It's just a fact of life that just about everything our kids do, be it at school or at home, is done on either a TV, computer, tablet, smartphone, and lately even smart watches. All of the aforementioned electronics share a common feature: a screen. Kids these days therefore spend the majority of their time looking at some kind of a screen. So, how much screen time is still ideal? Screen kidsThat phrase alone could easily describe how modern kids spend most of their days. Of course there is no single answer. The fact is that modern technology is now more available than it’s ever been. Seeing that kids have immediate access to this technology, which adults could only dream of when they young, is in many ways positive; such as learning news skills or picking up new ideas and enhancing creativity. There are, however, two sides to the story. Hours and hours of screentime is not good and we are not only talking about poor eyesight. Behavioural problems, obesity, a lack of communication, replicating negative behaviour, and even an inability to function in a society are all increasingly common problems. All about the balanceNot all screen time is bad. In fact there are four different types of screen time:Recreational: playing games or watching videos just for funEducational: doing homework onlineInteractive: playing video games, drawing picturesNon-interactive: watching TV or YouTube videosParents need to know the balance between healthy and useful screen time and its overuse. That's the easier part. The hard part is being able to explain and reason with their kids why.According to this australian parenting website, the optimum screen time depends on the age group in which your kids belong.For kids under 18 months, no screen time is recommended.For those aged between eighteen months to two years experts say to watch high quality educational programs and parents should be there to explain to their children what they are watching.Two to five year olds shouldn't watch more than an hour of screen time per day and parents should watch it along with them.For six year olds and older kids, parents should consistently set limits on spending time on electronic devices. As with everything, the key is to find the right balance and to be able to explain this to your children in an understandable, interesting and age-appropriate way.
Obesity, being overweight, type 2 diabetes, almost no or no interest in sports or physical activity whatsoever. These are just a few challenges the kids and youth of today’s generation are faced with.Overweight and obese kids are suffering not just when it comes to their health but their self confidence takes quite a hit too. Statistic says it loud and clear. Obesity in children in the United States alone had more than tripled since the 1970s. That is scary. And dangerous. Not just for the kids but their parents alike. Kids whose BMI (Body Mass Index) is at or above 85 percent but lower than 95 percent are considered overweight. Those above 95 percent have obesity. We like to move it, move it We know all too well that all of the above is not just scary but life threatening if left untreated. Another thing we know all too well is that the the only long term solution to fight this civilization disease is to move. And eat healthy. But first and above all to move. Human body was designed to move and be active no matter what its age. Exercise helps not just with mental wellbeing but helps small children grow healthy and strong. Besides that it helps and teaches them to be able to better overcome physical and emotional challenges. Physical activity also teaches and develops their endurance, strength and flexibility. Positive role models and healthy competition There is nothing worse than having to force someone to do something they don't want to do. This is especially true when it comes to kids. "The best thing is, if kids choose which sport would they like to devote their time to themselves”, says nutritional expert and a keen sportswoman Tina Zlatoš Turner. Ideal situation is, when the whole family likes and practises sport regularly. Include even grandparents if you like. Do whatever it takes to lead by example and motivate kids and grandkids to develop a healthy and loving relationship with sport. Not only for a portion of their lives for the whole one. Kids tend to copy the behaviour of adults and what they see at home. If they see their parents practise sports, it will become normal for them too. Sport will become a natural part of their day rather than a forced one. When to start moving? The opinions tend to differ but according to this clinic the general rule is that you can start getting your kids to move from as early as 2 years old. The best way is general free play at this early age but you can also try swimming. Older kids, so somewhere around the ages 6 to 9 year olds are getting better at paying attention and are able to follow direction so team sports such as tennis, soccer, and even martial arts are a good way to go. It also teaches them teamwork. 10 to 12 year olds are already smart enough to understand strategy of certain sports with complex rules (football, hockey, basketball) and are ready to take on a challenge. What if you see that your child is really quite good at something and you feel they should take it up a notch and start pursuing a career out of it? There are 3 ways: Do not pressure them, motivate them. Let them play and encourage them to self reflect afterwards on what can be done better. Do not criticize them. Kids are the best judges for themselves and they are very aware of their every failure. So do not remind them of it again. Motivation, continuous support and FUN If you’ve reached a point, when your child practises sport regularly and likes it, you need to do all it takes to keep that fire burning brightly. That can be done in multiple and very simple ways. One of the easiest and least time consuming way is to create a competition between siblings. Get them to run a race or do a rope skipping challenge. Use whatever sport your kids already like doing and make it fun with some healthy competition and a cool reward (who doesn't like a good amusement park or a trip to the movies, right?). However, kids are creative creatures who constantly and without much warning change opinions. Not just when it comes to free time activities. It is perfectly normal they will be all of a sudden super excited by basketball and next thing you know if will be athletics. They want to try and experience everything so that they can decide for themselves, which will be the winner. We at Benjamin have been thinking of ways to help parents excite and motivate their kids for the lifelong love of sport. We have been toying with the idea of adding a “fit lock” function. If your child does some kind of physical activity and is wearing Benjamin on them at the time, this function will then ‘reward' them by unlocking the PC or a tablet for thems. How is that for exchanging screen time for sport time? We call it a win-win!
