IMC: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Crowned ‘Gadget of the Year’

Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 was recently awarded the ‘Gadget of the Year’ award at the India Mobile Congress, 2017. The phone that was introduced on September 12 comes with a premium price tag of Rs 67,900. The IMC, that was held in New Delhi earlier this month, said the smartphone has exclusive features and deserves this title for its contribution to the Make for India program. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is available both online on Amazon India and offline at the retail stores.
This signature offering from Samsung boasts of top notch specifications such as 6.3 inch Quad HD + Super AMOLED display, Exynos 8895 chipset, 6GB RAM and 64GB expandable storage. Also, the all new 12MP dual rear camera with one wide angle lens and one telephoto lens makes the Note 8 stand apart from the Galaxy S8. The optical image stabilisation feature in both the lenses ensures that the shots taken are not blurred even with 2x optical zoom.

The Galaxy Note 8 comes equipped with the S Pen and is powered by a 3300mAh battery. The Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system and Bixby digital assistant engineered specifically to understand the Indian accent are a big hit among customers. The live message feature, translation support and voice feature have also garnered attention across the country.
Having received immense response from the Indian market, the mobile giant aims at solidifying its stance in the premium category. The award symbolises popularity of the Galaxy Note 8 among loyal patrons of the brand. The Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India feels that it is the mindfulness along with creativity of the team that has led to the success of the Galaxy Note 8. Samsung is currently basking in the glory of the recognition earned and feels honoured to have been presented with such a prestigious award.
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How To Go Offline Without Getting Stressed

During a recent holiday in the Himalayas I happened to lodge at a homestay. A calm, serene place which had, to my joy, no TV ! Yes, I hate the idiot box. I was very excited, feasting my eyes on the greenery, till I decided to upload a photo of this beauty. Voila! The place had no mobile phone connectivity as well!
My husband had a hearty laugh, considering I am the one, out of us two (being a writer and voracious reader) who spends most of her time online. He is just the opposite! And we had to live like that for five days! He was joyous at the idea, while I was a bit lost initially. But after those five days, I felt I had undergone a detox treatment. Yes, I confess it.

1. Enjoy the “ME TIME”

So after signals could not be accessed, I had so much time at hands which I spent doing a lot of things. I also happened to explore a place which none of you will find even on Google. I penned my first travelogue sitting there. I went for long walks with my husband, which we could never do in our busy city life; we cooked together and even sang our favourite songs. And I realised it is really not that difficult “TO GO OFFLINE, WITHOUT GETTING STRESSED.”
So here backed by many, as you will read below, I will elaborate on my new-found joy which will eventually help you detoxify as well.

2. Start a Conversation

How many times in the day do you speak to the ones around you? Whether working or not, most of us these days exchange text messages, jokes, memes and even laughs as smileys over the internet. Now, recall your childhood; wasn’t it happier OFFLINE?  We had such fun, meeting friends playing with them, till internet took over.

Going offline

“In a span of two years, the hyper use of my smartphone has gotten me used to constant stimulus, and with this comes a certain anxiety of expectation. I am now working hard to reverse this habit, at times switching off literally, to escape from the constant barrage of slack, e-mail, social media and what not. The pleasure of a real conversation, a walk in the sunshine and an organic activity like sports, baking or gardening is unparalleled by the virtual universe,” opines Merril Diniz, Content & Communications Head, SHEROES.
So Merril suggests that go…grab a coffee with a co-worker or friends, put that glowing box you call a smartphone on airplane mode and have a fun chat! Remember, human-to-human interactions go a long way in strengthening personal bonds.

3. Get out, Get a A Life

I decided to discuss this topic with some more people, whose life and works revolves around staying online all the time. I was surprised to know, they prefer to go offline before starting another day.

Nitin Bhatia, Managing Director, Executive Alerts, Meltwater India told me, “My colleagues think I am online & working 24/7. And I sometimes feel the most healthy & active part of my body are my fingers as my mobile keep them busy. But I do go offline and don’t get stressed at all. I pursue my hobbies, whether being on the field playing cricket or playing badminton or simply experiment in the kitchen. So for getting disconnected from the online world means indulging in things that me happy. And the longer you spend time in a hobby, the lesser are the chances of getting stressed. In-fact they diminish.” Nitin is a former national level Badminton player as well.

