Flu Season Is Here. Are You Prepared?

Catching the flu is a real pain. First there is the physical pain or even worse watching your child go through it. Learn how to protect your health and your wallet.

by Robyn Spoto

 

Catching the flu is a real pain. First there is the physical pain that comes with the fever, headache, body chills, and nausea — which is even worse when you are watching your child go through it.

Then there is the financial pain that comes with paying for expensive treatment, doctor’s appointments, and prescriptions. Depending on the type of health insurance you have, paying out-of-pocket expenses for treating the flu can quickly add up.

My son recently had the flu and his doctor prescribed him Tamiflu to treat it. The cost — $250. That cost was doubled when the doctor also prescribed a preventive prescription for my other son. It was an $800 day after appointments and medicine.  I was prepared with contributions to my health savings account as I haven’t yet met my insurance plan’s deductible for a co-pay. However, my heart broke thinking about the families that aren’t covered with health insurance to cover the expense.

Protect Your Health: Get Flu Shots for Your Family

Stop the flu before it happens by taking each member of your family to get a preventative flu shot. The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body which provides protection against the infection. So when you get a flu shot, you substantially decrease the likelihood that you will catch the flu.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that any person over the age of six months get a flu vaccine every season. The associated risks with flu shots are small, and despite what many think, you cannot get a case of the flu from a flu shot.

Many pharmacies and doctor’s offices offer inexpensive, easy-to-administer flu shots that are readily available. It’s a quick and effective way to protect your family from the physical pains of flu season.

Protect Your Wallet: Enroll in a Financially Responsible Insurance Plan

Plan for health care costs before they happen by enrolling your family a financially responsible health insurance plan that will not drain your wallet in the event that one of your family members gets sick.

Compare plans that make sense for your family.

With a co-pay plan, you only pay for a portion of the cost of treatment but a higher monthly fee. So a prescription that costs $250 could cost you $100, $30, or with some plans, even no cost at all.

With a plan that requires you meet a deductible, you pay the full cost of treatment (until you reach your out-of-pocket limit). A plan with with a high deductible may be cheaper per month than a plan with a low co-pay, but remember to factor in the extra expenses you may incur during the year given your family’s health needs.

Be aware of co-pay and deductible rates when shopping for a new health care plan for 2015, and educate yourself on the available plans by using marketplaces and exchanges to compare rates. Healthcare.gov is not the only available health insurance marketplace.

We’ve partnered with  ACA Insurance Services, to offer a variety of affordable family plans that can increase the health of your family and your wallet. Open enrollment for 2015 plans has begun.  Educate yourself and save money.

Getting Started With MamaBear App

Thanks for using the MamaBear App.  We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Get in touch with us at support@localhost with any questions.

mamabear-family-safety-app1. ADD YOUR FAMILY.

Add your children and any other guardians to your account in the settings area.

Your added family members can install MamaBear from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and we’ll also send them a text message invitation asking to join your family.

2. CONNECT WITH YOUR FAMILY.

Once your added family members have installed MamaBear, they’ll simply need to log in using their phone number and the family password you created.

Share your password and give your kids a hand if they need help installing MamaBear on their phone.

You can resend the login link when you see that you’re child hasn’t logged in for the first time or if their map location is old. Go to your child’s profile settings page and tap “resend login link.”

3. REVIEW YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE SETTINGS.

Your child’s smartphone needs data connectivity with these appropriate device settings:

– Location services “on”
– Background refresh “on” (for iphones)
– Make sure wifi is “on.”  Even if not connected, having wifi on helps the device’s location services.
– The device also needs to be powered on to share updated location information.

Related: How to prevent your child from deleting apps

mamabear-app-monitor-social-media4. GET YOUR CHILD’S SOCIAL USERNAME AND PASSWORDS.

Connect your child’s Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YourTube and/or Facebook accounts in the settings area of MamaBear.

Once your connected:
– Customize a word list to monitor on all connected social accounts by tapping “restricted words.” Check out these acronyms you may want to add to the list.
– Notifications for new Instagram and Twitter followers are sent every few hours except during overnight hours.
– Notifications for Instagram photos liked and Tumblr blog posts liked are sent every few hours except during overnight hours.
– YouTube video viewing history notifications are associated only to the account monitored, from any device. Your child must be logged in to their YouTube when viewing videos for MamaBear to supervise.

5. SET UP TEXT MESSAGE MONITORING.

If your child is using an Android device you can now review all of their incoming and outgoing text messages. Mom and Dad can use any phone, iPhone or Android. Go to your child’s profile settings and tap “text alerts”. Then tap “Turn On” in the top right hand corner. 

