Friday, March 28, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) - Parents, Learn More About what Your Kids Know about the Internet


Parents, get with the times.

That was Sarah Migas' opening message during a presentation about online safety Thursday night at Ottawa Township High School.

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook and Internet chat rooms and instant messaging are becoming increasingly popular means for children and teenagers to socialize. While they have their positives, digital technology also can be dangerous.

"Kids are seeing the Internet as the wild wild West," said Migas, an Internet safety specialist with the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

Migas and Daniel Spillman, assistant attorney general with the high tech crimes bureau, talked to a handful of audience members, introducing what they referred to as a "travel guide" for parents to navigate their way through some of these social networking sites and learn the languages being used by children to communicate.

Migas said acronyms often are used amongst bloggers and instant messengers and are not always familiar to parents, who should be monitoring their children's online activities.

"It's like going to another country; you've got to learn the places and the language so you can keep up with the kids because predators know where the kids are," Migas said.

She pointed to examples such as A/S/L, which means age, sex, location. Predators can easily find a person with just that bit of information. Also, she cautioned parents about the acronym POS, which means parents over shoulder.

Internet chat rooms, sites people can access to discuss various topics in real time, also present possible dangerous encounters with predators.

Oftentimes, children will stumble upon sites because they're curious about the titles, and find themselves looking at sexually explicit photos, or conversations, without meaning to.

"And if your child actually talks to you about it, they should be praised. Often they are scared to talk because they're scared their computer privileges will be revoked," Migas said.

Spillman stressed he and Migas aren't trying to give out parenting advice, but threatening to yank the child's computer time away often hampers the child's willingness to open up about their Internet activities.

Online predators often will use what is referred to as "grooming" techniques to establish a relationship with a child, often times offering compliments about the child's looks or sympathizing with their problems.

Predators also are taking advantage of Web cams, soliciting children to take off their clothes by blackmailing them with personal information the predator threatens to share with the child's school or parents.

"These guys know how to get a hook in them and reel them in," Spillman said.

According to statistics, one in seven children will be approached online for sexual content. In the majority of cases, the predators are men.

While law enforcement does have the power to criminally charge predators, and authorities constantly monitor possibly dangerous encounters, Migas and Spillman said that's not enough eyes to protect children.

"We rely on parents," Migas said.

Keep the computer in an open area. Ask children about their Internet activities and monitor their social networking sites. Parents also can check recent activities on the computer by accessing the Internet history account in the control panel of the computer.

Blogs also have grown in popularity.

"Basically a blog is an online journal," Migas said, warning, "If you wouldn't want your grandma to see the pictures or read the content, don't post it."

Digital technology also has spurred what is deemed, "cyberbullying."

Instead of bullies preying on their victims in the halls of school or at the park, the tormenting is taking place online -- where the threats and harassment can be seen by anyone around the world.

"It's easy because they feel anonymous, and they don't see the reactions of the victims," Migas said.

Children can no longer take refuge in their homes from bullies.

"It can happen anywhere, anytime," Migas said.

According to statistics provided, more than 40 percent of children are bullied online at some point.

When a child feels threatened or harassed online, Migas and Spillman said the incident should be reported to parents and-or police. Also, any evidence should be printed and saved, and children should not retort in any way, as it can worsen the situation.

While many of the social networking sites do have safety measures, predators often find a way around them. Law enforcement also continues to monitor the Internet, but Internet dangers will be an ongoing issue in which authorities need the help of parents to fight.

"Unfortunately, I don't think this bureau will go under," Migas said of the attorney general's high tech crimes bureau.

Internet acronyms parents should know:

AITR: Adult In The Room

P911: Parent Emergency

PAW: Parents Are Watching

PIR: Parent In Room

POS: Parent Over Shoulder

MOS: Mom Over Shoulder

MIRL: Meet In Real Life

S2R: Send To Receive (pictures)

CD9: Code 9 (parents are around)

E or X: Ecstasy (the drug)

ASL(R P): Age Sex Location (Race / Picture)

TDTM: Talk Dirty To Me

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teenage Drivers

By Connect with Kids

Behind The Wheel

When kids get their license, it opens up a world of freedom, and a world of risks. More teens die driving than any other age group. While we can’t protect our teenagers from everything on the road, we have to at least try to protect them from themselves – young drivers are inexperienced, easily distracted and typically drive as if they are invincible.

