Monday, June 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Smoking - How Parents Can Prevent It


By Aurelia Williams

Teen smoking statistics are on the rise. It is very important that children are informed of the teen smoking statistics and the harmful effects of smoking.Having involved parents — those who know a lot about their children’s friends, activities and performance in school — can help children overcome peer influence to start teen smoking, according to a study by a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The study also confirmed earlier findings that the more widespread children think smoking is, the more likely they are to start. Moreover, children who are socially competent — who have the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment — and have parents who monitor their behavior tend not to start smoking. The study, which was published in the December 2002 issue of Prevention Science, surveyed students in four middle schools in a suburban Maryland school district.

Why Parental Involvement Is Key

While researchers have known that both peers and parents play an important role in whether young teens and preteens start smoking, they’ve known less about whether the effects of peer influence on starting smoking is affected by other factors, such as parents’ involvement and children’s adjustment to school and degree of social competence.

“Many children start to experiment with smoking in early adolescence,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the NICHD. “Many then go on to develop a life-long addiction that can cause them serious health problems later in life. This study shows that by staying involved in their children’s lives, parents can help them to avoid the smoking habit.”

Bruce Simons-Morton, Ph.D., of NICHD’s Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, surveyed 1,081 students in four middle schools at the beginning and again at the end of sixth grade. The students completed a questionnaire that measured a variety of factors, including their friends’ behavior and expectations; their own ability to resist dares, resolve conflicts and retain self-control; and how well they follow rules, complete school work on time and get along with classmates and teachers. The questionnaire also asked children about their parents’ involvement in their lives, their parents’ expectations for them and whether their parents check to see if the children have done what they’ve been asked to do.

The researchers found that teens with friends engaging in problem behavior — those who smoked, drank, cheated on tests, lied to parents, bullied others or damaged property — were more likely to smoke if their parents were relatively less involved than if their parents were relatively more involved. This finding pertained to all of the children studied — boys, girls, African-Americans, whites, children living with one parent and children with mothers who had not attended college. Parents’ expectations about smoking and whether an adult at home smokes did not significantly influence children’s decision to start smoking.

“Parents’ involvement may be particularly important during early adolescence,” said Dr. Simons-Morton. “It is a time when many young people first begin asserting their independence from their parents, but before peer influences reach their full strength. It’s also a time when young people are still sensitive to their parents’ values and concerns, and may be reluctant to try smoking, because they know their parents would disapprove.”

The study also confirmed two earlier findings. The researchers found that students who provided higher estimates of how many other youth smoke were more likely to smoke than those who provided lower estimates. This finding was true regardless of whether children had relatively more or relatively fewer friends who smoked. In addition, the researchers found that sixth graders who had the ability to exercise self-control and good judgment, and had parents who monitored their behavior, were less likely to start smoking. Dr. Simons-Morton noted that the study was not a nationally representative survey, but was limited to four middle schools in one suburban location. Also, some groups of children may not have been fully represented in the study, because their parents did not give permission for them to participate, or because they were absent from class on survey days.

From a December 2002 National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development news release. Providing teen smoking statistics and other health relate information

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Parenting Tips by Sue Scheff


Parenting Tips by Sue Scheff



1. Communication: Keeping the lines of communication of your child should be a priority with all parents. It is important to let your kids know you are always there for them no matter what the subject is. If there is a subject you are not comfortable with, please be sure your child has someone they can open up to. I believe that when kids keep things bottled up, it can be when negative behaviors can start to grow.


2. Knowing your Children’s Friends: This is critical, in my opinion. Who are your kids hanging out with? Doing their homework with? If they are spending a lot of time at a friends house, go out of your way to call the parent introduce yourself. Especially if they are spending the night at a friends house, it important to take time to call the parents or meet them. This can give you a feeling of security knowing where your child is and who they are with.
3. Know your Child’s Teachers – Keep track of their attendance at school: Take time to meet each teacher and be sure they have your contact information and you have theirs if there are any concerns regarding your child. In the same respect, take time to meet your child’s Guidance Counselor.


4. Keep your Child Involved: Whether it is sports, music, drama, dance, and school clubs such as chess, government, school newspaper or different committees such as prom, dances and other school activities. Keeping your child busy can keep them out of trouble. If you can find your child’s passion – whether it is football, soccer, gymnastics, dance, music – that can help keep them focused and hopefully keep them on track in school.


5. Learn about Internet Social Networking: In today’s Cyber generation this has to be a priority. Parents need to help educate their kids on Cyber Safety – think before they post, help them to understand what they put up today, may haunt them tomorrow. Don’t get involved with strangers and especially don’t talk about sex with strangers. Avoid meeting in person the people you meet online without you being there. On the same note – cell phone and texting – don’t allow your child to freely give out their cell numbers and never post them online.


6. Encourage your teen to get a job or volunteer: In today’s generation I think we need to instill responsibility and accountability. This can start early by encouraging your teen to either get a job or volunteer, especially during the summer. Again, it is about keeping them busy, however at the same time teaching them responsibility. I always tell parents to try to encourage their teens to get jobs at Summer Camps, Nursing Homes or places where they are giving to others. It can truly build self esteem to help others.


7. Make Time for your Child: This sounds very simple and almost obvious, but with today’s busy schedule of usually both parents working full time or single parent households, it is important to put time aside weekly (if not daily at dinner) for one on one time or family time. Today life is all about electronics (cell phones, Ipods, Blackberry’s, computers, etc) that the personal touch of actually being together has diminished.


8. When Safety trumps privacy: If you suspect your teen is using drugs, or other suspicious behaviors (lying, defiance, disrespectful, etc) it is time to start asking questions – and even “snooping” – I know there are two sides to this coin, and that is why I specifically mentioned “if you suspect” things are not right – in these cases – safety for your child takes precedence over invading their privacy. Remember – we are the parent and we are accountable and responsible for our child.


9. Are you considering outside treatment for your child? Do your homework! When your child’s behavior escalates to a level of belligerence, defiance, substance abuse or God forbid gang relations – it may be time to seek outside help. Don’t be ashamed of this – put your child’s future first and take steps to get the help he/she needs – immediately, but take your time to find the right placement.


10. Be a parent FIRST: There are parents that want to be their child’s friend and that is great – but remember you are a parent first. Set boundaries – believe it not kids want limits (and most importantly – need them). Never threaten consequences you don’t plan on following through with.
Learn more at www.helpyourteens.com

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sue Scheff - Learn More About Inhalant Abuse - You Could Save a Life


Did you know 1 in 5 children will abuse inhalants by the 8th grade? Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of fumes, vapors or gases from common household products for the purpose of "getting high".

Learn More About Inhalant Abuse Today! www.inhalant.org - You may save a life.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sue Scheff - SAFE EYES - Protecting Your Children Online




Safe Eyes™ 5.0, the latest edition of Internet parental control software from InternetSafety.com, has earned a 2008 Parents’ Choice Approved award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. The award is the latest in a series of honors for the parental monitoring software, including two consecutive Editors’ Choice awards from PC Magazine.


“If you think your family’s safety requires Internet filtering and monitoring, whatever level, this program provides an array of options to get it done,” said the Parents’ Choice Foundation in its recognition of the Safe Eyes product. The 30-year-old foundation is the nation’s oldest non-profit program created to recognize quality children’s media, including books, toys, music and storytelling, software, videogames, television and websites.


