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Potential Dangers of Technology Overuse by Toddlers

Friday, December 15, 2017


In today's environment, is it not uncommon for parents to use electronic devices to entertain or occupy their toddlers and young children. How many times have you gone into a restaurant or waiting room and witnessed children intently watching videos or playing games on a phone or tablet? Are we helping or harming our children? The answer may be both. While there certainly are educational programs and applications that may prove beneficial and enhance learning, overuse can cause some problems.



Consider the following...

1. Overuse of electronic devices can cause a lack of movement or exercise for children. If they spend hours in front of a screen after school or on the weekends instead of playing outside with other kids, they are at a higher risk of becoming overweight.

2. Spending time outdoors soaking up sunlight and Vitamin D affects our circadian rhythm. Overexposure to blue light from electronic devices can also have a physical impact on our bodies. We should all spend some time outdoors in the sun. If we don't, it can affect our sleeping patterns and our mood.

3. Overstimulation is another risk of spending too much time in front of a screen. Overuse can decrease a child's ability to focus on other tasks. Children can also develop nervous habits when they are allowed a significant amount of screen time, and then it is taken away for any reason.

4. We risk thwarting our children's social and communication skills when they spend too much time alone playing video games or watching videos. They may not develop the ability to learn and act on social cues, and may become isolated when they are around other children. Psychological issues such as anxiety and depression can also develop over time.

5. Remember the days when we as children had to make up our own games and use our imaginations to fill our time. WIth so many options for children today, they don't have to be as imaginative or creative in their playtime. This can impair brain development and ultimately slow their ability to learn over time. Not to mention the issues of privacy and safety when a child spends time online.

As parents, we should be role models for our children. They often imitate what they see us doing. If we always have a device in our faces, they will want to do the same. We have to take time out to interact, play, and create human connections with our children. Set daily time limits for device use and have a specific purpose for its use. If using an educational program, limit the time to 15 or 20 minutes. Come up with alternative activities for your children. Make up games with them. Have conversations about things going on in the world. This can also apply to older children and teenagers. The more we teach our children to interact with the world around them, they better off they will be as adults.

Just Like a Butterfly by Tori Leckie

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Originally posted on December 6, 2011 by Tori Leckie

I was working on a magazine feature not long ago about the science of happiness. Fascinating. My intrigue first began post hearing an interview on Dubai Eye with a professor of happiness based here in the UAE. He started the discussion by saying that in the history of Harvard, the course with the most popular sign-ups EVER was one on the science of happiness.

I’m already a sucker for books on positive psychology and personal development so digging a little deeper into this whole subject has kept me entertained for hours …

So today … Tori’s top takeaways from her reading and research so far … it’s not brain surgery, indeed many are obvious. But sometimes, we forget. We get so wrapped up in looking forward that we forget to focus on the now.

* Seeking ‘happiness’ alone is misguided; happiness is a byproduct of loads of different things in life: a meaningful purpose, passions, relationships with friends, family, lovers and others etc

* Natural selection has wired us in such a way that it’s not the outcome but the process that makes us happy. Happiness comes from feeling we are making progress rather than achieving specific outcomes. This is why we should always break our big goals down into little goals

* Your prefrontal cortex is prone to a cognitive illusion called the impact bias … what this means is that our brain vastly over estimates how happy certain outcomes will make us feel e.g. ‘If only I had X, I’d be happy’

* To be happy with work, three key needs need fulfilled: autonomy--you have control over your time and what you do, competence--being excellent at a useful and valued skill and relatedness--feeling connected to others

* We overestimate the effect that acquiring material goods will have on our long-term happiness. That 60-inch TV, VB handbag or jewel-encrusted pair of Manolos will not make much of a long term dent (other than to your bank balance) after the initial high. Once over a minimal threshold of wealth, increases do not bring much extra happiness

* Work out. It gets you into a meditative-like state and pumps natural painkillers through your brain. We’ve all heard of the ‘runners high’ … and many of us experience it regularly first hand. Learning to push yourself when exercising makes you more resilient when facing the inevitable hardships in life. Exercise also powerfully boosts your mood and alleviates depression among those unfortunate enough to suffer from it

* To those of you who worry constantly about what people think of you: they’re thinking about you less than you imagine. Other people are thinking about themselves, not you

* Take more chances. ‘Worst case scenarios’ don’t usually transpire and are not as painful as you imagine they will be. Terrified to ask someone out on a date? Do it. If they say no, you will NOT be crushed forever with humiliation; it will be nowhere near as bad as you think it will be. (And, all else being equal, you have about a 50% chance of a stranger agreeing to a date with you--not bad odds)

