Technology For Good
your children to use technology, such as mobile phones,
ethically and responsibly not only gives you the opportunity to
connect your values to their behavior, it helps them develop the
skills they need to operate in today’s world.
To assist parents with information on topics ranging from
sexting to phone etiquette to driving while texting, LG Mobile
Phones created LG Text Ed. The program includes an advisory
council of experts who provide materials for
www.LGTextEd.com on a
The council suggests these guidelines:
• Kids under about 12 shouldn’t use a mobile phone for
anything but calling parents or 911.
• For teenagers, mobile phones can be beneficial when
plans change and they need to reach out to you to pick them up
or provide help.
• If your child is at an activity or party, checking
in with a parent via a mobile phone provides a sense of
grounding. The kids know you’re being watchful and you know you
can reach your child.
• Mobile phones can help your child reach out to a
peer for advice, to provide support and to engage in healthy,
meaningful social interactions.
• With fancy gadgets comes increased accountability.
When you set guidelines and appropriate boundaries for mobile
phone usage, you foster healthy communications, responsible
ownership and adherence to house rules.
• Environmental awareness. About 130 million mobile
phones end up in U.S. landfills annually, and could contaminate
land and water supplies. Many socially conscious programs,
however, can help kids exercise environmental stewardship by
recycling mobile phones. For example, LG’s Txt 2 Recycle and
ecoMobilization movement raise awareness about the ecological
impact of e-waste. The programs motivate students and give them
tools for action, such as contests to collect and recycle mobile
phones to help reduce e-waste and raise money for any cause
important to them.
• You can encourage good usage. Kids learn by watching
• Make sure your kids never share their mobile phone
passwords with anyone except you.
• Examine your child’s cell phone bill—know whom
they’re calling and when.
• Take advantage of usage controls such as the ability
to restrict contacts to an approved list, limit purchases made
through the phone, GPS locator and limit the time the phone may
• Additional insights on how to promote sensible
mobile phone usage according to the experts at the LG Text Ed
Advisory Council are at
www.LGTextEd.com and the LG Text Ed campaign.
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Little Ones Discover The Big World
babies learn to understand the larger world around them is not
only vital, it’s usually fun. The littlest thing can be a really
big insight for babies and it can be thrilling to watch their
surprise as they discover something they do can have an effect.
While thinking up ways to get a response out of baby can be
delightful, it’s often a creative challenge for busy parents.
Nationally recognized expert in child care and development Dr.
Karen Hill-Scott (Ed.D., Learning
and Development, UCLA) believes interaction is the key
ingredient in a baby’s development and she has some timely tips
on how to make it happen without a lot of planning or effort:
• Playtime. “For a baby, any time is playtime,” notes Dr.
Hill-Scott, “and it’s more about finding the fun during routine
daily activities than it is about making structured plans. In
fact, having a predictable daily routine is very helpful for
baby’s understanding of how the world works.”
As little ones grow, they’ll play alone and with others. Each
situation offers different benefits. Playing with other children
can help build socialization skills and playing with parents is
invaluable because it strengthens language and emotional bonds.
Toys are always a big hit during playtime and help to build
skill sets—just be sure to look for toys that correspond to your
• Story Time. It’s never too early to begin reading to
baby. Little ones love books with bright colors and sharp
contrasts. Look for books that have pictures from everyday life
so your baby will begin to make those connections. Books with
texture or pop-up surprises are fun. Remember to put your best
dramatic expression into your storytelling because hearing your
voice and your language discussing what’s on the page is just as
important as the pictures baby sees.
• Video Time. Dr. Hill-Scott has had a prominent role
in developing groundbreaking children’s programming for
Nickelodeon, NBC, Discovery Kids, PBS, The Henson Company, Sony
Wonder and the Disney Channel. “There is a variety of content
available on TV and on DVD these days that is very helpful in
making connections between the images that babies see and hear
on screen and what they experience in real life. Laughing and
playing together through media is one of many ways to discover
what fascinates your baby. Talk about what’s on screen just as
you would with a picture book.”
