Friday, June 27, 2008

SAFE EYES - Protecting Your Children ONLINE

Safe Eyes 5.0 Parental Control Software Receives Parents’ Choice Award

Safe Eyes™ 5.0, the latest edition of Internet parental control software from, has earned a 2008 Parents’ Choice Approved award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. The award is the latest in a series of honors for the parental monitoring software, including two consecutive Editors’ Choice awards from PC Magazine.

“If you think your family’s safety requires Internet filtering and monitoring, whatever level, this program provides an array of options to get it done,” said the Parents’ Choice Foundation in its recognition of the Safe Eyes product. The 30-year-old foundation is the nation’s oldest non-profit program created to recognize quality children’s media, including books, toys, music and storytelling, software, videogames, television and websites.

“This commendation from the Parents’ Choice Foundation reflects the growing concern that parents have over their children’s Internet use as well as the wide range of control choices that Safe Eyes offers,” said Forrest Collier, CEO of “Every child and every family is different, so flexibility is essential. The product lets parents decide how their children use the Internet.”

Safe Eyes is a comprehensive program that enables parents to easily block objectionable websites, control Internet use by length of time as well as time of day and day of the week, block or record instant messenger chats, and block peer-to-peer file sharing programs that may expose children to dangerous material. It also allows parents to limit email use to certain addresses, and receive alerts when children post inappropriate or personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

The software provides broader controls than any other filtering product, including the ability to define which websites will be blocked by category, URL and keyword; receive instant alerts about inappropriate online behavior by email, text message or phone call; and remotely change program settings or view reports from any Internet-enabled computer.

Safe Eyes is also the only program of its kind that can be used in mixed Mac/PC households. A single $49.95 annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. The product’s website blacklist is updated automatically every day, eliminating the need for manual updates.

All Parents’ Choice Awards winners are posted to the Parents’ Choice Foundation website (

Established in 1999, specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Body Image

By Sarah Maria -

Teen Body Image

If you're in high school, most of your friends are probably on a diet. A recent study shows that 90% of junior and senior girls are on a diet regularly, even though only 10-15% are actually overweight.

The modeling industry also promotes the idea that you need to diet and exercise religiously. Fashion models are actually thinner than 98% of American women. An average woman stands 5'4" tall and weighs about 140 lbs, while the average fashion model is a towering 5'11" tall and weighs under 117 lbs.

In reality no amount of dieting, exercise and discipline can earn you a magazine cover-ready body because those photos have been Photo Shopped, doctored and airbrushed. Don't waste your time attempting to be what you are not, instead; focus on cultivating who you are!

Body Image Tips
As you progress through puberty and your high school years, your body changes as fast as your favorite ringtones. But learning to appreciate your body and have positive self image is a task that few adults have even mastered. Here are some tips to help you learn to love yourself:

Learn to Cook- It is never too early to learn to cook. In just a few years, you will be on your own and you will be expected to feed and take care of yourself. Get some practice at home by preparing some family meals or meals for just yourself. Try some new foods by looking through cookbooks and online. Impress your friends by having a dinner party. This also helps you understand how food functions within a regular diet. Learn how to cook healthily so you can eat healthily, but don't spend too much time worrying about food!

Don't Diet!- Dieting is a great way to ruin your eating habits and your relationship with food and your body. Instead, learn about healthy eating and exercise habits. The healthy habits you learn while you are young will serve you throughout your life!

People Watch- Go to the mall or a public space and people watch. How many are fat or thin? How tall are most women? Men? What do you like or dislike about people's styles, looks or body type? How much of their appearance is "style" and how much is their actual body types? Cultivate the ability to see style and beauty in everyone. As you learn to do this, you can be a trend-setter instead of a trend-follower.

Keep it Real- Remember, people only pick the best photos to be on their MySpace or Facebook page. Remind yourself that they all have bad hair days, the occasional zit or an unflattering outfit choice.

