Our Modern Family and a Life Lived Online……….some of the time!

The Best Nest Blog turned 11 years old in October (that’s pretty much a century in blogger years lol) and, I must give credit where credit’s due.  By very definition, my blog wouldn’t be beaming its way around the world without the web, which I wouldn’t be able to access without the internet.  So, thank you mystical online world, existing in the ether, of which I have zero understanding outside of my own domain name!

Much has changed in our family over the past decade, Dave transitioned from a Marine Engineer working with his hands, on boats every day, to an IT Project Manager working from home, Ethan grew waaaayy too fast and is now a bona fide teenager, and our family grew from 3 to 4 with the arrival of Nixon just over 5 years ago. It was at this time that I decided NOT to go back to my former job and to focus exclusively on life as a ‘Mummy Blogger’.

Fast forward to 2018 and Dave and I are happily co-working from home, sharing one, long desk and at last count there are 17 devices in our home (sometimes more) connected to the internet at any one time.  That’s mental, but I know our family is NOT highly unusual, at least not here in New Zealand.  We are also travelling frequently for work,which presents its own series of online obstacles to overcome.

“With great internet access comes great responsibility”.

Our job as the parents in this online family environment is to facilitate a level of suitable internet accessibility for the boys – and their friends as is often the case.  But whilst doing so, there’s an inherent obligation to maintain their online safety, the security of our own digital assets, those of Dave’s employer and the integrity of my own online business.

What Does Online Safety and Security Mean in 2018?

So, SO much is the short answer, but if we dive a bit deeper we should be covering the following bases across all devices; PCs, Macs, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and our beloved smartphones;

  • Virus protection
  • Protection from hackers
  • Safe, secure cloud backup to protect precious photos
  • Financial protection from in-app purchasing – thanks kids!
  • Moderation of screen time
  • Age-appropriate content
  • Real-time protection while using unsecured, public WiFi
Internet Security

The NEW Travel Essential

We just returned from a family trip to the Sunshine Coast.  As Dave and I always work during our family travel breaks, being without internet connectivity is simply NOT an option.  As such we relied on public WiFi whenever we were away from the Airbnb.  On our final day when Dave had Skype meetings after check-out, he had to sit in our rental car outside the library, so he could share his laptop screen, take his meeting and keep working.  Not a big deal but, when you rely on internet access so much, even when on ‘holiday’ it would have felt great to know that the network being used was secure. Norton’s got a product to tackle this exact issue that is our new, never-leave-home-without-it tech fave. Meet Norton Secure VPN, designed to keep personal and financial info safe when using public WiFi.  One of my late father’s most infamous quotes refers to the fact that he didn’t ‘spend all day in internet cafes waiting for someone to download all of his money’.  He was talking to his bank, frustrated at his password reset process lol.  However inconceivable this comment may seem, it could potentially happen without protection on a public network.

Dave and I have installed Norton Secure VPN on both of our phones (and Ethan’s) and laptops.  What this means is that all data sent and received using public WiFi is encrypted.  The creation of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) secures our logins, credit card info etc. and makes our extensive use of public networks just as safe as being at home.  That’s one less thing to worry about when we are far from home!

Online Security at Home…..and Everywhere Else

Ok, real talk – virus protection software is nothing new, so, choosing a product that offers comprehensive, family-friendly benefits is what’s going to impress me.

Norton Security Premium takes the cake here.  One subscription protects 5 devices from viruses and hackers, that’s really the minimum requirement isn’t it?  Over and above is what we’re really interested in and that’s what this package provides;

  • 25gb secure online storage – LOVE this.  Cloud storage is expensive guys, and I’m constantly needing more.  Why is this important?  Precious family pics are often targeted by ransomware, eek.
  • Norton Family – a comprehensive toolkit that can work cooperatively between parents and kids to both keep little ones (and not-so-little ones) safe online AND teach them healthy habits around their device usage.  The days of not knowing what your kids are actually doing online are over thanks to reports sent straight to your inbox, giving you an easy, automated way to get back in the loop and regain control over the content your kids are consuming when they’re online.

