The way we take, organize and share pictures has drastically changed with the high-tech era and introduction of digital photography. Long gone are the days of snapping a photo, winding your camera, and waiting a few days to find out whether or not the whole family was smiling in the shot you snapped at Mt. Rushmore. But thanks to a number of free photo sharing sites, what you may have noticed also disappearing are the old, comfortable, and charming rituals of leafing through a stack of photos or turning the pages of an old photo album as well.
In fact, because digital cameras make photos so easy to take and view, many of us now take multiple shots of the same image just to make sure we get the right one. However, just as it is important (and easier than ever) to grab the perfect picture, so too is it vital to keep in mind the needs of those who will eventually view your photos. As we share photos with friends and family online, the result is often albums with hundreds if not thousands of pictures that even your own mother might not have the patience to sit through. Thankfully, a number of online solutions can help with cataloguing, organizing and distributing images over the Internet, making it simpler than ever to sift through towering virtual stacks of snapshots.
Choosing the right service can make the process of organizing and sharing your photos simple, quick and easy – and make viewing them a pleasurable experience for friends and family alike. Here’s a look at five of the best free photo sharing sites that you won’t want to miss.
Popular service Flickr lets you upload pictures nearly any way you can think of, whether by phone, e-mail, web browser or app on your computer. Flickr then provides the tools to let the pictures tell a story, whether it’s by adding notes, commenting on specific parts of the picture, or even adding photos to a map. Organizing photos is as simple as dragging and dropping them where you want them, and sharing can be done easily with family and friends, even if they don’t have a Flickr account. One cool feature for photo-lovers is Flickr’s ability to let users explore photos from others, sorted by subject, group, location and more.
Photobucket allows for storage of unlimited photos and up to 500 videos, and also lets users easily share their work with friends and family via social networks or e-mail links. Photobucket also allows for some cool editing features, letting you do perform standard operations like cropping and adding special effects, but further provides the ability to easily add captions and more. The service additionally lets you track stats on your photo views so you can see which was popular.
Shutterfly is geared towards those who want to not only share their prints, but also offer real-life versions of them – and in eye-catching formats. The online service offers easy to build albums and websites, which can be e-mailed to friends and family, but also specializes in making it simple to order real-life prints or photobooks so you can have physical versions of your photos as well. It’s a great source to turn to if you’re looking for collectible keepsakes.
Snapfish also makes it easy to upload, edit and organize photos, and share them freely via what the creators call a “group room,” which allows multiple users to share photos of a certain event, such as a school recital or a wedding. In addition to prints, Snapfish also offers a number of ways to print out your photo on items that range from the obvious, such as customized growth charts, to the not-so-obvious, like blankets. It provides a veritable smorgasbord of ways to bring digital images to life.
The world’s most popular social networking site is also its most popular photo sharing site. With the ability for users to easily upload photos and videos for families and friends to enjoy and receive comments on them, Facebook continues to be the de facto leader for sharing just about anything – multimedia included. Facebook sharing is at the forefront of many privacy concerns, however, so even if you have all your security and privacy settings locked down, be careful when sending a link to your album to others. Even with privacy settings set to “friends only,” anyone who gains access to that link can view your photos.
For a parent, the Internet is as much of a wonder as it is terrifying. For the first time in human history, our kids have access to a limitless, free store of knowledge, but there are also dark corners teeming with predators. When the worst happens, the story blazes across every news site, and we’re suddenly terrified for our own charges. That’s why it’s so important to familiarize ourselves with the best online safety resources for parents. Even though we occasionally hear wretched stories about children being harassed, victimized, and bullied while online, barring the younger generation from the Internet isn’t an option. A child needs to learn how to navigate the online world for purposes relating to education, communication, and eventually, employment.
Much as we educate our kids not to take candy from strangers, we need to consult online safety resources for parents and work to ensure that our children have safe places to work and play while they’re on the web. Face-to-face communication is important, too: Talk to your kids about online safety, answer any questions they have, and assure them that they can always come to you with more questions and concerns. If you’re looking for online safety resources that can help, consider these ten a great starting point:
WiredSafety – WiredSafety is a good online safety resource for both parents and kids. The site keeps up to date with the latest news on online safety legislation, and offers common sense stories and tips across every aspect of online life, including friendships, security, and relationships. There’s also advice for kids about how they should deal with online arguments and bullying.
Get Netwise – Get Netwise is an easy-to-navigate website that boasts a big library of video tutorials. Some tutorials include tips on how to filter search engine results, while others offer in-depth looks at online security programs.
Google’s Family Safety Center – Not surprisingly, Google features a portal to a variety of tools that parents and teachers can use to help kids navigate the Internet safely. You can use the Family Safety Center to control YouTube and Search content, report abuse, and watch video tips from other parents.
NetSmartz – NetSmartz is run by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Its colorful tips and characters should hold special appeal to young visitors. Kids can even access, print, and read free eBooks that use metaphors to describe the hazards of giving away information to online advertisers.
StaySafeOnline – StaySafeOnline by the National Cyber Security Alliance emphasizes the importance of online security, especially when using social networks like Facebook and Google+. The site also provides parents with advice for keeping an eye on kids who love online gaming.
For more online safety resources for parents, check out:
Also be sure to see our own The Modern Parent’s Guide series of high-tech parenting books (a free download) as well.
[Image source: Digital Mom Blog]
Playing video games used to mean shelling out for an expensive set-top console, or spending a lot of time and money upgrading your PC with the RAM and graphics cards necessary to handle intense graphics and sound. Now, enjoying a good game is simply a matter of knowing how to find your way around the Internet and tucking into a load of free offerings. The video game market has never been so competitive, and developers are lining up around the block for the chance to entertain you using social games, casual games, free to play flash games and more. Cheerfully, the following expert guide can show you how to play games free online in minutes.
Worth keeping in mind before diving in, however: There’s still a huge market for video game consoles and the high-budget games that set-top solutions provide. That said, there’s no denying the appeal of firing up a game on a web browser and frittering away a few minutes before or during your lunch break. Moreover, free online games aren’t limited to simple, single-screen affairs: They come in a veritable rainbow of genres, they boast varying levels of complexity, and many are surprisingly detailed and good-looking.
Here are some tips you should keep in mind if you’re looking to play free games online.
You’ll need a stable Internet connection – Preferably broadband. You can’t play games if you can’t access the websites that host them, right?
Get a Facebook and/or Google+ account – Not mandatory by any means, but there are a lot of fun and easy-to-access social games such as FarmVille, Bubble Witch Saga and Draw Something on social networks like Facebook and Google+. Just make sure that you read, understand, and agree with each site’s privacy terms, and set your account’s security accordingly.
Make sure Flash is up-to-date – Most online games utilize Adobe Flash (a software backbone that powers games found on sites like MiniClip.com, Newgrounds, Pogo.com and Addicting Games) to some degree, which is a multimedia platform that allows for users to interact with websites. If you’re going to play, make sure your version of Flash is up-to-date. If it’s not, Flash is free and easy to download and install.
Have an idea of what kind of game(s) you’re looking for – If you have a general idea of the kind of games you want to play, it’ll make your search a lot easier. For instance, do you like puzzle games? PopCap makes excellent puzzle games, and if you visit the studio’s website, you’ll find lots of free demos.
Visit Kongregate – Kongregate.com is a massive site that contains over 56,000 free games. You can find titles in almost every conceivable genre, all neatly sorted. You can also take a look at the most popular offerings and grab some recommendations.
For more info about the best free games and sites you can get them from, visit: