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Showing posts from 2016

Teens, Drugs and the Internet

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I’ve spent a lot of my life watching children — as a parent, and then working with parents of troubled teens. I’ve seen so many adolescents gravitate towards the wrong thing like moths to a flame. Even if they don’t dive into the fire, they almost can’t help but be drawn to it. It’s nothing new that teens put peers’ input above that of their parents. But what has changed? The input comes not just from classmates and neighbors, but from complete strangers who enter our children’s lives through their virtual world — the Internet. When it comes to teenagers, it’s no surprise that social media is their virtual playground with 93 percent of teens checking YouTube weekly

Why does this concern me?
Over the last year, we’ve gotten just a rough idea of how much bad stuff kids can find on YouTube. Last May, researchers from a non-profit consumer group, the Digital Citizens Alliance, searched YouTube for videos that came up after entering “buy drugs without prescription.” The organization’s res…

Digital Parenting: Offline Chats Means Online Safety

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Your Child's Online Behavior Is a Reflection of Offline Parenting
Raising children in a digital society can be challenging. Today kids are exposed to technology and are sometimes given their very own keypads in their first years of life.
Generations earlier, the big talk was about the birds and the bees. Maybe parents would discuss this with us only a few times. A handful at the most -- sometimes not even that much in our adolescent years. Sex was (and is) a topic that many parents want to talk about as briefly as possible and then walk away.
When it comes to the digital world, there is no walking away. The reality for today’s youth is that their online reputation will someday determine their college admission and very possibly their future employer. Every keystroke, post, and comment counts.
Your child's online social skills are as critical as their offline people skills.
Where do you begin?
In tech terms -- by chatting. The tech talk is not a conversation you have once or tw…

Bullying Prevention Month: 10 Ways To Be An Upstander

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Bullying and cyberbullying is an issue that everyone is concerned about.  From verbal abuse to online harassment, words can be used as lethal weapons. On the same measure, words can be used to build people up too! Your words matter, keystrokes count — how will you use them? One of the most important ways your child can be proactive in helping others that are victims of cruel behavior such as bullying, is to become an upstander. 10 ways to become an upstander by School Climate: Learn more about mean, cruel, and bullying behavior. Educate yourself and your community with the resources on BullyBust.org. For example: Why do kids bully? Where does bullying take place most often in your school? What are the effects of bullying? How can we prevent it? Understanding this information will help you if you are bullied, and will help you to stand up to bullies if a friend or classmate is being bullied.Help others who are being bullied. Be a friend, even if this person is not yet your friend. Go o…

Suicide Prevention Month: Warning Signs

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A parent’s worst nightmare is surviving a child’s suicide. It’s not natural to outlive your child, especially to suicide. September is National Suicide Prevention Month however this topic is one that needs attention 365 days a year. Kids In The House offers a library of videos by experts to help educate parents on teen suicide prevention.  Today’s generation of online peer pressure in combination with offline only complicates our teen’s stress and anxiety. The world of cyberspace has created a new level of concern for many parents – and they must continue to be in touch with their teen’s emotional lives both offline and online.  It’s why your offline chats are so important – frequently. American Foundation for Suicide offers the following warning signs for parents of teens and youth: Take it seriously, even if your friend brushes it offSuicidal ideation (continual suicidal thoughts) is not typical and reflects a larger problemAn angry friend is better than a dead friendAsk, listen, tell…

Teens and Dating

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What teens need to know before they start dating.

One day, your little one is skipping down the sidewalk with her hair in pigtails and a firm grip on a teddy bear. The next, it seems like, she’s bouncing down the stairs on her way to greet her first date. Watching kids grow and mature, especially during the teenage years, can be a bittersweet experience. It can also be the harbinger of the most difficult period of your parenting career. Preparing your child for the world of adult interactions, romantic entanglements and independence isn’t always easy, especially when you’d much rather they stayed small forever. Just as you can’t keep a child from growing into an adult, neither can you stem the tide of romantic attraction and the desire to date. All you can do is hope that you’ve instilled the values that you set out to, and that you’ve adequately prepared your teenager for the complicated and sometimes painful world of dating. The Friendship Code There are certain rules that come along…