It's a rainy Saturday afternoon. You find yourself sitting on the couch, holding a cup of hot tea, feeling somewhat nostalgic as you watch the raindrops slide down the window. You open the drawer on your cupboard and take an old dusty box out. In it you have all the precious family photos from your childhood. You are looking at them one by one before you realize hours went by. It stopped raining, the sun came out again and there is a beautiful rainbow outside. You no longer feel nostalgic. You feel happy and have a smile on your face. Why? Because you have just relived your childhood and reawakened your memories. Some of them you may not have even been aware of. But thanks to those dusty photos you are now. Memories are vitally important and keeping them even more so.What Role do memories play?Put simply - a very important one. Let me break it down a bit. Somewhere between the ages 2-4, kids lack "episodic memory" - memory that looks after remembering details of a specific event. These memories are stored in several parts of the brain's surface. This particular part of the brain is also known as cortex. Visual experiences are stored in visual cortex, sound in sound cortex and so on. All of these are then tied together and stored in the middle of the human brain, a part called hippocampus. The fact, why kids have a lot of trouble remembering events or situations between the ages of 2-4 years is because the hippocampus is at this very age only starting to put all of this information together. Kids’ brain concentrates more on improving a so called “semantic” memory - a memory thanks to which kids are able to recognize their parents or say “thank you” or “please” when they want something. Technology is here to helpNever fear. Technology is here to help your your kids remember and you to keep the moments, when your little ones are not yet able to do it themselves. Take Benjamin Button for example. And we’re not talking about that famous movie. This is better than that. An intelligent, pocket sized wearable camera. Looks like a cute button and clips on your kids clothes (or your clothes, if you wish) and records all the events by itself from the perspective of the wearer. Now imagine, how much fun watching this footage (such as the one below) can be later. And how much nostalgia and laughs while watching this very footage will it bring, when your kids are older or when they are parents themselves?Benjamin does all the work for you. Not only will it record all the fun, happy, sad or any other events you want it to, it will edit and cut the footage all by itself. All you have to do is press the “play” button and enjoy looking back at all the precious, happy family moments that would have otherwise been forever lost and not remembered. Technology is here to help us. Make our lives easier. Bring us closer together. Even relive and keep memories for the next generation that will come after us. Let Benjamin be the brain for remembering all the moments that matter. So that your children can share these very moments with their own children in a few years time. Let Benjamin become another member of your family!
You guessed right! We’re talking kid pictures. And in particular sharing private pictures of your own children across social media networks.It's a difficult and hot topic these days. Discussed among parents, those who are not yet parents and simply said, everyone has an opinion on it. The thing is, there is no one definite answer. In the end, it will always come down to you- the parent to decide, if you will or won’t share your child’s life on the internet.That being said, let’s take a deeper look on the good and the bad of sharing pictures of the biggest treasures of every parent- their kids on the world wide web.The GOODThis one’s simple. Why do you post on social media at all? Why do you post pictures from trips, good food or fun activities? Because at that moment you are happy. And you want to share and spread your happiness with others. You want to create a positive vibe. You want people to see that you enjoying your life.The same goes for sharing photos of your children. You are proud of them. Proud that you have them, proud because they have achieved something. And you don’t want to keep it just to yourself.Another reason many parents share their children’s photos is to simply stay in touch. Many of us nowadays are torn apart. For multiple reasons. We live far from each other. Often in different cities, states and even countries. Social media has therefore become the only option for us families to stay in touch. And for our grandparents to see us, their grandkids.Use with CAUTIONAs with everything, moderation and common sense is key. Or better yet, caution would be a better expression to use.We are being witnesses of the the first generation that will be living with a digital trail. This means that kids will have a backlog of digital information available about them on the internet. We currently don’t know and are not able to tell whether this will be an advantage or a reason for some later trouble but either way, parents should be highly cautious of what information, photos and mainly the quantity and frequency do they decide to share with the world. However cute or sweet they may be. This trail, once online, becomes very difficult to keep track off. Or get rid of. You can lose control over its use faster than you may realize.People are imaginative and creative and kid pictures are one of the most sought after pictures in the online world. Within seconds can a picture you took of your child and uploaded online with only the best interests in mind be taken and used in better cases for advertising purposes and the worst ones? Let’s not even go there. The options are limitless. Be photo WISENo one can of course stop you from sharing whatever you feel like on your social media channels. And if kid pictures are something you like sharing than that’s your decision. But let us give you a few tips so that particular activity does not turn its back towards you one day.Privacy settings are your best friend (especially on Facebook)- that is what they are there for after all. When posting a picture, only share it with family members and custom select people who will be able to see it Give GPS a break- Turn off location enabling settings on your smartphone, tablet or laptop Don’t use your kids real names- be creative and give your kids nicknames, or better yet- ask them, what nicknames do they like. This goes especially for tagging pictures of your children on social media networks. Tagging a picture can also later make it a lot easier to delete it and with it lessen the danger of it being used for all the wrong reasons. Use websites that require people to log in to see the pictures rather than the photo being freely available for all of your followers to see. Flickr is a good one. Or Instagram when set to a private account. So what do we recommend?Well, there is no right or wrong answer. It is an individual decision and us here at Benjamin shall leave this decision up to your discretion.There are many ways to keep your memories alive. You could store your photos on an external disk or in a cloud storage and share them with your loved ones in a matter of seconds whenever you want, wherever you are. The options are plentiful and the world is your oyster. Just make sure you do it safely and in such a way, that won't be able to be misused.
It looks like some people think, that having a tiny camera you can clip on your child and record precious and nowadays often forgotten about memories is not the greatest of ideas. The reasons differ from opinion to opinion but most of them are asking why would you feel the need to record your kid’s every move.Let's have a closer look on why having the option of capturing some important moments from your child's life can just be something your kid will one day thank you for. Every parent does the best job they can to bring their children up to be the best people they can be and achieve a lot of success in their later lives.However it's the first 4 years, children have little or no recollection of their own lives. That is exactly the period of time, the most important moments in their lives tend to happen. We are talking the first word, the first steps, the first smiles… well, you get the idea.These are the very moments that are often missed and what’s worse forgotten about because they were never captured.A recent poll also found that 69% of dads have missed a kid’s milestone, with almost one in four missing their child’s first steps, and one in five missing their first words. 11 percent of working mothers missed baby learning to walk and talk, much to their regret. Don’t become a part of this sad statistic!This is where Benjamin Button comes in handy. This little camera ticks multiple boxes of being useful. Besides looking cute, it clips on your kid's clothing (or your own, if you prefer), turns on when it sees the light so you don't even have to worry about pushing a single button and records the daily happenings. In Full HD. So far so good, but keep reading. It gets even better.It poses an intelligent software that automatically picks the best moments of the day thanks to the mobile app. That means the following:Saves you having to look at your own kids through the lens of a smartphone. Instead, you can devote your full attention to them. Be there with them in the moment. Edits the footage and all you have to do (or not) is to share the video with your family and friends on social media. Prevents exposing children to far too much screen time, of which they already have more than enough, but instead it motivates them to experience things first hand and be present in the moment Records events that would normally never be captured, especially the funny ones and those natural ones. Kids forget they are wearing Benjamin so act naturally and these moments are therefore priceless and often very funny. Especially when parents are not around and later watch the footage of what their kids have been up to.And also this:Parents suffering FOMO (fear of missing out) are buying into it. Moms and dads have almost doubled the Benjamin Button’s original $25,000 Kickstarter goal, with a cool $43,000 since the campaign launched in late May. The creators expect to send out finished products just in time for the 2017 Christmas season.Having an option and a way to being able to forever remember the most important memories, such as those from summer holidays, just like this one is something no parent can truly put a price on.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave
Ever wondered how you can turn back time and re-live important family memories? Or what your child is doing when you are not around?What does the world look like from a child’s perspective? If the answer is yes, meet Benjamin Button. The first button-shaped smart camera capable of capturing and keeping your precious family moments together, forever. And in the easiest way possible. It is specifically designed for busy parents who are short on time and lack experience in keeping only the best moments from video footage. However, the true magic of Benjamin lies in it’s pretty casing. With it’s built-in automatic video editing software, sound and activity recognition, face recognition or smart sharing options, it takes the guesswork out of making the videos interesting. All you have to do is share and enjoy the video with those that matter. The idea of capturing moments kids will not remember has been there from the very beginning of Benjamin Button, as one of the therapists Vladimir Cervenak has said.Kids do not remember much until the age of 4 and thus such video footage from important moments can play a crucial part in later years, by treating fears for example. A child's perspective, from the video footage – as seen here from the prototype is another major reason for Dan Salter, a father of one girl. Some parents have tried to put GoPro-like action cameras on their kids, but as the mounts and holders are not designed for their bodies, it can be dangerous when engaging in different sports etc., and there is even Wifi radiation to be concerned about, so they stopped using it. Most of the parents, when asked, enjoy the hands-free video shooting and smartness of Benjamin Button which edits the videos for them automatically.They can easily share funny and important moments with their distant family or via social media.
