Family * Travel * Food

4 Ways Your Cellphone Might Be Making You Ugly

Our cellphones have become so vital to our daily lives. Research has shown that the average person checks their phone 85 times a day and that we spend a total of five hours using our cellphones to browse the web or use apps. For many, our smartphone is the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we check at bedtime. Although quick glances at our phone may seem harmless, it can in fact be affecting us physically, mentally and emotionally. We caught up with some experts who help explain the ugly side of excessive cellphones use.

1. Ugly posture
When we look down at our cellphones we are straining our necks and slouching our shoulders. Doing this can cause some serious damage to our overall posture even leading us to lose up to an inch to an inch and a half of height. “I see up to 10 patients a week complaining of severe neck and shoulder pain. When asked how often they use their phones the typical response is all the time. When pain becomes chronic and severe, surgery has to be considered,” explains Dr. Richard Samperisi, CoFounder of Campus Chiropractic Center at Florida International University & Functional Medicine Practitioner.

2. Ugly eye strain, bags and wrinkles
Not only can staring at your phone all day cause serious neck and shoulder pain, the extreme use of our phones is leading to various eye conditions such as blurred vision, eye strain, headaches and dry eyes as well as to a condition they like to call “tech neck.” For those concerned with cosmetics and eye appearance constant squinting leads to wrinkles and under eye bags. New Bern, North Carolina plastic surgeon Dr. John Zannis explains that a combination of surgical and non-surgical procedures that address under eye bags, drooping and sagging usually range from 5 - $10,000 with a recovery time of up to 2 weeks. He’s also seen a rise in complaints about neck lines and wrinkling skin attributed to excessive cell phone use.

3. Ugly skin
Are you constantly struggling with breakouts around your cheeks or chin? Instead of blaming hormones, junk food or a bad skincare routine consider looking at the device in your hand. “Our cellphones are filled with bacteria. We are continuously touching them with dirty hands, throwing them in our bags, stuffing them in our pockets or putting them on counter tops. Then without even thinking twice we put our phones right up to our ears where all of that bacterium from those dirty areas wreak havoc on our face,” offers Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Kaly Papantoniou.  She suggests frequently wiping the phone screen and using a face wash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to rid bacteria from building up.

4. Ugly Manners
We see people at restaurants who are more focused on snapping a pic of their meal than enjoying each other’s company. Our persistent use of our cellphones can be affecting our relationships with the people and world around us. “When we focus more on our digital lives rather than the individuals we are with; we are not only giving off the impression that we do not care about what they have to say, we are also letting valuable and meaningful moments pass us by,” explains Dr. Sanam Hafeez a New York City based neuropsychologist and teaching faculty at Columbia University. She suggests putting the phone down and even going cell free twice a week.

Give it a try and see how cutting down on your phone use can also cut down on the ugly.

This article is courtesy of Dr. John Zannis. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website at

When Should Your Child Get a Smartphone?

It used to be the case that a child's first mobile phone was given to them when they reached the penultimate year of primary school- at this age kids would be more likely to go out and about with their friends more regularly, and it made sense to provide them with a means of contacting their parents. Today though, in the midst of the truly digital age, smartphones are the most popular mobile devices, packing features far more advanced than the mere capability to text and call. Because of these new devices, all manner of questions play through the minds of concerned parents regarding when, why and if they even want to give their children a smartphone.
Image credit
Educational professionals recommend that children shouldn't be given their own smartphones until they are at least between 11 or 13 years of age. This is due to the way that smartphones may impair your child's development; children learn primarily from real-world interactions and experiences, and as such if they are tapping away at a screen, indulging in what many of us would easily categorise as escapism, then they simply aren't going to receive the same bountiful upbringing that they might otherwise receive.

Electronic media can be very beneficial from an educational point of view, especially after the child is over 4 or 5 years old, as it can boost their understanding of their school studies, however having a smartphone 'on tap' before the teenage years is not a good situation.

Even if you are the parent of a teenager, you should exercise some control over what your child accesses via their smartphone. Pornography, adult comedy, violent and extreme content; all of these things are easily and readily accessible from any search engine. If kids are able to access online gaming sites like Betway Bingo, which are advertised on television and via the net, then they might end up playing too much, racking up bills they simply can't pay. With all of these potential issues, parents can simply set up parental guidance locks via a number of free apps that can readily be downloaded. This will allow parents to block sites and content that they don't want their children viewing.

It's also a really good idea to talk to your child about the merits and problems surrounding smartphones. If your child is made aware that a truly screen-centric life isn't the norm and will impair their development, they will understand the need the exercise some constraint in their digital activities. If all else fails, apps are also available that allow you to set limits on how long a child can use the internet for each day.