6. SET UP SAFE PLACES.

Add places like home or school in the settings area of each child to receive notification when they arrive or leave. Adjust the size of the boundary to fit the location in the safe place settings to prevent “bouncing” or inaccurate departures.

7. REVIEW THE DRIVING SPEED DEFAULT.

The default setting for driving speed notifications is 55 MPH.  You’ll receive notification if your child rides or drives over that limit once per hour.

8. SHARE THE GIFT OF FAMILY SAFETY.

Earn free premium subscription when you share MamaBear with your friends using the Bear2Bear referral program. Tap the top left menu and tap “share” to choose among text, email or social apps to share your custom referral link.  As soon as your friends register, they receive a free premium subscription period and so do you! Learn more about Bear2Bear.

9. LEARN MORE ABOUT DIGITAL PARENTING.

Check out our blog and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest. We share great resources to help you through the wonderful world of digital parenting.

MamaBear Releases App Version 3.0

Coming Monday - MamaBear 3.0 Puts Your Family News First | MamaBear App

As rapidly as technology evolves, a good app needs to develop proactively. That’s why the team at MamaBear Family Safety App is constantly working to stay on top of new trends and incorporate customer feedback in order to make improvements to the app.

The fruit of our labor is evident in the  third version of our evolution. MamaBear 3.0 puts your family news front and center, allowing you to get in the know and save time with filtered social media content, location and driving information in the most important news feed of your day.

The All New MamaBear Version 3.0 Features:

  • A redesigned news feed that is easier to scroll through, with in-line previews of Instagram photos and added details about Twitter and Instagram followers;
  • A seven-day location history view that can be easily tapped through; and
  • Ad-sponsored content to keep MamaBear free for all.

Update Now to Enjoy MamaBear’s New Features

To update the app, visit the App Store on your iOS devices or Google Play on your Android devices.  You can experience MamaBear at its best with the latest version of our app and the most recent OS version for your device. Remember to update the app on your children’s phones for optimal use of the new features.

Help Us Make MamaBear Even Stronger

We’re motivated to progress  MamaBear with the invaluable feedback of our MamaBear families. We welcome the suggestions of our users so that we can continually work to improve the app, providing parents with ever-better ways to connect and protect their children as they use their mobile devices.

Your feedback is important to us. Stay in touch and let us know what you think of MamaBear 3.0.  Email info@localhost with your questions, comments and ideas.

 
 
 
 

The Dangers of Messaging Apps

dangers messaging app

In a recent MamaBear Blog post, we identified some of the top messaging apps. Most parents are aware of the prominence of social messaging apps and the way they have captivated tweens. While messaging apps can be harmless in most cases, it is important for parents to not only stay in the know about which apps are being used but also to monitor them as closely as possible to ensure their children’s safety.

The Dangers of Messaging Apps

While kids may simply be using messaging apps like Kik and SnapChat to share trivial messages and a range of goofy emoticons with their school friends, there are some hidden dangers associated with messaging app use that would strike fear into the heart of any parent.

According to this Fox 4 article, in one week the app Kik was linked to three serious crimes involving teen victims in Southwest Florida. The apps are being used by predators to prey on young victims as well as by kids engaging in sexting and cyberbullying.

See Also: Taking Responsibility for Kids and Sexting

Designed for Young Adults, Usurped by Tweens

Parents should take note. Most kids who have smartphones use these apps on a daily basis and throughout the day and night. Originally designed for much older youths, messaging and social media apps have been usurped by young kids who lack the maturity to understand how much damage they can do.

See this article for an interesting perspective on what happens when apps designed for more mature college students fall into the hands of tweens:

See Also: Yik Yak App Makers Do the Right Thing

More alarming is the way different social apps are being used together by young kids in dangerous ways. For example, one blogger describes how the photo sharing social network Instagram and the messaging app Kik were used together to allow a pedophile to target a young teenager.

Safety Measures

What can parents do?

First, talk to your kids. Without taking too prying of a tone, ask them questions about the apps they use most. Try to make the questions positive, rather than negative, in order to get a foot in the door with kids reluctant to share. What are their favorite messaging apps? Who do they like to talk to? Have they made any new friends? Asking questions but keeping the dialog light and conversational can build trust and help kids to be more open to sharing with their parents.

Second, install a family safety app like MamaBear on all family members’ phones so that you can monitor your kids’ behavior on social media like Instagram and Twitter. This way you will know who they are making friends with and be able to keep tabs on any troublesome behaviors.

Third, remind your children to take their own safety seriously. They should be aware of the kinds of things that really do happen with messaging apps and the types of predators who lurk behind deceiving screen names and profile images. It is important for the whole family – parents and children alike – to stay in the know about what these apps should be used for and what can make them go terribly, terribly wrong.