Dr. Hill-Scott recently worked with The Baby Einstein Company
in the development of the latest collection of Discovery Kits
that help parents make these connections while introducing
classical music, nature and the arts in playful, interactive
ways. Each kit includes a DVD, a music CD and picture book or
set of Discovery Cards that complement each other, giving
parents a variety of ways to interact with their babies. Learn
• Travel Time. Dr. Hill-Scott also notes, “With so
many people on the go these days, keeping baby happy and
entertained is critical.” She suggests packing a baby gear bag
with food and comfort toys that your baby loves. Then make sure
baby has something to look at and touch from the vantage point
of the infant seat. Puppets, plush toys, lighted mirrors and
other interactive toys make travel time less tense.
• Quiet Time. With such a big world to explore and
keep baby occupied, it’s important to have some daily
“downtime.” Transitioning from activity to quiet time can be
easy with music or books and can also be the best time for quiet
interaction. Consider products that can help slow the pace and
create a more relaxed environment you can enjoy together.
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Track For A Great Time
have always fascinated kids and provided a great opportunity for
all generations to enjoy time together. There are several ways
to incorporate trains into your plans this spring and summer,
all of which are sure to be exciting and fun but also
educational for the entire family.
For a memorable experience,
consider taking a train on your next vacation or long weekend
getaway. Make plans to board Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, a
scenic ride that travels along Southern California’s coast. Or,
take a trip into New York City on the Northeast Regional line.
When planning the trip, also consider places that feature
train museums, historic railroad rides or train-themed
restaurants. Hop aboard Durango, Colorado’s historic Silverton
Narrow Gauge Railroad to experience a steam locomotive ride, or
enjoy ocean views on Newport, Rhode Island’s Dinner Train.
You can also ask nearby railroad lines if they offer
kid-friendly guided tours, so the entire family can enjoy seeing
how the train and train station operate.
Ideas for rainy days include having a train movie marathon.
Introduce older children to classic flicks featuring trains,
such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or a more modern
title like “Train Master,” depending on their age.
For preschoolers, there’s even a new television series that
features characters that are all trains. “Chuggington,” a
CGI-animated television show that airs daily on Disney Channel’s
Disney Junior, follows the humorous adventures of three
“trainees,” Koko, Wilson and Brewster, who live and work in the
town of Chuggington. The show is populated by dozens of trains
of all shapes and sizes, all of whom work to make Chuggington a
Along with all the adventure, each episode teaches positive
life lessons to help with preschoolers’ social skills. The older
and wiser engines on the show provide guidance and encouragement
as the trainees learn about friendship, the importance of
telling the truth, completing tasks, resolving conflict and
other important values, all with humor to which little ones can
Kids can now re-create the adventures and stories of their
favorite characters in “Chuggington” with new collectible
engines and train sets available in stores. Train play is a
great way to stimulate kids’ imaginations and has been shown to
improve fine motor skills.
For more fun, consider hosting a train-themed party for your
children and their friends. Kids can help make their own train
ticket invitations and decorate train-themed cupcakes.
Train-inspired games and activities can include “Conductor
Says,” musical trains or a scavenger hunt with a train map.
Add some color to your party by incorporating “Chuggington”
characters and playing some of the games from the website,
Note to Editors: While May 7, which has been
declared National Train Day, is a good time to run this article,
it can be used at any time.
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The Sims For A Trip Back In Time
news for anyone who’s ever longed for the adventure, romance and
beauty of medieval times is that now you can immerse yourself in
that world—at least virtually.
A New Way To Have
The Sims franchise, the groundbreaking game series that
allows players to create and live a virtual, simulated life on a
computer, celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2010 with an
impressive more than 125 million units sold since its launch in
Now, players can guide heroes on legendary quests in “The
Sims Medieval.” This game lets players see how their Sims’ lives
play out in a medieval time period.
You can build up a medieval kingdom, participate in quests
and fulfill story line elements. Players will find their Sims in
such situations as poisoning the king, searching for dragons,
putting other Sims in the stocks or having them face the Pit
Beast. Every quest plays out differently.