Monitor your vehicles with Zubie

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zubie for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Being a mother of two teenage daughters can be very stressful at times. When you factor in driving, it makes you feel like you have completely lost your sanity. Although my oldest daughter is very responsible, I still can't help but worry a little each time she leaves the house. My younger daughter has been studying her driver's book to get ready for her license this upcoming summer.
Aside from the stress of having teenage drivers and thinking of their safety, I also think about the actual car itself. Is there enough air in the tires? Is the battery holding a strong charge? Is the temperature at a normal level? One of the best things in this day and age is technology. Introducing, Zubie.
What is Zubie, you ask?
Zubie combines a smart device (about the size of a matchbox) that plugs into a standard port in every car* along with a smartphone app that help you get the most from your car. Features such as:
  • Family Safety:  AlwaysSmart™ location tracking and alerts when family members arrive at home, work or school.
  • Problem alerts:  Be alerted to car problems before they leave you stranded, such as a Check Engine light or a dying battery.
  • Safe Driving:  Track and improve your driving, and connect and compete with friends. Monitor and coach teen drivers.
  • Trip Coordination:  Connect with friends to share locations and simplify coordination on short trips or car-pools. 

Know and understand what’s going on under the hood. Zubie helps you keep your car running by giving timely information about your car’s health, and alerting you to potential problems.
  • Engine Problems: Be alerted to problem codes reported by your engine, and understand what they mean.
  • Check Engine Light: Know exactly why the light is on, and avoid an unnecessary trip to the repair shop.
  • Dead Battery: Track battery levels and be alerted to a problem BEFORE a dead battery leaves you stranded.
  • Repair Cost & Insight: Know how serious a problem might be, and receive an estimate of likely repair costs before you go to the repair shop.
I really like the idea of receiving alerts on potential problems going on with any of our cars. I think it would save us money in the long run by having us get our vehicle checked before it ends up malfunctioning or breaking down.
You can check out the Zubie site for more information. Hit the road with Zubie! Order today with code SAVE20FEB and SAVE 20% on your Zubie Key plus one year of service (Offer good through March 31, 2014. Shipping charges apply)  It would make a great late Valentine's gift or a gift 'just because'!
Stay connected to Zubie on Facebook and on Twitter.
Visit Sponsor's Site


Sign the Toyota &Teen Vogue #ArriveInStyle Pledge & join me for a day full of giveaways! #ad

This post was written as part of my association with Toyota for Arrive in Style. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.  The prize was provided and may be shipped by Toyota.  Toyota is not a sponsor, administrator, or connected in any other way with this giveaway
Hi guys! You might remember a couple months ago, I posted about the Toyota and Teen Vogue "Arrive In Style" pledge. The pledge is a very simple way for moms and daughters to make a promise to make safety a priority when driving. Many girls and women have already taken the pledge and I would love for you to do the same!

Starting tomorrow, July 23, 2013 at 11:00 am EST until 8:00 PM, I will be tweeting about this initiative and would love for you to join me! By taking the pledge and posting your public link or a screenshot, you will have the chance to win one of 13 awesome prizes! We will be giving away:

(10) Two-Pack “Arrive in Style” safe driving promise rings (photo below)
(2) “Arrive in Style” beauty boxes
(1) $50 AMEX gift card

Taking the pledge is so easy! It has 4 steps in all and takes about 2-3 minutes to complete. Go to the Teen Vogue and Toyota Arrive in Style pledge page.

#1- Enter your date of birth and then accept all 4 sections of safety guidelines.
#2- Sign and enter your basic information to be eligible for the sweepstakes and photo contest.
#3- Next you can post a photo of you and your daughter "air driving" (see photo below for an example).
#4- Spread the word! Share your pledge on your Facebook page and make it a "public" update. Remember, if you do not make it public, we won't be able to verify that you took the pledge. If you don't care to post publicly on your Facebook page, just copy and paste the link on the completion page and leave your link in the comments or tweet it to me @momfiles. Easy, right?!

Here is an example of what your completed pledge will look like:

If you want to go take the pledge now, you can leave your public link or a screenshot in the comments section to enter to win one of the 13 prizes. For a screenshot, you can Tweet me the screenshot image @momfiles and use the hashtag #arriveinstyle. You have until 8:00 PM EST on July 23, 2013 to enter either here on the blog, or on Twitter.

Winners will be selected randomly and will be contacted to provide mailing information to claim prize. You will have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost prizes. Good luck!

