by Stephanie Partridge

What is Your Teen being Exposed To? This is the first in a series on social networking sites.  These sites have become so popular, so prevalent with teens flocking to them that this is very relevant – and it is going to take more than just one post to address all that needs to be addressed on this subject.

Social Networks are really hot right now.  Teens are spending a great deal of time on sites like MySpace, Facebook and others.  But just what are your teens being exposed to when they log onto their Facebook profile or MySpace profile?

The answers are alarming.

While social network sites do have merit, they allow people from all over the world to connect.  Kids can connect with friends and family who live far away.  They can socialize and keep in touch with friends, share pictures, music and videos and play fun games.

They can connect with the Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and many other wholesome organizations, businesses and individuals.  They have access to great, educational material.  They can learn, they can grow, they can see parts of the world and other cultures that they may never have a chance to see otherwise.

But there is a dark side to social networks.  This is something that every parent with a social network surfing teen should know.More on Social Network Dangers: The Dark Side of Social Networks

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cyber-bullyThe story is unfortunately all too common. A 13 year old boy commits suicide after a cyberbully torments him relentlessly. An 18 year old girl kills herself after a "sexting" incident that put nude photos of her, meant only for her boyfriend, in the hands of many other people, some in the very school she attended. It seems to be reaching epidemic proportions, cyberbullying and sexting. It seems that the online world has gone out of control, populated with perverts and bullies. So, how can parents keep their children safe without taking the internet away from them completely? What can a parent do to protect their children from what at times is a very cruel world?

So, what can parents do to protect their children from cyberbullies and prevent them from sexting? Well, you could take away cell phones and set the parental controls on the internet so that the only page they can access is Disney.com, but that isn't very realistic. Also, when you get right down to it, you can't spend your life shielding your children from things that may hurt them. If you do, you are doing them a great disservice. The best thing that you can do is teach them how to protect themselves and how to make smart, sound decisions.

Cyberbullying: Know the Signs

Of course, things will still happen and your child may become a victim regardless of what you teach them. It is important to know the warning signs so that you can tell when something is wrong. Laying a good foundation of open communication with your child is a good start and will help you pick up on the warning signs early. The signs may be subtle and barely discernible.More on Cyber Bullying and Sexting: What Parents Can Do

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Placing Childs GPS Tracking Device on or with Kids

Placing Childs GPS Tracking Device on or with Kids - Click here for more information

by Jennifer Shakeel

GPS tracking devices are one of the newer devices that parents now have to decide whether to use or not use. Although there are many advantages to using a GPS, especially since statistics have proven how many children go missing every year, you might struggle with the idea of placing a tracking device on your child.

On the plus side, having a GPS tracking unit for your child will reduce the amount of time you spend worrying about them. A personal GPS tracking unit can give you the peace of mind of knowing where your child is at all times, as well as the knowledge that they are where they are supposed to be. A GPS tracking device can be much less intrusive in your child's life than requiring them to constantly call you to let them know where they are. Instead of needing to rely on your child remembering to "check in" with you on a regular basis, they will simply be able to go on about their play and school tasks. This can take a lot of the worry out of the process for you, as well as letting your child stop worrying that they will forget to call you. Your child can have more freedom, and you will have less worry.More on Kids GPS Tracking Devices: Should You GPS Your Kids?

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by Stephanie Partridge

sad-childEmotional abuse is not only hurtful, it attacks and decimates a child's self esteem. It is particularly damaging to the child's sense of self worth and emotional development. A child who endures emotional abuse can experience long term effects that will carry over into adulthood. The most disturbing part of emotional abuse, though, is that it is very difficult to prove or even recognize. It does not leave bruises or visible scars like physical abuse does. However, there are ways to detect emotional child abuse,  and what actions you can take to stop it.

What is Emotional Abuse?

A pattern of behavior directed toward a child by an authority figure in the child's life that attacks his or her emotional wellbeing is emotional abuse. When a parent or authority figure places unreasonable, excessive or impossible demands on the child, uses intimidation and aggressive methods or uses verbal attacks it can be considered emotional abuse. Verbal attacks may include belittling, rejecting, cruel teasing, constant criticism and insulting. In short, any attack that undermines that child's self esteem is child abuse. Emotional abuse can also mean psychological or emotional neglect. When the parent or caregiver denies the child love, guidance or support, they are robbing that child of the ability to experience normal psychological growth and development.More on Recognizing and Understanding Emotional Child Abuse

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internet safety and your childby Jennifer Shakeel
While the internet is a beautiful thing it is also a very dangerous thing, especially to our children. For years we as parents have feared the online predator, that could pose as a child and lure our children away from us and do terrible things to them. Today, our fear is not just of strangers… but of people that we know or at least know our children. I am talking about cyber bullies, who taunt our children online and on their cell phones. Technology has provided bullies a new way to get at our children, and we as parents need to stay on top of what is taking place to help protect our children.