“This commendation from the Parents’ Choice Foundation reflects the growing concern that parents have over their children’s Internet use as well as the wide range of control choices that Safe Eyes offers,” said Forrest Collier, CEO of InternetSafety.com. “Every child and every family is different, so flexibility is essential. The product lets parents decide how their children use the Internet.”

Safe Eyes is a comprehensive program that enables parents to easily block objectionable websites, control Internet use by length of time as well as time of day and day of the week, block or record instant messenger chats, and block peer-to-peer file sharing programs that may expose children to dangerous material. It also allows parents to limit email use to certain addresses, and receive alerts when children post inappropriate or personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.



The software provides broader controls than any other filtering product, including the ability to define which websites will be blocked by category, URL and keyword; receive instant alerts about inappropriate online behavior by email, text message or phone call; and remotely change program settings or view reports from any Internet-enabled computer.



Safe Eyes is also the only program of its kind that can be used in mixed Mac/PC households. A single $49.95 annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. The product’s website blacklist is updated automatically every day, eliminating the need for manual updates. Safe Eyes can be downloaded at www.SafeEyes.com.



All Parents’ Choice Awards winners are posted to the Parents’ Choice Foundation website (http://www.parents-choice.org/ ).



About InternetSafety.com

Established in 1999, InternetSafety.com specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sue Scheff: Political Teens




“When parents talk about politics with their kids, when they participate themselves -- this leads to a higher level of interest in politics among their children,”

– Dr. Alan Abramowitz, Political Science Professor, Emory University

Nineteen-year-old Will Kelly is pounding the pavement, knocking on doors and talking to voters.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Hartley is answering phones, making copies and filing news clips.

She is a die-hard Democrat, and he is a faithful Republican. Both teenagers have a passion for politics and for getting involved.

“To be honest,” Will says of his volunteer work, “because I care about what’s going on and it troubles me to see how so many people become apathetic with what they do have in this country – that we take so much for granted.”

“At 17, I can’t vote yet, I don’t pay taxes, but within a year I’m going to have to know enough about leaders – not only national, but local and state – to be able to say who I want running things,” says Amelia of her involvement.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, young voters are turning up in record numbers this presidential election.

One reason, experts say, their parents.

“There has been quite a bit of research that shows that when parents talk about politics with their kids, when they participate themselves, when they take their kids to vote with them, that all this leads to a higher level of interest in politics among the children,” says Dr. Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University.

It is a level of interest, Dr. Abramowitz adds, that persists over time. “Even many years later, those who were raised in families that were politically active and where the parents talked about politics remain more active themselves.”

Amelia and Will say they’ve been invigorated by the hard work of politics. And, in fact, it’s sparked an interest.

“Is there a future in politics for me?” Will ponders. “Well that’s a question I seem to ask myself a lot. We’ll have to see.”

“There are a lot of career paths I’m considering,” says Amelia, “and politics is definitely one of them.”

Tips for Parents

The polls are showing teens are lining up in record numbers to have their say in this year’s election. Consider these statistics from a recent poll by Time Magazine, among 18-29 year olds:

70% said they are paying attention to the race
53% said Barack Obama was the candidate best described as ‘inspirational’
83% said this election will have a great impact on the country
A majority (54%) say the US was wrong to go to war in Iraq
80% of young people rate the economic conditions in this country as only fair or poor
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said they feel the country is headed down the wrong track

Affordable health care (62%), the Iraq War (59%), and being able to find a stable, good paying job (58%) are the top issues a majority of young people worry about the most.
More than 6.5 million young people under the age of 30 participated in the 2008 primaries and caucuses. In fact, Obama’s margin of victory in Iowa came almost entirely from voters under 25 years old. In New Hampshire, his edge among young voters was 3 to 1; in Nevada, it was 2 to 1; and in Michigan, nearly 50,000 under-30s voted "Uncommitted" because Clinton's name was the only one on the ballot.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, getting kids involved in a civics or government class is a great way to get them more interested in the elections. From the 2006 Civic and Political Health of the Nation Report, young people who report that they recently choose to take a civics or government class are more likely than other young people to say that:

they helped solve a community problem,
they can make a difference in their community,
they have volunteered recently,
they trust other people and the government,
they have made consumer decisions for ethical or political reasons,
they believe in the importance of voting, and
they are registered to vote.

Parents are also one of the greatest influences on young voters.

Start with the basics. Make sure your 18-year-old knows when and where to vote.
Getting your 18-year-old to the polls could pay big dividends. People who have been motivated to vote once are more likely to become repeat voters.

Acquire and fill out voter registration forms with your teen. If your teen meets age requirements, you should each fill out a voter registration form.

If your teen meets age requirements on Election Day, go to your polling place together to cast your ballots.

If your teen doesn’t meet age requirements for the 2008 election, but will turn 18 before the 2012 election, involve them in the current election as preparation for the next election.

Consider taking teens between 14 and 17 to the polling place with you. Even if they are not permitted inside for security reasons, the visit will demystify the voting process.

Remind your child that the November election is the result of many local primaries and that Americans are able to vote for their national, state and local leaders.

Kids who are not old enough to vote can still have an impact on elections. Encourage kids to get involved in the political process. They can go door-to-door in support of candidates or help with fundraising efforts.

It can seem daunting to research candidates, because information on the different races is not centralized in one place. Parents can share news articles with their kids. The key is to engage students with issues they will find relevant to their lives.

References
Time Magazine
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sue Scheff: Body Image in Teens


Sara Maria is offering her E-Book, which is normally $27.00 for free to all readers! Click here for more information.


Body Image in Teens



If you're in high school, most of your friends are probably on a diet. A recent study shows that 90% of junior and senior girls are on a diet regularly, even though only 10-15% are actually overweight.

The modeling industry also promotes the idea that you need to diet and exercise religiously. Fashion models are actually thinner than 98% of American women. An average woman stands 5'4" tall and weighs about 140 lbs, while the average fashion model is a towering 5'11" tall and weighs under 117 lbs.

In reality no amount of dieting, exercise and discipline can earn you a magazine cover-ready body because those photos have been Photo Shopped, doctored and airbrushed. Don't waste your time attempting to be what you are not, instead; focus on cultivating who you are!

Body Image Tips
As you progress through puberty and your high school years, your body changes as fast as your favorite ringtones. But learning to appreciate your body and have positive self image is a task that few adults have even mastered. Here are some tips to help you learn to love yourself:

Learn to Cook- It is never too early to learn to cook. In just a few years, you will be on your own and you will be expected to feed and take care of yourself. Get some practice at home by preparing some family meals or meals for just yourself. Try some new foods by looking through cookbooks and online. Impress your friends by having a dinner party. This also helps you understand how food functions within a regular diet. Learn how to cook healthily so you can eat healthily, but don't spend too much time worrying about food!

Don't Diet!- Dieting is a great way to ruin your eating habits and your relationship with food and your body. Instead, learn about healthy eating and exercise habits. The healthy habits you learn while you are young will serve you throughout your life!

People Watch- Go to the mall or a public space and people watch. How many are fat or thin? How tall are most women? Men? What do you like or dislike about people's styles, looks or body type? How much of their appearance is "style" and how much is their actual body types? Cultivate the ability to see style and beauty in everyone. As you learn to do this, you can be a trend-setter instead of a trend-follower.

