Stuff for the Teen Age
Ten Tech Tips for Teens
March 8–14, 2015 is Teen Tech Week, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association. In the spirit of the week, we would like to share some information for teens about devices, software, and Internet resources.
1. Think Before You Post
It only takes a few seconds for someone to take a screenshot of Facebook. Any pictures that get posted to Instagram or texted to your friends can still circulate even after you take them down.
2. Format Painter is Your Friend
If you’ve cut and pasted web information into Microsoft Word, the fonts and spacing will vary from line to line. To use the format painter, highlight a line with the font that you want, click Format Painter on the left side of the Home tab, and highlight the rest of the text. It will copy all of the formatting onto the new text so everything will be the same.
3. Save Your Warranties
Whenever you purchase a phone or computer, you get a booklet called a warranty. It states how many years from the purchase date you can get your items fixed or replaced for free. Hold onto your receipt as well. If something goes wrong within the first 1-2 years like a broken screen or a faulty battery, you can get it replaced for free if you show technician your receipt and warranty.
4. Make Use of Free Computers and Books
Many branches of NYPL have computer labs specifically for teens or programs like Teen Tech Time where you can borrow a laptop or get help with using the library's online resources. We also offer free WiFi hotspots for checkout for patrons who qualify. If you need a specific book for your homework, it is not available for borrowing, we have a lot of e-books that you can download to your computer for free or read online.
5. Unplug Your Devices
Keeping your cell phone on 24/7 will cause wear and tear on the battery. Turning your phone off for a little while can save you from having to change the battery after a few months.
6. Log Out, Sign Off
It’s easy to leave your computer without signing out of Facebook, but we’ve all seen silly statuses posted by friends who saw their pal’s open Facebook page. Take the extra second to log off any sites that you’re signed into once you’re done. The same thing goes if you have a phone or music player. Make a passcode and always hit the “off” button to engage the lock screen.
7. Find Free (and legal!) Music
Tracks for 99 cents and albums for $7.99 can seem cheap but can really add up over time. Join sites that offer free streaming or limited free downloads like Spotify, Qtrax, or NYPL’s Freegal (three DRM-free songs a week with your library card!)
8. Know Your Domains
There are different types of websites, but not all of them contain trustworthy information. If you are looking up something for school, stick to websites with these domains:
.org = official organizations
.edu = educational (universities, research centers)
.gov = government
Other sites that end in .com or .net will often be commercial sites or personal webpages.
9. Keep Track of Your Passwords
Between email accounts, library card PINS, and game or website usernames, it can get tough to keep track of all your passwords. It is usually a good idea to write them down whenever you create a new account and add it to a master list. If is up to you whether you use a notebook or a password site like Passpack and KeePass, but it is helpful to have all the information in a safe place.
10. WiFi = Good, Data = Bad
Many places, including restaurants and stores have free WiFi that you can connect to (including NYPL.) WiFi helps to transmit information so you are not using up the available data in your phone plan and can save you money and battery life. If you are having trouble connecting to WiFi where you are, ask someone who works there if there is WiFi available and what the password is. If you are enrolled in any Out-of-School Time programs and you have no Internet at home it is possible to borrow a hotspot though NYPL's WiFi Hotspot Program. Remember—just because you can connect to the internet, doesn’t mean you are not burning through your available data and you or your parents may end up with extra on your bill.