Resources for Navigating Tech Use with Your Kids
[8/30/2022] Parenting in the 2020s comes with complications that did not exist less than a two decades ago. And technology—especially smartphones and tablets—add to those complications.
From the distractions of texting and gaming to “addiction” to social media and the constant concern over inappropriate online content, today’s tech can be very problematic.
At DayStarr we understand that technology can raise parents’ eyebrows and blood pressure. But it also makes life more efficient and easier.
To address some of your concerns, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help parents navigate tech use to keep kids safe online and manage time on smart devices.
These resources provide valuable tips on using tech to monitor your kids’ devices and online use. It also includes advice for talking to your children—and fellow parents—about the risk of tech oversaturation.
Read below to learn more about resources to promote digital wellness in your family.
waituntil8th.org is an outstanding resource to start learning more about how early exposure to smartphones and tablets can impact your child’s life.
It features helpful information about excessive tech use that is easy to share with fellow parents and others in your community.
waituntil8th.org encourages parents to delay purchasing their child’s first smartphone until they are at least 14 years old.
In addition, waituntil8th.org offers tools and support for parents trying to limit and monitor their kid’s tech use.
Two Books by Experts on Today’s Digital World
Social scientists and psychologists have been studying the effects of digital technology use on humans, especially younger people.
As new data becomes available, experts publish their findings and offer advice for navigating the digital world.
We recommend two books to parents wanting to help keep their kids safe and productive while on their devices, without completely disconnecting them from their tech either: Screenwise by Devorah Heitner, and The Tech Diet for Your Child & Teen: The 7-Step Plan to Unplug & Reclaim Your Kid’s Childhood (And Your Family’s Sanity) by Brad Marshall.
Each book recognizes our modern digital world’s virtues but also acknowledges the need to cultivate a healthy, sustainable relationship with technology through limited screen time and a proper balance of off-device activities.
They also suggest strategies parents can employ to improve online safety and—perhaps just as helpful—for talking with your kids about responsible and limited tech use.
The above resources are a great start for parents wishing to teach their kids healthy online and digital habits while limiting their screen time.
By learning and sharing these strategies and tips, you can be more confident that your children will be savvy, conscientious tech users without being overly dependent on those devices.
[8/23/2022] Every year, more American seniors—over 55 million of them, according to AARP—are living independently and “aging in place” in their homes.
Our seniors can enjoy peace of mind for a safer, more secure home life. And given the rising costs of senior living facilities, many elderly adults are better off financially remaining in their homes.
But the elderly and their families are rightly concerned about the health and safety of remaining independent in their own homes, especially if they live alone. The concern of a medical emergency or fall is ever present.
Fortunately, technology has dramatically improved safety and security at home—the kind of safety and security to keep seniors living independently in their homes.
And with today’s technology, seniors and their families can rest assured that they can enjoy their golden years and independence for far longer.
At DayStarr, we do more than just provide the fast, dependable fiber internet you’ve come to count on for entertainment and productivity. We develop and maintain networks that keep your service as reliable as possible to facilitate life-saving technology in your home.
By utilizing today’s smart home technology and other safety and security features—enhanced by our Fiber Internet—seniors can confidently enjoy their retirement in their own homes.
Below, we highlight some of the technology available to seniors today to help them live at home more independently and safely than any previous generation before.
Personal Emergency Response System
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), such as One Call Alert or Medical Guardian, form the cornerstone for seniors to be independent and confident while living at home.
This cutting-edge technology means that help during an emergency—from a medical scare to a fall—is always at hand, even when a phone is out of reach and a family member is not there to assist quickly.
The Personal Emergency Response System is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
At the touch of a button, you or your loved one will be connected to emergency contacts to get help as fast as possible.
In addition, the PERS features two-way voice communication right on the device, so there is no fumbling around for a phone or even a need to dial a phone number—just a simple press of the button and the connection to trained emergency assistance is immediately available.
Smart Home Technology
Today’s smart home technology makes basic, daily tasks easier and safer for seniors. For example, by utilizing smart light bulbs, seniors can turn the lights on or off by using their voice, reducing the need for awkward positioning and bending, which can sometimes lead to falls or other injuries.