4. Cure Yourself of FOMO.

Swear upon God…do you really feel good when you see those photos of friends on a vacation while you slog at work? Well don’t lie. A psychiatric study reveals that 80-90% of the current breed of the social media generation suffers from FOMO–FEAR OF MISSING OUT.”
“So going offline for a while, say for a week or few hours daily. It will cure you off this feeling of making yourself feel terrible due to a third person. You will learn the fact of life that no two people live under the same circumstances,” says psychiatrist Edwina Scott from Ontario.

5. No Stress, Only Rest

“Checking emails in bed is what I used to do, till I was diagnosed with Insomnia. So I decided to not bring any gadgets in my room. It has been six months, no withdrawal symptoms!” laughs Sita N Sinha a former bureaucrat and a very active social worker.

So mark our words and attempt small sessions offline. And we assure, you will find yourself much more productive. And for those staying alone, Maryada Sharma, Stem Cell scientist from Harvard now working with the PGI, Chandigarh, has the final advice, “Go adopt a pet and let your smartphone or laptop feel like an orphan for a while.”
Mahima Sharma, Columnist Techthirsty.com
(Author is former News Editor with CNN-News18 & ANI-Reuters)
Do write to us at editorial@techthirsty.com or Tweet to us at @Techthirsty.
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Finally, Achhe Din Aa Gaye with Diwali Sales

With festivities kicking in, online marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Nykaa, Jabong and Shop Clues are all geared up to help you fill your homes and closets with the best of goodies from the best of brands. Be it the new One +5 or an iPhone 7, Samsung’s 18-inch LED monitor or Panasonic’s 40-inch full HD LED TV, a MAC lipstick or The Body Shop’s skin care range, these e-portals offer the best of brands with a minimum discount of 15 -20 percent.

After demonetization and Modi’s GST gamble hitting the market and our pockets, these deals are worth a try. If you have been living under a rock and not shopped online yet, buying some of your preferred brands online might be the best idea this year because of all the wonderful deals you can enjoy. Ecommerce sales for retail goods are growing at an unimaginable pace because of the deals and discounts that customers enjoy. There are no two ways about it. The only challenge is to find the right deals, without falling for false promises. Along with good discounts, online shopping portals offer additional advantages like cashback on certain credit cards, 0 percent interest on EMI and more. At least now with all of the mid-season, semi-annual and festive sales, you don’t have to break the bank to give a makeover to your house or your wardrobe.

However, if you tend to get confused with the overload of information out there, owing to the extensive product range, numerous deals, discounts and hidden terms & conditions, we are happy to help.

Some simple tips to shop smartly this festive season

  • Look up the reputation

With numerous online portals floating in the marketplace, it is important to know where to shop. Make sure the website you plan to shop has a good reputation. Find this with the help of Google user reviews. In the tech-savvy world that we live in, social media platforms are also buzzing with reviews posted by shoppers. Check the credibility of the shopping site and buy products only of the brands you know of.  It is best not to purchase products solely on the basis of attractive discounts, cashbacks and attractive images.

  • Plastic money or COD?

Although Cash on Delivery might seem like a safe bet for new shoppers, swiping your debit/credit card has its own benefits. During the sale season, these websites along with partner banks offer great discounts and other benefits if the payment is done through a registered card. A lot of online shopping portals run cashback offers in tie up with various banks, which comes as a pleasant surprise in the bank account. Plastic money is also good because you can accumulate points which can be used for future purchases.

Caution remains the key when you shop with plastic money. It can trap you in a vicious circle, ruin your finances and take away all future Diwalis with it. So spend wisely and repay the bank on time.

  • Read the fine lines

A smart shopper tries to browse through different websites to check availability and prices. It is also good to read the product descriptions and reviews posted by customers who have purchased and used the same product. This is also a good way to do a price comparison to get the best deal during these festive sales. For instance, Apple iPhone 7 on Flipkart costs Rs. 39,999, while on Amazon it’s priced at Rs. 46,999.