Stay Well Rounded- Sign up for activities that you have never tried. Join an intramural sport or speech meet. Build up your college resume by participating in extracurricular activities. It's a great way to broaden your social circle and prepares you for college or a job.

Be a Trend Setter- Don't just follow the crowd - create your own crowd by being a trend setter. Find your own style and look by experimenting with your hair, makeup and clothing. What is your look trying to say? Does it match what you want people to think about you? Someone has to set the trends. Why not you?

Learn to meditate- It is never too early to learn to meditate. You will find that this is a skill you can use all your life. By focusing inward, it is easier to distill the truth rather than listening to outside influences. It will also help you manage the stress of your busy life.

Parental Tips
If you are a parent of a teen, you know the challenges of living with an emotional, possibly aloof teenager who begs for guidance but disregards most of what you say. Their alternating moods and attitudes make approaching a touchy subject like body image feels dangerous. The following are some tips to help with a positive body image:

Have an Open Door Policy-You'd like your teen to approach you with any problem she is facing but often you aren't sure if she's coming to you, going to her friends or suffering alone. Encourage regular candid conversation by noticing what times and places your teen is most likely to talk. Is she a night owl? Does she talking on a long drive? Is she more comfortable emailing? Use the time and venue that is most comfortable for her and encourage open sharing.

Limit Harmful Media- Put your teen daughter on a media diet. Don't feel you need to restrict website, magazine or TV shows entirely. Just be cautious of what mediums she concentrates on. Be especially mindful of any one celebrity that she idolizes or photos that she tears out and stares at repeatedly. Discuss how all magazine photos are airbrushed and doctored.

Compliment Her and Her Friends- Make a point to compliment both your daughter and her friends on a well-put together outfit or a new hair style. Teens are trying on new looks and personalities as their bodies change. Let them know that they have hit on a good look when they experiment in the right direction.

Make sure to compliment them on things not related to their appearance as well. A good grade, a valiant sports effort or kind deed also deserve notice. Try to practice a 90/10% rule. Let 90% of your comments and insights be positive and only 10% should be carefully worded constructive criticism.


Health AtoZ: Is it a Diet or an Eating Disorder?

Eating Disorder Statistics

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sue Scheff: Tips for Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

This Press Release is posted with the permission of - Visit for more vital information to protect your children online.

10 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

ATLANTA, GA — May 28, 2008 — June is Internet Safety month. With hundred of millions of teens, pre-teens—and adults—around the world using social networking sites, there’s no better time for parents to be aware of the fun, the benefits, the powerful attractions, and the potential risks that MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites offer their children., the recognized leader in Internet safety solutions, has assembled a list of practical tips parents can use to ensure a safe networking environment for kids:

Show Interest — Ask questions about how your child’s preferred social networking site or sites work. Kids are generally happy to demonstrate their knowledge if you show genuine interest. You can even ask your teen to show you how to set up your own social networking site—a great way to visit your child’s page and see what’s been posted there.

Encourage Instinctive Responses — Kids often can instinctively do the right thing, which makes them their own first defense against those who may take advantage online. Encourage your children to avoid contact with people they “feel funny about.” Tell them to not reveal anything online they would not want a stranger to know. Limit the posting of pictures and remind them that once something is placed online, it can never be taken back.

Know Your Kids’ Passwords — If your child changes his or her password suddenly and refuses to share it with you, that’s trouble. Insist on knowing how to access his or her accounts—then keep their confidence by not sharing the information with their friends or siblings.
Set Hours for When Kids Can Access Social Networks — Late nights are the favorite time for predators to seek out their adolescent prey. Set firm limits not only for the time of day, but also the total amount of time, that your children may access social networking sites.

Be Aware of Alternate Access Points — Kids don’t have to access their social networks at home. Libraries, friends’ houses, even cell phones make the Internet easy to reach today. Keep up with what’s happening on your child’s social networking page and be aware when changes have been made despite the lack of access from home.

