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Teen Help Blog

A Parent’s Guide to Protecting Teen Drivers in 2017

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 20, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

It’s 2017, and iPhones are everywhere. As a result, distracted driving is the talk of the town. According to some sources, it’s even more dangerous than drinking and driving, which is on the decline. However, it’s also important to remember the dangers that drinking and driving pose to our teenagers.

Distracted driving kills 8 people per day, while drinking and driving kills an average of 24 people per day. It gets worse. According to the Center for Disease Control, teenagers are 17 times more likely to die from an accident when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% (the legal limit for adults). Now for the good news. Since 1991, the number of teens who admit to drinking and driving has decreased by 51%. The Center for Disease Control attributes this decline to four factors:

  1. Minimal Legal Drinking Age:
  2. Zero Tolerance
  3. Graduated Driver Licensing:
  4. Parental Involvement

Minimal Legal Drinking Age laws restrict alcohol consumption for all individuals under 21, while Zero Tolerance laws make it illegal for minors to drive with any blood alcohol content. These laws are present in all 50 states. Graduated Driver’s Licensing laws grant additional driving privileges as drivers gain experience. These programs include provisional licenses and learner’s permits. They are also present in all fifty states, but they differ widely. Click here for a guide to GDL programs in every state.

Parental Involvement is the biggest the biggest variable by far. So, how can you keep your teenager safe on the road? First, you need to accept that your child may drink. You also need to assure them that you will be there for them if and when they run into trouble. This could mean paying for an Uber, ordering a cab, or picking them up. The goal is to dissuade your teenager from drinking and driving by offering a better alternative: judgement-free help.

You can also help them build good habits while they earn their learner’s permit. A driving contract is a perfect way to establish guidelines and encourage good driving habits. An effective driving contract should include guidelines for your child, but it should also describe the consequences for breaking those guidelines. Your contract could include some of the following guidelines:

  • Never drink and drive
  • Never text and drive
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Always obey speed limits
  • Only drive between the hours of 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM
  • Only drive with a maximum of one (1) other teenager

Possible consequences might include grounding, additional chores, or the inability to drive for a set time. Guidelines and consequences will differ for every family. Just make sure to communicate openly with your spouse and your child as you draft a contract that you can all agree on.

If your budget has room for a car, you can also purchase a teen-friendly vehicle. Used cars will give you the most bang for your buck, especially because many teenagers will crash within their first month on the road. If you’re going shopping, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a comprehensive guide to purchasing a vehicle for your teenager. Here are a few of the takeaways:

Above all, the most important thing you can do is to model safe behavior. If your child sees you talking on the phone, driving under the influence, or driving recklessly, they’ll learn from you. As you continue into 2017, remember that you are the biggest influence on your teen’s safety. Drinking and driving is already on the decline. Keep it up, and we will eventually eliminate DUI. Distracted driving, you’re next.

Contributor: Jayson Goetz is a young writer whose work primarily focuses on educating readers about the effects of science and technology on today’s society.

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The Connection Between Online Safety and Teen Medicine Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 19, 2017  /   Posted in Internet Safety, Parenting Teens, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

By Anita Brikman

As parents of teenagers, we know that it’s not unusual for teens to spend time online chatting with friends, visiting social networking sites, following sports or celebrities and – hopefully – doing their homework. While this might not seem worrisome, the digital world is a space where anyone can say anything, and teenagers don’t always evaluate whether the information they are exposed to is true or false. There are many dangers lurking online, including websites that promote how to abuse over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to achieve a “high.” In fact, there are online communities in which users share and glorify their medicine abuse experiences, which may influence teens to engage in this dangerous activity.