The use of technology has become a major part of our lives, with our electronic products affecting us in a number of ways; both positive and negative. From toasters to televisions, some of these gadgets and appliances can be among the most hazardous things in your our homes, putting both us and our children at risk. But are they really as dangerous as we’re led to believe?“Thanks to Benjamin I was able to show my husband what new things our son has learned today while he was at work. At the same time, I stored these precious moments for my son, for when he grows up. I wish my parents had such a magical device!,” said one of the first users and mother of one boy, Jana Bachman. Just more click-baitYou can find a plethora of articles and studies claiming that prolonged WiFi radiation has a negative impact on us and our children's lives. There is, however, one prevailing reason behind all of this doom: scaring people. The more people share such information about the dangers of WiFi or other potentially harmless modern amenities, the more people tend to click on them; the more advertising revenue is generated, and the more motivation there is to keep creating more.So, yes, it’s easy to see how radiation can be frightening, but it’s important to remember that not all radiation is created equal: there are two types and two sides to the radiation story.Radiation is the thing that bathes the world in warm sunlight, making all life on Earth possible. Radiation is also the reason we can turn on a radio and hear music without wires or change the channels on our TV.Two sides to the storyThe most critical factor, when it comes to the dangers of radiation, is the difference between ionising and non-ionising radiation. Ionising radiation can be considered as the dangerous form of radiation, including x-ray radiation, gamma radiation, and some amount of ultraviolet light on the high end of the ultraviolet spectrum. The key factor here is the wavelength of the radiation type.Ionising radiation gets its name because it has enough energy to excite electrons and knock them out of their orbit, or ionise them. Too much exposure to this kind of radiation is highly dangerous to both your and your child’s health, and even low but persistent exposure over time affects your DNA, significantly increasing your risk of cancer.On the opposite side, there’s non-ionising radiation. This kind of radiation doesn’t have enough energy to ionise atoms, with your home WiFi signal falling into this category.According to who you ask, some of the more potent WiFi health hazards include the danger of cardiac stress, the risk of infertility, links to cancer, sperm neutralisation, insomnia and sleeping disorders, tumours in the body and the functioning of the brain.Allegedly, it can negatively affect children's health in more ways than one. For example, a study done in Glasgow found that exposure to WiFi radiation to children had caused delayed development of the kidneys, with the findings also being supported by an Austrian study group. It appears that the effects of WiFi radiation on the development process of children are severe indeed.But not everyone agrees with this gloomy outlook. The World Health Organisation, which tends to exercise caution before outright dismissing something as toxic, carcinogenic, or otherwise harmful, is very clear in its statements that there is no known health risk from radio-frequency communication devices.Safe memoriesNow that you’ve seen non-ionising WiFi radiation from both points of view, it’s up to you to decide which “side of the pond” to stand on, with the debate on its safety no doubts continuing into the foreseeable future. But what if there was a way of capturing memories and important life events without the need of a WiFi connection or even a cellphone? Parents know this story all too well. In an effort to capture all the important moments in their children's lives, they spend a hefty portion of time looking at their own kids through the lens of a cellphone or camera instead of actually being present in the moment happening right before them.The solution to this problem is here, today. A better, and most importantly, a safer way exists. Its called Benjamin Button. This completely WiFi and Bluetooth-free, full High Definition wearable camera in the shape of a cute button simply clips on your child's clothing and records all the important memories for you. It even edits the video into short clips all by itself. This means the only thing you have to do is to enjoy watching the video or sharing it with your friends.And because parents know that children are curious and love exploring, this camera is also dust and waterproof. Now nothing stands in the way of you being really present in your child's life.