My thoughts on Instagram

I remember when everyone was getting the iPhone and started using Instagram. I wanted to upgrade just to have the fun photo filters as well as my own page to share them. The thing is that I love my DROID 3 and would be too nervous to go all touchscreen. My phone has the best of both worlds with a huge touchscreen and a 5 row pull-out keyboard. I'm old school and as my friend Tanyetta would say, I love buttons! When Instagram became available on Android phones I was so excited! Finally, I could use the cool features and not have to change phones. I honestly did not understand how to use it at first and I think it was causing my phone to malfunction. I believe I have it under control now and have figured out how to use to for the most part. Knowing me, I am still doing something wrong :)

Fun at the playground. 
I don't have thousands of photos like some people do but I expect my Instagram photo account will grow. If you care to follow me you can find me under the name momfiles. I would love to follow you back! I am really enjoying looking at my friends both in real life and online share fun parts of their day through photos.

Shelly, Mom Files

Info on the new Verizon Wireless data plans

I have been a long time Verizon Wireless customer, even before they were called Verizon. I have been very pleased over the years and was really shocked when I heard about the new data package requirements being implemented as well as the end of "unlimited" data. This scared us since Dwayne and I are dedicated smartphone users. We do it all~ social networking, blogging, Google, Pandora, email.... you name we do it. I read some of the awful customer comments on Facebook and Twitter and thought to myself, "How can such a big and great company do this to their customers?" Of course I had to find out for myself and not go with all of the ignorant comments you see all over the internet.

I called Verizon's customer service center to inquire how this new change will affect my family. It turns out that the new data package pricing only affects new customers getting smartphones and also current customers upgrading to a smartphone from a regular phone. As long as you were an unlimited data customer prior to the new changes you will not be affected. Even if we upgrade to newer smartphones, we will still be able to keep our current unlimited package with the same price. I was so happy to hear that because I was starting to think I was going to have to go back to a normal phone since I am a heavy smartphone user. I am glad I did my homework and did not just assume the worst. I am also happy that I won't have to switch from a company I love.
Shelly, Mom Files


I have not been writing much. I have not had a whole lot to say. I have felt like savoring moments with my kids who are growing up way too fast. I am realizing more and more each day that my kids will need me less. I was on the computer several weeks back and William was nagging me to do something (I can't remember what it was exactly). I told him to give me a moment that I was working. A week later he sees me on the computer while I was on Facebook. He asked in that sweet baby voice "Hey Bawbi, you working?" It was that moment that I realized I was spending too much time on the daggone computer. And not just the computer, the smart phone too. Facebook, Twitter, email and text at my fingertips. I felt so much guilt and have vowed to do a whole lot less of that nonsense. After all, why do I need to know who "checked in" where and how many people hate the weather, the world, is in a relationship but it's complicated, etc... All of that does nothing for me and yet I got sucked into it. I have not been posting much on the blog because I have been living life physically. Some days I wonder if I even want to keep the blog. I have noticed so many other bloggers feeling the same way lately. Oh well, I guess I'll just go with the flow and see what happens from here....
Shelly, Mom Files

Confessions, apologies and smack talk

I posted a couple years ago about your boy Dwayne and his new cellphone plastic. I even went as far as insulting him about it. Well today I am coming forward and admitting that I too have become a cellphone plastic person. I got a new phone a couple of weeks ago and since it is a touch screen I opted to keep the factory protective film on it. I am too frugal to pay $10 for the thing and have been trying to hold off for as long as I can. I went to slide my phone in my pocket yesterday so I could pull my laundry out the dryer and I immediately took it right back out so I would not forget it was there. Don't you know my doggone film peeled almost completely off?! I was so upset. All Dwayne could do was roll his eyes at me. So I am making a public apology to my dear hubby for talking so badly about his cellphone plastic. Sorry honey. We still friends?

On another note, because you know I can't just be nice to Dwayne and leave things where they are. You know how most of us have a library card to borrow books, CD's and DVD's? Well apparently my husband has a library card that is used as a rental card. Dude always has late fees and damn near pays for his stuff in the end. Oh and he likes to ask me if my library card is clean. WTH? He's not messing up my good credit at the library!!
Shelly, Mom Files

My inbox is immaculate

I am a frequent Facebook/Twitter user and I have noticed almost daily the status updates of friends talking about their email inbox. It is astonishing to me that so many have over a thousand email. Some even in the upwards of 5,000. I get into a panic if mine even goes to 20. I have a tendency to keep an immaculate inbox. I have folders that keep email in particular categories and I do a folder cleaning every few months just to not let them build up with a bunch of useless trash. I also keep my Smart phone on my 24/7 so that my new mail never builds to more than about 10-15 unread messages. I can say that I have a very well organized email system. Now if only my office and house can be that way....