  • Be patient

Stay away from making impulsive purchases just because of discounts and offers so you don’t burn your pocket. It is best to first decide what you actually want and avoid buying products you don’t really need. This will help you benefit from the Diwali sales, instead of being weighed down by it.

  • Watch out for hidden charges

Whilst placing your final order, check the shipping cost that is being charged. All these websites offer free shipping once your amount totals to a certain purchase value.

  • Don’t discount the ‘coupon codes’

Although you don’t want to be disturbed by numerous promotional mail and messages from these websites on an everyday basis, in order to get coupon codes and promotional discounts, it is good to subscribe for them. These portals keep running promotional offers and codes that can be used on different products offered on their website.

We hope these tips will you make better purchases this festive season without burning a hole in your pocket.

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Career-Oriented Women Prefer Family Planning: Yale Study

What do you think are the factors that affect family planning? According to a Yale study, success in careers is a determiner of family planning for career-focused women.The study was performed on the basis of survey data collected from over 4,700 US women in their middle ages. It turns out, that career-oriented women are more likely to prioritize planned pregnancy than women who are less career-focused. The study also revealed that women more conscious about their careers show higher optimism towards artificial reproduction methods and were less likely to feel concerned about artificial reproduction technologies.

In response to the study findings, co-author and gynecologist Stephen Collins of Yale New Haven Hospital said that understanding perceptions of career-focused women on fertility issues are important to those working in the field. It is surprising to see that women are optimistic about artificial reproductive technologies and that they trust such innovations.

In the study, participants were asked to rate importance of success in their lives in relation to importance to pregnancy planning and different artificial reproductive technologies. As a result, many correlations were observed in the responses. For instance, women who said success is very important were thrice more likely to vote for importance of pregnancy planning, when compared with women who gave relatively less or no importance to career success.

In all, 90% of the women surveyed were positive about using reproductive technology to conceive in their 30s. The positive response favors the research in artificial reproductive technologies. The study results make experts in the field to appreciate the research findings.

This means women are less worried about the pregnancy complication they might face with growing age. This also let women follow their dreams, excel in their professions and more importantly achieve greater strides in academics.

However, there lingers a doubt whether all the women have access to reproductive technologies. This could also cast a doubt over the study findings as career-focused women are more likely to afford reproductive technologies than those not-so -much career-focused. Because career-oriented women are more resourceful, they have an option to consider family planning.

Original source of the news – http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/09/26/study-finds-career-focused-women-prioritize-family-planning/

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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Online Shopping During Festivals

If you are a person who loves to shop wisely, then online portals must be your current favorite. Having gained vast traction, online shopping websites have exciting deals and amazing discounts for everyone. The biggest benefit of buying online is the “convenience” it offers. All you need is a decent internet connection and then you are all set to shop from anywhere, at any time. Also, almost all e-commerce brands have their own mobile apps, so this makes the shopping experience even richer. Want something? Order it while sitting in your couch in front of the television. It couldn’t get better than that, right? However, it’s always advisable to do a detailed product research before burning that hard-earned cash. User reviews have become common and you probably rely on them a great deal as they are first-hand experiences of online shoppers.

A self-confessed shopaholic, I do my research well. Even if I have to buy a pen drive, I have, like many of you, mastered the art of comparison. By comparing the product prices on different e-commerce websites, not only am I able to save a few extra bucks but also get a sense of satisfaction and victory. Human behavior I blame!

With the ongoing festive sale on different E-commerce websites, thousands of us flock the online market to get the best deal at low prices. With a plethora of options, the offers are mind-boggling, transaction is secure, shipping is fast and even the return policies are clearly stated. Having plenty of pluses in their kitty, these websites attracts consumers from all walks of life who can browse different categories more quickly than physically strolling down the aisles, and can do so 24 hours a day, without ever having to head to the shop.

Online shoppers tend to have hiccups the first few times. They doubt the authenticity and credibility of websites. One of the key concerns is investing in something without having the product in hand. There is the Indian psyche of enjoying a one-to-one relationship with the salesman.

Shopping online during the festival season can work well

To help those who want to shop online this season for the first time ever, we look at some important tips from people who shop online really, really frequently.

