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Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Posted by cirvine on May 26, 2015


Every parent has heard the horror stories, but the internet doesn’t need to be a scary place if you know how to block, restrict, and kid-proof your way through it. Thanks to advances in technology, protecting your children on the internet – including monitoring their activity online and restricting access to certain websites – is becoming much easier to do. This checklist will provide you with a few tips for watching over your child’s internet usage, setting rules online, advice on how to talk to them about difficult subjects, potential warning signs that your child may be keeping secrets about their activity online, and some kid-friendly websites and search engines.

Monitor internet usage:

  • Position your computer in a central location in the home
  • Remove or disable your computer’s webcam
  • Check your child’s browser history every couple of days

Set and Follow Rules:

  • Establish strict rules for your children to follow online. For example, tell them never to give anyone their address, phone number, full name, or send pictures of themselves
  • Decide which activities and websites are appropriate and discuss them with your children
  • Tell your kids not to share their passwords with anyone but you
  • Warn your kids not to open emails from anyone they don’t know
  • Teach your children to avoid clicking links because of potential viruses

Talk openly about the internet:

  • Be up-front and honest about what happens on the internet
  • Let your kids know that everything they share can be seen by anyone in the world
  • Talk to them about the dangers of strangers online
  • Make sure your children know that they should tell you right away if they ever see anything online that makes them uncomfortable, and assure them that you won’t overreact or get mad at them

Warning signs

Your child may be keeping potentially harmful secrets about their online activity if he or she:

  • Constantly clears their browser history
  • Closes programs every time you walk into the room
  • Becomes hesitant to tell you about what they’re doing online
  • Starts receiving phone calls or emails from people you haven’t heard of before
  • Starts talking about friends you’ve never heard of before

Solutions – Child-friendly websites, search engines and tools:

Remember that this is just a beginner’s guide to internet safety for your children. Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right about your child’s online activity, it probably isn’t. Open and honest communication is key.

Safe surfing, fellow families!


Pitch Perfect 2 Movie Review

Posted by cirvine on May 25, 2015


Pitch Perfect 2 Banner

I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out from the minute the last one ended, so it’s safe to say that I was pretty excited when I walked into the theatre. As the lights dimmed, my excitement peaked, and I was ready for some geeky a cappella goodness.

The movie begins with an embarrassing (and highly inappropriate) mishap while the Barden Bellas are performing for a hefty audience including the guest of honour: President Obama himself. The event goes viral, and the Bellas’ reputation is shattered. They are told that they cannot remain active as a group unless they win the World Championships, so they set out to do just that – but they are faced with some intense competition from the German team led by Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) and Pieter (YouTuber Flula Borg).

For starters, I’m aca-thrilled that they decided not to include so many imaginary words with aca- in front of them, because in my opinion, that idea was incredibly overused in the first film and ended up killing some potentially good moments.

The plot of Pitch Perfect 2 was pretty similar to the original Pitch Perfect, except the romances happen between different characters and the newcomers are played by different actors. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it worked for them the first time, and judging by the box office, it’s working again. Another similarity between the first and second movie was that the music was fantastic. I enthusiastically bobbed my head to every performance while wishing that I could be inside the screen seeing them perform live.

One thing I didn’t like was that Anna Kendrick’s character, Beca, seemed to have more of a personality in the first movie; in the second, she came across as angry toward and completely withdrawn from the group. It felt almost impossible to relate to her, which caused an emotional disconnect that wasn’t experienced in the first movie. (Remember the Cup Song audition?) It was so simple and endearing, and that was a quality the sequel lacked. 

Rebel Wilson’s character, Fat Amy, is still the overwhelming comedic crux of the film, as she was in the first movie. A few of her jokes felt forced, as if writer Kay Cannon was intimidated by the knowledge that the character had a lot to live up to after the first movie. That being said, most of her Fat Amy humour was still on point, and I’d still say that her character was probably the best part of the movie.

Important side note: if you’re a parent of young children, don’t let the cutesy girl-power vibe cloud your judgment – there is still a lot of over-the-top offensive content that I wouldn’t want my kid hearing or repeating to their friends and classmates. Be aware of the rating (PG-13) and make an informed decision!

If you enjoyed the first movie and you’re looking for a considerably entertaining sequel that will give you a handful of low-blow, cheap laughs but a lot of well-deserved ones as well, then going to see this film is definitely worth your time.