Are you one of those people who smiles brightly when the conversation turns to URLs and search engines, but you’re secretly resistant to making the Web your go-to source for your family’s needs? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have had trust issues with the Internet. But thanks to improvements in browser navigation and software security, it’s easy to get past your fears and join the 21st Century which, by the way, is where your kids hang out.
Here are a few online tasks you should embrace:
How would you like to see your friends and family instead of just their words or the static pictures they attach to their emails? Enter Skype. Install Skype on your computer and you can talk face-to-face with anyone no matter where they are in the world. It’s real-time and it’s really cool, plus it’s super easy. What’s more, Skyping, as it’s called, is free! Go to www.skype.com to sign up.
E-Discounts and E-Tickets
While you may use your computer inside your home or office, the Web can help you and yours see the world, or at least more of your neighborhood. Use the Internet to find local activities, movie listings, dining discounts, even travel deals. Find out what’s happening and be there on time and ready to enjoy it. Check sites including www.expedia.com and www.kayak.com to make travel plans, www.groupon.com and www.livingsocial.com for dining and other discounts, and www.fandango.com for movie listings and e-tickets.
The fact that Cyber Monday is almost more popular than Black Friday says it all: people love to shop online. Almost every big retailer out there has an online store. The selection is usually larger than what’s in the physical store and you’ll save money because you won’t use gas driving from place to place looking for what you want. And controlling a couple of kids standing next to your computer is a whole lot easier than controlling them in a mall.
Forget about writing checks and maintaining a check register. With online banking you can pay your bills in a fraction of the time and the bank does the calculations and maintains the record for you. You can even schedule automatic monthly payments for bills including utilities, loans, even cell phone bills. Seriously, do you have time to go to the bank and wait in line for a teller to help you?
If you have a job or a family or both, online education is a life-saver. You can pursue new skills or training, or even the degree you’ve always wanted while you study at your own pace and often at your convenience. Many classes and programs allow you to simply log-in to the e-class and begin. That’s a lot easier than traveling to a campus several times a week and it’s cheaper. Some courses even provide all the materials needed online so you save big on books.
Sick of commuting and lunches and dry cleaning? Want to see your kids while they’re still awake? Think about working from home. Lots of businesses these days are using remote employees, both on staff personnel and independent contractors. If you think you’re disciplined enough to work from home, consider a job as a virtual assistant, a call center rep, a medical transcriptionist or medical biller, a tech support specialist, even a writer or editor. These are just a few of the positions that are available to online workers.
Nicole Morgan is a mother of two and a career counselor who blogs for accreditedonlinembaguides.org where you can find information about aacsb online mba programs.