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Monthly Archives October 2016

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

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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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Teen-Involved Crash Deaths Spike 10 Percent

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 12, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

teendriverstatWhile the rate of teen driver-involved crashes has declined significantly over the last decade, there is still significant work to be done. A fresh look at 10 years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows the improvements in teen-involved fatal crash rates have not been as dramatic for older teens (ages 18-20) as compared to their younger counterparts (ages 15-17), and teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash than adults. The report examines the differences in fatal crashes between older and younger teens, as well as by gender, and provides a set of 11 policy and best practice recommendations for states to implement.

What is the problem?

  • The analysis finds that teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their adult counterparts.
  • New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show teen-involved fatal crashes spiked 10 percent in 2015, the first uptick since 2006.
  • According to GHSA’s new analysis, fatal crash rates for 18- to 20-year-old drivers have shown considerably less improvement over the past 10 years than for 15- to 17-year-old drivers.
  • Older teen drivers are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens.
  • It is estimated that one in three teens is not licensed by age 18, which means that they do not benefit from graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, which are proven to reduce crash risk by as much as 30 percent.

The report was funded through a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. The data analysis was conducted by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants, and the report was researched and written by national teen driving expert Pam Fischer.

Read the full press release here.

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