Keep it Real- Remember, people only pick the best photos to be on their MySpace or Facebook page. Remind yourself that they all have bad hair days, the occasional zit or an unflattering outfit choice.

Stay Well Rounded- Sign up for activities that you have never tried. Join an intramural sport or speech meet. Build up your college resume by participating in extracurricular activities. It's a great way to broaden your social circle and prepares you for college or a job.

Be a Trend Setter- Don't just follow the crowd - create your own crowd by being a trend setter. Find your own style and look by experimenting with your hair, makeup and clothing. What is your look trying to say? Does it match what you want people to think about you? Someone has to set the trends. Why not you?

Learn to meditate- It is never too early to learn to meditate. You will find that this is a skill you can use all your life. By focusing inward, it is easier to distill the truth rather than listening to outside influences. It will also help you manage the stress of your busy life.


Parental Tips
If you are a parent of a teen, you know the challenges of living with an emotional, possibly aloof teenager who begs for guidance but disregards most of what you say. Their alternating moods and attitudes make approaching a touchy subject like body image feels dangerous. The following are some tips to help with a positive body image:

Have an Open Door Policy-You'd like your teen to approach you with any problem she is facing but often you aren't sure if she's coming to you, going to her friends or suffering alone. Encourage regular candid conversation by noticing what times and places your teen is most likely to talk. Is she a night owl? Does she talking on a long drive? Is she more comfortable emailing? Use the time and venue that is most comfortable for her and encourage open sharing.

Limit Harmful Media- Put your teen daughter on a media diet. Don't feel you need to restrict website, magazine or TV shows entirely. Just be cautious of what mediums she concentrates on. Be especially mindful of any one celebrity that she idolizes or photos that she tears out and stares at repeatedly. Discuss how all magazine photos are airbrushed and doctored.

Compliment Her and Her Friends- Make a point to compliment both your daughter and her friends on a well-put together outfit or a new hair style. Teens are trying on new looks and personalities as their bodies change. Let them know that they have hit on a good look when they experiment in the right direction.

Make sure to compliment them on things not related to their appearance as well. A good grade, a valiant sports effort or kind deed also deserve notice. Try to practice a 90/10% rule. Let 90% of your comments and insights be positive and only 10% should be carefully worded constructive criticism.

Resources:

Health AtoZ: Is it a Diet or an Eating Disorder?


Eating Disorder Statistics

http://www.freewebs.com/anadeath/statistics.htm

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sue Scheff: Protect your Children in Cyberspace!


This Press Release is posted with the permission of InternetSafety.com - Visit Internet Safety for more vital information to protect your children online.


10 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

ATLANTA, GA — May 28, 2008 — June is Internet Safety month. With hundred of millions of teens, pre-teens—and adults—around the world using social networking sites, there’s no better time for parents to be aware of the fun, the benefits, the powerful attractions, and the potential risks that MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites offer their children.

InternetSafety.com, the recognized leader in Internet safety solutions, has assembled a list of practical tips parents can use to ensure a safe networking environment for kids:

Show Interest — Ask questions about how your child’s preferred social networking site or sites work. Kids are generally happy to demonstrate their knowledge if you show genuine interest. You can even ask your teen to show you how to set up your own social networking site—a great way to visit your child’s page and see what’s been posted there.


Encourage Instinctive Responses — Kids often can instinctively do the right thing, which makes them their own first defense against those who may take advantage online. Encourage your children to avoid contact with people they “feel funny about.” Tell them to not reveal anything online they would not want a stranger to know. Limit the posting of pictures and remind them that once something is placed online, it can never be taken back.


Know Your Kids’ Passwords — If your child changes his or her password suddenly and refuses to share it with you, that’s trouble. Insist on knowing how to access his or her accounts—then keep their confidence by not sharing the information with their friends or siblings.


Set Hours for When Kids Can Access Social Networks — Late nights are the favorite time for predators to seek out their adolescent prey. Set firm limits not only for the time of day, but also the total amount of time, that your children may access social networking sites.


Be Aware of Alternate Access Points — Kids don’t have to access their social networks at home. Libraries, friends’ houses, even cell phones make the Internet easy to reach today. Keep up with what’s happening on your child’s social networking page and be aware when changes have been made despite the lack of access from home.


Exercise Your Parental Right to Supervise — There’s a difference between being snoopy and ensuring safe activity. You don’t have to read every last word of a personal message your son or daughter sends to a friend. But you do have the right—and the obligation—to see who your kids are talking to, and to know the general subject matter.


Check for Photos — By clicking on the Windows “Start” button, you’ll find the “Search” tool. Click on “Pictures, Music or Video,” the box next to “Pictures and Photos,” and finally “Search”. Ask your child to identify any photos of strangers, or any other pictures you find questionable.
Install Filtering Software — PC products like Safe Eyes allow parents to block or record Instant Messenger chats, limit email use to prescribed addresses, block objectionable Web sites (including peer-to-peer file sharing programs that often expose kids to inappropriate material), and receive alerts when kids post personal information on social networking sites.


Watch for CyberBullying — Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they are being harassed online. Children also need to know that it is not acceptable to be a party to cyberbullying—or to remain silent when they know others are being harassed. Visit StopCyberBullying.org or StopBullyingNow.hrsa.gov for excellent tips and information.


Don’t Lecture — Finally, if you should find reasons for concern, don’t browbeat, insult or condescend to your child. Have a discussion about values and why they are important. Respect your child but be firm. And most of all, lead by example. Parents have a powerful ability to influence their child’s behavior—and nothing is more powerful than someone who not only talks values, but lives them.


“Parents should never feel that their level of involvement in their child’s social network activity is excessive. Since 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline has logged over 33,000 tips about children being enticed online for sexual acts,” said Shane Kenny, President and COO of InternetSafety.com. “Better that the parent error on the side of intrusion, rather than bear the consequences of doing nothing.”


About InternetSafety.com
Established in 1999, InternetSafety.com specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

# # # #

http://www.helpyourteens.com/
http://www.suescheff.com/
http://www.witsendbook.com/

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sue Scheff: Eating Disorders, What You Need to Know


By Hannah Boyd

In a society where waifs rule and magazines herald a different fad diet every week, some kids view eating disorders as a small price to pay for fitting in. They’re wrong. Anorexia kills more than 10% of its victims, and bulimia 1%. Eating disorders also lead to depression and place enormous stress on families. Concerned that your child may be at risk? Here’s what you need to know.

“People with anorexia starve themselves to dangerously thin levels, at least 15% below their appropriate weight,” says Edward J. Cumella, Ph.D, CEDS, Executive Director of Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders in Wickenburg, Arizona. “People with bulimia binge uncontrollably on large amounts of food – sometimes thousands of calories at a time – and then purge the calories out of their bodies through vomiting, starving, excessive exercise, laxatives, or other methods. They are of normal weight or overweight.” Some anorexics also purge, but they are still underweight.

Not surprisingly, eating disorders disproportionately affect females. Only 10% of people with eating disorders are male. According to Cumella, the typical age of onset is between 14 and 18 – prime time for peer pressure, hazing, and low self-worth. Other red flags? Your child seems obsessed with weight and dieting, binges or follows a cycle of dieting and then overeating, heads to the bathroom after meals, is secretive about her eating or exercise habits, uses laxatives, or seems to feel depressed and out of control.