Access it anytime, anywhere: Online shopping allows the consumer to shop from any vendor, at any time, and from anywhere in the world. It offers availability of a range of merchandise and brands in a single place. All one needs is a mobile or a laptop and internet connection and then you are set to shop across multiple marketplaces.

Enjoy better deals and promotions online: With festivities around the corner, all the big e-commerce players have announced massive discounts along with their current promotional campaigns. It also allows the buyers to find the best quality products at the best affordable prices. This proves to be a great catch for those who are planning to buy new phones, LEDs, etc. as there are amazing discounts going on.

It’s the best for busy bees out there:For anyone who is busy, online shopping is a life saver. With only weekends to rest, online shopping sites have saved  valuable shopping time that is usually spend stuck on choked-up roadways. Shopping can now be done without worrying about the time restrictions or location constraints. The virtual world of shopping is now easily accessible with a click and the product gets delivered at your doorstep.

What are the disadvantages of shopping online?

Pretty much like everything that is new, online shopping tends to have its disadvantages. Let us look at some things you should watch out for.

Look for warranty information:Products sold on these websites often lack internal warranty. So in case of a problem, it tends to leave you clueless. Another important thing to consider is the return policy. Whilst some promise a one-year return policy, others might not state anything regarding the exchange rule.

Beware of being fleeced:Since in online shopping you cannot get the feel of the product, meaning that you can’t touch it, there are websites who often take advantage of this factor and sell products of inferior quality. Also, with Photoshop becoming a handy tool, people often get confused by the appearance and later regret.

Scams are commonplace:A common place for consumers to frolic, online scams have also raised at a tremendous rate. With zillion options available, consumers often tend to pick up the site that offers the lowest price, however the transaction is not secure. In such cases, the person is not only defeated but also loses trust in these portals.

Improving every day, internet shopping is a usefuland worthy industry. For instance, imagine yourself in a place which doesn’t have a fancy mall or a good dealership from where you can purchase a branded ear phone or a music player, online shopping has made life easy for you. All you need to do is to go to a trusted website, click on the desired product and check the reviews. Then add it to the cart, choose payment option and wait for 4-5 days to have it delivered to your doorstep.

Happy digital shopping!

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How do you greet people? In person or Social Media?

My mom’s good morning blessings by 6am make my day…everyday. But this Durga Navmi instead of the message, I got her call early morning.

I was a bit startled…a fear of the unknown sunk in. The first thing I asked was, “Are you ok? Is everything all right? Such an early morning call?” She laughed and said, “Beta, it is Durga Navmi Puja today, I wanted to bless you..wake you up with my voice, wish you in person. What is so unusual?”

I had no answer. Though we spoke for sometime, but my mind was elsewhere.

Something had jolted me, her answer…followed by her question. “I wanted to wish you in person.” “What is so unusual?”

Yes, what was so unusual? I began to dig my brain and decided to pen my introspection supported by a few with whom I happened to discuss this sudden awakening. “How many of us wish people/ relatives/ each other in person?”

Email and Social Media did bring the world closer, but the personal touch got lost somewhere. So where are we heading to?

1. A ‘Broadcast’ of Greetings & Best Wishes

Social media, relationships, interactions, less social contact, long distance relationships

“Happy Birthday” to “Happy Diwali” and “Happy New Year”– all these are now a common broadcast sent in one go. From warm hand-written letters and bright and beautiful greeting cards that adorned my home’s walls each year…we graduated to E-mails. Soon even the animated E-greeting, which to some extent tried to carry forward the warmth, got replaced. We the Robots now poke at our glowing metal boxes aka smartphones to BROADCAST greetings. To add on, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all set into motion. Virtual warmth has replaced in-person love.

Siddhartha Upadhyay, Social Entrepreneur & Sports Promoter from New Delhi says, “Digital media has given wings to the escapists in us. The boon to connect us is being mis-used to veil our lethargy. Talking, meeting and greeting people formed the basis of civilisation that gave us a sense of belonging. Lack of this feeling is giving birth to social diseases like callousness. High time we realise that social media was developed for social networking and not for social disconnect.”