It’s impossible to be aware of all your teen’s online activities, but you can help reduce the risk of your teen being exposed to the promotion of OTC cough medicine abuse by taking the following actions:

Educate yourself on the issue:

It is important to first understand the dangers and warning signs of OTC cough medicine abuse. Look out for pro-drug sites that promote and provide instructions for the abuse of dextromethorphan (DXM), the active ingredient in many OTC cough medicines. These sites spread false information about DXM, leading teens to believe it is safer to abuse than illicit drugs. Stay alert for internet orders, the arrival of unexpected packages and unexplained payments.

Educate yourself on the space:

Teens are quick adopters of new platforms and technology, which can make it difficult to keep up with their online lives. You can better recognize dangerous online communities by knowing what platforms your teen is using as well as how these platforms are used. You can learn more about the number of websites and online communities that promote OTC medicine abuse here.

Talk to your teen about internet safety:

Once you have a firm grasp on the issue of medicine abuse, visit and discuss websites like WhatIsDXM.com, drugfree.org and StopMedicineAbuse.org with your teen. This way, your teen has the facts about substance abuse and knows where to access credible information. Teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs. Having regular conversations with your teen can make a big difference.

Connect with your teen online:

Follow and connect with your teen on social media. They may not be open to this initially, but they might be more accepting to the idea if you assure them that you’ll respect their space. This will also open up an opportunity for you to model good online behavior to you teen.

Spread the word:

Share what you learned about OTC medicine abuse with other parents and members of your community. This will enable others to have these important conversations with their teens and, in turn, ensure that more teens are practicing safe behavior online.

Even though it might not seem like it, teenagers look to their parents for support and guidance. Setting up guidelines around what behavior is and is not acceptable online will help ensure your teen is being smart and safe no matter what new media comes along.

Contributor: Anita Brikman joined the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) in 2016 and leads the association’s communications and public affairs functions. As a member of the senior management team, she is responsible for establishing and directing the organization’s communications strategies and goals. Anita is passionate about healthcare issues, with over two decades of experience as a news anchor and health reporter in major television markets – making medicine abuse awareness and prevention efforts important to her. She is also the mother of three teenagers. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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How to Prepare Your Teen for Bad Weather Driving Conditions

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 18, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Winter weather can make driving dangerous for even the most experienced drivers, so it’s no wonder, as a parent, you’re concerned about putting your teenager behind the wheel in less than ideal conditions. And there’s good reason for concern: Bad weather plays a role in 22 percent of total car crashes and at least 15 percent of crash fatalities. Safe winter driving is possible with preparation and practice.

If your teen has no experience navigating wintery roads, keep them off the road until you can give them some practice in a controlled environment, like an empty parking. Practice will help them get a feel for the car’s steering, gripping and braking on slick pavement so they will better understand how to adjust when they’re on the open road. In addition to hands-on driving experience, here are five ways to prepare your teen for winter driving.

1. Keep a Cold Weather Emergency Kit in the Car

Help your teen create an emergency kit that they can keep in the car. Items might include blankets, flashlight, flare, jumper cables, snacks and water, a small shovel, portable phone charger and hand warmers. Additionally, make sure they have the number to a roadside assistance service programmed into their phone.

2. Remove All Snow from the Car Before Driving

Teens in a hurry might be inclined to just scrape snow off the windows and get on the road. But that’s not guaranteed to safeguard them from visibility. Instead, encourage your teen to remove all snow on their vehicle’s exterior before driving. Headlights and taillights also need to be visible to other drivers and can play a crucial role when conditions take a turn for the worse. Furthermore, left behind snow on the hood and roof can fly off and hinder visibility for your teen and other drivers. Finally, have them check that the exhaust pipe is clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Perform a Thorough Maintenance Check

Routine maintenance becomes more important in poor weather. Have your teen check their fluids before driving, ensuring, in particular, that their windshield wiper fluid is topped off. Likewise, make sure the vehicle’s tires are properly inflated and in good condition. If the tread looks worn, consider replacing the tires altogether. Low tread or bald tires are especially dangerous on slick roads.

4. Ensure the Gas Tank is at least Half Full

Most teens will let their gas tanks run until they are completely empty, but stress the importance of a full tank when winter weather conditions are bad. That’s because there’s always the possibility of being caught in stopped traffic, or worse, getting stranded during bad weather. With that in mind, instruct your teen to always keep their gas tank above half in the winter.

5. Review Other Important Winter Driving Tips

  • Increase your following distance: When on the road, especially in icy conditions and during inclement weather, remind your teen to give cars in front of them more than enough space to allow for extra braking distance and skidding.
  • Decrease speed: Driving at slower-than-normal speeds may be necessary, because stopping, accelerating and turning all take longer in the snow. Also, keep in mind that other traffic will be moving slower than usual.
  • Watch for stopped vehicles: Be on the lookout for stranded cars, slow-moving snow plows and emergency vehicles.
  • Watch for ice on bridges: Bridges, shaded areas and overpasses will freeze before other parts of the road. Thus, these areas are more prone for accidents, so make sure to travel slowly through these areas.
  • Avoid using cruise control: It should be commonsense, but steer clear of using cruise control when the roads are wet to prevent sliding.
  • Keep your headlights on: Always keep your headlights on, even during the daytime, so other drivers can see you.

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3 Tips to Prevent Your Teenager from Commiting Theft

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 17, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

This is probably hard to admit, but yesterday you caught your teenager red-handed taking money out of your purse. To add insult to injury, you are pretty sure this was not the first time they helped themselves to some of your hard-earned cash.

While it’s hard to believe your own flesh and blood is stealing from you, it’s not something that should be taken lightly. To nip this problem in the bud, and prevent it from blossoming into a full-blown issue that involves late-night calls from the police, check out these surefire tips:

Different Ages, Different Tactics

Young children can sometimes have difficulty understanding what does and what does not constitute stealing. Teenagers should know from right or wrong, but maybe you have younger children and have noticed them taking things that do not belong to them.

As Parents.com notes, young children can be taught to never take something from another person without asking first, and that it’s not OK to help themselves to money from a purse or wallet — even if they are used to being handed money now and then.

Teaching them not to steal must be done with a combination of patience and age-appropriate punishments. A 4-year-old who takes a dollar out of your wallet, for example, shouldn’t be able to watch their favorite show on TV that night. On the other hand, tweens and teens usually have the ability to understand that stealing is wrong, so they should face greater consequences.

Determine Why They’re Stealing

Kids and teens steal from family members for a wide variety of reasons. As Kids Health notes, school-age kids who take their siblings’ iPod or gift cards might not have the self-control needed to stop themselves. Tweens and teens may steal because it gives them a rush, or because they have seen their friends do it and they want to try it, too.

Meanwhile, some teens steal because they are rebelling against you and other adults, or because they are angry about something and want attention. In other cases, older kids steal because they cannot afford what they either need or want; sadly, in some cases, this may be alcohol or drugs. Stealing has also been linked to stress, and it can also be a cry for help.

What to Do Next

First, try to determine how often your kid has stolen something. A one-time money grab from your purse is definitely not OK, but it’s not the same as on-going and frequent stealing that has added up to hundreds of dollars, if not more. But no matter how often your tween or teen has taken something that’s not theirs, remind them that stealing is still a crime and that they must be held accountable.

As Empowering Parents notes, while you might be tempted to try to excuse your teenager’s actions based on their rebellious nature or sullen attitude, stealing is much more about breaking the law than someone’s personal feelings or problems. If you catch your child taking money from your wallet, they must pay it back, either by doing extra chores or missing out on allowance.

Teens who steal more than once may need professional help. This can come either from a family counselor or therapist, a religious leader like a minister or rabbi, or a school counselor. To set your mind at ease and help you rebuild trust with your teenager, consider installing a security camera inside your home.