These two fabulous tools from Norton are an easy way for us as parents to take back control of the online activity happening within our families.  This isn’t about policing the internet, but, there is no way children have enough impulse control or common sense to make their own uncensored decisions about the content they access online.

Internet Security

I’m a parent and I take that job very seriously.  As someone who has dedicated over a decade to creating a viable business online via my own website and through the use of social media, I know just how brutal and often dangerous the internet can be.  On the other hand, it’s also bloody incredible, and it’s that facet of online user-experience that I want my boys to access as children.

For more info on Norton Security Premium and Norton Secure VPN, visit their website here, there is a wealth of resources on their site around keeping safe online. Thanks to Norton for sponsoring this post.

True Story: The printer that made me forget how much I hate printers

I’d given up on home printers years ago, but after receiving Epson’s innovative WorkForce EcoTank Printer to review, I’m ready to smash work, life admin and school projects in 2018 – without running out of ink once.

I am a techy, gadget geek, early adopter kinda girl.

You don’t keep blogging for over 10 years without having some sort of affinity for how technology can increase productivity and creativity and improve your lifestyle, at least to some degree.

Despite most communication being conducted via email these days, ‘life admin’ still requires paper and printing. Forms, permission slips, itineraries, confirmations, tickets, bank statements, school projects, photos… I need to print multiple times per day (heads up, in my experience, printing needs increase exponentially with the number of kids you have!).

I swore off printers 3 years ago after bringing the last failure home. I purchased a ‘WIFI’ model that never connected to our network, wouldn’t talk to my Mac computers, printed everything on a 25° angle and required new cartridges constantly.  The kicker?  If you purchased on special it was often cheaper to buy a whole new printer (which came with ink cartridges) then it was to stock up on ink. This sort of false-economy is super disheartening as both a consumer and as someone who tries to think about the impact our purchasing has on the environment.

It was time to say goodbye to the weakest link in our home office environment, preferring to suffer through the inconvenience of waiting for that friend who could print something out at work (Dave and I both work from home so this was ridiculous!) or actually driving up to our local stationery store and using the kiosks there.

The printer that made me forget how much I hate printers

There is always an exception to every rule, however, and it appears one printer company have magic-ed up a device that can do what I need it to do – and do what it says it can do on the box!

Meet the Epson WorkForce EcoTank ET-4750.

My New Best Friend!

This multi-function marvel has addressed every problem I’ve ever experienced with printers as, well as doing its basic job of printing better than I could have imagined.

Why I LOVE my Epson EcoTank Printer

So many reasons, but let me count the ways:

  • EcoTank – there’s a BIG clue in the name; this printer has no cartridges, it has refillable tanks (!!) and comes with enough ink in the box for 2 YEARS WORTH OF PRINTING! I’m dead.

  • WIFI Direct Print/Copy/Scan: I know, sounds good right…but…NO buts this time, it legit works and is super easy and fast to set-up. I work from two Macs, my husband uses a PC and there are iPhones, Samsung and Huawei phones in our house – WE CAN PRINT FROM ALL OF THEM. It’s a home office miracle and I love it!
  • It holds 250 sheets of A4 (in a hidden draw so Nixon can’t steal it for his ‘projects’): this may not sound like a big deal, but I’m often printing in a hurry e.g. homework ‘remembered’ as Ethan is running out the door for the school bus. Scrambling for paper to print with and then struggling to get it to feed without jamming etc. is now a distant, horrible, memory (lol).
Half a ream in the paper tray no worries!
  • Borderless printing: I had no idea my EcoTank did this until we returned from Japan and Nix wanted to bring a picture to Kindy news of a manta ray he saw in the aquarium in Osaka.  I actually squealed in delight as the beautiful image came out of the printer. Guys remember – borderless printing is GOALS!

The convenience of having a home printer again and the ease of WIFI printing is just so delicious; I’m literally singing the EcoTank’s praises to anyone who will listen. There is a large range of models and price options available and all come with that amazing no cartridge, refillable tank system and 2 years of ink included.

Check out all of the options here for more info> Epson EcoTank Printers

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Epson Ecotank Printer
Nixie’s gorgeous borderless image of Waffles/Talulah (the visiting pig) to share for news at kindy.