Children won’t always listen to adults. That’s why our programs always feature real kids that your kids can relate to. In Behind the Wheel, teens share their true stories about driving and crashing – broken bones, broken trust, shattered dreams. Watch this compelling program as a family, and suddenly you won’t be talking at your kids... you’ll be talking with them.

With a team of experts, you’ll learn many ways that parents can help keep kids safe on the road. You’ll explore driving contracts, cell phone use and new technology that helps parents to keep tabs on their kids’ driving. Don’t miss this chance to see what real teen drivers are doing on the road…to show your own kids the incredible dangers… and to learn how you can help them be safe before it’s too late.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sue Scheff: Parents Universal Resourc Experts - Early Alcohol Prevention

By Connect with Kids

“If you have your first drink before age 14, you're 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism in your life than if you wait until after age 20.”

– Susan Tapert, Ph.D.

By the sixth grade most kids are trading in their dolls and toys for other hobbies like organized sports, clubs at school, and endless hours on the Internet. But, according to new research, around age 11, some kids may be trading their barbies for booze. When do most kids start drinking alcohol? Kim was only 12 when she started.

“I was drinking and then I was smoking, and then I tried so many different drugs,” says Kim, 15.

“She was experimenting with drugs and liquor. We had to put all the liquor away in the house, and she was going to friends houses and sampling,” says Jim Skinner, Kim’s father.

According to a study by the University of Minnesota, one in six children start drinking by the sixth grade. Research shows the earlier kids start the more likely they are to become addicted.

“If you have your first drink before age 14, you’re 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism in your life than if you wait until after age 20,” says Susan Tapert, Ph.D.

That’s why, experts say, the first line of defense against alcohol and drugs is parents who talk to their kids often and start when they’re young.

“You know, I can’t tell you how many times parents come in and they have never, never approached the word drugs or alcohol with their kids. They just want to ignore it. If they ignore it- it will go away and their kid won’t be involved,” says Shirley Kaczmarski Ed.D., educational director.

“Let them know the risks of their behaviors, and what the consequences might be and you can help them with handling those situations, and knowing what to do in order to avoid them,” says Rhonda Jeffries, M.D., pediatrician.

After months in counseling and a year in a school for troubled teens Kim is now drug and alcohol free.

“I’m very proud of myself,” says Kim.

The study also found the earlier kids start drinking, the less receptive they are to alcohol prevention programs.

Tips for Parents

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows the function of the central nervous system. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person's perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing. (Nemours Foundation)

An effective way for parents to show care and concern is to openly discuss the use and possible abuse of alcohol and other drugs with their teenager.

Warning signs of teenage alcohol and drug abuse may include:

Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting cough.
Emotional: personality change, sudden mood changes, irritability, irresponsible behavior, low self-esteem, poor judgment, depression, and a general lack of interest.

Family: starting arguments, breaking rules, or withdrawing from the family.

School: decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy, and discipline problems.

Social problems: new friends who are less interested in standard home and school activities, problems with the law, and changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.

The Consequences of Underage Drinking:

(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

A person who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol.

During adolescence significant changes occur in the body, including the formation of new networks in the brain. Alcohol use during this time may affect brain development.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 20, and the rate of fatal crashes among alcohol-involved drivers between 16 and 20 years old is more than twice the rate for alcohol-involved drivers 21 and older. Alcohol use also is linked with youthful deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide.

Alcohol use is associated with many adolescent risk behaviors, including other drug use and delinquency, weapon carrying and fighting, and perpetrating or being the victim of date rape.
Identifying adolescents at greatest risk can help stop problems before they develop. And innovative, comprehensive approaches to prevention, such as Project Northland, are showing success in reducing experimentation with alcohol as well as the problems that accompany alcohol use by young people. (NIAAA)


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Nemours Foundation

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Anger, Teen Rage, Rebellious Teens, Teen Violence - Is your teen in crisis?