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Tips to Teach Your Teen the True Meaning of Holiday Giving

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 08, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Holiday spending was up 16 percent this Thanksgiving weekend, with Americans spending $9.36 billion, Voice of America reported. This included $4.1 billion in online spending, a 15 percent increase from last year, according to Adobe Digital Insights. The average shopper spent $289, National Retail Federation data showed. By the time the holidays are over, each American shopper will have spent an average of $929, up from $882 last year. Amidst this frenzy of spending, it’s easy for teens to get the impression that Christmas is all about getting presents and to forget the original reason for the season. Here are some ways you can help offset the commercialization of Christmas and teach your teen the spirit of goodwill.

Leading by Example

The most powerful lesson you can give your teen is teaching by example. Embodying and exhibiting a spirit of generosity can give your teen a role model to counter the materialistic messages of the mass media. Minimalist author Joshua Becker suggests some simple ways to be more generous. Start by cultivating a spirit of gratitude within yourself, making a list of things you are grateful for and reminding yourself of your list on a daily basis. Make a habit of giving a portion of your income each month to your church or a charitable cause. Give up one luxury item for a month in order to increase your ability to give. Give away items you don’t need. Spend some time helping people in need on a regular basis.

Shift Focus from Gifts to Faith and Family

Christmas was originally a religious holiday celebrated in a family setting, but in the late 19th century, woodcutters and department stores began seeing its commercial potential, setting the stage for the increasing commercialization of the holiday over the course of the 20th century. Today, Christmas stands at the center of the retail economy. You can help reverse this trend for your teen by bringing your holiday season back to its original focus and emphasizing faith and family.

There are a number of simple steps you can take to emphasize faith and family over the holidays. Adorn your home with religious-themed decorations to give your family a daily visual reminder of the reason for the season. Participate in holiday rituals such as lighting Advent candles. Or you can organize family activities that emphasize faith and fellowship rather than just giving gifts. Adriel Booker lists 150 Advent activitiesfamilies can do together, ranging from preparing decorations and treats to watching Christmas movies and attending holiday parades and religious celebrations.

Volunteer to Help the Less Fortunate

One great way to model a spirit of generosity for your teen is volunteering as a family to help the less fortunate. There are numerous ways you can get your teen involved in this type of charitable activity. One of the simplest ways is to see what your local church may already be doing. Many churches organize Christmas activities such as collecting gifts for needy children, serving meals or visiting nursing homes. You can also find charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army that organize holiday activities you can participate in. Or you can find people in need among your own family, friends and neighbors to help over the holidays. One activity for the family could be delivering homemade cookies in a family “Cookie Car”decorated for the holidays.

Set a Budget Ceiling

Despite the fact that the average American spends over $900 a year on holiday shopping, two-thirds of Americans don’t plan a holiday budget, a Bankrate survey revealed. Moreover, two-thirds of those who do have budgets don’t stick to them, going an average of $116 over budget, a Coinstar survey found. Setting a budget ceiling for your family’s gift spending can help your teen focus less on gifts during the holiday season.

There are several ways you can limit gift spending. One is to set a numerical limit for each family member. Another is to assign family members to buy gifts for each other through a random drawing, with a set limit on how much may be spent per gift.

Make Gifts by Hand

Another way to limit gift spending while personalizing your gifts at the same time is to have your teen make gifts by hand. For instance, if your teen knows how to knit, they might make a hat, scarf or mittens. If they like to bake, they can make some homemade cookies or brownies to share. Or if they’re handy with tools, they might build a small furniture or decorative item to give away.

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Cellslip: The Gift of Saving Lives

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 07, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

pixabaytextingdrivingNo one needs to be reminded of the deadly statistics of distracted driving, especially as it pertains to teen drivers.  However let’s review some of them again from Distracted Driving Accidents:

  • 1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
  • Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
  • It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. This is the bare minimum amount of time it takes, and it is surprisingly small. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn your ignition when starting your car.
  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
  • 94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
  • Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
  • Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
  • 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
  • 10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
  • 52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.
  • When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.

cellslip3Finally there is a perfect gift that can save lives, including your teenager’s life. Cellslip is an easy to use pocket that they can insert their phone into before they start driving. It blocks all incoming calls and text messages so they can concentrate on the road. When you remove the phone from the pocket, all your messages are received! They won’t miss a thing! No FOMO! (Fear of missing out).