If any of the above sounds familiar, don’t expect your child to admit the problem or appreciate your help. “Your child may feel extremely threatened by the thought of giving up the dysfunctional eating behavior,” warns Cumella. “Don’t believe your child’s claim that s/he does not need professional help.” Seek out a doctor specializing in eating disorders, and be ready to participate in family counseling if requested. “Be patient,” adds Cumella. “Treatment takes time; recovery may take months or years and involve relapses.”

The good news? When eating disorders are caught early, the prognosis is good, and while there’s no vaccine against them, there are steps you can take to protect your children. Model healthy, moderate eating for your children, and trust their hunger signals – don’t force them to eat “one more bite” or tell them to stop eating when they’re still hungry. Don’t critique people’s weight or talk about dieting. Be the reality check; point out that thin celebrities often lead sad lives, that most diets fail, and that people of all shapes and sizes tend to be healthiest and happiest when leading lives of balance and moderation. Most importantly, make it clear that you value your children for who they are, not for what they weigh.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Pregnancy on the Rise

Many people have seen the recent news stories on the 17 girls in MA that made a pact to get pregnant and succeeded. The Boston Globe article details this distressing situation.

The National Campaign seeks to improve the well-being of children, youth, families, and the nation by preventing unplanned and teen pregnancy. Take a moment to visit this website of educational resources.

***********************************
For parents, a teenage daughter becoming pregnant is a nightmare situation.

Every year, approx. 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant in the United States. That is roughly 1/3 of the age group’s population, a startling fact! Worse, more than 2/3 of teens who become mothers will not graduate from high school.


If you are a parent who has recently discovered that your teenage daughter is pregnant or may be pregnant, we understand your fear and pain. This is a difficult and serious time in both yours and your daughters’ life.


Our organization, Parent’s Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.™) works closely with parents and teenagers in many troubling situations, such as unplanned pregnancy. We understand how you feel!

No matter what happens, you and your daughter must work together to make the best choice for her and her unborn child. Your support and guidance is imperative as a mother. You CAN make it through as a family!

We have created this website as a reference for parents dealing with teenage pregnancy in hope that we can help you through the situation and make the best decisions.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sue Scheff: Bullies in Cyberspace


By http://www.education.com/

Everyone remembers the school bully in their lives. Maybe they stole your bike, or bloodied your nose, or spread a nasty rumor that had you hiding out in the bathroom. Whatever they did, they made life miserable. But as bad as they were, you could identify them, predict their behavior and try to steer clear.

Unfortunately for your kids, that may no longer be the case. That’s because bullies can still be on the school grounds, but they can also be in cyberspace, lurking where no one can see them.

Cyberbullying is on the rise, and the bad guys are not always who you think. A bully can be a girl spreading rumors about a former friend, or a student trying to get revenge on a teacher who gave them a bad grade, or a group of kids playing a prank on an unsuspecting schoolmate. Cyberbullying is a complex beast. Often it starts with otherwise nice kids from nice families who go online to “have a little fun” at someone else’s expense. But it can get out of hand very quickly.

Bullies are resourceful. With all the high-tech tools out there, they can take their pick from cell phones, pagers, websites, blogs, chat rooms, IMs, or emails. They can go on a site and invite other people in to help bully their victim – by asking them to comment on their picture. They can create a webpage that looks like it belongs to the person being bullied, but is malicious. They can enter an email address and have their victim spammed with messages from websites they’ve never visited. They can put up embarrassing pictures, or even use a tool like Photoshop to adjust a picture and make it look different.

Read entire article here: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Bullies_Cyberspace_2/
Remember - keep your kids safe online - an added service all parents should consider is ReputationDefender/MyChild - which helps monitor your child's privacy and more in cyberspace.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sue Scheff: Learning The Gateway Drugs and Teens


A Parent's Guide to Gateway Drugs


A gateway drug is a drug that opens the metaphorical gateway to more potent, dangerous drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are considered gateway drugs. While many parents are tempted to say "it's only beer" or "its just pot", the danger in gateway drugs is their ability to convince the user that they can handle larger quantities or in many cases, stronger, more potent substances.


My name is Sue Scheff™, and I am the founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts (PURE)™, an organization dedicated to helping parents help their troubled teens. As a parent, I know all too well the difficulties of raising a child in these chaotic times. Parents can easily feel alone and overwhelmed when their child is in trouble, but P.U.R.E. is here to help you. We can provide you with information on the most trusted and effective treatment and counseling resources available.

This site is meant to educate parents about the dangers of "gateway drugs" like marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes, which often lead to the abuse of more dangerous drugs.
Visit Teen Drug Prevention website for more information.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sue Scheff: How to Move Past Mistakes


Eight simple parenting rules for motivating a vulnerable child with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD).


What’s the key to reaching one’s goals and making a happy, productive life? Motivation. But it’s hard to feel motivated when much of what you try goes awry. Just ask (or observe) a child with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD); distractibility and memory deficits can lead to frequent mistakes at home and at school — and what feels like constant discipline and criticism from parents and teachers.

Some kids buy into the idea that they aren’t capable of much, and give up when faced with even small challenges. Others become so fearful of not doing things right that they don’t even try. Either way, these kids suffer a severe blow to their self-esteem.

Now for the good news: It’s surprisingly easy to “inoculate” your son or daughter against defeatism and low self-esteem. All you have to do is teach your child how to think about the mistakes they make. Use my eight rules (outlined below) at home, and encourage your child’s teachers to use them at school. The rules are known by the acronym DELICATE. (If you have trouble remembering all eight, write them down, and post them prominently in your home.)

D is for DECREASE
Point out to your child when his mistakes are decreasing in magnitude or frequency — and assure him that they are likely to continue to do so. “Look how far you’ve already come,” you might say. “The more you practice, the fewer mistakes you make. Things will get easier.”

E is for EXPECTATION
Kids are less likely to be discouraged by mistakes if they realize that mistakes are to be expected. Ask your child to name what is at each end of a pencil. Explain that the point is for writing and the eraser is for correcting mistakes. In fact, the inevitability of mistakes is why erasers were invented. Explain, “Of course there are going to be mistakes. That’s what erasers are for.”

L is for LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
The only difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how your child uses it. Make sure your child understands that every mistake, no matter how big or small, can be used as a learning opportunity. “Let’s learn from what just happened,” you might say. “Remember, success means making progress—not being perfect.”

I is for INCOMPLETE
Teach your child to regard a mistake not as a mark of failure, but as an indication that a project remains unfinished: “You’re not done with it yet. We’ll work on it again later. You didn’t run out of talent, you just ran out of time.”

C is for CAUSE
The perfectionist parent believes there is no excuse for mistakes. The realistic parent understands that mistakes are inevitable, and—rather than trying to affix blame — looks for causes to correct. “Let’s see what’s giving you trouble here,” you might say. “Every mistake has a cause.”

A is for ACCIDENT
Make sure your child knows that mistakes are, by nature, accidents, and that making one does not mean that he is “bad.”

T is for TEMPORARY
Encourage your child to view each mistake as a temporary setback on the road to success: “You’re just not ready for that activity right now—you’ll do better later.”