New year, new start, right? Ok, maybe not new but at least better, improved start. Many of us are beginning the new year with a few goals, resolutions and decisions of what we want to or plan on achieving in the 12 months that lie ahead of us. Get healthier, learn a new language, quit smoking, start exercising or be a better parent. For those of you, who have decided to try and become better parents, you have come to the right place. Similar to last year, we have put together the best parenting blogs you should read and follow in 2017. They may offer some inspiration and maybe even help you on your way.Kidspot | http://www.kidspot.com.au |@kidspotsocialThis huge Aussie parenting portal is all about helping moms and dads solve their doubts and all kinds of problems, that come with simply being a parent. Kidspot has been around for 10 years and offers a wealth of information about anything and everything you need to know about being a good parent. No matter if you have a newborn or a teenager on your hands. Chances are, you will find an answer to your question right here. Whether you are not sure about something during your pregnancy or you just want your teen to act “normal” for a while, this is your place to go! Kidspot even offers lifestyle tips and food ideas.“In 2017 Kidspot will continue to share engaging real life stories and informative articles that make us laugh, cry or become so outraged we almost spit out our cold tea. We want to provide a supportive environment for parents to share this crazy journey.” - Melissa WilsonPregnant Chicken | http://pregnantchicken.com/ | @pregnantchickenEstablished by Amy Morrison in 2010. A very well-known and read website by now. Mostly focused on pregnant women and pregnancy in general. Packed with all sorts of topics, tips and tricks around pregnancy. Currently undergoing many big challenges to engage their readers. Pregnant chicken will try to deliver its new tools and many useful resources for the parents. There is definitely a lot to look forward to!“Pregnant Chicken is relaunching their pregnancy calendar and their new resource guide for 2017! Both stick to the Burd’s philosophy of keeping things fun and funny during pregnancy.”- Amy MorrisonDaddy Blogger | http://daddyblogger.com/ | @tokyorickyEstablished by Ricky Shetty, Daddy blogger gives you a slightly different perspective on parenting. The father perspective. The main message of this website is to inspire other parents to travel with their kids and families a whole lot more.So besides enjoying the traveling adventures, you will also find tons of parenting gear reviews, tips, giveaways and much more!“Here we are in 2017 doing a Round-The-World Trip visiting Asia, Middle East, Africa, South and Central America with 3 kids under 5 years old. Our blog has saved us thousands of dollars by getting media stays at hotels and resorts, complimentary sightseeing attractions, restaurant meals, and much more. We have worked with major Tourism Boards, Hotels & Resorts, and Sightseeing Attractions around the world. In 2017, we will continue with our family travel adventure inspiring other parents to travel more with their children. If we can travel globally with 3 kids under 5, so can you! :)” -Ricky Shetty[yikes-mailchimp form="1" description="1"]The Inspiration Edit | http://www.theinspirationedit.com/ | @inspire_editThis educative, yet funny blog written by a stay at home mom and an early years teacher Angela Milnes keeps its objective and slogan fairly straightforward; “learn through play”. Angela was born in New Zealand but is now living in the UK with her husband, daughter and a dog. Her blog definitely doesn’t lack resources; from recipes, family animals to games and ideas. She says, she loves writing this blog as it is her way of portraying honest and positive family experiences. “The focus of our blog for 2017 is sharing inspirational ideas to educate and engage children through play.”- Angela MilnesSo which one of these will become your 2017 source of parenting advice? Let us know in the comments or share your opinion with us on our BB facebook page.SaveSave