2. Conversation Died a Tragic Death

Social media, relationships, interactions, less social contact, long distance relationships

 

My friend wanted to plan a holiday in Goa. She recently requested recommendations through a public post on Facebook. In the pre-social media era, we would actually walk-up to our friends or may be call them on phone….had a real conversation, over pleasantries exchanged.

“Same is with our children. Group studies, games in the garden and long-chats under the colony trees were our happy life. Now children exchange notes through mails, play games poking the plastic, glowing boxes in their hands and chat into the night over various social media messengers,” says child psychologist Shahana Singh from New Jersey.

Result? When you introduce them to your friends who have come over for dinner, they utter a small ‘Hello’ and get back to the glowing “dabba’ in their vicinity…whether a TV or a Smartphone.

On the contrary, Monita Sharma, Communication Strategist and NRI in Sydney Australia ensures she calls her parents, siblings, relatives and friends asking their well being as well as exchange greetings on special occasions. “As mother of twin boys, I strongly believe a personal touch is much needed. And whatever I do, will be picked up by my children,” asserts Monita.

3. We are Social, yet so Lonely!

One of my former’s boss’ son recently got married. I was thrilled to see that septuagenarians and octogenarians had out-numbered the youngsters. Groom’s own childhood friends could not make it and sent him gifts bought online or text messages. But these relatives made it even with their walking sticks! Why? I overheard one his grannies, “This was perhaps the last opportunity or among the last one left to meet the entire clan in person. My son wants me to learn WhatsApp, but I somehow could not.” In my heart I thanked God for not letting it happen.

How elated were the Bride and the groom to have them around! How joyous were these wrinkled faces with bright eyes and ear-to-ear smiles! And how lonely were those who could not make it. Sigh.

Isn’t it an empty feeling of having it all but then not having anything at all? Isn’t it a reminder that our journey into the age of information has come at a cost? At the cost of personal touch? At the cost for warmth in relationships? At the cost of basic communication we all must do?

“I stay in Dubai. Social Media and facilities like Skype help me connect to my family and friends back home in India. But I ensure that it doesn’t happen in the city I stay. A warm ‘Hello’ or a ‘knock at the door’ takes just a few minutes,” says Swati Smita an NRI and former hotelier.

Change begins from home. So this festival season…spread warmth, spread cheer, spread love…IN PERSON. Try…it isn’t that difficult, our elders have already shown us the way.

Mahima Sharma, Columnist, TechThirsty
(Author is former News Editor with CNN-News, 18, ANI-Reuters)

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Why Do You Need to Shop on Black Friday?

This year, Black Friday falls on 24th November 2017. Most of us like this day because it is the best day to shop. It’s the best holiday if you like to shop. Let’s trace back to the origin of this holiday that is celebrated in many countries today and the number is on the rise. The day is considered as the busiest shopping day of the year. Stores open as early as 4 AM. Some even open at midnight to offer promotional sales.

So why is the day called ‘Black Friday’, why not Red or Blue? Well the term was coined by Philadelphia police or bus drivers to describe the traffic observed a day after Thanksgiving. Streets were clogged with traffic caused by people heading to shopping stores. However, businesses did not like this negative explanation to the term and later, a new explanation came to be.

Sale day in other words, Black Friday is followed every year with multiple controversies. Most of them associated with lack of staff in stores, exposing them to over shifts, and rise in visitors’ violence. The day comes after Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated every fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Though not an official holiday, California and few other states in the US observe Black Friday as a holiday, which is followed by two weekends offs leading to a four-day shopping weekend.

The approaching Monday is coined as Cyber Monday. It is another shopping day for those who still wants to shop or didn’t find what they were looking for over the weekend. However, on Cyber Monday people shop online. This means people can make purchases from their offices and homes. Cyber Monday was the busiest day of 2014 with $2 billion sales in desktop online spending which was higher by 17% from the previous year.

Black Friday indicates the beginning of Christmas shopping season. During the 19th and 20th Century, stores would advertise Christmas shopping on the occasion of Thanksgiving. Back then, Thanksgiving parades sponsored by shopping stores were used to advertise Christmas shopping. Many people view this practice as inappropriate and it became socially unacceptable. But soon, people came up with the idea to start advertising Christmas shopping after Thanksgiving Day. It is now fashionable ‘not’ to advertise Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving.