ADHD Teens: 4 Tips to Help Them With Their Grades

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Every parent wants their child to do well in school and succeed in life. It’s challenging to watch your teen’s grades slip, despite the time, attention and effort you put into helping them improve. This can be even more difficult for parents of children with ADHD. If your teen has ADHD and you’re looking for ways to help them improve their grades, we’ve gathered some tips below. Unique tools Kids with ADHD simply do not learn successfully under conventional methods. So it’s wise to try unconventional study methods. Create a word puzzle to help your child with a specific subject which they are struggling in. Rather than simply reading a book and quizzing them on the information, this is a fun way to study that doesn’t feel like school work. Have your teen review the information they studied for a few minutes just before they go to bed can also help them remember the information and process it while they sleep. Break it up According to PsychCentral.com, cramming for an exam simply doesn’t…

Summer Months Bring Higher Death Rate for Teen Drivers

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If you had to choose for your teen to drive through an icy winter storm or an 80-degree “not-a-cloud-in-the-sky” day, which would you prefer? If you’re like most, you’ll probably put your trust in the warm summer day as opposed to the blistery winter one. Now, ask yourself the same question after reading the following statistic: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the summer months of June, July, and August consistently have higher teenage crash deaths than any other month. It would take a rare parent to send their teenager off for a drive during a winter storm without a few words of warning (if you were to even let them behind the wheel at all!) But do you allow yourself the same pause for reflection before your son hops in the car after summer practice to go to the beach with friends? Or when your daughter pulls out of the driveway on a warm July night to catch a movie? Here’s to making summer 2015 the safest one yet. Some tips to help ensure your teen a…

Teen Help Programs for Young Adults

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Just because your teen has turned 18 doesn’t necessarily mean they are an adult. As a matter of fact, I have spoken with many parents and explained that if they are having issues at 14, 15 and 16 — when 18 rolls around, it can seem like an earthquake. The problem is, teens believe they are an adult, yet their actions are still screaming child! There are excellent young adult programs that can inspire, encourage and educate your son or daughter. These programs offer structured support, typically education in accordance to what their needs are (whether they need to get their high school diploma or start college courses), life skills, enrichment and wellness programs to help them lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Some offer the therapeutic component as well as ongoing medical care if your child needs this. The biggest hurdle can be convincing your son or daughter to attend. Most parents are surprised that it can be easier than they thought. Whether they are facing jail time (usuall…

New Poll: Teens and Cyberbullying

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Most Teens Spend at Least 3 Hours a Day Socializing Online

AT&T and Tyler Clementi Foundation Survey 1,000 Area Teens and Parents: Find Pervasive Cyberbullying and Significant Awareness Gap Between Parents and Teens As middle and high school students spend more time online than ever before, a survey of New York City-area teenagers and parents finds cyberbullying is a prevalent issue that touches a vast majority of area children. The poll of 1,000 parents and teens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and northern New Jersey was conducted by AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation. 48% of teens have experienced cyberbullying.8 in 10 know someone who has been the victim of cyberbullying. Unlike in-person bullying at school or outside the home, cyberbullying is happening right under parents’ noses.A majority of teens (53%) spend at least 3 hours a day online, with most of this socializing (86%) taking place at home. “This first-hand account of what teens are experiencing onli…

Sue Scheff Co-Host of The Internet Ruined My Life Aftershow

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As I wrote in my previous Blog post, Syfy's latest new series, The Internet Ruined My Life representatives contacted me.

I enlisted the help of Cyberwise to create The Aftershow to help educate viewers after watching the cyber-disasters that ruined lives. Sometimes people weren't even online!

The series is an eye-opener for everyone!

Twitterverse had this to say:

























Watch our final show with the Founder of STOMPOutBullying, Ross Ellis and from McAfee/Intel Security, Toni Birdsong.
 My latest Huffington Post, Digital Shaming, You're Only A Click Away.

The Internet Ruined My Life Aftershow

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On March 9, 2016 a new series started, The Internet Ruined My Life on the Syfy Network. Though the series is new, we know that keystrokes and cyber-wars have been destroying lives for a long time.

“I wish I had never hit send.”

“I never knew one Tweet would ruin my life.” 

“Everyone wants to be Internet famous.” 

 Do they? Well, not in the way these stories happened. Have you ever considered what would happen if you become a #hashtag? And I don’t mean a positive one. We have seen many people become victims of viral vomit that have innocently posted something benign that was completely taken out of context.

We have seen others that have posted things on what they believed were private forums or groups, or to their limited number of friends or followers — only to have them republished by that one friend that maybe wasn’t really a friend at all.

 As a viewer, you watch these cyber-disasters and simply can’t believe they can actually ever happen to you. However as someone that has been th…