E is for EFFORT
Mistakes should be viewed as proof of trying, not as proof of failing to try hard enough. Point out that Michael Jordan missed 63 percent of the baskets he attempted during his basketball career. Babe Ruth struck out more than 1,300 times. And Thomas Edison tried 611 different materials before discovering that tungsten makes the best filament for a light bulb. “The only way you can guarantee avoiding a mistake,” you might say, “is not to try. Thank you for trying.”

By applying these eight concepts to the mistakes your child makes, you’re helping him develop that “I can do it!” self-confidence, free of the specter of perfectionism.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Dangers of Inhalant Abuse




Inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream
and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within minutes, the user
experiences intoxication, with symptoms similar to those produced by drinking
alcohol. With Inhalants, however, intoxication lasts only a few minutes, so some
users prolong the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly.


Short-term effects include:

headaches, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe
mood swings and violent behavior, belligerence, slurred speech, numbness and
tingling of the hands and feet, nausea, hearing loss, visual disturbances, limb
spasms, fatigue, lack of coordination, apathy, impaired judgment, dizziness,
lethargy, depressed reflexes, stupor, and loss of consciousness.
The Inhalant user will initially feel slightly stimulated and, after successive
inhalations, will feel less inhibited and less in control. Hallucinations may
occur and the user can lose consciousness. Worse, he or she, may even die.
Please see Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome below.


Long-term Inhalant users generally suffer from:

weight loss, muscle weakness,
disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability and depression.
Different Inhalants produce different harmful effects, and regular abuse of these
substances can result in serious harm to vital organs. Serious, but potentially
reversible, effects include liver and kidney damage. Harmful irreversible effects
include: hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system
(including brain) damage.


Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome:

Children can die the first time, or any time, they try an Inhalant. This is
known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. While it can occur with many
types of Inhalants, it is particularly associated with the abuse of air conditioning
coolant, butane, propane, and the chemicals in some aerosol products. Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome is usually associated with cardiac arrest. The Inhalant causes the heart to beat rapidly and erratically, resulting in cardiac arrest.
For more information visit:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: How to Hang with Your Teen - Happy Father's Day

It is Father's Day today - many teens may take this special day to spend time with their dad, and sadly some don't have a father, however have a special person (mother, grandparent, uncle, mentor) that is like a father to them. Take time today to spend with your special person - some that may not be perfect, but loves you unconditionally.



By Shoulder to Shoulder

Ok, we know it may seem like an oxymoron: parents and teens having fun together? It has been known to happen. Whether its family activities, time just for you and your teen, special events and trips or just the every day activities around the house, find ways to create fun and connections with teens.


HERE ARE SOME IDEAS:

Read the same book and then talk about it.
Take a class together. Try dog obedience or cooking classes.
Go out for lunch to celebrate the beginning of the school year.
Celebrate half birthdays with a special family meal.
Share a subscription to a favorite teen magazine and talk about one article.
Cook a special meal together for someone who is ill.
Go to a music store and listen to their favorite CDs. Then have them listen to our music. (Ignore the groans.)
Take your teen to work with you.
Build something together.
Take a trip by car and visit places that were special to you when you were your teen’s age.
Go for a bike ride with one of their friends and the friend’s parent.
Have a favorite “breakfast diner” and eat there once a month.
Schedule your lunch hour during your teen’s lunch break - check them out of school and take your teen to lunch.
Ask your teen for suggestions.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sue Scheff: Dealing with your 18 Year Old "Child"


At this time of year, it seems we are contacted by more and more parents that have an 18 year old or a 17 year old that is almost 18. If you have been struggling with your younger teen and like many of us, keep hoping and praying it will change, take a moment to think about if it doesn't. Don't miss opportunities to give your child a second chance for a bright future. Whether it is local therapy, summer motivational program or a Boarding School, as parents we do what is best for our kids.

"My 18 year old is out of control and I am at my wit's end! What can I do?" Anonymous Parent.

18 - 19 year old teens can be the most difficult to address simply because they are considered adults and cannot be forced to get help. As parents, we have limited to no control. Practicing "Tough Love" is easier said than done, many parents cannot let their child reach rock bottom ? as parent's, we see our child suffering whether it is needing groceries or a roof over their head and it is hard to shut the door on them.

I think this is one of the most important reasons that if you are a parent of a 16-17 year old that is out of control, struggling, defiant, using drugs and alcohol, or other negative behavior? I believe it is time to look for intervention NOW. I am not saying it needs to be a residential treatment center or a program out of the home, but at least start with local resources such as therapists that specialize with adolescents and preferable offer support groups.

It is unfortunate that in most cases the local therapy is very limited how it can help your teen. The one hour once a week or even twice, is usually not enough to make permanent changes. Furthermore getting your defiant teen to attend sessions can sometimes cause more friction and frustrations than is already happening.

This is the time to consider outside help such as a Therapeutic Boarding School or Residential Treatment Center. However these parents with the 18-19 year olds have usually missed their opportunity. They were hoping and praying that at 16 or 17 things would change, but unfortunately, if not address, the negative behavior usually escalates.

In the past 7+ years I have heard from thousands of parents and most are hoping to get their child through High School and will be satisfied with a GED. It is truly a sad society of today's teens when many believe they can simply drop out of school. Starting as early as 14 years old, many teens are thinking this way and we need to be sure they know the consequences of not getting an education.


Education in today's world should be our children's priority however with today's peer pressure and entitlement issues, it seems to have drifted from education to defiance being happy just having fun and not being responsible.

I think there are many parents that debate whether they should take that desperate measure of sending a child to a program and having them escorted there but in the long run you need to look at these parents that have 18-19 year olds that don't have that opportunity.


While you have this option, and it is a major decision that needs to be handled with the utmost reality of what will happen if things don't change. The closer they are to 18 the more serious issues can become legally. If a 17+ year old gets in trouble with the law, in many states they will be tried as an adult.

This can be scary since most of these kids are good kids making very bad choices and don't deserve to get caught up the system. As a parent I believe it is our responsible not to be selfish and be open to sending the outside of the home. It is important not to view this as a failure as a parent, but as a responsible parent that is willing to sacrifice your personal feelings to get your child the help they need.

At 18, it is unfortunate, these kids are considered adults - and as parents we basically lose control to get them the help they need. In most cases, if they know they have no other alternatives and this is the only option the parents will support, they will attend young adult programs that can offer them life skills, emotional growth, education and more to give them a second opportunity for a bright, successful future.


Parent's Universal Resource Experts www.HelpYourTeens.com

Sue Scheff www.SueScheff.com

Wit's End Book www.WitsEndBook.com

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Sun Damage


As a resident of Florida, I am very aware of the damage the sun can cause people and especially teens that feel they are invinceable to skin cancer or any sun damage. Here is a great article by Connect with Kids and a Tips Sheet for parents.


By Connect with Kids


“My mom bought me a whole bottle of sunscreen. I haven’t used it. I don’t think it really helps that much, and it stinks.”

– Nigel, 13 years old

Like many people, teens love the water and worship the sun.

“Most teenagers don’t really worry about sunburn, they’re just really concerned about how their tan looks,” 13-year-old Kelsey says.

Still, many young people admit they know the dangers.

Fourteen-year-old Chris recites: “Skin cancer, sun damage …” and Bianca, 13, follows up: “… and maybe in the future your skin will get all wrinkly.”

