Digital Devices

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How to Return a Lost Phone

Losing your smartphone can feel like losing an appendage, so when you find an unattended phone on the ground, it is natural you would want to do the right thing and return it. But in the age of personal identification numbers, facial recognition and fingerprint locks, it’s hard to just call the owner and give it back. Before you turn it over to the police and hope for the best, there are a few tricks you can use to return that phone. You can check the phone physically for contact information – sometimes people put it inside the case or even on the battery cover. You can also try to talk to the phone’s voice assistant like Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, or Samsung’s Bixby even when the phone is locked. If all else fails, you should take it to the carrier or the police.

GPS Can Make Your Car an Easy Target for Hackers

According to Motherboard, hackers can use GPS trackers to gain access to a car with location tracking GPS services, and turn off its engine while it is in motion. An anonymous hacker, who operates in Asia and Africa, told that he was able to break into thousands of iTrack and ProTrack accounts using the initial default password given to customers. This is a reminder to change the password from the default one that comes with your car!  

Accessible Digital Books Campaign Expands

There are currently more than 711,000 books in Bookshare, a digital reading platform for people with reading barriers including dyslexia, blindness or cerebral palsy, and that number is growing every day. Working with more than 850 publishers across the world, the library adds as many as 100,000 titles every year, according to Brad Turner, vice president and general manager of global education and literacy at Benetech, the nonprofit that runs Bookshare. But with more than 1 million books published each year, it would be impossible for Benetech to keep up with conversions, so Benetech is now working directly with publishers such as Macmillan Learning to embed accessibility features into all e-books at the time of publication. These resources can useful to all readers, not just those with reading impairments or disabilities, and Benetech argues that having the publishers add them to the books as they are published makes good business sense.

Screen Time for 5 Year Olds Tied to Attention Deficit Issues

Five-year-olds that spend more than two hours a day in front of screens have 5.9 times and 7.7 times higher likelihoods of developing significant attention problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, respectively, compared with those who spent 30 minutes or less with digital devices, Canadian researchers recently reported. The findings were based on data involving 2,427 youths in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study. Parents of young children should keep this in mind as they monitor screen time.

What to Do If Your Toddler Locks You Out of Your iPad

Stories seem to abound about toddlers dropping phones into water. But what happens if your toddler locks you out of your passcode on your iPhone or iPad? For one thing you might want to print out or bookmark this story on CNBC about a toddler who locked his dad out of his iPad for 48 years. Lucky for you it comes with a practical twist - a solution for what to do if it happens to you.

Speaker Culture

Voice activated technologies are rapidly emerging and young consumers are increasingly speaking to their devices. The smart speaker is gaining the most traction as a voice-activated device and platform. Already, almost two in five 13-36-year-olds report owning a smart speaker. Voice activated technologies are becoming more mainstream with Gen Z and Millennials—and Millennial parents, the earliest adopters of the tech. Of course there are many privacy concerns that go along with this trend so be sure you are aware of the privacy controls on these devices.

Netflix Has Plans to Monopolize Your Kids’ Screen Time

A recent article in Fast Company states that sixty percent of Netflix’s members are watching kids’ programming, a clear reason why Netflix is investing so heavily in the animation space by developing their own animation studio. The company has also recently developed enhancements for children to learn more about characters and content on the platform. For example, kids can scroll through character images of Curious George, Phineas and Ferb, or Spider-Man and use those visuals to click into a series or movie. The company is also experimenting with a concept that would allow users to explore not just shows but characters through a trailer-like video about the character. All of these features and enhancements prove that Netflix is striving to be a top player in the children’s entertainment market.

Digital Devices Grow in Popularity For Broadcast and Cable Content

According to an article in MediaPost Communications referencing a new Nielsen report, smartphones and tablets are the choice of 18- to 34-year-old viewers when consuming broadcast and cable content. In a deeper look, 55% of them watch cable content on mobile devices, with the four top broadcast networks still getting the attention of 66% of them during live TV viewing.

Watch Out for Wearable Devices

According to a new report released by IDC, wearable devices will increase 15.3 percent worldwide in the next year. Watches made up 44.2 percent of shipments in 2018 and are expected to account for an even larger percentage of the market by 2023, at an expected 47.1 percent. But headsets/ear-worn devices will have a major impact on that growth as well with the rise of smart assistants, reaching 31 percent of the market by 2023. One of the major drivers is healthcare, with wearables playing an important role in digital health, constantly collecting important patient data while also giving patients the ability to self-monitor.

Screen Time Breakdown

Curious about how much time you or your children are spending looking at a phone screen every day? Worried about digital addiction? Google and Apple have tools that can help you manage your screen time on their devices. You can use these features to see how much time you're actually spending on your mobile device and which applications you use most often.

Apple's "Screen Time" feature on its iPhones can be found under "Settings." It breaks down in simple charts how long you spent on your phone that day or over the past week, and tells you which types of apps sucked up most of your time.

Google has built a native "Digital Wellbeing" app into its Pixel phones that provides similar data. It also includes an option to set limitations on usage. For other Android devices, there are a number of apps in the Google Play store that users can download to monitor their mobile device usage.