Shelly, Mom Files

Teens and phone etiquette

As a parent to teenagers we have grown quite accustomed to them making and receiving phone calls almost on a daily basis. We have very strict yet fair rules when it comes to using the phone. They both have cellphones with texting but they have rules that go along with it. I am one of those moms that checks up to be sure that rules are not being broken. The girls know they have one time to mess up and that's it, phone is GONE. If a friend wants to contact them it must be done through the home phone. They are only allowed to have very very few people calling the cellphone and they are mostly only family. Now coming back to the home phone... When friends call the home phone they must simply acknowledge me or Dwayne and state their name and then ask for either of our daughters. Simple, right? You would not believe how many times these teenagers call our home and say "Can I speak to Chardonnay" or "Is Brie there?" Um, hell no. You don't get to talk to anyone unless you show some respect. This may seem like and overreaction on my part but hell, we pay the bills in our home. I teach my children that when you call some one's home and the parent or and adult answers you should have to decency to say hello and state your name and then say MAY I please speak with so and so if he/she is available. It is the parents' responsibility to teach their kids manners and common courtesy. Wow, I think this turned into a vent! Sorry :)

Shelly, Mom Files

cell phone charges- Warning

The other day I called up Verizon Wireless to inquire about megabyte charges. I have a cousin that recently racked up a $70 charge from browsing ringtones. You would think it was free to do this in hopes that you will buy something right? Wrong. It used to be free and now anytime you browse or look up anything you accumulate megabyte charges at $1.99 per megabyte. I had the customer service rep tell me if we had any of those charges and she said from all 4 lines we had a total of $10. The rep explained that I could avoid megabyte charges if I got the Vcast unlimited package at $15 per phone (times 4 phones?? Uh, NO!) I was really lucky that I got this particular rep because she encouraged me to get a free block added to all lines and did not push me into getting the Vcast package. Had my cousin not mentioned this whole thing I could have racked up a HUGE bill! We never thought about it when the kids would ask to browse ringtones because we thought it was free. If you are a Verizon customer please be aware of this and call customer service to get a block if you don't have the need for unlimited browsing. My rep said that she has received dozens of calls from people that accumulated almost $1000.00 in charges! I guess mine could have been worse. You live and you learn.


To all of you that like to leave your cellphone plastic on, tell me if you let it get to this point...


New phone plastic

Please tell me why my hubby wants to keep the protective plastic that comes on a new cellphone?! He is one of those people that likes to keep all the stickers and labels on all things new. Does he not realize that the plastic covers are a part of the packaging and serve no other function than just that? As a matter of fact, it covers both the part you speak into, hear out of and also the camera. Does this make any sense? If he got the stupid orange water cooler he would probably leave the "look inside for FREE cup dispenser" label on the already tacky looking cooler. I am to the point that I might just let him have the big orange atrocity. You see folks, this is why I opted not to name my baby boy after his father...I would lose my mind! That's my tacky husband!


Are You Text Savvy?

Do you like text messaging? I do. I find it to be quite a convenience at times when I can't physically make a phone call in order to relay a message to someone. Now I do however have problems when I get a text from a younger person and can't decipher what the heck they are saying. I received a list of definitions in an email for what I call shorthand for teens. This helped me a lot! My hubby calls this shorthand or abbreviated style the dumbing down of today's young people. I do admit I personally use the ttyl, brb and lol but that is about it~! Check out the list for yourself may learn something you did not know!
(Dang, my spellchecking function has this post all lit up!!)

AFAIK - as far as I know
ASAP - as soon as possible
B4N - bye for now
BBS - be back soon
BFN - bye for now
BRB - be right back
BTW - By the way
CUL - see you later
DQMOT - don't quote me on this
EOM - end of message
FWIW - for what it's worth
FYI - for your information
GL - good luck
GMTA - great minds think alike
HT - hi there
HTH - hope this helps
IAC / IAE - in any case / in any event
IMO - in my opinion
IMS - I am sorry
JK - just kidding
JMO - just my opinion
JTLYK - just to let you know
LOL - laughing out loud
NP - no problem
OTOH - on the other hand
ROFL - rolling on the floor laughing
TA - thanks again
TIA - thanks in advance
TTYL - talk to you later
TU - thank you
UW - you are welcome
WTG - way to go
WU? - what's up?
YBS - you'll be sorry
YW - you are welcome
And for the record, I am a very cool mom even if I don't understand text messages!
Blogger Template Created For Mom Files All Rights Reserved