Friday, June 19, 2015

Internet Safety and CyberParenting

June is Internet Safety Month and cyber-parenting is another aspect of parenting that we have to consider when raising teens today.

As if parenting wasn't challenging enough, now we have the added fun of technology and the digital world.

The Web offers a plethora of fun and educational things for kids to do, plus all the social networking that is huge for tweens and teens. But along with that comes plenty of places for danger. Just as parents need to talk to their kids about safety in the everyday real world, they also must discuss safety precautions related to the Internet, and make sure their kids get it.
What can parents do? How do they start the conversation? It is important to cover the dangers – all of them – in age-appropriate language to help kids understand the dangers of giving away information online.
Talk, Talk, Talk
The most important thing parents can do is talk to their kids, tweens, and teens. Make sure they know the dangers that are prevalent online, whether sexual predators, those that want to steal identities and financial information, and any other type of cybercriminal. Make sure to keep lines of communication open so kids feel comfortable talking about anything relating to the Internet that bothers them.
Set Clear Internet Rules
Depending on the kids’ ages, parents may have different rules. Young children should never even give out their name. Once kids get older and more into social media, reinforce the importance of careful posting and sharing – what goes on the Internet is there forever! Nothing personal should be posted or shared, like address, phone number, or credit card information.
Identity Theft
When it comes to personal information, it’s easier than most think to get other’s information. If a site looks fishy, it probably is. Parents need to make sure their kids understand to never give out personal information like credit card numbers, bank accounts, or social security numbers without parental permission, even if they are buying something.
If a child sees something like “accepts credit cards” or “enter information here,” he needs to let a parent know and stop what he’s doing. Once credit card information or other personal numbers are in the hands of others, it’s tough to reverse the damage. The best rule is never give it out.
How to Start This Conversation
Start talking about Internet safety when kids are young. Keep the computer in family areas so activity can be monitored. As kids get older, reinforce these topics. Let them know age-appropriate instances of what can happen if things like cyberbullying or credit card theft happen. Parents need to let children know that they are always available, even if mistakes are made, so they can solve things together.
The bottom line is: Don’t give out information! Whether it’s social, personal, or financial, kids need to keep this to themselves. Parents should stay tuned in to not only what goes in the world of online security, but also what their kids are doing online. Awareness is key. And, parents, keep reinforcing how important it is to your kids!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer Jobs for Teenagers

Is your teen ready for a summer job?

Let's face it, not every family can afford the luxury of summer camps.  Some teens, no matter what financial background they come from, want to earn their own money.  This is fantastic!

There are many great summer opportunities for teen's today.  Here are a few to consider:

1.  Babysitter
2.  Server
3.  Busser or Dishwasher
4.  Camp Counselor
5.  Tutor
6.  Movie Attendant
7.  Lifeguard (must get certified - contact your local Red Cross)
8.  Pet Sitter (dog walker)
9.  Retail Work
10. Internships (specifically in a field your teen is interested in)


Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Programs For Struggling Teens

It is the time of year when many parents will contact us and ask about summer programs.
Depending on your teenager, sometimes a good summer program can be the answer you are looking for, but let’s talk about some things to consider.
If your teen has been making these bad choices for a while, chances are good it will take longer than 6-9 weeks to undo this negative behavior.  Remember, first the program need to fit the root of them issues – then work through them and help your teen start to make the better choices.
Many youths when they reach this point are usually failing or on the edge of failing in school.  Most summer programs, especially Wilderness, don’t offer a grade recovery program.  Finding a sound residential therapy or summer grade recovery program with emotional growth might be a better option.  There are exceptions if you are dealing with a teen that is an addict, has an eating disorder or a mental disorder that is more serious.
Summer programs can be excellent if they are attached to a longer term program.
Another words, your teen can attend the summer program and if they are doing well three things can happen.
1.  They come home and go back to school in the fall.
2.  They continue with the residential therapy educational program.
3.  They come home, go back to school – things don’t go so well, and you know you he/she can go back to that program and finish it.
Summer programs can be a win-win situation if you select the right one.
Contact us at www.helpyourteens.com for more information.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Teens and Distracted Driving

Proms, Memorial Day, Summer-Break.....

All of these mean more teen drivers on the roads.  

Sure, our teens know they shouldn’t text and drive – and we have preached forever about drinking and driving – but are they listening?
Most teenagers still believe accidents won’t happen to them – they are immune to bad things happening – they actually believe that looking at that that text for a second or worse, responding to one, won’t make a difference.
It’s imperative that parents get the message across to them that not only is buzzed driving considered drunk driving, but only seconds of distraction is dangerous not only for them, but for others with them and those on the road.
TALK TO YOUR TEENS FREQUENTLY about distracted driving.
The conversation is not one time discussion.  It is an ongoing chat – a daily reminder of the importance of being aware and alert of others on the road as well as respecting your passengers safety and yourself.
One of the most important things you can do for your teen is lead by example.  You are the greatest influence and role model.  If they are watching you text and drive – this leaves a huge gap for them to do the same thing.
When you use the excuse that you are more experienced, it doesn't register with their brains – they are not mature enough to accept that.  They believe they are invincible – remember, they believe it can’t happen to them.

Start the conversations now – stop your own texting and driving.
Share this video – the average text is only 5 seconds. Does it matter? You decide.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Good Teens Making Bad Choices: It's Not My Teen Syndrome

Parent's Universal Resource Experts, Inc launched their new website today.  It still has several glitches - links not active, but overall it is up and running.  We hope you like it.  It has been years since it had a face-lift.

In addition to being mobile ready, we have added a 3-minute video.  Take time to learn more about us and how we have helped many families since 2001.  If you need help with an at-risk teen, please feel free to contact us at www.helpyourteens.com.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teens, Fitness and Summer Camps

As summer is approaching many parents are searching for places for their children to actively spend their time - especially if they are overweight.  The last thing you want is for them to be digitally connected all summer.

There are options.

Most families believe summer is a time when their kids will be outside and more active, participating in sports and other healthy activities. From speaking with tens of thousands of parents of overweight children, adolescents and young adults, Wellspring admissions counselors know that most families with overweight kids believe that summer is a time when their kids are likely to be more active and to lose weight.
Wouldn’t  it be helpful to study this? That’s what Dr. Paul von Hippel and colleagues from Ohio State University and Indiana University thought. So they put together a study of 5,380 children from 310 schools to determine which version of summer is more prevalent:
  • Weight Loss: more daylight and warmer weather => more active; happier; less stressed; greater availability of the best tasting fruits and vegetables…
  • Weight Gain: less structure; greater availability of snacks; more time to spend on computers, playing video games, watch movies and other sedentary behaviors.
Dr. Paul von Hippel and his colleagues found that the Weight Gain scenario happens much more often. In fact, the average child gains significantly more weight during the summer than during the school year. This was true for all children, but especially so for overweight children.
To read the article from the American Journal of Public Health, please click here.
For parents of overweight young people, these findings suggest that the time to take action is now. Wellspring offers the most effective programs for weight loss and long-term weight control. Consider enrolling your child or teenager in one of Wellspring’s eleven summer programs, including:
  1. Wellspring New York (young women ages 12-24)
  2. Wellspring La Jolla (boys and girls 11-18)
  3. Wellspring Hawaii (boys and girls 13-18)
  4. Wellspring Texas (boys and girls 12-17)
  5. Wellspring Wisconsin (boys and girls 12-18)
  6. Wellspring UK (boys and girls 12-18)
  7. Wellspring Adventure Camp North Carolina
    (boys and girls 11-17)
  8. Wellspring Family Camp at Pinehurst Resort
    (boys and girls 5-14, with their parents)
  9. Summer session at Academy of the Sierras California
    (young men and women 13-24)
  10. Wellspring Australia (boys and girls 12-18)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Is Your Teen A Cyberbully?

Bullying has changed from the days of taking someone’s lunch money or giving them a swirly in the bathroom. Now, children are much more likely to engage in cyberbullying, or the use of electronic communication to bully a person. In fact, 20-30% of today’s children will be cyberbullied, and 10-20% of students will be cyberbullies.

However, it can be tricky for a parent to figure out if their child is experiencing cyberbullying; more than half of the children who experience cyberbullying do not tell their parents about it. And while around 55% of teens report having observed bullying behavior online, 95% report ignoring the behavior when it was observed.

There are a few tell-tale signs that can give clues that your child might be engaged in cyberbullying. For example long periods and odd hours of internet use, or changes in a child’s patterns of internet use, can signify cyberbullying. A child engaging in cyberbullying behavior might also become upset if their internet usage is confronted or cut off by their parents. Children with excessive social media accounts may be using them to follow and harass others.

Is Your Child A Cyberbully: Facts About Cyberbullying
 Courtesy of Yellow Brick Program

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Offline Parenting Can Help Your Teen Make Better Online Choices

Make time to chat offline with your teens about online safety.
Did you know that spending 15 minutes a day listening and talking with your child can help build the foundation for a strong relationship? It can also provide support for your child to come to you with a problem, such as bullying or cyberbullying.

It's true - we live in a fast paced society.  Most families either have both parents that are working or have a single parent household, so it can be difficult to even find 15 minutes of quiet time (time without interruption of digital devices) to have face-to-face conversations.

This is why we often hear experts talk about side-by-side conversations - referring to chatting in the car.  Turn-off all gadgets, including the radio.  Chat on your way to their activities.  Talk to your child about their digital lives as frequently as you would ask how their day at school was.