The story has a capitalist angle too. Many believe that stores wanted the Christmas shopping season to stay on for longer. To offer a solution to this, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November instead of the last Thursday. This extended the shopping season by a week. Later, an act of Congress reinforced this change.

Are you up for some Black Friday sales online now? Watch this space to stay tuned for some great Black Friday deals in the coming weeks.

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Is the 280 Character Count a Sign of Twitter’s Nervousness?

 

Silicon-valley giant Twitter has never turned a profit in the 11 years of its consequential existence. The real hit seemed to be when the company reported a further 8% decline in its first-quarter revenue to $548m in July this year. Advertisers of Twitter saw waning value in the social media giant and ad revenue for the three-month period fell 11% at $474m.

At the time though, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey celebrated the report saying the number of daily active users on the social media had gone up to 328 million for the fourth consecutive quarter. He said the number of users went up 14% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Clearly, the company knows that it is up against some strong currents. Competing with companies like Facebook and Google makes it a bigger challenge for Twitter.

Noticing the lowering interest of its subscribers, Twitter gave some flexibility to the character limit by allowing images and pictures in addition to the character count. The @replies were also excluded from the count. Things have not changed despite these efforts. People are not staying on the social media platform long enough. English-speaking users, who make a bulk of their subscribers, are posting lesser on the social media platform. This is with reference to Twitter’s blog post mentioning that the testing of 280 characters comes from the fact that Japanese, Chinese, and Korean languages are more space-efficient than others.

News that Twitter will now be testing the possibility of a 280-character count is a sign of nervousness. Twitter is trying to introduce a much higher character count for Tweets but fans of the crisp networking platform are not really thrilled.

Some responses on Twitter to this increase in character count came like this:

 

Twitter has to find ways to make itself profitable. Currently, that’s what the company needs to focus on. It is not that the investors are expecting a lot from the company’s growth. It has to fight for ad revenue against strong competitors like Facebook and Google. While the latter has always shown value for advertiser money, Facebook has also made itself profitable in the recent times. Clearly, Twitter needs to move that way soon.

Increasing the character count might not be good for its regular visitors. However, there are hopes that it would encourage more users to visit the platform more frequently. Additionally, it would benefit brands, which tend to face constraints while using Twitter as an integral part of their promotional mix.

Investors are ready to wait on this move. Twitter stock went up 2.17% yesterday by USD .36. Seeing the initial responses on Twitter, it looks like this one could pick up soon enough. Here are some Tweets from users who received the 280 character limit right after the announcement.

Speaking of the new test, the company acknowledged the emotions of those who have been tweeting for years with 140 characters. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint,” the company said.

Twitter does have greater challenges to deal, apart from the character limit. Two of the key issues are that of maintaining an active user base, and generating value for investors.

 

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Are You Raising a Screen Slave?

A friend’s five-year-old son refuses to eat or do his school-work unless she hands him a smartphone. Whose fault? Well, we are not here for a blame game, but let’s try to find a solution to this viral problem. First thing’s first, let’s be realistic and accept that technology is re-defining our lives. It is important for a child to have an aptitude for technology. Another thing we need to accept is that being born around gadgets, children are getting addicted faster. The question is: “How to ensure we don’t raise a screen-slave at home?” I spoke to many parents and experts to draw out some conclusions to help us ascertain we are not raising one!

“First of all restrict the use of your own gadget in front of them. Someone is watching even if I am not acting; he follows what I do, not what I say. That someone is my child,” asserts Aalok Sharma, a merchant navy officer currently working in Hong Kong.

1. Gadgets cannot work as babysitters

Don’t expect gadgets to substitute your presence. It’s fair that with both parents working, paying attention to your child at all times can be difficult. You might not have as much time to devote to your child as you would like. But, remember that nothing can replace the presence of a parent. And if it does or has, it must raise an alarm.

Aviation Engineer Sherpal Singh from Goa, India tells me, “Rather than a ‘Gadget Bar’ we need a ‘Relationship-Academy’ at home. Understand your child’s needs and build your relationship around it; it is the only way out.”

screen slaves

“If I chose to be a parent, why outsource my child to technology? We have to build a bond beyond gadgets,” says Abhimanyu Pratap Singh, media entrepreneur and father to a three -year-old girl.