Smart light bulb voice activation also means there’s no need to search for light switches in the dark, making nighttime walks to the bathroom or kitchen far safer.
Many smart light bulbs are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and other Smart Home devices, which connect to our reliable Fiber Internet.
So, your loved one can easily integrate smart light bulbs into their smart home through easy-to-use voice-controlled devices.
Smart home technology can also help seniors be more secure in their homes.
And recent innovations go well beyond traditional security systems like burglar alarms or surveillance cameras. Smart home security technology can integrate across the home’s fiber internet, providing protection almost anywhere in the house.
Exterior smart cameras allow a loved one to know if an unknown person approaches a senior’s property.
And indoor smart cameras can let family members check in if they cannot get in touch with their elderly parent.
Other smart home advances like glass break detectors can alert a loved one to intruders and help deter property crime.
These state-of-the-art technologies can help seniors feel safer and more secure in their homes.
As your neighbors here at DayStarr are honored to be a part of helping our seniors live more fulfilling and self-assured lives at home. And because our Fiber Internet is so reliable, you’ll be confident that your smart home and its safety and convenience features will always be there for you.
[8/16/2022] You’ve made the right choice, switched to DayStarr’s high-speed Fiber Internet, and already experiencing faster downloads and improved reliability while you’re online.
You may be wondering about some of the best ways to enjoy your new fiber internet connection.
Well, there are several things you can do to make the most of our Fiber service and improve life in your home. Faster, more reliable internet opens doors to great entertainment, more efficiency, and even cost savings.
From getting rid of cable TV and enjoying streaming entertainment to living more efficiently through smart technology and staying better connected to loved ones, fiber internet provides a new world of convenience and amenities right in your home.
Below we discuss some ideas and suggestions to make your new fiber internet work for you!
Cancel Cable and Cut the Cord
Now that you’ve switched to fiber internet, you no longer need cable—or any additional devices, wiring, and clutter that takes up valuable space in your home. And you certainly don’t need its extra bills, either. So you can now cancel cable for good!
And we’re not just talking about canceling cable internet service, but cable television service, too. Many streaming services are available for watching your favorite shows and movies online, even live news and sports. And with fiber’s quality and dependability, you can enjoy streaming them as you did with cable TV.
Sign up for Streaming Services
Since your internet connection through fiber-optic technology is faster, more consistent, and more reliable than ever, it’s time to take advantage of streaming services and outstanding entertainment available to you.
Hulu keeps you up-to-date on your favorite shows, both current and classic, while Disney+ streams old Disney films and new entertainment hits.
You’ll be hard-pressed to exhaust the number of movies and TV shows available to stream today.
You can select one of many live TV streaming apps available, too.
With a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, FUBU, or Sling TV, you can watch live television programs, real-time breaking news and analysis, and live sports and games.
Stream Music Anywhere in Your Home
Streaming entertainment includes more than just movies, TV shows and live sports.
Today’s technology lets you fill your home with music through streaming music apps such as Spotify, Amazon Music, or Apple Music. These apps let you create playlists of all kinds. Mix your personal “greatest hits list” from a particular artist, or select a playlist from a specific music genre, whether yours is rock, classical music, country, or all of the above!
These apps can also introduce you to new artists and songs you may have never heard. They also create lists of music the app “thinks” you may enjoy based on your prior selections and preferences. And you can ask these apps to shuffle songs from your favorite bands to listen to while you multitask!
Use Smart Devices and Set up a Smart Home
You’ve made the smart choice to switch to fiber internet—so why not use more smart devices?
“Smart devices,” even inexpensive gadgets like Amazon’s Echo Dot with Alexa, can really make your home more pleasant than before. For example, when you pair your Echo Dot to your Spotify account, you can say, “Alexa, play songs from The Eagles.” Before you know it, you’ll be living it up at the Hotel California!
But don’t stop with these smart devices!
You can make your entire home a “smart home” and far more efficient. For example, smart thermometers can monitor air temperature and even humidity in different rooms in your house.
They can also adjust their temperature based on times of the day and other conditions, saving you around 30% off of your energy bills, according to the EPA!