Everything in the game is crafted to create an attractive
medieval world you can explore. The medieval objects—tapestries,
clothing and furniture, even the Sims themselves—look different
from the modern versions due to the warm glow behind the
characters and the artistically painted approach to the world
Players get close to their characters, send them on epic
quests and make sure they carry out their daily
responsibilities, including healing the sick for a Physician
Sim, trading for exotic goods as a
Merchant Sim and forging armor as a
The game is rated T for Teen by the ESRB.
For more fun with medieval Sims, visit
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Adventure Video Game Gets The Whole Family Involved
families move from outside to indoor entertainment this holiday
season, video games take center stage and all eyes are on the
next group experience. Speeding to the front of the line are
family-friendly games for the Wii
with one notable offering being Cars Toon:
Mater’s Tall Tales from Disney Interactive Studios. This game
brings the popular Disney•Pixar Cars
film franchise to the Wii where up
to four players compete.
Adding to the experience is Larry the Cable Guy as the voice
of Mater in the film, Disney•Pixar’s
Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales
cartoon shorts and now this video game. His indelible voice
quickly engages players as Mater and his pals relive wild
stories about hilariously unpredictable events.
Families play through competitive and cooperative
multi-player games inspired by the popular Mater’s Tall Tales
animated short series. These bring Mater together with Lightning
McQueen and the Cars gang for a new set of adventures, capturing
the endearing sense of humor of the lovable tow truck.
Cars Toon: Mater’s Tall Tales
features more than 30 levels of fun with
gameplay modes that include “Mater the Greater,” “El
Materdor” and “Rescue Squad Mater.”
Additionally, players can also customize the look of cars with
collectibles earned during their adventures.
For more information, visit
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Photographing Happy Memories Can Be A Snap
just a little bit of planning and a basic understanding of your
camera’s features and modes, creating great photo memories can
be quick and easy.
The features and capabilities found in
today’s point-and-shoot cameras are much more advanced, creative
and fun than in years past. Here’s a look at just a few:
• Classic Images: Black-and-white photography has a
classic appeal because it enhances detail and captures the depth
of a given subject. For an elegant picture, take the camera out
of “Auto” mode and select the “B&W” option. Similarly, you can
capture an image with the “Sepia Tone” mode to create a golden
brown, antiqued photograph that’s nice for a family portrait.
• Come to the Point: All good photographs have a main
focal point that draws the attention of the viewer.
• Find a Fun Perspective: Capturing your photos in a
different, creative perspective using the “Fish-Eye Effect” or
“Miniature Effect” mode can let you create fun images to share
with your friends. The “Fish-Eye Effect” creates a “ballooned
out” perspective of the subject you’re shooting.
The “Miniature Effect” mode blurs the top and bottom of an
image to give the effect of photographing a miniature-scale
model. This is excellent for shooting landscapes or scenery from
a high vantage point. You can choose to keep the image B&W and
accent one color, such as red or green, with “Color Accent”
mode. In this mode, you can unleash an artistic touch to create
beautiful black-and-white photos, isolating a single color that
will “pop” out of the image.
• Bounce off the Walls: Your flash, that is. Instead
of a picture taken in the harsh light of a direct flash, aim the
flash at the wall or ceiling and photograph your subject in the
warm glow of its diffused light.
• Smile and Shoot: You can also use a self-timer to
make sure everyone in your family photo is picture ready. Use
your camera’s self-timer to make sure the entire family is in
place for the photo. Instead of a self-timer, certain Canon
cameras have Smart Shutter Technology. With a single wink at the
camera, it releases the shutter and takes the photo. You can
also set the camera to detect a smile and the shutter will then
be released. This avoids you having to rush into the picture and
gives everyone time to put on their best smile.
• Fill the Frame: A common error among part-time
photographers is that the subjects seem off in the distance with
lots of space around them. Fill your frame with your subject
either by using your zoom lens or just moving in closer.
• Bright Ideas for Taking Pictures in the Dark: With
so many fine photo opportunities taking place in low light
during nighttime, you may care to consider a camera that comes
equipped with technology to ensure crisp photos when light is
not optimal. To help maximize your photos in dark settings, most
digital cameras offer “Night Mode” for clear photos even when
shooting in low-light situations. Canon has a new feature in its
PowerShot models, called the HS (high-sensitivity) System. This
helps capture high-quality images in low light without the use
of a flash, expand the camera’s dynamic range and reduce noise
at high ISO levels, ultimately capturing greater detail and
color in images in low-light settings.