I agree. My neighbour’s seven-year-old daughter doesn’t hunt for gadgets when her software engineer mother and banker father are at work. She is either doing her homework, engaged in crafts, or taking a siesta to stay fresh.

2. Involve children in arts & craft

Child psychologist Ridhima Nair Paul writes to me from Canada, “Colours and crafts open out a new world to children–a world of imagination, a world of creativity, a world of dreams, a world of goals beyond mundane life. Rather than feeding your kid by handing over a smartphone, make her hold a crayon & paper and draw the food she is eating.”

3. Encourage outdoor activities

Let’s stop making excuses about not having enough outdoor space. Even gardening or tending to potted plants (which we all have) is an outdoor activity. A child racing in the lawn, feeding the birds and breathing in nature is likely to enjoy better mental stimulation than one hooked to a gadget.

Parenting, outdoor play

Rashpal Dasgotra–father to a son and a daughter–both below the age of 10 says, “I engage them in channelizing their energy in physical as well as mental exercises. And for this I take them to play outdoors; to travel with me as often as possible. We visit farms and explore places of interest. I gift them sports gears rather than a new gadget. Eventually, the screen will come into their lives. So why now?” Rashpal is a senior journalist with Korean TV’s India bureau in New Delhi. He is mostly busy on outdoor shoots but finds time to do this.

4. Encourage personal visits over media chats

Remember, how as kids we used to visit our friends to enjoy group study or to play outdoors? Then why are our children restricted to a social media messenger to exchange the same warmth? Think about it. “Man is a social animal. And we are our ourselves deviating our children from the same fact,” says Thomas N Sean, a psychiatrist from Italy.

5. Introduce them to good literature

Aalok’s wife Suveera Sharma shuttles between India and Hong Kong, balancing life between her husband and in-laws staying in India. Hong Kong is a far more technically-developed city than Indian metropolises. Yet, she doesn’t believe in handing over a gadget to her teenage daughter. Instead, she keeps her free to read books and novels. She also prefers to see her son play outdoors.

6. Don’t be a spy, be a cautious caretaker

Psychologist David Thompson from Sydney writes to me, “If your child is already an addict to a gadget, it will take time, patience and love to get him/her out of that zone. Firstly, restrict the use at your end. And then teach the child harms of excessive use, rather than scolding him/her, snatching away the gadget etc.” (sic).

All of the above are some great tips that parents and psychologists follow to ensure children are not addicted to technology. Shobha Rana Grover, mother to a tiny tot and an NRI in Germany sums up everyone’s dilemma well: “Parenting has no set of rules. But it is a dynamic subject like Science, which can be handled best with a little guidance from experts.”

Mahima Sharma, Columnist TechThirsty
(Author is a former News Editor at CNN-News18, ANI-Reuters)

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Sarahah-The App You Hate is Out to Help Women!

We Love to Hate Sarahah

As teenagers some of us perhaps wrote anonymous letters to teachers and classmates either for fun or to convey something which otherwise couldn’t be dared to. As adults these came to be known as whistleblowers who take shelter and pride in anonymity.

Perhaps taking a cue, the new internet sensation – an app called Sarahah (Arabic for honesty) was designed. Launched in February 2017, Sarahah was designed to allow users submit ‘honest’ comments, questions, and critiques to their peers. Though the App tops the charts for app downloads, but it has found more criticism than appreciation.

Sapna Bakshi who works at the reputed Job4Her podium, which helps women get back to work after a sabbatical, says, “I am totally against this app; if not used diligently, this app also has potential to be very risky. People tend to misuse it in a wrong way for bullying others and get into cyber crime. Secondly, this will encourage in ‘wearing a mask’—thus lack of confidence and inefficiency in a person, especially youngsters.”