Also, consider smart lighting devices, which do more than save you money—they can also make your home’s atmosphere more appealing.
Use Video Conferencing Apps to Talk to Friends and Family
Having a phone conversation can be rewarding, but it cannot beat the joy of seeing a loved one’s face and smile.
With faster internet through fiber technology, you can experience more than just a person’s voice through conversation. Using apps like Zoom or FaceTime can make you feel like you’re in the same room with your friends and family. You can stay in touch and remain better connected no matter how far apart you may be.
The above suggestions and recommendations are just some of the many ways fiber internet makes life more convenient and fun. So try them out and keep exploring!
[8/8/22] As beneficial as the internet can be to empowering individuals and enriching lives, there are negative aspects to being online.
Privacy concerns, disclosed personal information and data, hacking and security breaches, and computer viruses still plague this internet.
Here at DayStarr we do far more than provide fast, reliable Fiber internet.
We work tirelessly to deliver your high-speed internet service as safely and securely as possible. However, you still need to take steps to ensure your privacy and online security, too.
One of the most frequently cited recommendations to protect your privacy online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
But what exactly is a VPN, and how does it work? And do you really need a VPN?
Below we explain what a VPN is and discuss how it works, so you can make a more informed decision about whether to employ a VPN yourself.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a private network that, once established and enabled, creates a secure “tunnel.” Through the tunnel, data sent and received by your devices online is transmitted to a private server, where the data is encrypted before moving throughout the internet.
In essence, then, through this process, your data is more protected and secure while you’re online.
How do VPNs work?
VPNs utilize applications to transmit and relay online data (emails, browser searches, messages, photos, videos, etc.), to secure servers via the encrypted data tunnels.
Once encrypted data arrives at these secure servers, it gets routed to its final destination, such as a website, email server, or social media app.
The VPN’s encryption process shields your I.P. address (your location online) and other sensitive personal data.
For example, instead of revealing your I.P. address, the VPN’s server’s I.P. address “becomes” your I.P. address, concealing who you are and providing extra protection.
Similarly, by using a VPN, the internet traffic you receive has gone through the same more protected process before reaching your devices.
This sounds helpful—but do I need a VPN?
A VPN is a solid online privacy and security measure.
While some cybersecurity experts still recommend them, technically, you do not need one.
Until recently, VPNs were more necessary than they are today. But technology and online security have improved markedly over the years, with many websites and apps employing strong data encryption, helping enhance online privacy.
People who regularly use public Wi-Fi, such as in coffee shops or airports, are more vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks.
VPNs can help protect your devices (and online privacy) in those situations. But you can employ other security and privacy protections that can safeguard your data and internet traffic without using a VPN.
Whether you use a VPN or not, please don’t forget other essential protections, like password managers, anti-virus software, and ad blockers. They can protect your identity and prevent your online activity from being tracked.
Of course, should you have more questions about online security and privacy, we can always help!
[8/2/2022] No matter the type of game you play, be it an epic role-playing title, a city builder, a tactical battle simulator, or a global strategy game, a faster, more reliable internet connection can make all the difference. When you don’t have to worry about your connection dropping, you can focus on coming out on top against your competition. And the advantages of faster internet for gaming extend well beyond the technical aspects.
Better internet means connecting and communicating with fellow players (whether you’re playing on a team or against them). And if you’re a streamer, you can be confident you’ll stay connected on platforms like Discord, Twitch, or YouTube.
Using the high-speed Fiber Internet delivered to you DayStarr, gamers can be confident their internet will keep up with their game—and create a fantastic experience!
But how exactly does fiber internet improve gaming? And why does fiber’s technological power give gamers the edge they need to best their opponents and fellow players? Can fiber actually make a difference in the results and maybe even “up your game?”
We’ll answer these questions and explain why fiber surpasses other kinds of internet to make for a superior gaming experience.
What Fiber Internet Is—and Why It’s So Much Faster Than Cable
First, let’s briefly discuss fiber internet and compare it to traditional “cable internet.”
Fiber Internet is delivered by fiber-optic cables consisting of skinny strings of glass that use light to transmit internet data. Indeed, fiber’s speed comes close to the speed of light, easily surpassing cable internet speeds.
