Techy little Christmas
Christmas is literally just around the corner and we all simply cannot wait. From festive décor and seasonal dishes to spending time with family and even traveling there is no denying how much there is to look forward to.
However, as you plan the perfect Christmas you need to know how to keep your family safe. Many of us cruise through the holidays on autopilot mode and though this might work sometimes it is always best to prepare for the worst. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where technology has made ensuring safety a breeze. To help put things in perspective, here are a few things that could go wrong and how technology will come in handy.
Find My Phone
There is something about the holiday and losing phones. Maybe it is all the distracting fun, the constant traveling or the even the exposure to pickpockets. You will need to invest in a service that allows you to find your phone. in which case, Google Find My Device is a winner.
With everything from indoor positioning to phone live tracking, you do not have to suffer that mini heart attack when you realize your phone is not on you. The service also allows you to remotely lock the phone in order to protect all your sensitive information. There are other ways to find your phone including tracking apps but none is faster or more accurate than this Google service.
What you need to make it work
- Get a Google account.
- Synch multiple devices that you want to be secured by the service.
- Ensure that connections like Wi-Fi or mobile data are always on.
- Activate Google play visibility on all the devices.
- Keep your location or GPS turned on at all times.
- Allow Google Find My Device to run on all the synch devices.
How to find your missing phone
- STEP 1- Sign in to your account
More often than not this step is automatic as most devices keep you logged in all the time.
- STEP 2- Load the Find My Device page
Just use ‘Find My Device’ as your search query on Google and it will be launched directly.
- STEP 3- Select the lost device
If you have more than one device synched you will have to choose the one you want to be tracked from the list provided.
- STEP 4- Locate it on the map
The map will give you a rough estimate which helps you narrow things down if you are retracing your steps. It is more accurate if there is a strong signal and a detailed map available of the area.
- STEP 5- Choose a remote action
The service allows you to run 3 other actions in addition to locating the device. The first is remote locking where the person with the phone cannot access the contents without your login information.
The first is ringing in which case the phone will ring on full volume for up to 5 minutes even if it was on silent mode. This is ideal if you have a general location and would like to lock it down to a specific spot. Finally, the service allows you to remotely erase any and all information on your phone. This is important if you have sensitive information you think might easily be accessed even with the Google account locked.
9 Apps and Online Services for a Techy Christmas
- Cab Hailing App
Examples: Uber, Lyft
Imagine this. You go out with your beau for a fancy dinner while on your holiday trip to reward yourselves for working hard as parents the whole year. You get so lost in the fun and good food that you lose track of time. By the time you are leaving (or getting kicked out) there are no buses, taxis or other forms of public transport. You are stranded.
That is where cab hailing services come in handy. Most of these are operational internationally so whether you are in Africa or Europe for your holiday you will be covered.
- Smart Security Service App
Example: Frontpoint home security app
One of the most important safety holiday tips is to keep your home secure during Christmas. This is particularly important if you intend on travelling. It is, of course, very important to invest in a smart home security system. These often include things like motion sensors, cameras and alarm systems. You can also get an app to help you keep tabs on your home and control different things like locking and lights remotely.
One such app is Frontpoint. The best thing about the service is that it is compatible with most home security systems. You just need to get the two synched and voila! You have your home’s security literally in the palm of your hand.
- Anti-scam Service App
Example: The Scam Detector app
Scams during Christmas are no new topic. Most of these are run online and target people doing online shopping and Christmas-related searches. One way to protect yourself here is by being careful about sites you visit and information you share.
However, this is not always enough to keep the bad guys away. This is where apps like The Scam Detector come in. They are designed to spot phony websites and campaigns in order to keep you, your identity and your money safe. It is also a great way for you to warn other people of scams as it allows you to call out shady services.
- Online Review App
One thing you truly cannot survive Christmas without is reliable reviews. It could be reviewed on anything from an airline to a restaurant you want to try out. These give you a better idea of what to expect based on experiences of real people and not paid advertisers. In this case, Yelp is an all-time favorite with its very large contributor base.
- Online Travel Booking App
Examples: Orbitz, Trip Advisor
Say you decided to take your family somewhere new for Christmas but you have no idea where to start with the actual planning. If this is your predicament then an online travel service might just be what you need. These will help you get an idea of where you can visit, how much it will cost you and what you can do when you get there.
- Safe Online Holiday Shopping
Examples: Amazon, eBay, sites links to physical stores
Online shopping is becoming more and more popular with the holiday season being the highlight. Maybe you want to get a last minute gift for your adult child who decided to visit. Or it could be that you are looking for the perfect decorations for your winter wonderland home theme. Whatever the case, the convenience that online shopping offers is difficult to ignore.
However, with so many online shopping scams out there you can never be too careful. One way to ensure you do not end up being just another statistic is by going with trusted online shopping websites.
- Food Delivery App
Examples: UberEats, Seamless, GrubHub
You have been cooking every day for a whole year for your family and you too deserve a break. So there is absolutely nothing wrong with ordering in during the holidays as it gives you a chance to truly enjoy yourself and spend quality time with your people. Food delivery services allow you access to multiple restaurants and cuisine options. That way whether you are in the mood for festive meals or random cuisine you can get it by simply pressing a few buttons on your phone.
- Location Tracking App
Examples: Google Maps, City Mapper
This is another service that comes in handy if you are planning on traveling for the holidays. The maps and trackers allow you to find your way around unfamiliar locations. The services are also a great way to get inspiration on activities to do as a family when you visit a new place.
- Weather Monitor and Prediction App
Examples: AccuWeather, NOAA
The last thing you want is to plan a fun day out with the family on a rainy day. This is where weather monitoring apps save the day. The important thing is to find one reputed for accuracy like the two suggested above. That way you can plan in advance for a rainy day in or a sunny day out with your family over the holidays.
Whether you want to track a phone you left somewhere in the hotel or you want to do your online holiday shopping in peace, technology is your friend. These services and apps all serve different purposes but in the end, will ensure that you have a safe and happy holiday. So start downloading and signing up not only for your convenience but also for the overall safety and wellbeing of your family and property.