Originally published at Sunday Business & IT section, October 21, 2018

Parents need to venture into the online world of their children to help them navigate the tricky waters, learn the rules, learn from their adult experience and still be safe. We play a role in guiding children and teens navigate the internet and media environment, just as we help them learn how to behave off-line. In our digital lifestyle, a mobile phone or tablet is within easy reach. Raising tech-savvy kids at such a young age has its benefits but can be worrisome. Thanks to the smartphone, children can become subjected to cyber-bullying or get distracted and lose their ability to focus. There is another concern on the blue light from digital devices which allegedly damages vision.

visible internet

What can we do?

We can walk with our children to help them navigate the digital world. This can take the form of digital and non-digital action. A non-digital action undertakes steps outside the digital world. It includes open conversation, no smartphones during dinner or setting a time limit and more. Start a media plan that considers the health, education, and entertainment needs of each child and the whole family. An online tool at HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan is available so families can create a personalized Family Media Use Plan.

READ: Do you have a family media plan?
Parenting in the new digital age
Are digital gadgets good for our kids?

The digital part focuses on the smartphone itself to make it more compatible with the child’s use. Such actions include security, privacy and parental control settings. Several parental control apps are available online but restrict websites, apps and time usage. What if a tool does not include restrictions, spying or policing, just modern day applications mixed with good parenting?

I got introduced to Visible Internet’s modern technology which serves as a bridge between smart phones, tablets and computers used by parents and their children.  The “Visible Internet” app centers on the strong Filipino culture, ensuring that parents remain the guiding influence in their children’s lives. Its seamless integration into the busy lives of parents allows them to be present in the crucial years of their child’s development.

“The most important element missing in the internet lives of children are the parents. Research has proven that children make better choices, perform better at school and are more focused on the things that matter in their lives when they know their parents are involved.”, says Tony Fawaz, CEO and Founder of Visible Internet. Our children deserve a safe environment – a place where they can learn, get entertained, and grow. The internet can be that place if it empower parents to be a part of their children’s digital lives and to frame the internet as a transparent family experience.

How  “Visible Internet” works

It is best to create an account on the desktop at visibleinternet.com so you can try a free version.  A parent gets free access for one child with one gadget before deciding to avail a full subscription payment.  “Visible Internet” supports your role as a parent with one set of features for you and a different set of features for your child. This requires two different apps.  After creating the account on your desktop, one can download and install the “Visible Internet” parent app. The next step is to install the “Visible Internet” child app on your kid’s smartphone or another device.

Installation of the child app enables parental access to the location and screen activity of the child’s device. The parent app user-interface makes interaction with the child easy, fun and informative. Parents can view a child’s location along with their internet activity on demand or regular intervals. Images broadcasted to the parent app show up as camera roll images. This expand for easy viewing and logged as historical data. A simple tap on your “Visible Internet” app tells you where all your children are in seconds. It also captures a screen cap of what they are looking at their smartphone at that particular time.

Visible Internet is a multi-platform technology working across the technology children use iOs iPhones, iPad, iPad, Android smart phones, and tablets, iMac computer, Windows and Chrome book laptop and PC.  This app is a lifestyle choice because it helps parents understand what is going on in the digital lives of their children. The best way to make technology a healthy and positive part of family life is to embrace it as a family activity.

The information contained here should not be a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician.

Our digital well-being matters. It is best to disconnect when needed and create healthy habits for the whole family.

Originally posted at the Sunday Business & IT on October 14, 2018

Are you guilty of reaching for your phone every time you wake up in the morning to check on your notifications? I do and it has become a habit ever since I got hooked on social networking sites as early as 2007.

Screen time from another weekly period

Proof? I spent 56 hours and 37 minutes on my iPhone for the last seven days or an average of eight hours and five minutes per day. My husband overheard me exclaim as I read the Screen Time statistics on my iPhone. He comforted me with “That’s part of your job.” Sure, I am a social media practitioner and citizen advocate rolled into one. I love to curate news articles, share photos and updates or opinions from my five blogs. It is time to audit and check if my usage is too high or excessive for my work. Is it time well spent? My Fitbit app tells me I slept an average of seven hours and a half the past week. That leaves eight hours and a half for my laptop use and other activities such as driving, walking and meeting people.