"I don't care what you say I am doing what I want to do! I hate you and you just don't want me to have fun!" "All my friends are allowed to stay out late; you are mean and want to ruin my life!" "You have no idea how I feel and you are only making it worse!" When a difficult teen is out of control, they only can hear themselves and what they want. It is usually their way or no way!

There are so many factors that can contribute to these feelings. The feelings are very real and should be addressed as soon as you see that your child is starting to run the household. Teen Anger may lead to Teen Rage and Teen Violence which can soon destroy a family.Again, local therapist* can help your family diagnosis what is causing the negative behavior patterns. Conduct Disorder is one of the many causes to harmful behavior.

Many times you will find a need for a positive and safe program to help the teen realize where these hurtful outbursts are stemming from. Parents tell us constantly, they are looking for a "Boot Camp" to achieve their mission to make their child "pay" for the pain they are putting the family through. In some cases this can create a Violent Teen.

We feel that when you place a negative child into a negative atmosphere, most children only gain resentment and more anger. There are some cases that it has been effective; however we do not refer to any Boot Camps. We believe in a Positive Peer Culture for teen help to build your child back up from the helplessness they feel.

Do you have a struggling teen? At risk teens? Defiant Teen? Teen Depression? Problem Teen? Difficult Teen? Teen Rage? Teen Anger? Teen Drug Use? Teen Gangs? Teen Runaways? Bipolar? ADD/ADHD? Disrespectful Teen? Out of Control Teen? Peer Pressure? Teen Violence? Need Teen Help?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sue Scheff: Say NO to Boot Camps for Troubled Teens - Find Safe Alternatives

Boot Camps for Troubled Teens
Boot Camps for Girls
Boot Camps for Boys
Boot Camps

As Parent Advocate many parents are calling us and emailing us looking for Boot Camps for their out of control teens.

We (Parents' Universal Resource Experts) never promote, refer or recommend anyone to Boot Camps.We believe in building our teens back up, not breaking them down. Many teens are suffering with low self esteem, which can lead to negative behavior. When you take a negative child and place them into a potentially punitive environment, such as a Boot Camp, you can risk your child returning with more anger and resentment. This anger is usually targeted at the person that placed them there – the parent.

We believe in finding healthy, positive, nurturing and safe environments to promote your teen's self confidence, to make better choices and determine where the negative behavior is stemming from. With this emotional growth, your teen and your family can start healing towards a happy and healthy home life.

As a parent it is our responsibility to find a school or program that will instill positive values and help your teen through the difficult times they were having at home and/or school. It is time to bring your family back together.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) - Homework Stress by Connect with Kids

“Personally, when I have homework in class, I dread going to class that day. One, to turn in the homework, and two, to review the homework.”

– Paige, 16

It’s a familiar refrain from kids: there’s too much homework, too much reading, too many math problems to solve! But is homework really out of control?

Kate, 16, averages 2 ½ hours of homework a night -- sometimes even more.

“I’d say the most -- maybe three or four hours. It’s definitely on overload,” says Kate.

Are kids overloaded? According to a new survey commissioned by MetLife Insurance, the answer depends on whom you ask. The survey shows that 85 percent of parents say their kids are doing the “right amount” or “too little” homework each night. But 90 percent of kids say they’re stressed out about homework.

“It’s a little hard because I do sports and so it’s kind of hard to balance all of that,” says Jasmyn, 15.

“Personally, when I have homework in class, I dread going to class that day. One, to turn in the homework and two, to review the homework. If I listen in class and take good notes, I usually do well on tests and quizzes, so I don’t think [homework] is reinforcement. If anything, it just makes me kind of dread going to that class,” says Paige, 16.

“It makes me hate school,” says Matt, 16.

“If kids see it as something that is pointless, tedious and even anxiety-producing, of course it’s not going to benefit them,” says Alfie Kohn, education speaker and author of 11 books, including What to Look for in a Classroom.

Some experts say the problem isn’t too much homework -- it’s homework that is too difficult.

“Homework can be overload if the child is simply frustrated. It isn’t that they have too much homework, it’s that they have homework they don’t understand that’s taking them too long to do because of that,” says Frank Pajares, Ph. D.

