Archive | June 2010

Sue Scheff: CyberTipline – Keeping Your Teens and Kids Safe On and Offline

Just about everyone is aware of the dangers that can lurk online, but does everyone know there is help if you determine there has been a crime committed online or your child is being harassed?

Broward County Sheriff’s department has an Internet Safety page on their website which can help you learn more about online safety. Within this page you will learn about the CyberTipline which is available to everyone.

What is the CyberTipline?

The Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline is a means for reporting crimes against children including:

  • Possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography
  • Online enticement of children for sexual acts
  • Child prostitution
  • Sex Tourism Involving Children
  • Extrafamilial Child Sexual Molestation
  • Unsolicited Obscene Material Sent to a Child
  • Misleading Domain Names
  • Misleading Words or Digital Images on the Internet

Part of the campaign to help keep your teens and kids safe virtually is THINK! Before You Post.

Did you know:

Webcam sessions and photos can be easily captured, and users can continue to circulate those images online. In some cases people believed they were interacting with trusted friends but later found their images were distributed to others or posted on web sites.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens and children.

Must watch video and read more.

Sue Scheff: Chasing the Dragon is NOT a Game – Learn About Drug Addiction

Have you heard of chasing the dragon?  This is slang for smoking opium and not having a care in the world about anything else, except for getting high.  Your teenager may be smoking pot today, and some parents say, “it is just marijuana, they used to smoke it too“, however do they realize pot smoking today is much more serious than it was years ago?  What is the marijuana being laced with?  It is causing your teen to need it more and more?

Now that summer is officially here, teens will have more free time.  Sometimes this is not always a good thing.  How many times do we hear “not my kid?”  Being a parent in denial can only cause more problems later.

National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month is in September, however today is when you can start to be proactive in your community.  Join the voices for recovery on Facebook.  Find out where you can learn more about substance abuse and how you can be  part of recovery, not an enabler.

Don’t wake up one morning to find out your teen has decided to chase the dragon. Start today in being proactive and educate yourself on the abuse of drugs and alcohol.  Over the last 20 years, National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about addiction, share their stories of recovery, and assist others who are still struggling.

In Florida there are events to help raise awareness.  Click here for dates and times.

Recovery Month for June is getting ready for September launch.  Watch the PSA.

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Be an Example to Your Teen – New PEW Study Shows Higher Percentage of Adults Talking and Driving

Our kids are known to take what goes in their ears and then repeat it through their mouths.  Usually not at the best times.

Being an example to our children is part of parenting.  Kids and teens will emulate what you do.  That goes for your driving habits too.

The dangers of texting and driving as well as talking and driving are very well known.  Texting and using a cell phone while driving can lead to deadly results.

According to a recent Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project:

  • Nearly half (47%) of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving. That compares to one in three (34%) texting teens ages 16-17 who said they had “texted while driving” in a September 2009 survey.1
  • Looking at the general population, this means that 27% of all American adults say they have sent or read text messages while driving. That compares to 26% of all American teens ages 16-17 who reported texting at the wheel in 2009.
  • Three in four (75%) cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 reported talking on a cell phone while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • Among all adults, that translates into 61% who have talked on a cell phone while driving. That compares to 43% of all American teens ages 16-17 who said they had talked on their phones while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • Half (49%) of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone. The same number (48%) of all teens ages 12-17 said they had been in a car “when the driver was texting.”2
  • 44% of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger. About the same number of teens (40%) said they had been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a dangerous way.
  • Beyond driving, one in six (17%) cell-owning adults say they have physically bumped into another person or an object because they were distracted by talking or texting on their phone. That amounts to 14% of all American adults who have been so engrossed in talking, texting or otherwise using their cell phones that they bumped into something or someone.

What are your children seeing while you drive?

Read more.

Sue Scheff: Are You Ready for the Tough Questions Your Kids Will Ask?

On rare occasions a guest writer will come on to Examiner.  Today Philip Lopez has asked to share his essay about parenting and those tough questions parents, at some time or another, have to answer.