The latest iOS 12 features the Screen Time tools which show up under Settings > Screen Time. This provides an iPhone user with iPhone 5 and above to find out the time spent and limit apps’ usage. The first thing I do is to check the Screen Time report, a bar graph that illustrates the time spent on my iPhone during the day or in a week. One can see the breakdown of the time spent on specific apps. Try it. My latest weekly screen report showed:

1. Social networking — 37 hours and 56 minutes (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, messenger, Messages, LinkedIn, Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp, Local, Bubbly, Skype, Quora, Tumblr, Signal)

2. Reading & Reference — 3 hours and 54 minutes (Safari, Waze, Angkas, Online news)

3. Creativity — 2 hours and 34 minutes (Lightroom CC, camera, photos, Snapseed, Boomerang, GoPro, Unfold, Insta360Nano S)

4. Others — 2 hours and 24 minutes (browsing, shopping apps)

5. Productivity — 1 hour and 40 minutes (Gmail, Drive, calculator, Calendar, One Note)

6. Entertainment — 1 hour and 4 minutes (Spotify, Youtube, Oculus)

7. Health & Fitness — 19 minutes (Fitbit, Nike)

In the WeAreSocial Global Digital Report for January 2018 in the Philippines, the average daily time spent using the internet via internet device is nine hours and 29 minutes. Average time using social media spent via any device is three hours and 57 minutes. While my total screen time is lower than the average, I spend over four hours on social media. I was alarmed by the data. After seeing I use 15 social networking apps, I decided to prioritize them.

Using the Screen Time tools, I limited the average one hour time on Facebook to 30 minutes a day. I did not set limits on Twitter. My number one platform for social media engagement is Twitter because fewer trolls thrive in this network. Thirty minutes in Facebook is not adequate during a busy news day.

iPhone users can use the “Do Not Disturb” function that lets you turn off your notifications and calls.

The “Downtime” feature allows you to do the same for apps. Parents can manage their kids’ screen time and impose app limits on them remotely. To use Screen Time for tracking and managing your kids’ device usage, the parent must add them to their iCloud Family Sharing account. Google initiated its “Digital Wellbeing” app, which is in beta preview for Pixel devices. Facebook and Instagram rolled out digital well-being features that include an activity dashboard, a daily reminder, and a new way to limit notifications.

Although I’m committed to using technology in advocating change for social good, my digital well-being stays front and center. There is a concern about the blue light from digital devices which allegedly can damage vision and speed up blindness. Based on an optical chemistry research at the University of Toledo in the US, “blue light from digital devices and the sun transforms vital molecules in the eye’s retina into cell killers”. Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, an assistant professor in chemistry and biochemistry in the university said: “We are being exposed to blue light and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it”. The research published at the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports added, “It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina. Our experiments explain how this happens, and we hope this leads to therapies that slow macular degeneration, such as a new kind of eye drop.” If you want to protect your eyes from blue light, Dr. Ajith Karunarathne’s advice is to avoid looking at your cell phones or other blue-light emitting devices in the dark and consider wearing sunglasses.

Our digital well-being matters. It is best to disconnect when needed and create healthy habits for the whole family.


The complete study can be found here.

First published at the Sunday Business & IT Of the Sunday Times entitled “Embracing the era of experience: Marketing redefined”

Do you recall the feeling when you purchased something for yourself? When I bought a pair of Nike shoes a few weeks ago, I felt good about my decision even if the price was higher than my budget. I did not just gain a high-tech midsole with the lightest, softest, smoothest, and most responsive foam Nike has ever produced. I bought the total fitness experience. Beyond the shoe, the brand understood a consumer’s fitness journey and complemented it with a Nike+ Training Club app. I felt more excited to carry out my Fitibit step goals together with this Ultimate Personal Trainer. This is one example of a brand that goes where their customers are. I find value in this great experience. One sees the rise of the “Experience Economy” when someone shares happy stories in social networks. It is experience embedded at every stage of the consumer journey.

The Digital Congress (DigiCon) for 2018, organized by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), tackled the Experience Economy (XE). The XE covered discussions beyond technology and mediums with a focus on creating an experience for the senses. Bozoma Saint John, a marketing guru and keynote speaker, reminded the delegates, “Emotion is the currency for the experience economy. We’re in the feelings business. We’re not in the data business.” If one is a marketer trying to build a business, one is talking about feelings most of the time. I love brands that understand my desires and recognize sentiments. Amazon is one company that understood my anguish when I complained that the cost of custom duties was more than the product itself. Instead of giving me a difficult time, Amazon gave me a refund. In their email, Amazon explained they valued my loyalty. It is no surprise I am still a loyal customer for over 10 years now.

experience economy

The Amazon shopping experience set my standard for the customer experience. I look up to brands who provide similar seamless interactions from every touchpoint. It is the touchpoints within the customer journey that help define both good and not-so-good moments. At DigiCon, Anthony Baker provided insights into the Experience Playbook. With access to reviews and competitive pricing, customers get more control in their choices. In the past, when a product is good, it will sell. That is not the case anymore. The shift is now toward customers driving brand experiences. It is about moving from marketing to experiences. This means putting the customer at the center and in everything they do. One must rethink engagement by understanding and solving their needs.

experience economy

Brands must get loyalty by giving the consumer value and making their lives easier. Amazon got my loyalty because I experienced being valued as a customer.