Cable internet, a once-great technology (roughly two decades ago now), uses standard coaxial cables composed of copper wiring. Unfortunately, copper wires cannot handle the same amount of data or transmit it as quickly as fiber’s cutting-edge materials.
Simply put, cable can’t keep pace with fiber’s data transmission through light or fiber’s consistently higher speeds.
Faster Download and Upload Speeds
The most basic and arguably essential part of any internet technology is its download and upload speed capabilities.
Download speeds clock the time it takes to transmit data, files, and other information from an online server to your device. Conversely, upload speeds refer to how long your device takes to share data, files, and additional information to an online server. These speeds are simply fundamental to any use of the internet, and they’re especially vital to gamers, whose every reaction and decision is made in just milliseconds—and often determine whether you win or lose!
Higher download and upload speeds make for a far smoother, less jittery, more stable, and more responsive gaming experience—in other words, the kind of internet quality that may give you an edge against fellow competitors. As a result, the faster your download and upload speeds are, the better you can game.
Faster speeds get you into games much quicker, especially after an update is released. With faster download speeds, you can be among the first into the updated game—and, if your play is savvy enough, among the first victors to achieve awards and recognition—and all the bragging rights you’ve justly earned!
While faster downloading and uploading speeds are important, they are almost useless if not combined with greater bandwidth capacity. In simplest terms, bandwidth is the maximum capacity any particular internet connection can have.
Copper-based wires in basic coaxial cords used for cable internet are limited. Cable’s older technology cannot handle too much internet data at any moment; thus, its bandwidth is lower than fiber’s. This leads to more frequent freezes and delays—often in the middle of a gaming session—and the crashes and drop-offs dreaded by gamers everywhere.
Fiber internet bandwidth is substantially higher than traditional cable. Even in larger households with several simultaneous internet users, fiber’s bandwidth shines.
So, the higher the bandwidth, the more data can be sent to and from your device for superior gaming performance—with enough bandwidth remaining to stream your games with friends.
Low Packet Loss
One of the most frustrating technical snafus gamers experience relates to packet loss. A “packet” is a tiny collection of data transmitted over a network between an online server and your device. Packets are critical to any internet activity, from something as simple as sending an email to posting and viewing videos and gaming. But with some forms of internet, these small data units don’t arrive at their destination, causing maddening slow-downs, freeze-ups, and even crashes.
Packet loss can also impact other aspects of gaming, including hearing your friends’ voices—or even your own—sound like a robot while you’re playing on Discord! Packet loss (and low bandwidth) weakens Discord’s connection causing this distracting and embarrassing (if sometimes hilarious) side effect. Because fiber transmits data at nearly the speed of light, it can handle large swaths of packets (and data) much more efficiently. As a result, packet loss is reduced and keeps you on your game while maintaining voice quality.
Just as crucial as receiving all of your data and files through packets is ensuring that the data hits your devices in the correct order. Too often, with older forms of internet technology like cable, the data that your devices need to operate—and you need to game—arrives jumbled, a problem known in the industry as “jitter.”
Fiber’s superior capacity to transmit data at a near-light speed reduces jitter, especially compared to cable. Low jitter means that your data arrives correctly and in the proper order, creating a clearer, cleaner, smoother, and more reliable internet connection—and a much better gaming experience that won’t hold you back.
Finally—and to many gamers, the most crucial distinction—fiber internet ensures low latency. Latency is the time between a “request” sent from your gaming device to the game’s online server and then returned from that server to your device. Usually measured by the millisecond, the lower the lag, the shorter—and the better—the response time. So, latency is your internet connection’s response time for processing requests and delivering data back and forth.
Low latency means that your device and the game’s server better capture your agility, quick decision-making, and choices that can make all the difference to gaming outcomes. In addition, fiber’s inherently low latency means you can enjoy gaming online without nearly as much lag and stutter that too often plague online games.
Fiber’s advanced technology can significantly improve your gaming experience—and maybe even give you the competitive edge you’ve been looking for against your friends! It’s just one of the many ways that DayStarr keeps you connected and helps you stay ahead of the game.