Brand and Communications professional, Smriti Advani is also not very appreciative of the App. Mother to a one-year-old girl and based in the tech-city Bengaluru, Smriti’s latest social media post goes as follows:

My friend and former colleague from CNN-News18, Megha Mamgain an Executive Producer & Anchor asserts,” For millions of users, social media is a wall they hide behind to fire un-parliamentary words, threats, their frustrations at you. The anonymity the new app Sarahah is claiming to provide is just a boon for trolls as well as criminals. A girl just got a rape threat through the app – I rest my case.”

I do not disagree with these three women and many more who wrote to me in a similar fashion. After all, the reports of the App now facing flak for encouraging trolls to send abusive and threatening messages are pouring in.

Amit Garg Director – Devoir Technologies Pvt Ltd in Chandigarh asserts, “These women have a valid point. Although you can block the messages, the user will still need to read the message first. As such, women and teenagers girls fall easy prey to this kind of online abuse and harassment. So why do we need an App for more?”

So should Sarahah be banned? Was the idea a total disaster?

No, the Idea is a boon for many via two good samaritans. These two women are ‘revolutionising the life of other women’ through Sararah. Yes, you heard it right!

Sararah–The Women Healthline

Meet Pallavi Pareek, Managing Partner, Ensuring Diversity and Inclusivity through Legal Compliance at Ungender.in

And Swarnima Bhattarcharya, founder of Women’s Health Line (WHL) which is promotes informed and healthy conversation around women’s health.

We first come to Swarnima who inspired Pallavi. After seeing a downpour of hate posts on her social media feed, Swarnima decided to put the app to a better use in a country where for most of the women discussing openly about their bodies and related issues is still a distant dream. She thought ‘Why not ask women to send queries they were too shy/afraid/confused to ask anyone publicly?

Swarnima writes to me, “Not only did people love the idea, we received 150+ responses in just 3 days, and it inspired a few sister organisations to do the same. We are answering all queries on our Instagram handle womenshealthline.” The company’s page is flooded with questions ranging from sexuality and menstruation to domestic abuse.

Two users of this idea WHL spoke to me on condition of retaining their anonymity. They happen to be friends’ friend. I list one of them here, a mother whose happy tears could be felt on phone. Mrs Abholkar (name changed) a 50-year-old home-manager from Mumbai told me,” I was facing issues with my gay son. My family just doesn’t let me talk or discuss with anyone for the fear of repute. Connecting to WHL through Sararah has pulled me out of depression and given a big hope for my son. God bless the founder.”

Whether health issues or other, Swarnima informs these queries are answered by WHL consultants who are counselors and medical professionals. WHL claims to be currently the only platform in the country that exclusively deals with Women’s Health issues by exploring through various forms of media and experts. And with Sararah being put to an amazing use…they have clearly changed the game for women!

Sarahah–The Women Helpline

Pallavi Pareek, founder of  Ungender.in went a step ahead of Swarnima. I let her explain in her own words, “Few years ago we launched @AskPallavi using social media and it was very helpful to invite questions. But we noticed that people were still hesitant in framing the questions right or concerned specially with their name being visible to everyone. Eventually people started messaging us privately. With “Sarahah” we are looking forward to transparency of reality for the state of sexual harassment laws while the identity of the individual remains hidden.

Pallavi adds, “We have launched an anonymous query profile for people who have any question with respect to sexual harassment laws, incidents, remedies, authorities, wayouts, and more. If you ahem a query, Leave them here—> sexualharassmentatworkplace.Sarahah.com

I happened to discuss this with Amit Garg of Devoir Technologies Pvt Ltd again. He jumps at it, ” Wow! This effort will go a long way to help women.” Looking at his young techie wife Aditi who also beams at this idea, Amit adds,” Such message through Sarahah will go a long way in revolutionising the life of the women as a constructive feedback will help them pave a better way ahead of them. All this effort needs is a good journalism about it (please pen a story he requests) and ample positive marketing on various social media sites.”

Thus to help you connect to more such websites, who are saving both women and Sarahah from disgrace, we at Techthirsty.com are providing you a few links below:

Women’s Health LineUngenderThe AWARE Foundation

Mahima Sharma, Columnist TechThirsty
The author is former News Editor with CNN-News18 and ANI-Reuters

Do write to us at editorial@techthirsty.com or Tweet to us at @Techthirsty.

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