Whether we’re on the road or cozying up on the sofa at home, our family enjoys consuming digital media. With two older teenagers who LOVE to stream YouTube videos for hours at a time, managing our family data could be a big deal and expense. To make sure we’re getting the most out of our data buckets, I follow a few simple rules so that binge-watching Rick and Morty until 2 AM is no problem at all.
Here are 5 easy ways to keep your family data usage in check.
*This post is brought to you by Rogers Communications”
1. Track Data Usage
My children don’t watch television. They stream YouTube videos and online shows, when and where they want to. It’s a whole new world of consumer choice, and a whole other world of data usage that could cost an arm or leg.
As parents, we need to be on top of data usage, including everything from checking emails to streaming videos. Who wants to face a nasty bill surprise at the end of the month? You can usually keep track of how much data you are using via your online account or app. Most apps, like the MyRogers app, allow you to check on where you are with your data consumption, to see if you’re getting close to your max, need to buy a top-up, or simply turn off your data.
2. Pay Attention to Notifications
Some service providers will send you an alert via text message when you’re nearing the end of your data bucket (for example, when you get to 90 per cent). It’s kind of like a terrifying alarm bell. When you get these notifications, it’s much more cost-effective to top up your data rather than go into overage. Most providers will give you the option to buy top-ups when they send you the alert. Alternatively, you can always choose to turn your data off just to be safe. Hard, but sometimes necessary.
3. Make Use of Extra Data Features
Keep an eye out for the right plans or features that compliment how your family uses their phones. If you’re a Rogers Share Everything customer like me, check out the new #StreamSaver feature. It allows you to consume more video using less data. For example, my son can watch up to 18 minutes of standard def video (think DVD quality) on YouTube compared to 6 minutes in high def, all while using the same amount of data. On a small phone or tablet screen, any loss in video quality is negligible at best.
4. Turn on Wi-Fi when Available
Two of our favorite words are Free and Wi-Fi. The first thing the kids ask for when they check in to a new hotel or café is that precious Wi-Fi password. Being prudent in your data consumption by using Wi-Fi when available is just smart practice. Since it’s found nearly everywhere, we would be silly to say ‘no thanks’ to such a thoughtful, free gift, no?
5. Close Apps When You’re Not using Them
This is such a good habit to get into, especially with data-sucking apps like Google Maps. When you’re done with an app, make sure that you properly shut it down so that’s it not running in the background and eating into your data. For example, on an iPhone you just need to double click your home button and then swipe up on the pages you want to close.
Whether your kids love, YouTube, Twitch or Rogers NHL Live, keeping tabs on your family’s data usage make sense, and is easier than it’s ever been. As Rick would say, Burgertime!
Photos Credits: Shutterstock