We parents know our time is precious and we need information (that can sometimes be scarce) as well as inspiration for our parenting. Benjamin Button has picked the best mummy and daddy bloggers out there and this is what they are going to write about in 2016: Dad and Buried | dadandburied.com | @DadandBuried Mike Julianelle with his hilarious daddy blog will get a new kickstart in 2016. „I’m expecting another kid in January, so my blog is sure to be loaded with stuff about that, from remembering all the baby stuff I’d forgotten, to dealing with suddenly having two kids, to never sleeping again for the rest of my life. Hopefully I’ll be able to write about my sons bonding, and their positive relationship, and maybe even my 5yo settling down and not being such a pain in the ass anymore? That would be great,“ says Mike. He will have further milestones in his family life which will be fun to follow: his 5 year old son will enter first grade, which will surely bring new material. And Mike will also be turning 40. Looks like 2016 at Dadandburied.com blog will be a great source of inspiration for parents with babies and pre-school kids as well. Family Focus Blog | familyfocusblog.com Family Focus Blog will continue to feature parenting articles that share personal tips and hot topics in parenting. „You will also find more healthy family recipes and family friendly craft projects. Family travel destinations will be highlighted,“ says Scarlet Paolicchi. For shopping- eager mums, of course there will be even more shopping tips and an increased focus on fashion. Familyfocusblog.com will be again a number one choice for mums with little free time. I Am Not the Babysitter | iamnotthebabysitter.com | @MsJamieLynne The blog will contain it’s normal eclectic mix of parenting articles, humour, lifestyle, etc. but you can look forward to kicking off 2016 with a parental philanthropic focus! „We anticipate early 2016 focusing on our nonprofit work. We have a nonprofit organization called Raise It Up that was started by iamnotthebabysitter.com’s founder, Jamie Grumet,“ shared Nikki Waring. The team recently went to Lesbos in Greece to a Syrian refugee camp and will be returning there at the beginning of 2016 to provide relief aid. „We also have sustainable garden projects coming up in Africa as well,“ added Nikki. Parents who want to see the world outside of their safe neighbourhoods should definitely stick to this blog. [yikes-mailchimp form="1" description="1"]Daddy Blogger | daddyblogger.com One of the most watched fathers in the US – Ricky Shetty – has big plans for 2016. „We are launching our brand new website FamilyTravelBloggers.com on Jan 1, 2016 focused on inspiring parents to travel more with their kids. We will be doing a one year adventure from Vancouver overland through the US, Central America, and South America with 3 kids under 5 years old,“ reveals Ricky. You might check the website and maybe see Ricky live in your city. Besides that, with Ricky you will always get great tips on how to spend your family holiday. The Good Men Project | thegoodmenproject.com Thegoodmenproject.com is more than a blogging platform, and indeed it is worth reading it all. We focused on the Dad and Family part of it. It is not, and will not be in 2016, only a parenting forum, it is specifically one which examines the involvement of men as fathers. „We will spotlight the men in our world who have expanded their complete, emotionally holistic selves to innately express the depths of present and eager parenting. We will expose gender role restrictions as useless paradigms and create a new vision of male individuals who can explore and express the gamete of their talents, instincts and compassions freely and with strength — all to the benefit and inspiration of their families and children,“ says Robert Watson. The Good Men Project is revisiting the daily parental routines and focuses on the core of becoming and being an extraordinary parent. Robert adds: „We will reflect a world where a woman can be accepted as a competitive, viable candidate for the most powerful job in the world, and at the same time be one in which a talented, vibrant, valuable man can see his mandate is staying home and nurturing his children as their primary stay at home parent.“ Crazy Adventures in Parenting | crazyadventuresinparenting.com If you have a few minutes off from the kids each day, it is totally worth it to spend it on crazyadventuresinparentingblog.com blog. Mum of seven great kids, Lisa Douglas, is sharing here not only fun stories or recipes. Tons of useful tips on spending time with kids, weight loss or even crafts especially when they are described in a very personal and informal way will cheer up any mum. Lisa is planning to return to „old school blogging“ for 2016. She is missing the times where she used to pour her heart out. „It was about our unique voices and opinions being shared. I got to know many bloggers back then, as they got to know me, because we shared from our souls and laughed when it was funny, and cried when life became hard and unbearable. I want to some how get back to that,“ says Lisa. Fingers crossed for her and for all parents who love blogs that help them to become better than they were yesterday!
A year ago I remember going to meetings on crutches as I was recovering from a knee operation. It was very hot, however, these were meetings that were worth the sweat. At this time in 2014 we started under the project name Mamawatch.me. The first business plan was written and as well as product discussions the first five of us also discussed some deeper topics, for example: how can we use this project to help other people? Not just as customers, but even supporting them with money…if we make some one day. We agreed to give away 50% of net profits to children who were “not so lucky” in their life – whether due to disease, family circumstances or something else. Only when I look back do I see that this was one of the crucial moments that formed the team – many people who came across us joined, left…or didn’t even consider joining based on the overall atmosphere and culture which was forming near a chocolate factory in Bratislava. The year passed by very quickly. It was filled with lots of ups and downs. Ups – like new prototypes, great customer feedback, workshops with our mentors, or even a love that appeared in the team – were the fuel. Downs – like technical issues, lack of money, the failure of CrocoDuo, our test campaign or wrong turns – made us stronger. Once there were 12 people on board dedicated to helping as much as they can. Now there are 7 people who form the core team and a few helpers who dedicate the time they can. Everybody who came (even if they left) brought something important and irreplaceable: Lukas brought great ideas about the video before he left for studies in the US. Amir set up the first prototype on bananapi and set the road for the technical development before he moved to another project in Prague. Michal started to set the brand identity of Benjamin Button before he realised he was involved in too many projects. Nela – besides the great b-day cake and cookies she made – brought the name Benjamin Button after she heard the idea for the first time because it reminded her of the movie and novel. Andrej brought financial planning and some new features for the device, and also started to work on the intelligent software. He left after receiving an offer from his friend’s software company. Martin prepared some great tools for our crowdfunding campaign including mailing lists, strategy, media and PR list. He left to start his own advertising agency. Two of our programmers Andrej and Miso taught me that the best motivation for IT guys is money, indeed. So who stayed? I would call them heroes, or maybe fools. I don’t know anyone else who would work on a project without getting paid for so long. I don’t even know whether, if I tell it to my grandkids one day, they will believe it. Andrej, my classmate from secondary school, and his company eSense Slovakia were the first who believed in button. I can’t even count how many times he came up with great philosophical questions, technical solutions and even marketing ideas. There is no field he would not comment on or cover. He is a true artist and technician in one. Ivo was an architect with a 3D printing and rapid prototyping company next door. And a fresh father. He got the Bb idea so quickly…and came up with designs that we can hold in our hands so rapidly that I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Miska was called to help with branding and graphic design. Our promising beginning was interrupted by her not comings to meetings. However, before Christmas she came with work that totally blew our minds. Also she turned out to be very empathic and she would catch the best feedback from the focus groups we did. Vlado had a rapid start preparing all the documents for software development. Even thought he had to finish his university studies, he was always there if we needed to fix some web bug and he offered some great critical thinking points that helped us to stay on the ground. Michal helped a lot in putting the PCBs and other hardware together for prototypes, especially those which went for software development. Miro would probably even risk his life to make b a success, sometimes he couldn’t help more that he already did, but would still love to. He will be a pillar for our production. Peter joined recently and he made Bb not a Slovak start-up anymore. His comments questions and advice are priceless. He always hits the mark! Robo is on standby for our quality assurance and production set up. As an engineer in automotive and electronics he comes with some great contacts and ideas. Boris is also on standby ready for the online sales and affiliate program….in Barcelona. David helps from time to time with online marketing and social media. He always brings a simple solution to a complicated problem – punk style :-). During our team meetings we have always had a reason to laugh. We also imposed some traditions to help with discipline and motivation…and they are funny. Any team member who is late for the meeting must sing. A song of their own choice. Praise the lord some of us remember some folk songs. But this is not the worst torture we undergo. All of us have sacrificed something we love until we launch the campaign: Ivo is avoiding McDonalds food, Miso gave up on chocolate and I for example gave up on pistachios! Heeeeeelp! I wrote this look back blog to say THANK YOU to this amazing team. It is an honor to work with you and to learn from you every day. You are my heroes, and I believe soon you will become heroes to tens of thousands of great parents and happy kids! A big thanks goes to all of our mentors and stakeholders for all your help and valuable feedback, we are all humble students of yours: our families, Tomas Baran, Janco Benkovic, Feri Borsik, Jon Bradford, Rasto Brencic, Julo Budaj, Petra Drozdova De-La-Fere, guys from eSense Slovakia, Marian Gazdik, Robo Grencik, Palo Hlubina, Vilo Janac, Andrej Kiska, Katka Kovalcikova, Maja Koczova, Sisa Kusnirova, Tinka Licko, Igor Matlon, Andrej Mosat, Simon Sicko, Lidka Sirotova, Ivo Stefunko, Ludo Srenkel, Vladimir Synek, Rado Tausinger, Michal Pastier, Jan Pop, Christoph Raethke, Viki Reviliak, Mato Rudinsky, Rado Vasina, Peter Vidovic, Alex Wayenberg, Peter Zalesak, Mr. and Mrs. Zathurecky, Dodo Zemla, and many more that I have forgotten to mention. But we love you anyway :-*