If you’re a parent, you’ve undoubtedly discovered that raising children is the most difficult task you’ve ever undertaken. It’s your responsibility to shape their impressionable minds – whether or not they grow up to become productive members of society and successful individuals supposedly hinges on your every move. So go figure they ask the most difficult questions early in the parenting process, when they’re most curious and you’re most clueless. Below are a handful of those questions that make parents cringe.

1. How are babies made?
Every parent has inevitably been asked this question in some variation. Most are left wondering how such a thought had entered their child’s mind, and who they should tongue-lash for putting it there. But now that it’s on the table, you have to explain it in terms that are least explicit. “The birds and the bees” talk has long been a go-to option, or you can come up with your own story. Or better yet, defer to your spouse.

2. Why do boys have [this] and girls have [that]? You get the idea. If they happen to ask this question along with question No. 1, they probably know more than they’re leading on. If they ask those questions when they’re 14-years-old, you’ve got bigger problems on your hands.

3. Where do people go when they die? If you’re a Christian, the answer seems simple enough: Heaven. But explaining what Heaven entails and what it takes to get there can take an eternity. Explaining any religion’s afterlife to a three, four or five-year-old is akin to describing quantum physics to a football player – it’s a lost cause. If you don’t happen to belief in an afterlife, well, your answer is easy.
4. Am I going to die someday?
This question is a bit underrated and often unexpected. Your child may or may not realize they are going to die when they pose question No. 3. If they do, break the news gently. Many kids have spent sleepless nights pondering their fate, and you know that when your kid is sleepless, you’re sleepless.

5. Why? “Why?” usually pertains to anything and everything, and the question is typically asked a bazillion times through ages three and four. The best part about parenting a young kid is they don’t realize that you’re pretty much clueless about everything, so almost any answer will suffice as long as you don’t warp their perception of reality.

Part 2 – next 5 questions —>>>>> Click here.

Sue Scheff: Teen Proof Your House – Summer is more Home Time

It’s summer, it’s school break and it is time to hang with your friends!  Some households with both parents working or single parent homes, teens have more free unsupervised time.  This isn’t a bad thing however if you suspect your teen is using drugs, their time alone can be trouble.

Did you know your home can be the culprit in drug use?  Stop Medicine Abuse has created an awareness to help parents recognize the signs of OTCover the counter drug abuse.  Yes, cough medicine, anti-depressants, blood pressure medications and much more.  You home can be a place to retrieve drugs.  Have you heard of fishbowl parties?

It can be hard to tell if there is an issue when your teens’ moods change from day to day.  While many signs of abuse are also common signs of just being a teenager, they can also be cause for concern and a good reason to talk to your teen about the real risks of cough medicine abuse.

  • Hearing your child use certain slang terms for dextromethorphan abuse, such as Skittling, Tussing, Robo-Tripping, Triple Cs and Dex
  • Empty cough medicine boxes or bottles in the trash or a child’s room, or boxes or bottles missing from the medicine cabinet
  • Changes in friends, physical appearance, or sleeping or eating patterns
  • Declining grades
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
  • Hostile and uncooperative attitude
  • Unexplained disappearance of household money
  • Visiting pro-drug web sites that provide information on how to abuse dextromethorphan and other substances
  • Unusual chemical or medicinal smells on your child or in his or her room

Join the Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook Group and stay informed.  Follow them on Twitter too!

The key to prevention is education.  Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens!

Related articles:

Not My Kid: Parent Denial
Huffing: Dangers of Inhalants
Teen Drug Prevention
Parents the Anti-Drug
Should Parents Read Teens Journal

Read more.

Sue Scheff: National PTA Supports U.S. House of Reps Efforts to Improve Child Nutrition

MEMPHIS, TENN. (June 10, 2010) – U.S. Representative George Miller (D-CA-7) today introduced the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act that would strengthen school meals and other programs under the Child Nutrition Act which is up for reauthorization this year.