Parental Control
I am sorry, but I don’t think young children need to text message. I am not even completely sure they need cell phones… really what does a 10 year old need a cell phone for? Our oldest daughter has a cell phone, she got it in 7th grade. The reason was that she was very active in school activities and so was our son. It was difficult to be in two places at once, so she needed a way to get a hold of me when her practice was complete and I was at our son’s practice. One thing I did not allow though was texting. It is not a part of our plan. She cannot receive them or send them. I don’t care that all her friends can text and that she has to tell them she can’t, I would rather be embarrassed then hurt.More on Protecting Your Kids from Cyber Bullying

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family-on-internet.jpgAs a parent and someone who spends a lot of time online for my job, I know and understand the importance of teaching internet safety to our kids. In this guide, I will be sharing with you some basic lessons that should be shared with your child. In today’s world, our children are heavily dependent on technology, such as the internet, in order to communicate with others, conduct research, and even to assist them in their educational endeavors. As parents, it is inappropriate to keep this type of technology from our children as it is an integrated part of our world as a whole. This is why teaching internet safety is the responsibility that we should take.

Cyber Citizenship

Cyber citizenship is one of the first steps in teaching internet safety to our kids. The internet is much like a community that we live, work, and play in. Children must understand this. People may not “live” online, but it is a place where many work, and many play. You should start by defining the role of a basic community and then compare it to the concept of “Cyberspace”. While Cyberspace is actually considered an abstract idea as it relates to community, it is a community nonetheless. The places that we visit while online are much like the places that we visit in our physical community. These places include the library, various types of stores, and even museums! By comparing the “websites” that we find online to real places we find in our communities, it gives your child a sense of community. More on Teaching Internet Safety To Your Child

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mom watching babyWhen you have kids, it's so easy to suddenly have an accident happen. Of course you aren't going to be able to protect your kids from everything, but there are things that you can do to help accident proof your kids to keep situations from getting dangerous. There are so many different things in life that can quickly turn into an accident, and it's important that you take measures ahead of time to keep these problems from happening. Let's take a look at some of the simple things that you can do to make sure you avoid accidents if at all possible:

Always Keep a Monitor in the Baby Room

If you have a baby in a crib, you'll want to make sure that you always keep a baby monitor in the baby room. As babies get older and begin to crawl and walk, some of them decide that they really enjoy climbing. You want to be able to hear when your kids wake up so you can go check on them. The last thing you want is your child trying to climb out the crib and somehow getting stuck or falling. So, it's best to always have a monitor in the room so you can hear what is going on.More on Accident Proofing Your Kids

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Child in snow making snow angelIf you are a parent in an area that is known to experience extremely cold temperatures and snow, it is important to know first aid for children with frostbite. When a child experiences this particular condition, it means that the tissue of the body has frozen. While it may be hard to believe that this could happen, it does and on a regular basis in climates that are extremely cold. In some instances, more freezes in the body than just the skin. It is essential to treat a child immediately that has this condition to ensure that tissue damage that is permanent in nature is prevented. Here, I will introduce you to the first aid for children with frostbite technique.

When a child has frostbite, there are certain symptoms that are present to indicate that this has occurred. Typically, you will be able to see that the skin has a white appearance. In many instances, it may feel slightly “waxy” in nature. In addition to this, the skin may feel as if it is extremely hard and the child may complain that they cannot feel it. If you find that these symptoms are present, then it is important to follow these first aid for children with frostbite steps: More on First Aid for Children with Frostbite

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child playing with his toysChristmas is just around the corner and no doubt you are going to be going Christmas shopping for your kids soon. Sure, you are probably going to find some clothing, DVDs, and books along the way, but there's a good chance that you'll be purchasing some toys for them as well. Toys definitely are a great gift to get for kids of just about any age. However, before you go out shopping for toys this Christmas there are a variety of things that you need to know.

There is no doubt that you want to keep your kids safe, but if you don't take some time to consider carefully the toys you buy, you may be putting your kids safety on the line. Not all toys out there are safe. So, you'll want to do everything that you can do to make sure that you pick out only the safe toys for your children. Here's a look at some safety tips for choosing toys, toy safety once you have the toys at home, and some reasons you need to be aware of toy recall information. More on Toy Safety and Toy Recalls 2008

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keep young kids close when shoppingThe race is on! During the holiday season, child safety procedures are imperative because of the large crowds we see everywhere. Everyone is engaged in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Everyone. Not simply moms, dads, aunts and uncles looking for the perfect gifts, but child predators looking for their next victim as well. The large crowds present at shopping malls and department stores make their jobs much easier; there is more anonymity and more distractions for parents with children in tow. As a result, there are several safety precautions every shopping parent should take when accompanied by the children.
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