Kelsey says her parents, “tell me to wear sunscreen or wear a hat if I’m gonna be out in the sun.”

The truth of the matter is that the warnings about the dangers of too much sun exposure and not enough protection often fall on deaf teenage ears.

“Skin cancer is really becoming an epidemic these days,” says Dr. Tiffani Hamilton, a dermatologist.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 10 percent of teens routinely use sunscreen when out for more than an hour.

Those habits put them at risk for various skin cancers, including melanoma.

“Melanoma is, of course, the most devastating cancer and the one that can spread and lead to death,” Dr. Hamilton says.

And research shows that most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun before the age of 18!

“And so all of this sun exposure that we have accumulated in our childhood just gradually adds upon itself until when we’re older and our immune system is not as strong, we then get skin cancer,” Dr. Hamilton says.

Experts warn that parents should make sure their kids take several precautions: Stay away from tanning beds, avoid the mid-day sun and always use sunscreen.

And Dr. Hamilton says to remind them over and over of “how important it is to protect their skin because lifetime risk of skin cancer is increasing dramatically.”

Still, what may impact teens the most, says 13-year-old Nigel, is “to see someone they care about have something bad happen to them because of the sun.”

Tips for Parents

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that more than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and the leading cause of such cancers is excessive exposure to the sun. But according to a new study, these warnings are not stopping teens from spending too much time in the sun. Consider the startling findings of the Centers for Disease Control’s “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance”:

Only 10 percent of teens reported using sunscreen when outside for more than an hour.
Only 17 percent of teens reported staying in the shade or wearing long pants or a hat when out in the sun for more than an hour.

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration says that sunburns and blistering are the most obvious – and painful – results of sun damage. But exposure to both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can result in cumulated damage that leads to skin aging, cataracts, corneal burns and irregular skin pigmentation. And recent research shows that severe sunburns in childhood can significantly increase the risk later in life of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Consider these additional statistics about sunburns and sun exposure from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center:

Eighty percent of lifetime exposure to sunlight occurs before the age 18.

Sixty percent of the day’s sun-burning radiation occurs between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Eighty percent of damaging rays can get through clouds.

Under normal circumstances, children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults.

Even one blistering sunburn during childhood could result in the development of melanoma later in life.

Three or more episodes of sunburn before the age of 20 that require more than three days to heal increase the risk of contracting melanoma by two to five times.

Children born today have a four to five times greater risk for developing melanoma in their lifetimes than their parents have.

First and foremost, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that you can help your child avoid future sun-related health problems by insisting that he or she wear sunscreen while exposed to the sun. Secondly, make sure your teen knows how to use sunscreen effectively. The experts at Harvard Medical School offer the following tips for sunscreen application:

Start early. Apply sunscreen early in the season, well before the dog days of summer. And apply it early in the day. In addition to offering better protection, diligent use of sunscreen offers protection during moments of spontaneity – for example, you may suddenly decide to take a swim or go on a bike ride.

Indulge in excess.
You can always buy more sunscreen, so don’t be bashful when applying it.
For example, if you are at the beach (a place with lots of direct sunlight), use approximately one ounce per application.

Cover up. Cover all areas of your exposed skin, including under your chin, with sunscreen. And don’t forget to use a lip balm that has an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more.

Dry before you fly. Let the sunscreen dry for 15 to 30 minutes on all exposed areas before you go outside.

Apply and apply again. One application of sunscreen is rarely enough. Gels wash off easily with sweat or water, so they need to be applied frequently. Even water-resistant heavy creams should be applied every one and a half to two hours and after activities, such as swimming.
And after spending a day in the sun, even with sunscreen, your teen will still need to pamper his or her skin:

Balm your body. The sun beats up on your skin. At the end of the day, rinse your skin and apply moisturizer immediately, while your skin is still wet. The drier your skin, the more greasy the moisturizer needs to be.

Use the gentle cycle. When you wash your skin, use lukewarm water, not hot, and avoid scrubbing. Use a mild skin cleanser with a soft washcloth, or just your fingers.

Be sure to save face (and legs). Because the sun dries your skin, be especially careful when you shave. Use an aloe-based shaving cream, etc., on your face or legs to avoid irritation.

Keep the lights out. Don’t smoke. Smoking causes skin to age much faster. Add that to sun damage and drying, and the wrinkles come on quickly.

Your teen can also take other steps besides using sunscreen to protect his or her skin from being damaged by the sun. Pass along to your teen the following sun safety tips from the AAD and the Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Dermatology:

As a general rule, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use wrap-around sunglasses that block 99% of UVA and UVB rays.
Select hats with a 3- to 4-inch brim or front and back flaps.
Wear tightly woven clothing that covers all exposed skin.
Avoid tanning booths. Sun-bed use is a risk factor in the formation of melanoma.
Topical creams for artificial tan do not protect from the sun’s rays unless they contain sunscreen.
If you believe that your child or teen has already suffered sun damage, the AAD gives the following advice:

Seek medical attention from your child’s dermatologist to evaluate if he or she received skin or eye damage from the sun or if he or she experienced an allergic reaction to the sun.
See your child’s dermatologist if he or she develops an unusual mole, a scaly patch or a sore that doesn’t heal. Your child may have developed a pre-cancer or a skin cancer.

References

American Academy of Dermatology
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Harvard Medical School
Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Dermatology
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
U.S. Federal Drug Administration

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"It Started with Pop-Tarts....An Alternative Approach to Winning the Battle of Bulimia


Since my Blogs went out yesterday about Teen Eating Disorders, I was literally flooded with emails from parents, authors, programs etc.... thanking me for bringing this subject to the forefront.
Lori Hanson was one of these people and wrote a very powerful story of her own experiences - starting at age 14 with Pop-Tarts!
If you have a teen or know someone struggling with eating disorders, check out her experiences at http://www.lori-hanson.com/.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Internet Safety


By Education.com

Introduction: Teens Navigating Cyberspace


If you believe e-mail, blogs, and instant messaging are a completely harmless way for teens to communicate, think again! Many teens have Internet access--often private communication in the form of blogs, chat rooms, and forums. These online communication aids are not themselves a problem. But the ever-present threat of being sexually solicited or bullied while on the Internet is a big problem.

While online, teens may be persuaded to do things or share private/confidential information, to be sexually solicited, and/or to experience public humiliation. Recent testimony on child protection before Congress, alerted the public to online sexual solicitation of teens. However, parents and youth workers may be less aware of "cyber-bullying" in which peers viciously attack one another. This article will define online sexual solicitation and cyber-bullying, explain the risk factors and negative effects of these communications, and outline ways to protect youth from harm.

Online Sexual Solicitation

Online sexual solicitation is a form of sexual harassment that occurs over the internet. Incidents of online sexual solicitation include: exposure to pornography; being asked to discuss sex online and/or do something sexual; or requests to disclose personal information. This can start when an adult or peer initiates an online nonsexual relationship with a child or adolescent, builds trust, and seduces him or her into sexual acts. Several studies have found that:

30% of teen girls who used the Internet frequently had been sexually harassed while they were in a chat room.


37% of teens (male and female) received links to sexually explicit content online.


30% of teens have talked about meeting someone they met online.


19% knew a friend who was harassed or asked about sex online by a stranger.


33% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys had been asked about sexual topics online. (Dewey, 2002; Polly Klaas Foundation, 2006)

Read entire article here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Teens_Internet/


http://www.education.com/

http://www.helpyourteens.com/

http://www.witsendbook.com/

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sue Scheff: Top Ten Blogger Personas: The Mobosphere Unveiled by John Dozier, Esq.

This has been one of my favorite Blogs and Articles describing a variety of personalities of people that simply have nothing better to do than harm others with their evil keystrokes.

Top Ten Blogger Personas: The Mobosphere Unveiled by John Dozier, Esq.


Ever since Congress passed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act giving immunity to interactive service providers for publishing the defamation of others, a wide range of characters has arisen and infiltrated the mainstream blogosphere. Instead of becoming a source for obtaining reliable information, the blogosphere, and user generated content, is at risk of becoming a less credible information source. Dozier Internet Law defamation lawyers are constantly battling these “black hat” forces and over the past several years we have acquired quite an insight into this underworld; an anonymous and covert society bent on terrorizing businesses. These are our internal thoughts on the matter, and not scientific analyses. We are not psychiatrists; just defamation lawyers and trial lawyers trained for almost fifty years to figure out the human nature of clients, witnesses, and juries.

All too often blog attacks are simply protection rackets and extortion schemes in disguise. We have been working on documenting the organizational structure and operational methodologies used by these racketeers. For now, let’s take a look at the entire panoply of characters we seem, as business defamation lawyers, to run into. For those businesses under attack, it is essential that you first identify the publisher’s persona and motivation before beginning to identify the proper strategies for addressing his often seemingly legitimate posts. We don’t go into details on how we work with clients to deal with each type of personality, but the tools vary considerably from being passive, to utilizing SEO services, to implementing reputation management initiatives, to pre-litigation and lawsuit actions.

Defamation Lawyers Pursue Bloggers

Pickpocket

This is the guy who used to wait on street corners for elderly ladies to pass. He enjoys attacking defenseless people and stealing covertly using deception. This type of blogger will steal your copyright protected content, have the search engines push your prospective clients to his site, and then run ads and otherwise direct the traffic to your competitors. He could be an affiliate marketer for a competitor getting a share of the revenue, or he could simply be running Google or Yahoo ads on his site. Pickpockets also take great pleasure in stealing your trademarks…surreptitiously using your mark in hidden tags, meta tags, hidden redirect pages, or through a myriad of search engine optimization techniques, all in the hopes of re-directing your prospects to a competitor and taking money from you.

Wacko

We usually identify a wacko situation quickly. There are distinctive characteristics of his communications. The wacko is usually a “follower”, someone looking to gain attention and recognition, but escalates what may have started as fair criticism into more and more outrageous claims. Most sophisticated business people immediately view the poster as a “nut case”, particularly when an excessive amount of time or energy disproportionate to the merits of the subject is expended. But it is not easy for the typical browser on the web to see the pattern, usually spread over multiple web properties.

Druggie

Or, maybe “liquid courage” would be more appropriate. This guy is exactly what comes to mind. During the day this blogger is a normal guy, but at night he returns to the sanctity of his home, gets drunk or high, and goes out on the web looking for “hook-ups” and blogging on his “hang-ups”. This guy is hard to detect as a fraudster, and sometimes won’t recall what he said online the next day while under the influence. He posts aggressive, false and arbitrary attacks on whatever issue of the day (or night) catches his fancy.

Alien

No, not from another world. But from overseas. In a far, far away place, without any treaty with the US, in a country without an effective legal system and no notion of business or personal property ownership rights. Many of these types operate out of certain Russian provinces, but the blogs, postings and communications appear to be from the customer down the street. This individual usually has an ulterior motive, often working with the criminal discussed below. He has no fear, until he takes a vacation to Turkey and US federal agents grab him for extradition, which is exactly what happened on a case in the not so recent past.

Nerd

This is the guy who is scared to talk with a girl, but behind the keyboard, all alone, morphs into a Casanova. This empowerment of anonymity creates an omnipotent persona, and for the first time the nerd feels the effect of power and control, gets an adrenaline buzz when he exercises it, and he exercises it often, usually creating or perpetuating a volatile situation in which he feels he can outsmart the “opposition”. There is no principle involved. His blog postings are all about the adrenaline. It is hard to know if you are dealing with this type online…his posts are intelligent and on their face credible. But, once you identify the nerd blogger, he cowers and goes away, usually forever.

Rookie
Enjoy debating a thirteen year old? They are out on the net acting like adults, posting statements and play-acting like a grown-up. The challenge, of course, is that most people reading the posts have no idea these are coming from a kid. The tip off can be the utter immaturity of the posts, but most often the kids can sound credible criticizing, for instance, a CPA's method of calculating RIO on REIT holdings, because they can mimic earlier posts. There is no insidious motive here; just kids having fun as the hormones kick in. But the readers of the blog posting don’t know that.

Sadist

This person attacks others, causes pain, and revels in the results in ways not worthy of mention. He loves to create, direct, control, and unleash a firestorm of criticism about a company just to create pain and damage. This type of person may often by the prime instigator of the online attacks, and tightens the noose by escalating the attack rapidly, almost as if in an obsessive state. You will find a sadist going to many sites and blogging, and he usually lets you know it was him because he uses his real moniker. He has characteristics of a stalker, and he is most likely to be the one that starts recommending direct physical violence against the executives of a company. This person is not motivated by money, but by the pure enjoyment of pain being visited upon innocent parties.

Bankrupt

No, not morally bankrupt. Actually bankrupt…no money, no assets, no prospects for work, and nothing to lose. These bloggers post without fear of the consequences or any regard for the truth because you “can’t get blood out of a turnip”, you “can’t get water from a rock”, and all these other sayings handed down, we surmise, through his generations. This is usually not a smart guy, but his postings are damaging and inflammatory. Many will own and control blogs without any concern about the consequences of liabilities that might arise through the perpetuation and “enhancement” of posts, and sometimes will post to their own blog and act like it was from a third party.

Criminal

Career criminals, no less. Like the convicted felon running a sophisticated extortion scheme against a very prominent business. Or the owner of an open blog avoiding service of process with guard dogs protecting his compound. The thieves and crooks of the world are online today; and the criminals often have both an organization and a highly effective and surprisingly coordinated operational plan in place to target a business. Rumors of $500,000 a year payoffs seem to promote this problem, which emanates from more of a “mobosphere” than the blogosphere.

Mis-Leader

This person is in no manner a leader. This blogger has a hidden agenda, but he just makes it sound like he is a totally objective commentator. He can create an appearance of authority and the casual visitor to his blog does not question the legitimacy. This type of persona is hard to figure out. One of the most pervasive practices is to control a blog and allow negative posts against all except his generous advertisers. Another common technique involves omission; not disclosing conflicts of interest or the existence of a business or personal relationship because the readers of the blog would totally discount the commentator’s posts as unreliable and biased.

Dozier Internet Law Defamation Lawyers

In closing, most of the blogosphere is legitimate, offers honest opinions and comments that add value to an open dialogue, and is an excellent example of the exercise of constitutionally protected free speech. As business defamation lawyers, we seen another side. The “mobosphere”, on the other hand, operates outside of the spotlight and often uses reckless, irresponsible, false and defamatory statements for personal or professional gain, all too often focused on self gratification and pecuniary benefits. As businesses attempt to leverage user generated content (“UGC”) into a valuable tool in the Web 2.0 environment, the proliferation of the scofflaws interrupting the free flow of credible speech in the online world puts at risk the reputation and integrity of UGC and raises the very real risk that consumers will begin viewing web content with disdain and suspicion.