Photography is the magic of capturing the moment. The beauty of a moment is turned into a memory which can stay with us forever. One of the most precious periods for personal photography is capturing the early stages of childhood which we do not remember at all. It is not just visual proof that reminds us that we were once children; it is a unique mix of emotions, innocence and gestures. What is the most appropriate period for taking pictures of a child? As far as newborns are concerned it is in their second week. The babies fall asleep easily and we can create beautiful pictures of them taking a nap. Keep your camera ready – after they awake with their eyes wide opened and full of surprise, you can capture some nice facial expressions. A great period for taking artistic photos of a baby is from the 3rd to the 5th month. At this time the babies react nicely to different sounds which attract their attention. We can use either baby rattles or some melodies from the mobile phone to make them turn our way and giggle. Maja, professional photographer and Bb friend (whose picture illustrates this post), gave us this advice: “I personally prefer singing and making some animal sounds. Babies usually stay in one position – the one we have placed them in, so it is really easy to arrange the photo scenery. The infants cannot walk or crawl away, which ends approximately within their 8th month of life.” Photographers as well say that the best scenery is usually outdoors. Hard to tell why – besides the atmosphere, fresh air, colors, the matter of fact is that people – both parents and kids – are somehow relaxed and natural. Kids love to play and be outside and the pictures taken can usually tell a whole story about their playtime. “For smooth cooperation I can only advise bribery” says Maja, “Give the child a chocolate, toy, biscuit or even a simple flower and I can ensure you that finding the best shot will become much easier.“ Some might think that taking pictures of your child or baby is taking the moment away from you, because you are not cherishing it enough. However, the focus in finding a great shot and detail makes even an everyday situation special. The rule of thumb for baby pictures is easy – just enjoy it, enjoy the moments, even if your baby is crying. That is worth capturing as well! And do not forget to get back to your pictures after some time…
If you scroll back in your memories, which was the first moment you remember? Asking myself the same question, I think, I remember my first steps when I was around 1 year old, but then I can only recall some ‘adventures’ with my parents and grandparents at the age of 4 or older. Now, having two kids, it is such a pity they will not be able to remember all the funny situations, lessons and emotional moments spent with their parents. One and a half years ago (when my kids were age 2 and almost 4) I started to write them little diaries. If there is some situation or moment worth keeping, I write it into my Google doc called Lili memories/Didi memories (you guessed right – Liliane and Diana are the two main heroes of those diaries). When browsing the web, I found some interesting facts why we and our kids rarely remember our childhood. In addition, the fact that we do not remember is not quite true. For example as infants we are aware of the past, as many experiments have shown. Babies in those experiments were not able to speak but they could imitate. Even a 6 month-old infant repeated a three-step sequence that was shown to him the next day. A 9-month-old infant repeated the same sequence a month later. Our brain focuses on developing the semantic memory – that’s how we learn to talk and build a vocabulary. But at the same time our brain is not developed enough yet to organise our memories in time and value, we do not have all the language needed to represent the experience. Since our nascent neural structures (especially hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) are not developed enough, our early childhood memories are erased after some time. For example, children at the age of 2 were witnessed to retain memories when they were half of that age, but they will not be able to keep these memories into adulthood. On average, we can have some first early fragmented memories at the age of 3 years and 6 months. And this is usually found in women, as they are bit more developed as compared to men at that age (huh, I think this gap lasts until we reach 100 especially in interactions, that can be so elaborately explained. The memories are stored as stories, narratives, but at an early age parts of the „story“are stored in different parts of the brain – easy to speak: visual pictures are stored on the other side of brain than sound for example. And hippocampus (which is not very developed at age 0-4) puts those parts together into very complex parts. Hippocampus then starts to tie the parts of information together properly after age 3. Nevertheless, a large majority of parents are trying to store the nicest moments of their kids’ childhood – camcorders, cameras etc. The trick with this equipment is that it’s not always there when we need it…and even if it’s there, the time we need to turn on the camera is usually the time when the ‘best part’ is over. On top of that, I noticed as a parent that I am distracted to record the moments and do not really cherish them. I am just a man, focused on one thing and so I focus on filming…and the whole experience is kind of passing me by. I do not even want to think about how much I missed when I was away– work, business trips, gym etc. All of this brought me together with some good friends to solve this problem for once and for all – the problem of my kids not remembering and me not experiencing those special moments. Since May 2014, we are developing a micro video camera with all kinds of features so you never miss out on any important moment. It will be a wearable camera for children and parents alike, and a clever nanny in one. We are just a few steps away in making Benjamin Button (how we call this little miracle) work and we want to make sure we are going in the right direction… Thank you all for your feedback and questions!