* Fulfilling, intimate, close relationships are important, but never reply on others for your own happiness / feelings of content … that should come from within

* Don’t just ‘count your blessings’; vividly visualise how your life would be if those blessings were suddenly taken away from you. This elicits sincere gratitude

* ‘Chase your dreams’ is good advice. Find a way to make money doing what you would do if you couldn’t make money out of it !" the thing that gets you into a flow state. But this must be tempered with a dose of reality: there is no magical occupation in life that will fill you with endless delirious happiness. Thinking otherwise will lead you to be relentlessly unhappy and dissatisfied

* Having too many options leads to perennial dissatisfaction. The freedoms you have and the multiple alternative life possibilities available to you, are, paradoxically, a source of enormous dissatisfaction.

* Simplify your life. You are probably doing too many unnecessary things that clog up your schedule, stress you out, dilute your productivity and detract from the day to day enjoyment of life

* If circumstances in your life are causing you unhappiness, sit down with a pen and paper and work out what the problems are and what steps you can take to eliminate the problems. Do not ruminate--" eliminate!

* Not everyone will love and adore you. Some people will detest you and they will be multiplied if you become successful. Don’t waste your time trying to make everyone like you

* We are wired in such a way that losing stings more than winning brings pleasure … but some suffering is inevitable; it the flipside of having a mind capable of intense joy and love.

* Be friends with happy people. Get rid of toxic friendships. Who you surround yourself with is crucial to your well-being, your life satisfaction and your success in personal endeavours.

Quite a lot here I know … perhaps a post worth printing out and sticking to the fridge. Or perhaps just remember the wonderful words of Henry David Throeau:

“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder.”


Link to original blog...Just Like A Butterfly

5 Tips to Improve your Car Buying Experience

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Salmon Agency offers tips to improve your next vehicle purchase experience

The car buying experience can be daunting and sometimes outright exhausting. Here are a few tips to help improve your experience, cut down on the time you spend at the dealership, and make the task more pleasant.

1. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Shop online first and complete as much of the paperwork online ahead of time as possible to save time at the dealership.  It helps to know what you want and be prepared when you get to the lot.  You don't want to spend too much time having a sales person trying to sell you something you don't want.  You can also run the CARFAX head of time if you are purchasing used, so you can be prepared with data about the vehicle you want if you have one already picked out.

2. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Consider purchasing during the last week of the year or the end of the model year to get the best deal on newer models.  Dealers offer incentives and discounts when they need to move this year's model to make room for next year's model.

3. KNOW HOW YOU WILL PAY. Are you paying cash or financing?  Is your bank lending you money or is the dealer doing the financing?  Do you have a trade-in? These are all things to consider BEFORE making a trip to the dealership.  The more you can have your financing or payment plan in order, the better off you'll be.  You can save yourself time and possibly money too.  And be willing to negotiate.  Those who are willing to haggle usually get the best deal.

4. MAKE SURE THE VEHICLE HAS A CLEAN TITLE. Especially if you are buying from an individual, from Craigslist, or from a small used car lot, research the title to make sure you will not run into any problems in the future...after you have paid for the car.

5. CHECK INSURANCE RATES BEFOREHAND. It's best to know the TOTAL cost of your car purchase before you have the title signed over to you.  Don't make the mistake of completing the purchase, then finding out the insurance rates are too high based on the type of car you purchased, especially when buying for teens or young adults.

Getting Into High Gear: Tips to Remember For Motorcycle Season

Monday, April 14, 2014

Allstate offers tips for motorcyclists and drivers for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May

While the warm weather is here, a reminder about the “rider rules of the road” should be part of a motorcycle owner’s regular routine. Riding on a motorcycle is an exhilarating but risky experience; accidents are always a possibility.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 55 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles were involved in a fatal crash in 2010, a total of 4,502. An additional 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents. Many of those crashes involved the passenger cars with whom they share the road.

“By keeping a few precautions in mind, drivers who share the road with motorcycle riders can help make sure that each trip they take is a safe one,” says Lincoln Salmon, Allstate spokesperson in Florida. Some of those precautions include the following:

• Respect motorcyclists, who enjoy all of the privileges of any vehicle on the road. Regard them as you would another car, and give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
• Keep your eyes open for motorcyclists on the highway, at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn, and when a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions, they’re watching for them!
• Anticipate a motorcyclist's movements when there are obstructions in the road such as debris or potholes. What the driver of a car can ignore can be hazardous for a motorcyclist, so predict evasive actions.