It’s bright red to remind you of the dangers of distracted driving.

They have partnered with AAA, so this insures they are a quality product for you and your family’s safety.

This is a perfect holiday gift, not only for your teenager or young adult in your life, but for that hard to buy for person.  Have a holiday office party? Give them a Cellslip!

Cellslip also will promote businesses by personalizing pouches with your company logo’s.

Order your’s today – check out family pack!

Holiday special PROMO CODE: Use SlipItOrTicket and get 30% off your order!

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Preventing Teen Medicine Abuse

Posted by Sue Scheff on December 02, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

stopmedabuse6By Anita Brikman

Awareness of a problem is the first step to solving it. Parents were recently spreading the word about teen over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Although October has come and gone, we can still continue to spread awareness and help other parents of teenagers just like us become aware of this serious issue.

While the abuse of OTC medicines doesn’t often receive the same media attention as the abuse of alcohol, marijuana or prescription medications, it’s still a common practice among today’s teens. In fact, one in 25 teenagers reports getting “high” by consuming up to 25 times the suggested amount of cough medicine.

stopmedabuse65Why the abuse of cough medicine?

Many teens believe that abusing cough medicine is less harmful than using other drugs because it’s legal and easy to attain. Unfortunately, they’re misinformed. Most cough medicine contains the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM), which has dangerous effects when taken in excess, such as hallucinations, vomiting, sweating and memory loss. The risks only get worse when DXM is combined with other substances, such as drugs or alcohol.

Here’s another problem. Due to the fact that cough medicine can be obtained easily and inexpensively, it’s an attractive choice for teen users. It’s also much easier to hide from parents. What parent would suspect risky behavior when they see an empty bottle of cough medicine in the trash? Unfortunately, only 50% of parents are aware of DXM abuse at all.

The  Stop Medicine Abuse campaign released this short but significant video highlighting one way parents can become more informed and help prevent abuse at home:

The Stop Medicine Abuse icon is included on OTC products, which contain DXM. Even without any knowledge of DXM, this icon alerts parents to stay vigilant about the potential for abuse.

With the hashtag #CheckYourShelf, the video encourages parents to monitor the amount of cough medicine in their home, safeguard their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of old/unused medicines. It also urges parents to check themselves by asking the following questions:

  • Am I aware of my teen’s habits and tendencies?
  • Do I have the kind of relationship where I can ask my teen important questions around risky behavior?
  • How can I start these conversations with my teen?

Informing parents about DMX abuse is the first step in preventing it. As the temperature drops and colds become more frequent, let’s continue to spread awareness about this critical issue, so parents know how the cough medicine in their home is being used.

You can get more information at www.StopMedicineAbuse.com or join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

Contributor: Anita Brikman joined the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) in 2016 and leads the association’s communications and public affairs functions. As a member of the senior management team, she is responsible for establishing and directing the organizations communications strategies and goals. Anita is passionate about healthcare issues, with over two decades of experience as a news anchor and health reporter in major television markets – making medicine abuse awareness and prevention efforts important to her. She is also the parent of three teenagers. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

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Being a Good Role Model for Your Teen

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 01, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

parentteenrolemodelYou are your teen’s most important role model. 75 percent of American children say family members are among their top role models, compared to 25 percent who identify their role models as celebrities or athletes, according to a survey by the Horatio Alger Association. This makes the example you set crucial to your teen’s development. Here are some ways your example can influence your teenager and ways you can make sure you’re setting the example you want your teen to follow.