Customers connect with brands in the evolving digital landscape of the Web, Mobile, Social, Messaging, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/Mixed Reality, Voice, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Language, and Robotics.

Brands like Sephora, Nike, Alibaba, and Tencent are re-imagining consumer experiences. Value-added personalization services helped brands like Estée Lauder cut through the noise. Their chatbot finds the ideal consumer lipstick color for women. Some real estate companies use virtual reality in showing their future projects to potential customers. Mobile apps like the Nike Training app shape the in-store experience, empower the purchasing process, and create interesting and dynamic ways to interact with the customer.

experience economy

Baker suggests more points for a seamless brand experience:

1. Brands have to offer great experiences across the end-to-end non-linear customer journey (awareness-consideration-purchase-usage-loyalty).

2. Think about engaging across the ecosystem, all platforms, channels, and screens.

3. Use every interaction as an opportunity to learn from and enhance every experience.

4. Look beyond the transactions and focus on building long-term relationships.

5. Manifest the brand through the interface.

6. Brands must reclaim their consumer relationship and data. Brands that think of their consumers as members focus on the long-term relationship.

7. The model is now “inside out”. Every touchpoint has the potential for branded experience and engagement.

experience economy
Building customer loyalty is not enough. It’s about knowing, recognizing, anticipating, and creating value all the time and at scale. It is a promise that is compelling, clearly articulated, and makes consumers belong to something bigger. While I might not meet Nike’s promise of “We’ll make you a better athlete”, I know that I get value-added customer experiences through the tracking progress, encouragement, and clear routes to the improvement in my fitness journey. Consumers seek not only convenient service or a packaged product but a one-stop, sensorial experience.

Now is the time for business to embrace the era of experience.

First published at BYAHILO’S ERIC DORMIDO DIES AT 39 by Tonyo Cruz

Source of photo: Azrael

Eric Dormido, more popularly known as Byahilo, passed away today October 5, 2018. He was 39.

His sister Gladys Dormido said Eric was pronounced dead at 5:40 pm due to cardiac arrest at a clinic where he had his regular dialysis session.

Eric’s Byahilo.com is one of the country’s top travel blogs. He was one of the champions of local Philippine festivals, especially the Masskara festival of his hometown.

Eric was among the most prominent and most trusted bloggers, especially on tourism and travel. He received Readers’ Choice honors at the Philippine Blog Awards.

In 2009, Eric was one of the bloggers featured in an ad by Nokia, then the world’s top mobile phone brand.

News of Eric’s passing shocked the blogging community. Eric was still chatting with some friends as late as lunch time of the day he died.

“I always viewed Eric as a joyful person. So bubbly,” said fellow blogger Noemi Dado.

Another blogger, Berniemack Arellano, says that Eric was “passionate in his craft of street dance culture.”

Arellano wrote this message for Eric: “Padayuna ang pagsaut mo da sa pihak, geng! Kaupod mo na si Santo Niño! Salamat guid Eric Dormido Y Bravo sa aton nga pagululupod kag sinadya! I feel sad that you’ve gone ahead, but your presence will be in our hearts. I will not mourn for your departure, but I’d celebrate your life the way you like it, like the street dance festivals that you passionately love. DANCE IN PEACE, miga! Viva Señora Byahilo!”

He added: “I’d surely miss him, being the Festival Queen. I’d miss our talks and shared passion on festivals. I’d miss his antics. He may be gone, but his presence has been ever more greater. Dance in Peace, my good friend. Viva Señora Byahilo!”

Take a peak at Eric’s travel photos in his Facebook profile.

A native of Bacolod, Eric studied at La Consolacion College and University of St. La Salle.

Eric leaves behind his sister’s and brother’s families: Gladys, Terrence and Gab, and Crispin, Yasmin, Ysha and Bella.

Details of the wake, to be held in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, will be announced shortly.

Godspeed and happy travels in the great beyond, Eric.

In honor of Eric Dormido (Jan. 24, 1979-Oct. 5, 2018)

Having a break at Sunburst Mango. Heat was just too much. Sinulog, 2012

Nuffnang Talent Night, December 2012

With Francis Simsim, owner of Bluewater Day Spa, 2008