One important action that motorcyclists should take? Another look at their insurance coverage to make sure they’re informed on the extent of their protection. If you own a motorcycle, there’s a good chance Allstate can help you protect it, and yourself, just in case of an accident.

For additional information about Motorcycle Safety, please visit Allstate or contact your local Allstate agent Lincoln Salmon at 407-365-1766.

Don't Let Identity Theft Keep You in the Dark: Allstate Highlights Steps to Protect Against or Recover from ID Theft

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Consider your reaction when bills arrive in your mailbox for products you never ordered or services you never used. Suddenly you notice that “mistakes” are appearing on your credit card and/or bank statements, and debt collectors are calling about debts that don’t belong to you.

Allstate gives its eligible auto and homeowners policyholders peace of mind from ID theft whether from a lost or stolen laptop, wallet, purse; a fraudulent credit card charge; or anytime you feel that your identity might be vulnerable. The company offers proactive education to help prevent identity theft and comprehensive case management for the duration of the identity resolution process.

All consumers can access resources on identity theft from the Federal Trade Commission who suggests that they complete these steps immediately upon learning of fraud:

1. If you notice signs of fraud, place an initial fraud alert ‐ Call one of the credit reporting agencies and ask that they place a fraud alert on your credit report. The agency you call is then responsible for alerting the other two, and the initial alert is good for 90 days. The agency can also add a freeze to their credit files, in the more extensive fraud situations.

2. Order your credit reports ‐ Order your credit report from one of the three, nationwide credit reporting agencies. Review them carefully for errors or signs of fraud, and share notable information with the credit reporting company.

3. Create an identity theft report ‐ File a complaint with the FTC via their Web site or by calling them at 1‐877‐438‐4338. The completed complaint is called an FTC affidavit. Take the affidavit to the police department where the theft occurred and file a police report. These two items comprise the identity theft report.

Once these steps are completed there are additional measures you can take that may help the situation:

A. Contact the issuers of your credit cards immediately ‐ Most companies provide toll‐free numbers that are manned 24/7 to deal with this type of event.

B. Alert your bank(s) ‐ If they have a process in place to do so, consider putting a fraud alert on your accounts.

C. Notify other, applicable organizations of the fraud, including (but not limited to): • Social Security Administration

• Department of Motor Vehicles

• Your utility companies

• Your health providers

4. Take steps to repair your credit ‐ The FTC provides tips on things you can do to try to repair your credit after you have been the victim of fraud.

For additional information about Allstate Identity Restoration Coverage, please visit www.allstate.com or call your local Allstate agent Lincoln Salmon at 407-365-1766.

Giving Thanks

Friday, November 22, 2013

Each time the holidays roll around, we begin thinking about gifts and travel plans. But what matters most, is the time we spend with our friends and family. It’s a time of gratitude and joyfulness, and it’s a time to enjoy a meal around the table in that spirit.

In recent years, frying the Thanksgiving turkey has become a trend. While it can result in a delicious meal, we should all make sure to put safety first. Allstate has prepared three tips to help you be safe should you decide to fry the turkey:

1) Hand-dry the Turkey before Frying - Never place a frozen turkey into hot oil, as it can cause oil to spill over. Make sure that the turkey correlates properly with the fryer size.

2) Use Premium Oil to Fry- Preventing fires starts with choosing the proper oil quality; peanut and safflower oil are viable options. Leave room at the top of the fryer for oil to prevent any accidental spills.

3) Cook Outside - While it might be expected that everyone would know to cook a turkey in a fryer outside, it’s not always clear. Make sure to cook outside and stay clear of any wooden decks or structures as well as low hanging branches.

Safety is paramount when preparing the Thanksgiving feast, whether you decide to fry a turkey or bake tofurkey. While you prepare to greet your family and spend time with friends this year, it’s also a time to share that spirit of gratitude with others.

Unfortunately, many around the world, particularly those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, even having a guaranteed meal is a gift. Those who have the means, have the opportunity to give more than time and presents to their loved ones; we can all be humanitarians and even small donations can be felt on the other side of the globe. There are a number of organizations, such as American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and Mercy Corps, who are working to help those affected by the natural disaster. See a larger list of organizations in this NBC News article. Thanks for making a difference and have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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