photography, creative writing, reviews, celebrity engagements and her musings on life.
The author can be reached out to, at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is written for participation in the blogging contest by eKavach Parental Control App. I am writing about being an #eSuperMom! You can also submit your entry here and stand a chance to win Gold/Diamond jewelry and exciting shopping vouchers.
Our world today, is pacing rapidly towards its future, while keeping in mind, its past and living in the present moment. We have gradually mastered the art of multi-tasking and boast of the fact that we are rowing multiple boats at once.
As individuals, each one of us have multiple things on our plate and none of us want to let the plate break with the load.
As professionals in the breakneck rat race which blinds us more often than not, it is a mean feat to achieve the work-life balance.
As a parent, it is overwhelming all the same. Each parent has the same story, irrelevant of time and space coordinates.
Believe me, you when I say that I have had multiple things on MULTIPLE plates with sleepless nights, unreasonable tantrums, irritable stubbornness, and hair-raising mischief to say the least.
No kid ever was the 'most desirable' kind. They are all angels, you may say, for they take life on its face value and have innocent outlooks towards siuations.
They could be the most devilous individuals on the face of the planet too. All because they've mastered the art of being crazy and driving others crazy with their antics as well! :)
Having garnered the *experience* of being a *parent* over the last two decades...
Well, who am I kidding?
Parenting is a roller-coaster ride, and once you purchase the ticket and step into the ride (read: the kid is born), there is NO escape. It is an endless experience, and an enriching one at that.
One of the vital aspects of being a parent in today's digital age is that children are gradually becoming tech-savvy and gadget-friendly, even before they learn to speak, or to walk on their own two feet.
It is one of the primary challenges of being informed, as a parent, to question oneself - Am I completely aware of the credentials of all that my child is accessing in cyberspace?
The harrowing reality is that a majority of the parents in today's times have to face a resounding NO on the outlook.
This NO, thus helps the perpetrators of cyber crime manipulate your child and his/her cyber avatar.
Be it cyber-bullying, access to unappropriate content, or being faced by someone who resorts to vulgarity or abusiveness - all are perils which young children must be safeguarded from, and which need to be acted upon proactively.
All too often we see infants, toddlers, and young children unable to pull themselves away from technology. Young children today, are mesmerized by the glowing screens of the many gadgets in their immediate vicinity.
As parents, we need to teach the children of this twenty-first century to embrace a lifestyle that encourages exposure to technology in moderation.
This digitized life which has become a norm now, was taking its baby steps too at the time when I had embraced parenthood. Picture the last decade before the arrival of the 2K Millenium, and you would know what I am writing about.
The 90s was the time of the advent of Internet, and people - young and elder alike - were familiarizing themselbves with the what-where-how-why of cyber space.
That time and the time before that was the era when we would hear of school children being bullied, or college students being ragged. Now, however is the era when these bullies have left classrooms and corridors of campuses to attack the World Wide Web.
As goes for work-life balance, it was considerably simpler then, managing the two spheres of one's life than it is now. Tackling both the aspects now is a lot more complicated, and strains the body and mind alike.
That was the time we were exploring a new entrant in the house together. No, it was not about me and my better half getting used to the chirpiness of the daughter in the house. It was about the daughter and Yours Truly acquainting ourselves with the nitty-gritty of the humongous desktop computer and the Internet.
It was fairly easy for me to keep track of all her activities and guide her towards what was right, all along, like a shadow, because we were learning to use the device together.
Now that she's mature enough to understand the right and wrong of cyber space, am I thankful to heavens that I do not have to be bothered anymore like the new-age parents of today struggling to get their hyperactive kids to sit down and discuss this issue? :D
I am sure, I would not have been able to handle that kind of a hyperactive tiny tot!
It was one of the illustrative graphic books, meant for pre-school children which came addressed to the better half for a book review as a parent blogger, titled 'Savvy Cyber Kids', which made me realize that it is exactly the way which is described in the book that my child learnt to keep a check on her own 'Internet Time'! :)
Like always, this training, like most life skills, begins from here.
The story begins from the moment when the computer enters the house and is incorporated into the daily routine. Using the computer can be as constructive as destructive, owing to the coexistence of good and bad elements. It is the responsibility of the parent then, to be alert, and guard their child at all times.
It seems to end with cautiously countering the numerous threats posed by a cyber bully. That is the prime reasoin why a majority of sites meant for children claim to be 'kid-friendly' and sport the 'Report Abuse' option too. However, one must not s believe what is seen, and must keep a watchful eye.
A computer is not just a collection of peripherals connected together in a functional manner. It is an entire world in itself. A world which, like Pandora's Box, seems to boast of a host og opportunities and activities.
While there are numerous opportunities for kids to learn something new and explore the positive elements, there is also no dearth of negative elements, symbolic of quick sand pits, to engulf the child in.
