In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re featuring five cool tech moms at F-Secure. Here’s they talk about balancing work and family, parenting in a world of digital technology, why they love tech, and they share favorite apps and tech tips for home life. And Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms!
Christine: I had several great teachers in Russia growing up, who inspired me in math, science and technology. They treated boys and girls equally and provided opportunities for us to explore and learn deeper. We also had programming in secondary school, which really interested me.
Feng Ping: I was always good in math and interested in computers, but not so interested in literature or accounting or other areas that are traditionally “girl” areas in China. When I came to Finland I realized I had the opportunity to study whatever I wanted. I began doing my master’s here in computer science.
Paivi: I started out at F-Secure in marketing, and from there I learned the security industry. I’m actually not a real techie, so I think my role is more to see things from the end customer point of view and then simplify it for them. Human behavior is very interesting to me.
Sarika: When I had a chance to study computers in school, it always interested me how they worked. I can still remember those big computers with black and white displays and floppy disk storage. My interest carried on so I pursued a degree in computer science. The technology world has changed a lot since then – sometimes it’s difficult to keep up.
Anu: My education is in marketing and social sciences. I’m interested in systems and how they work as a whole. That led me to an interest in the service platforms area, seeing how technology can be used to improve systems and serve the people using them. I like to think from the customer point of view and make sure services work flawlessly for them.
Christine: I learn a lot from my kids. With kids, you are not only giving to them, you are also learning from them. To help them grow, sometimes you need to change yourself. My kids are very different from each other, and I’m learning all the time, and I also enjoy being their friend.
Feng Ping: I love my boys without condition, and I like to see them grow and change almost every day. Of course, with parenting there’s mixed feelings. Kids are a joy but they are also demanding, physically and mentally.
Paivi: We’re a big family, and when we do something together and everyone is in a good mood and everything goes well, it feels really great! And of course it’s fun to see them grow and learn new things.
Sarika: Quite a lot of things! You get to sort of relive your childhood, you understand your own parents more, you can see things in your child that resemble you or your spouse. Also playing with him, teaching him. When you come home tired and open the door, your baby is smiling at you and you forget any stresses from work.
Anu: Getting to raise a personality, and getting them to raise me. Every single development phase is different and fun, though not always easy!
Christine: Nowadays because of the Internet we’re not the only source of information for our kids. When kids ask you something and you don’t know, you have to check on the Internet – but of course they can just check the Internet too and second guess you! It must be tough being a teacher nowadays. One of my sons was complaining that his teacher was just reciting off of Wikipedia.
Feng Ping: With my older boy right now, I’m a bit concerned because I don’t want him to get too addicted to video games. With my younger boy, feedings will not happen if there is no video or cartoon playing! It’s so easy to put technology in front of kids, but then it’s a bit worrying too.
Paivi: With my job managing Freedome, there are always things happening even when I’m not working. I feel guilty when I’m with the kids but not really present because I’m checking my phone to see what’s happening with work. There’s no “8 to 4” with my job. As far as technology with the kids, I talk to them, especially my oldest, about how to behave online, not using his real name, what to say and not to say online, etc.
Sarika: Wondering when we should start exposing our son to technology. There is a lot of advice online and I know we shouldn’t expose him to too much too soon. My son plays with my phone sometimes and when the screen locks, he’ll come to me wanting me to unlock it. So when he knows to do this, should I be happy or should I be worried?! But as he grows, we will guide him.
Anu: Broadening the area that I need to be aware of and teach my kids about. I try to teach them that in the digital world, you need to be safe and respect others just like in the real world. In the digital world being safe means protecting your privacy and identity, with proper passwords for example. And just as you shouldn’t be rude to someone in the real world, you don’t do that digitally either. We respect ourselves and each other, in both worlds, and I teach them what that looks like.
Christine: You have to prioritize of course. Something always suffers – then you try to make it so things don’t suffer too much. I’m probably not the mom who will be remembered for my cooking!
Feng Ping: I’m flexible, not so strict at home. Things don’t have to be perfect. Every day is hectic. I sleep less than I used to – usually six hours a night. I found out that I can get by on less sleep than I thought.
Paivi: I start early – I try to be at work at 7am so I can pick up the kids earlier in the afternoon. We do as much as possible together with the kids, and involve them in cooking and cleaning and shopping too. I try not to work in the evening unless it’s really urgent.
Sarika: Plan ahead! My husband and I use a whiteboard to plan out our week in advance. We have a grocery shopping day, a laundry day. I use my work commute for making calls or reading something.
Anu: I work remotely to get the flex needed, like if the kids are sick. When I’m not working, I take the kids along in everyday life. We cook together, I teach them how to do things and they help out. You can’t do it all so it gets down to the essentials. Figuratively speaking, I don’t sit and polish my cutlery. I rather use that time for reading or cycling with the kids.
Christine: My kids and I use F-Secure Lokki. to know where each other is throughout the day. It’s very good if you have teenagers. Maybe they are at the skate park and they don’t hear their phone ring because it’s in their backpack, which is lying on the ground, but you can still see where they are.
Feng Ping: We use Moves to monitor our family’s daily physical activity. For example, it tells that I walked 2,6 kilometers and biked 8 minutes yesterday, and shows a map with my route.
Paivi: Using a shared calendar app to keep track of family commitments really helps. My husband and I use one to keep track of dates for kids’ hobbies, events, exams and other things that are going on. It’s one place to check what’s going on with the family.
Anu: To keep my kids from accidentally purchasing anything online, I use password-protected access and purchase options for each of our household devices. Also, if you get familiar with your devices’ security and privacy options, it helps you feel more in control. And of course, use security software to protect your devices. We also use F-Secure Lokki in my family – feeling more secure knowing where each other is has been important, especially for my daughter.
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