This legislation is a tremendous step forward in the ongoing effort to improve the health and wellness of our nation’s youth.  Through improvements in the quality of school foods offered, greater access to programs for eligible children, and increased support for those who are charged with feeding students, Chairman Miller’s bill addresses the startling levels of both child hunger and childhood obesity in a significant manner.  In addition, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act helps ensure that parents are engaged in the decisions which affect their children’s health.

“The provisions in this bill show a commitment to making sure that parents remain at the table when decisions affecting their kids are being made,” says Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors, National PTA President.

National PTA®, the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association, has worked to improve child health outcomes since its inception in 1897.  These efforts have led to the creations of the U.S. Public Health Service, the school lunch program, and the Department of Health and Human Services at the federal level.  In addition, the association has consistently provided a platform for parents to advocate for children and work together to support generations of Americans. 

About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.     

Sue Scheff: Debate of parents, children and medication – We’ve Got Issues

We’ve Got Issues, Children and Parents in an Age of Medication is a timely and educational book written by New York Times best selling author, Judith Warner.

Summer is here and parents that have their children on medication  for ADD/ADHD during the school year will be debating whether to continue the use of medication during the summer months.  Each vary in their opinions as well as the uniqueness of their child.

Written with a reporter’s eye, Judith Warner’s new book, WE’VE GOT ISSUES: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication explores how pervasive these disorders are today and shows how complex and painful a journey it can be for parents trying to make the right decisions, particularly in the face of the ongoing discussion in this country as to whether we are misdiagnosing our children with special needs and over prescribing medications to modify their behavior.

How many kids really have behavioral, emotional, and learning issues? What is the nature of those issues, and are they really epidemic? Why do they appear to be so greatly on the rise? Are they real? Are parents willing to “drug” their kids? And perhaps most significantly, how do the children themselves feel about it? What are their lives like?

The author answers these and many more questions in a book that reframes our most commonly held beliefs about children and parents struggling with mental health issues.

More highlights include:

  • Since the early 1990s the number of children receiving diagnoses of mental health disorders has tripled. This vast increase has fed enormous skepticism, prompted talk of “epidemics,” and serves as a mainstay of the so-called naysayer position—namely that there were virtually no kids with mental health issues in the past, but somehow, suddenly, they’ve sprung up from nowhere. Warner looks at key factors driving this widespread perception, including increased visibility and profound changes in how parents, teachers, and doctors look at and label kids who have problems.
  • A look at what the author considers the true epidemic in this country when it comes to children’s mental health: the lack of quality care. Says Warner, “At a time when we have treatments that actually work, when there’s more research than ever before, more knowledge, better understanding, more support in the schools, and more public awareness of the dangers of untreated mental illness, the actual caretaking that kids with mental health needs receive, is for the most part, really poor.”
  • A look at what Warner calls “the new face of mental health stigma in our time”—a web of belief that combines doubts that mental health problems are real and aspersions cast on parents of children with problems with a tendency to conflate children’s disorders with bad behavior. The net result is that children are viewed symbolically—as canaries in the coal mine, showing the frontline symptoms of the toxicity of our pathological age—instead of as real people. This so-called “naysayer” position, says Warner, “is voiced as concern, as a desire to save children, and as a wish to give childhood back to kids, but what it really is, most of the time, is prejudice. And it’s a poison.”
  • Why people have a hard time acknowledging that children’s disorders are common, impairing, at least in part genetic, and very real. Warner also looks at what the latest scientific research has to say about the interplay between genes and environment in causing the kinds of disorders we’re seeing in kids. And she shows how this complex and nuanced way of thinking opens up avenues for understanding that are very different from those dictated by the more black-and-white terms in which children’s mental health issues are typically painted in the public debate.
  • A look at the irresponsible marketing practices of Big Pharma; its control of published research; and its co-opting of government regulators and institutions, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. Warner also looks at the damage done to the psychiatric profession by individual psychiatrists who have enriched themselves by becoming what amounts to shadow employees of the drug companies. “For many people, the revelation of psychiatry’s extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry are just proof of the inner corruption of the whole psychiatric enterprise in the age of biological psychiatry.”

Read more, order on Amazon today.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and  healthier children.

Read more.