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Momisms – those phrases that every mom has said to at least one of her children at some point in their lives. These were phrases that before I had children I swore I would never utter, and yet it happened. I spoke, but my mother’s words came out of my mouth.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, the following are my top five Momisms and their technical equivalents.

  1. Eat your vegetables. = Patch your devices.
  2. Put a hat on. = Use anti-malware software.
  3. Wash behind your ears. = Delete old files.
  4. Always wear clean underwear. = Always back up your devices.
  5. If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you? = Evaluate technical choices for yourself.

Patching your devices is much like eating your vegetables in that you do both to stay healthy. Your body needs the nutrients from vegetables to repair, protect and enable growth for your body at a cellular level in the same way that your devices need updates (patches) to repair, protect and enable additional functionality at the code level.

Put a hat on, or take precautions to avoid getting ill. Using anti-malware software such as anti-virus (AV), anti-spyware and pop-up blockers are precautions that can be taken to keep your devices “healthy” or free of viruses.

Wash behind your ears or clean all the parts of your body to include those that are not seen. Cleaning out old files, such as emails, attachments, photos and music, not only returns storage space for later use but also helps prevent previously unidentified malware from being executed (by not opening a file or following a link). Run clean up programs and defragment your storage for improved performance.

Always wear clean underwear in case of an accident. Always back up your devices in case of an accident. While wearing clean underwear may help restore your dignity in the event of a medical emergency, backing up your devices will enable you to restore your files in the event of a technical emergency.

If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you? Mom was really asking if you are able to think for yourself and not just follow the crowd. This same perspective also needs to be applied to technical choices.

Balancing your computing needs – both hardware and software – with the risks you are willing to take with your data is an individual choice; following the crowd to popular websites could be the equivalent of jumping off a bridge with your friends.