Diet

When it comes to diet, what you eat directly impacts your teen’s health. Unfortunately, in many cases, teens are learning unhealthy eating habits. One-third of American children and adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Health and Agriculture Departments’ Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that all persons aged two and older should maintain a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat and fat-free dairy products. Additionally, both parents and teens should consume less than 10 percent of their daily calorie intake from added sugars, less than 10 percent from saturated fat and less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Serving and eating the right food at your meals will help your teen develop healthy eating habits of their own.

Exercise

The government’s dietary guidelines are meant to work in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Only one in four U.S. teens gets enough exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Parents who model good exercise habits and encourage their teens to be physically active can help promote health in teens. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense physical activity or 75 minutes of intense activity each week, including strengthening exercises two or more days a week. Youth between the ages of 6 and 17 need at least 60 minutes of activity each day, which should include muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening and aerobic activities. Engaging in family activities and sports that involve physical activity can help motivate you and your teen to follow these guidelines.

Education

Your teen’s education begins at home. Children of parents who have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of finding themselves at the lowest reading levels, making them more likely to get poor grades and drop out, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Education writer Varda Epstein recommends taking some proactive steps to get your teen to read. Model good reading habits by giving your teen a copy of your favorite book from when you were their age. Buy them a book related to their own interests; leave interesting reading material in the bathroom or other places in the house where they are likely to see it; give them a gift card for a bookstore; or perhaps declare a No-Tech Day to get your teen off the smartphone.

Career Development

Your behavior can also help influence your teen’s career development in a positive direction. Modeling and encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit can set your teen on a path toward career advancement or even owning their own business.

Acceleration Partners founder Bob Glazer suggests using simple activities such as mowing lawns to teach your teen basic business skills. You can have your teen do such activities to increase their allowance or earn money from neighbors. Encourage them to follow their own ideas to think of other ways to earn money. Get them involved with organizations such as Junior Achievement. Get yourself involved with an organization such as Amway where you can explore entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activities and get your teen involved in what you’re doing. You can also try opening a savings account for your teen to teach them how to save what they earn.

Online Behavior

The average teen spends nine hours a day online consuming media such as videos and music, according to a study by family technology education non-profit Common Sense Media. Your behavior can have an impact on what influences your teen during this large proportion of their time.

One precaution you can take is to search for yourself on Google and see if what you find reflects the type of person you want to model to your teen. You should also learn about parental controls for devices and apps on your family’s network and find out about the apps your teen is using and what precautions you need to take for them. Avoid taking arguments online to social media in front of your teen. Lastly, try scheduling down time where your family can be together offline.

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Preventing Distracted Driving: 5 Tips for Parents of Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 27, 2016  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

pixabaydrivingDistraction is one of the biggest problems with driving for people of any age. For teenagers, however, it’s especially dangerous since they may not have the driving skills and reaction time to quickly recover from near-accidents. Stress the importance of minimizing distractions while driving with your teens. The following five tips can help to achieve this.

  1. Educating your teen about the dangers of distracted driving is essential, and one of the first things they need to learn. Talk with them about the dangers of texting, talking, eating, and doing other such tasks while driving a vehicle. Sharing stories with them about tragedies that have occurred due to distracted driving can emphasize the point. There are also commercials and videos that demonstrate these dangers that can be used as educational tools.
  2. Teens love driving around with their friends, but teenage passengers can often cause distractions. One tip to help control that is to limit the number of passengers allowed in the car at one time while your teenager is driving. Your child probably won’t be thrilled about the restriction, but it’s better to annoy them than to cope with the devastating aftermath of an accident.
  3. While it may not seem like an obvious factor, closed-toed shoes are important when it comes to safe driving. Although they’re a favourite, flip-flops are not the best footwear to wear when driving, since they can easily slip off while using the brake pedals. This can easily cause a distraction, so it’s best to suggest your child wear closed-toed shoes while getting used to driving.
  4. One of the worst distractions in a car today is mobile phones. This holds true for both teens and adults. How can you be absolutely sure your teen is not texting, talking, or using an app while they’re driving? Downloading a safety app can help. There are several apps available that can give you, the parent, control over your child’s phone, like disabling it when they take the car out for a drive. Some apps also offer auto-power off features that disable the phone when the vehicle reaches a certain speed.
  5. It is important for parents to lead by example. If you say one thing but do another, your teen will pick up on that and not take you seriously. As a parent you need to be sure to always buckle your seatbelt, do not text, and do not talk on your phone while driving. If you need to make a call, text, or change the GPS, pull over to do so.