“You can’t have … a child achieving well academically who is highly anxious. If homework is bringing that, then I think homework is defeating the ultimate purpose, which is for the child to be achieving well,” says Jennifer Obidah, Ph.D., psychologist.

Kate has one good thing to say about homework: it teaches her how to manage her time, which will come in handy in college.

“It kind of prepares you for when you’re not going to have parents sitting there saying, ‘Okay, you need to get going with your math or get going with your history homework.’ It pays off,” says Kate.

Tips for Parents

There are several things you can do to make homework less work. First, create a Homework Plan:

First, be sure you understand the assignment. Write it down in your notebook or day planner if you need to, and don't be afraid to ask questions about what's expected. It's much easier to take a minute to ask the teacher during or after class than to struggle to remember later that night.
Second, use any extra time you have in school to work on your homework. Many schools have study halls that are specifically designed to allow students to study or get homework done. The more work you can get done in school, the less you'll have to do that night.

Third, pace yourself. If you don't finish your homework during school, think about how much you have left and what else is going on that day, and then budget your time. It's a good idea to come up with some kind of homework schedule, especially if you are involved in sports or activities or have an after-school job.

A bedroom, office, or any other room where you can get away from noise and distractions is the best place to get homework done. But don't study on your comfy bed; opt for a desk or table that is comfortable and allows you to set up your computer. (Nemours Foundation)

When you start your homework, tackle the hardest assignments first. It's tempting to start with the easy stuff to get it out of the way, but you'll have the most energy and focus when you begin, so it's best to use this mental power on the subjects that are most challenging. (Nemours Foundation)

Most people's attention spans aren't very long, so take some breaks while doing your homework. Sitting for too long without stretching or relaxing will make you less productive than if you stop every so often. Taking a 15-minute break every hour is a good idea for most people. (Nemours Foundation)


Nemours Foundation

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: Summer Programs to help motivate your kids

It is the time of year that many summer programs are actually filling up!

Finding a good summer programs, such as Leadership Programs, can help your child build their self esteem to make better choices as well as motivate them to reach their highest potential.

If your child is starting to struggling in school, whether it is peer pressure or other issues, you may want to consider summer alternatives.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Internet Generation - Internet Safety

Today’s kids have grown up online. Finding their way around the Internet and posting on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook is part of their every day life. But in this online world … What are they saying? Who are they “talking” to? How can we keep our kids safe from danger – both emotional and physical?Did you know that 70 percent of teens on the Internet have accidentally found pornography on the web; 60 percent have been contacted online by a stranger; another 60 percent have been victims of online bullying; and 45 percent have posted personal information?

The Internet Generation tells of online experiences and stories your kids may not be telling you about this 24/7 cyber- world. You’ll hear insights on setting specific rules, keeping track of kids’ online visits, and talking with them – armed with hard facts and real-life examples – about the very real threats out there.

When it comes to Internet know-how, can parents ever catch up with their kids? Yes. Watch The Internet Generation and start the conversation with your children about what’s on the Internet – the good and the bad. The Internet is here to stay, and it’s our responsibility to keep kids safe, especially when they’re online.


Connect with Kids constantly keeps parents updated on today’s kids and issues surrounding them. Today’s techy generation need even stronger parenting.
Reputation Defender MyChild is a great place for parents to start in keeping their child’s privacy “private!”

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts founder Sue Scheff Launches New Website Design for P.U.R.E.

My new website design for P.U.R.E. has recently been launched! It is not 100% completed yet but the new and updated design incorporates my new first book being released in July 2008. Over the past (almost 8 years!) my website has been re-designed only twice - this is the third time.

Change is hard, but necessary - and like today's teens - we need to stay up-to-date with today's times.

I have enhanced questions to ask schools and programs as well as helpful hints. Change is always happening and P.U.R.E. is proactive in keeping up with bringing you current information on schools and programs.

P.U.R.E. continues to help thousands of families yearly. We are very proud of our association with the Better Business Bureau for many years and our excellent relationship with many therapists, schools, guidance counselors, lawyers, and other professionals that refer to P.U.R.E. on a regular basis in an effort to help families.There are going to be more exciting changes coming this year. A second book in progress and meetings with my Florida Senator and Congresswoman to work towards a safer Cyberspace.