The story of all tiny-tots, toddlers, pre-teens and teens is much like Tony and Emma's, where they must adapt the skill of quick-wittedness to tackle the harmful elements on their own too.
Tony did the right thing by opting to be safe over the World Wide Web by using only his username to introduce himself. After all, not everyone introduces themselves by their true name, and you can never be sure that way!
Many people resort to using pseudonyms, and it is a widespread phenomenon.
And thus, Emma aka Cyber Princess and Tony aka Cyber Thunder set out on their cyberspace explorations! :)
Taking the wise step of not revealing your true identity to protect yourself from any mischief maker is absolutely correct, but all may not remain good at all times.
That is when, we as a parent step in, to guide our children to adopt the right course of action. Our children must also learn to be truthful to us, always, by sharing with us all that has been seen and done by them.
'Blocking' the stalker seems to be the right thing to do, but if aggravated, the incident can also be reported to the Cyber Crime Cell to seek legal action under parental guidance or even otherwise.
The world is changing, and technology is driving that change. We must educate and empower our young digital citizens.
As an #eSuperMom, I ensured that I was always there by my daughter's side to support her whenever she needed me - be it in cyberspace, or otherwise.
Juggling between home and work is not a cakewalk, and those who believe it is or even say so, are gravely mistaken. In my opinion, they haven't had the opportunity to take the responsibility of two different worlds altogether, in the true sense.
For me, it was like housing two personalities within myself - one, for being calm and composed at my workplace and the other, for being nutsy at home!
I don't exactly have words to express how I achieve this feat each day, but I am sure of the fact that I do it pretty nicely, because my family is in awe of it, always!
My daughter believes that my sense of work-life balance is phenomenal, even though I feel like a mechanized robot already!
I guess it is this fact that my daughter looks up to me as an idol, which inspires me to keep going. :)
No, this is not a recent photograph. This is from the archives and is originally dated circa 2005. So, Yes. Time does have wings. :)
I believe that the an organization of the likes of Certus Technologies, who have devised the eKavach App are acting as the bearers of heralding a change in the perspective in terms of online safety for young children.
It is a game-changer in the sense that it would be able to empower the parents of our country to be alert and cautious while browsing the Internet and inculcate the same value in their children as well.
They have been attempting to ensure that the safety of kids in the cyber space is being taken care of by parents thanks to their eKavach Parental Control App. (eShield in English)
There are two separate versions of the App, which is presently available for Android and iOS devices - the Parent Version, and the Child Version.
The Parent Version to the left.
The Child Version to the right.
After my account had been setup, I was able to see the following menu, sliding from one side of the screen.
The following steps had been elucidated for me to establish a Child account, and have someone's activity to monitor.
The sync between both the versions was bang on point as I was alerted when she logged in through her device.
The following salient features enhance the functionality of the App.
The Notification Panel On-Dashboard
The Parent device has this dynamic dashboard to select which notifications to receive or not.
Turning OFF the Device Heartbeats can also lead to the toggling of Offline Alerts which notifies me of my Child's activity via SMS, for the time when my devices loses network reach.
While the Internet Categories field monitors and classifies the child's activity on the basis of Search Ketywords on the Internet - whether allowed or restricted and the Time of Usage, the Applications field keeps a check on the activity at the Play Store, which is used for managing all the apps on a particular device.
It acts like a customized 'Cyber Analytics' Dashboard, which consolidates all activity on the child device in one place.
There is also a timeline which can be utilized to segregate the statistics , titled 'Today', 'Yesterday', and 'Last 7 Days' respectively.
The Device Heartbeats feature keeps track of the geographical coordinates of the child device on a pre-defined time basis. For instance, the parent device would be alerted after every one hour as i has been schedulked to do so. The Parent device an instant alert the moment it loses its track of the device.
This feature serves its purpose at the time when the Child device enters a no-signal zone or the battery is completely exhausted.
Site Filtering And Family Time
The Parent device can designate a status - Allowed or Blocked - to a set of websites defined by it. This is the key featue of this app which enables the parent to monitor and restrict the browsing of particular websites.
Once you define precise slots for family time – like meal time, relaxation time, play time and such, all applications on both the devices will seize to function thereby ensuring everyone quality time, to spend together, in an interactive manner.
SOS And Send A Message
The Child device can send an SOS to the Parent device in the face of an urgency and routine messages can be exchanged between the devices via the Send A Messsage feature.
I would like to applaud the sincere efforts of the Team behind developing eKavach. It is highly impressive in terms of the functionality it provides, the seamlessness of the setup process and the amount of detail which has been put into its development.
eKavach is the brainchild of Mrs. Noopur Raghunath of Certus Technologies.
The seed for eKavach was sown when in a social gathering, her friends were talking about internet safety and ways to have a parental control over the screen time of the kids.
Being a mother herself, she wanted to create a digital application to monitor and safegauard the internet usage of the kids.