Safety is All That Matters

You child may not be happy with some of these ideas being enforced, but at least they’ll be safe while out on the roads. You can always suggest that they get a job within walking distance if they take issue with your rules.  Once all is said and done, all that really matters is the safety of your teen and everyone sharing the road with them.

Contributor: Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. Vee is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her blog MyNewWell.com.

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Teens Are Live Streaming More Than Ever: The Security Risks

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 14, 2016  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens

teenlivestream

Livestreaming allows the world to be everyone’s stage. Events can be watched in real-time as the action unfolds. From a baby’s first crawl to a violent police arrest, the world watches and waits for more.

The danger, however, is that once an event is streamed live for the public, there is no going back. Adults understand the boundaries, but teens—with their brains still developing—struggle to always understand the harmful repercussions of the live stream.

Teens and tweens live online. Their world is posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…all the social media forums. Today’s generation of e-centric kids don’t know the meaning of true privacy. They share. Too much and too often.

The harm of livestreaming is numerous. Not only are kids and teens putting their image out for the world to see, but they also document moments that should remain private. Secrets that friends disclose might find a way online. Fights at school, also are popular via livestream.

The cell phone is Pandora’s Box. Capable of shooting pictures, capturing video and posting everything online. The boundaries blur. Teens don’t know when not to hit send.

teenlivestream2In June 2015, two teens from Utah were arrested for burglary and theft. They decided to break into an ice-cream truck and steal the ice-cream. Of course, they taped their shenanigans and livestreamed the whole crime.

A few months ago, three teens allegedly live streamed intimate acts on Facebook. In another twisted case, a girl was accused of livestreaming her friend’s rape. Both cases resulted in police investigations.

For parents, the trouble with technology and live streaming lies in the naivete of kids. Teens, tweens and younger kids do not have the capacity to always make great decisions. Their minds are in the midst of developing…they are in a mental war about right and wrong. Impulse, unfortunately, usually wins out in the fight.

Parents must talk to their kids about personal boundaries, private information and what can and should be shared online. A teen might think that a fight is cool, and because it seems cool then it should be shared. Parents need to be prepared for their kids to be in these situations…with their cell phones.

Fights, abuse and crazy things have always happened. Today, the issue is that these things are easily documented, and teens are often the ones documenting them. Fifteen years ago, teens were not all armed with individual recording devices. Now they are, and parents must prepare them for the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with technology.

Role playing is a great way to teach kids responsibility and help them understand how to respond in a tough situation. Parents should make up cards with scenarios on them depicting scenes that a teen might see at school or in the world. Have the teen choose a card and then act it out.

When role playing, discuss how technology plays a unique role and how the consequences of an action can magnify online. Discuss with teens what is the right and wrong action according to laws in the state. Always educate teens on the laws; they must abide by them, and they can absolutely be prosecuted under them.

Use the controversy and the popularity of live streaming to also discuss personal and private information. Set boundaries as a family about what information can and cannot be shared online. Talk about oversharing. Discuss respect and what it means in friendships and families.

Teens and tweens are very much guided by their peers. However, they look to their parents for support and security. Many teens have found legal troubles from live streaming. Be open with kids about the dangers and harm of sharing too much and using the world as a stage.

Once a video live streams online, it can never be taken back. The internet is forever, and the results can be life changing in the worst ways.

*****

amywilliamsContributor:  Amy Williams, a journalist and former social worker passionate about parenting and education.

Follow her on Twitter.

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