• Learn More: For more information on digital cameras,
www.usa.canon.com/powershot or call (516) 328-5000.
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Parks—A Fun, Budget-Friendly Activity
entertaining way to get out and experience nature while
promoting an active, healthier lifestyle with your family may be
to visit a national park. There are over 400 parks and sites
throughout the U.S. Here are some hints on how to make the most
of your park time:
If You Only Have One Day
Most parks offer a fun and free way to get outside and enjoy
the natural wonders of this country. A rewarding day could
include picnicking, walking, bicycling, fishing or horseback
riding. Also, most parks have a variety of hiking trails that
will give you something different to explore every time you
If You Have a Few Days
Whether you’re a nature aficionado who prefers to “tent camp”
or a newcomer who enjoys the comforts of a cabin, there are
accommodations suited for practically any preference. Spend a
few days to get the most out of your “family time” by doing fun
activities, while learning firsthand about natural features,
wildlife and history.
Fun at the Park Back at Home
For national park fun in the comfort of your home, you can
watch “Yogi Bear,” the heartwarming Blu-ray combo pack and DVD
now available from Warner Bros. The family-friendly film
features everyone’s favorite pic-a-nic basket−stealing bear,
Yogi. In the latest live-action adventure, Yogi discovers that
Jellystone Park is being sold, tossing him, Boo Boo and all
their friends out of the only home they’ve ever known. He and
Boo Boo join forces with his long-standing friendly rival,
Ranger Smith, and must find a way to save the park. Set against
the natural beauty of national parks, “Yogi Bear” is a great way
to show your family all the fun the outdoors has to offer.
National parks can be a wonderful getaway for families to
have some fun while making invaluable memories that will last a
For more information on national parks, visit
www.us-national-parks.net; for more information on “Yogi
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Fever Pandemic To Follow Frigid Winter
most of the United States, it has been a long, cold winter. Many
cities, in fact, reported their coldest, wettest winters in
history, which experts say is the source of a “Summer Fever”
pandemic not seen in decades.
Summer Fever symptoms include a
sudden urge to indulge in new experiences and find new sources
of fun. It’s akin to the feeling of freedom after the last day
Although Summer Fever is not great news for employers in
terms of productivity, it’s a boon for boat dealers who provide
the means to indulge in all that summer fun. And interest is
already starting to take hold, as evidenced by winter boat shows
around the country reporting attendance jumps upwards of 14
percent compared to previous years.
This trend could benefit companies that make products focused
on making it easy for first-time buyers to enter the boating
market. One such company is Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, which
sells personal watercraft under the WaveRunner brand and
runabout boats 21 and 24 feet in length. Yamaha’s focus on value
and cost control has helped the brand become the best-selling
personal watercraft in the industry today as well as the
best-selling boats in the 20- to 25-foot category.
According to Bryan Seti, national marketing manager for
Yamaha Watercraft, WaveRunner and boat sales are exceeding
2010−2011 projections, with most boat show markets reporting
double-digit sales increases.
“Following this brutal winter, all eyes are already on the
summer months. And this comes as consumer savings are at a high
not seen in many years and interest rates remain very low,” said
Seti. “Visitor traffic on our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
channels is buzzing with activity, which we see as a clear
indication that people are ready for summer, and they are
excited to get outdoors and recreate with the family.”
Erin Shaughnessy, producer for the recreational boating
website Best of Boating, concurs with Seti. “Our visitor traffic
is at an all- time high, which is a good sign for the boating
industry, which has been beaten up during the last few years.
Boat buyers are still looking for a great value and low cost of
ownership, which are areas where companies like Yamaha have a
A recent survey of Best of Boating visitors shows that boat
and personal watercraft buyers are thinking with their left
brain when it comes to a pending boat purchase.
“Our visitors have become more rational when it comes to
paying for unnecessary features and more analytical when it
comes to comparing brand reliability, fuel efficiency and the
daily cost of operation,” said Shaughnessy. “For 2011, less is
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