Dozier Internet Law defamation lawyers offer a free consultation to qualified businesses and professionals undergoing attacks from the scofflaws of the web.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: : “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”. This new site is designed to help parents decode teen behavior and connect with their kids.


MEDIA ADVISORY

The Partnership for a Drug Free America to Hold a Virtual Press Conference Announcing Launch of “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain”

- New Site to Help Parents Decode Teen Behavior and Connect with their Kids
- Release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study

WHAT: The Partnership for a Drug Free America will debut their newest online parenting tool: “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain.” The site launch also coincides with the release of the 20th annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), a survey of parents’ attitudes about drugs and alcohol.

WHY: For every parent of a teenager who has ever wondered “who is this kid?” the website aims to make answering that question easier. Designed to help parents navigate the confusing, often frustrating teen years, “A Parent’s Guide to the Teen Brain” translates recent scientific findings that shed light on how brain development shapes teens’ behavior and personalities into easy-to-understand tips and tools for parents.

The site explains that the human brain takes 25 years to fully develop, with areas responsible for complex judgment and decision-making maturing last. Through video, humorous interactive segments, role-playing and advice from experts, parents learn how adolescent brain development explains the “normal” teen behaviors that often confound parents—impulsiveness, rebellion, high emotions and risk-taking, especially with drugs and alcohol—and how to use this new information to connect with their teens.

The 2007 PATS study shows that as kids become teenagers, their parents need for information and help talking about drugs and alcohol peaks, and parents’ confidence in their ability to keep kids from using drugs and alcohol begins to wane.

WHO: A distinguished panel of experts will participate in a discussion about “A Parent’s
Guide to the Teen Brain including:
• Steve Pasierb: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for a Drug Free America
• Ken Winters, Ph.D.: director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, and a Senior Scientist with the Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, PA.
• Tara Paterson: certified parenting coach, mother of three, founder of the Mom’s Choice Awards (which honor excellence in family friendly media, products and services), author of the upcoming book Raising Intuitive Children and contributor to justformom.com.

Highlights of the Virtual Press Conference will include:
• Detailed explanation/run through of “A Parents Guide to the Teen Brain”
• Explanation about the links between teen behavior and the physiological changes happening in the teen brain
• Explanation of findings from the 2007 PATS study
• Discussion of how to apply the scientific findings about the teen brain to real life
• Valuable insight from a parent and parenting coach

WHERE TO REGISTER*: www.iian.ibeam.com/events/otsp001/26609/

WHEN: June 11, 2008 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am

To download video of the webcast in broadcast quality format (available June 11th from 10am – 11am ET) please visit the coordinates below:

Galaxy 26 Transponder 1 C BAND Analog
Downlink frequency is 3720 Vertica

Beta copies can be requested after the event, but will require additional time for delivery.

Media Contacts: Judy Klein, o: 212-251-1204, m: 917-282-9352, e: jklein@ckpr.biz
Paul Costiglio, o: 212-973-3530, m: 917-686-8697, e: paul_costiglio@drugfree.org

For more information about the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, visit www.drugfree.org.
# # #

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Online Gossip



After chat rooms, instant messaging, and social forums became popular, a new word entered our vocabulary: cyber-bullying. It's been a problem almost since the Internet was invented but studies now show that online harassment and bullying has increased over 50 percent since 2000.

Read entire article here: http://www.connectwithkids.com/tipsheet/2008/388_jun4/thisweek/080604_gossip.shtml

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sue Scheff: Strategies for keeping teens Safe


Source: Shoulder to Shoulder

Monitoring teens is an art form. Too much and teens will rebel or not learn the skills they need to function on their own. And too little monitoring can result in behaviors that spell trouble. What to do? Here are some strategies to consider for keeping track of teens.

Monitoring Teens

Know where our teens are - especially on evening and weekends.
Let teens know that using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs is illegal and unacceptable, and that it would upset you - very much.
Monitor television programs teens watch.
Set rules about the music teens listen to.
Know how teens are doing in school. Don't blow off parent-teacher meetings.
Monitor Internet use. This is a big one. Keep computers in "public" rooms of the house.
Try to eat together on a regular basis (without the TV, please).
Curfews are good. Enforce them. And know the curfew laws in your community.
Check in when teens come home from school.
Have family routines.
Insist your teen gives you the name and phone number when visiting friends.
Contact your cable company - have parental control installed to remove unacceptable programs such as MTV.
Insist your teen provide you with his/her password. If they refuse do not give them computer access.
Insist your teen never give out their real name, phone number, email address, home address on-line.
Purchase parental control software which will allow to restrict websites & topical areas.
Purchase software which will allow you to view your teen's history, email, etc.
For more information on parental control software visit the www.missingkids.org.
Do not allow teens to have television sets, VHS, DVD players in their bedrooms.
Greet your teen whenever they come home in the evening, stay up until they arrive home. Check out how their night went.
Check for any substance use.
Monitor cell phone records.

Respect Our Teens By:

Explaining why we need to know about their activities.
Acknowledging their need for independence.
Recognizing as teens mature, our expectations should change accordingly.
Nurturing their self-sufficiency. Build trust by giving more freedom gradually.
First and foremost, express your love to your teen and that it is your job as a parent to ensure their well-being.

Negotiate expanding rules as your teen matures.
Act as your teen's pre-frontal cortex, the place in the brain that helps us make good decisions. The pre-frontal cortex doesn't fully mature until young people reach twenty-five. Help your teen think through their plans for the night. Sometimes teens simply don't have the experience to make good decisions. Role play potential problems. "What would you do if...?"
Be a parent not a pal.

To Keep My Teen Safe, I pledge to...
Be my teen's parent first, friend second
Consistently enforce clear rules and consequences
Listen to my teen in both word and action
Support the school system and its policies
Know where my teen is and whom they are with
Get to know the parents of my teen's friends
Actively supervise teens in my home
Talk to my teen about the effects of alcohol and drugs
Not provide alcohol to minors and lock up any alcohol in my home
Be positive with my teen, and provide a good example

Brought to you by Project Northland (Farmington & Lakeville, MN.2004)

When All Else Fails...

Sometimes the best plans don't work and teens find themselves in over their heads. Have a family code and suggest your teen can call to ask, "Did my clothes get ironed for tomorrow?" Go get them, no questions asked.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sue Scheff: Is Parent Coaching Right for your Family?


Dr. Paul Jenkins is a Family Coach that has successfully helped many families through his practice as a Psychologist, as a Radio Host and as a Family Coach.
Many parents are using coaching as an option prior making a decision to place their child in a residential therapy program.
Learn more at http://www.creationtreecoaching.com/ or a quick Internet Search can help you find others.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: It is June 1st - Summer Reading for Parents and Kids


Summer is almost here and what a better time to catch up on relaxation and reading!

Take your kids to your local library or a bookstore and find some educational and fun books to read. Health Communications Inc. http://www.hcibooks.com/ offers a wide variety of wonderful books for both parents and kids today.