Read this now and think about it later.

In our current age, technology is advancing at a pace that is difficult to keep up with. Devoting time to learning and configuring new technology is difficult in our busy schedules. However, if we expect our kids to be safe and successful, we may want to put some time towards learning a few tools. There are many choices available and each has their advantages. These tools are not as flashy as the little android guy and you won’t see commercials promoting them very often. Let me present to you a few important concepts you and your family can benefit from today.

Online Calendar.
The best thing you can master for your kids is an online calendar. The days of the kitchen calendar are over. Now you can access this same information anywhere you are and update it the moment you need to. Google has a great calendar system that comes with your free email account. But there are many others available if you want a different solution.

Email management.
Keeping your inbox at zero and unsubscribing from spam mail are two things we as adults need to get a handle on for our kids. Too many adults get bogged down with an inbox of thousands of emails. Like a desk stacked with paper, this habit can slow us down and make us miss things. Learning new techniques to manage our mail will help us reach our kids. David Allen started the GTD movement to get things done. This methodology is suited perfectly for managing email.

Contact Database.
There is a big market out there for sharing contacts. Sales organizations utilize them with much efficiency. But your family can also take advantage of a contact database for sharing contacts. You can publish your contacts in a secure online system for easy access from your phone, tablet, desktop, and maybe even your watch. And you will never have to email your friends to send their info because your phone got dropped into the lake on vacation. A bag of rice may work to dry it out, but if not, it’s nice to know your contacts are safe in the cloud.

Shared photo galleries.
If you are like me, you take a lot of pictures of your family. And you may want others to see these pictures, but you also want to protect these images from a system crash. There are many tools for downloading your precious images and organizing them. Some utilize facial recognition, GPS locations, dates, keywords and other techniques to make organizing easier. Once you get them organized, you will want to share them with friends and family. There are many secure online galleries that let you store your images and share them with friends. Placing them in another location is also a good way of making sure you have a backup incase the worst happens and you lose your data.

Shared data
You may collect a lot of documents that are important to you. Storing them in an organized file cabinet is nice, but you have to be standing in front of this cabinet to see them. Maybe you don’t want to put all your documents online, but most of them may be useful to have online. We’ve set up all of our computers to use a secure service that synchronizes our files across all our devices and computers. This allows us to easily check on the progress of our kids’ projects from our phones or computers, to review project notes, and to save information for future review. It’s a great way to have access to information from almost any location. Also, this is a great way to backup your information in case of catastrophe.

These are only a few examples to make technology work for your family in this digital age. There are also many others. I wrote this article because I feel it’s very important for you to work on the basics of each of these so you can understand and teach your kids. They already know how to hashtag on Twitter and post selfies to Instagram. But updating their calendars, saving their school projects online, accessing a family contact database, sharing family pictures, and keeping their email under control are some practical skills that can take advantage of some of the tools that make this a true information age.