Global News

IN THE NEWS: Your Baby Monitor Can Be Hacked

by Samantha on August 1, 2015

Who's listening to your baby? Parents urged to take precautions with monitor technology



Who’s listening to your baby?

Are you safe? Is your baby safe?

The intersection of technology and parenting continues to expand as we increasingly rely on digital tools to make our roles as parents easier. We use tech more than ever to live our daily lives, from watching our babies to entertaining them; from reading to our kids to monitoring them (texting and cell phones). It all seems great, right? Granted, the convenience provided by technology can’t be denied, but there is a dark side to its usage as well.

As hacking becomes more commonplace in our daily lives, the instances of our digital tools being compromised will also increase. We’ve seen a rise of incidents where personal information has been hacked via email, cell phones and cloud accounts, but did anyone really anticipate that baby monitors would be a target too?

It’s scary to think that our most precious assets could be open to being spied on, secretly viewed, spoken to by strangers, or worse.

I recently provided my thoughts on this disturbing trend in an interview on Global News. You can watch the full segment below. There are also some simple tips that parents can follow to make sure that their babies remain safe and secure.

What you do to avoid hacking via baby monitors or similar devices:

1) Educate Yourself - Make sure that you fully understand the technology that you’re using, especially in their children’s rooms.

2) Err on the Side of Caution - When in doubt, don’t. If you have any concerns or misgivings about the technology behind any particular device, don’t use it until you are sure about it’s security, or chose another option altogether.

3) Choose a Secure Password - Don’t make the password for your device too easy. Remember to use a login that is not easily-guessed, that is changed frequently, and that includes a non-sensical string of letters (both upper and lower case) and numbers. For more information on how to choose a secure password, visit this page: How to Create a Secure Password.

4) Limit the Use of Devices - The less amount of devices used to monitor our kids, the less likely hackers will be able to successfully gain access where they don’t belong.

Global News Segment - Baby Monitor Hacked!


What other tips do you have for parents who are concerned about being hacked? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Top 5 Tips For Kids’ Snow Safety

by Samantha on February 8, 2014

How to keep your kids safe in winter weather

vintage kids in snow

With the winter season, snowfall can mean just one thing to most kids: fun. To a child, nothing can be more enticing than piles of snow, taller than they could imagine, beckoning them to start the festivities of snowman-making, fort-building and igloo assembly. Unfortunately, these piles of snow can be deceiving and in some cases, downright dangerous. Snow banks that have accumulated at the sides of roads as a result of ploughing are particularly unsafe. They are also one of the first places that kids go to build tunnels and forts. Between the danger of cars, snowploughs and not being seen by passing vehicles, it’s imperative that parents talk to their children about this potential danger and others that come with a buildup of snow.

Here Are 5 Tips For Kids’ Snow Safety

1) Set Clear Rules - Kids should know what the rules are before they head outside to play. Take a few moments to discuss the “do’s and don’ts” of snow play. Remind kids to play in open areas that are free of cars and traffic and to stay away from snowbanks (roadside or otherwise) and snow ploughs.

2) Dress Kids in Bright Colours - Stay away from the light or white clothing when sending the kids out to play in the snow. They have to be seen in case of an emergency, from a distance and when visibility isn’t great. Dress them in bright and colourful outerwear to assure that they can be easily identified.

3) Use the “Buddy System” - There is safety in numbers. If kids are going to play in the snow, make sure that they’re doing so with at least one other friend so that they have another set of eyes and backup in case of an emergency.

4) Daylight Play Only - Snow play in the dark can be dangerous, as visibility is limited and there are more opportunities for accidents to happen. Make it a rule that the kids only play in the snow when it’s light outside, so that they are able to be seen clearly.

5) Supervised Fort and Tunnel Building Only -  Building snow forts and tunnels are some of the most fun activities for kids during the winter season. Unfortunately these are also opportunities for kids to get hurt, or for accidents to happen. Caution children that these types of activities should only be done under the supervision of an adult.

I provide some related snow safety tips in this Global News video as well:

Global News: Keeping Kids Safe in the Snow

 What other snow safety tips do you have? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.


Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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VIDEO: How to Survive the Holidays With Kids

by Samantha on December 4, 2013

girl with christmas gifts

I was back on The Morning Show on Global to discuss surviving the holiday season with kids. It was lots of fun because this time we followed a different format than the usual roundtable discussion. We had a moderator, some questions posed and me as the “expert” providing advice, based on my suggestions on the topic. Fun!

I also returned to Rogers Daytime to discuss managing kids during the holiday season. We also had a great chat about my eBook, Meltdown in Aisle 5: Top Parenting Tips From Multiple Mayhem Mamma
Take a look at the full video segments below and let me know what you think.

VIDEO: How to Survive the Holidays With Kids - The Morning Show on Global Television

VIDEO: How to Survive the Holidays With Kids and New eBook - Rogers Daytime

Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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Back to School Tips For Parents

by Samantha on September 5, 2012

Simple strategies to save money as the kids return to school

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it?

That return to school comes with a sigh of relief that the order that includes the daily tasks that both kids and parents have to do to get to class on time.

Along with back-to-school time, however, comes an additional anxiety, one that has to do with money.

Maybe you’re still holding out with hopes that you can save on the needed items.  It would be nice to not break the bank this year by purchasing everything under the sun to appease your child and your conscience. The good news is that you can do this, easily. Relax, mom and dad, because you’re in the driver’s seat despite what your kids may think.

Back-to-school season is a time where money quickly slips through our fingers if we’re not careful. I’ve learned from previous years that “Rome wasn’t conquered in a day,” and that money never grew on trees. This latter reality has made me a frugal and strategic shopper and back-to-school time is no different. If an item is on sale or reasonably priced, why pay more? In the short clip below, I discuss tips and advice for how to purchase inexpensive, quality back-to-school items for your kids by purchasing some of the staples at Dollarama. Who knew?

VIDEO: Back to School Shopping at Dollarama

In a related segment, I provided some advice to parents who were on the last legs of their back-to-school shopping the day before school started. The mall can be a scary place one day before Labour Day…

VIDEO: Last Minute Back to School Shoppers // The return to school doesn’t have to be expensive. By following some simple tips, you can save money and lower your stress level at the same time.

What are your favourite back-to-school strategies? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

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