Exercise Your Parental Right to Supervise — There’s a difference between being snoopy and ensuring safe activity. You don’t have to read every last word of a personal message your son or daughter sends to a friend. But you do have the right—and the obligation—to see who your kids are talking to, and to know the general subject matter.

Check for Photos — By clicking on the Windows “Start” button, you’ll find the “Search” tool. Click on “Pictures, Music or Video,” the box next to “Pictures and Photos,” and finally “Search”. Ask your child to identify any photos of strangers, or any other pictures you find questionable.
Install Filtering Software — PC products like Safe Eyes allow parents to block or record Instant Messenger chats, limit email use to prescribed addresses, block objectionable Web sites (including peer-to-peer file sharing programs that often expose kids to inappropriate material), and receive alerts when kids post personal information on social networking sites.

Watch for CyberBullying — Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they are being harassed online. Children also need to know that it is not acceptable to be a party to cyberbullying—or to remain silent when they know others are being harassed.

Visit or for excellent tips and information.
Don’t Lecture — Finally, if you should find reasons for concern, don’t browbeat, insult or condescend to your child. Have a discussion about values and why they are important. Respect your child but be firm. And most of all, lead by example. Parents have a powerful ability to influence their child’s behavior—and nothing is more powerful than someone who not only talks values, but lives them.

“Parents should never feel that their level of involvement in their child’s social network activity is excessive. Since 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline has logged over 33,000 tips about children being enticed online for sexual acts,” said Shane Kenny, President and COO of “Better that the parent error on the side of intrusion, rather than bear the consequences of doing nothing.”

Established in 1999, specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Teenage Pregnancy on the Rise

Many people have seen the recent news stories on the 17 girls in MA that made a pact to get pregnant and succeeded. The Boston Globe article details this distressing situation.

The National Campaign seeks to improve the well-being of children, youth, families, and the nation by preventing unplanned and teen pregnancy. Take a moment to visit this website of educational resources.

For parents, a teenage daughter becoming pregnant is a nightmare situation.

Every year, approx. 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant in the United States. That is roughly 1/3 of the age group’s population, a startling fact! Worse, more than 2/3 of teens who become mothers will not graduate from high school.

If you are a parent who has recently discovered that your teenage daughter is pregnant or may be pregnant, we understand your fear and pain. This is a difficult and serious time in both yours and your daughters’ life.

Our organization, Parent’s Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.™) works closely with parents and teenagers in many troubling situations, such as unplanned pregnancy. We understand how you feel!

No matter what happens, you and your daughter must work together to make the best choice for her and her unborn child. Your support and guidance is imperative as a mother. You CAN make it through as a family!

We have created this website as a reference for parents dealing with teenage pregnancy in hope that we can help you through the situation and make the best decisions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Bullies in Cyberspace


Everyone remembers the school bully in their lives. Maybe they stole your bike, or bloodied your nose, or spread a nasty rumor that had you hiding out in the bathroom. Whatever they did, they made life miserable. But as bad as they were, you could identify them, predict their behavior and try to steer clear.

Unfortunately for your kids, that may no longer be the case. That’s because bullies can still be on the school grounds, but they can also be in cyberspace, lurking where no one can see them.

Cyberbullying is on the rise, and the bad guys are not always who you think. A bully can be a girl spreading rumors about a former friend, or a student trying to get revenge on a teacher who gave them a bad grade, or a group of kids playing a prank on an unsuspecting schoolmate. Cyberbullying is a complex beast. Often it starts with otherwise nice kids from nice families who go online to “have a little fun” at someone else’s expense. But it can get out of hand very quickly.

Bullies are resourceful. With all the high-tech tools out there, they can take their pick from cell phones, pagers, websites, blogs, chat rooms, IMs, or emails. They can go on a site and invite other people in to help bully their victim – by asking them to comment on their picture. They can create a webpage that looks like it belongs to the person being bullied, but is malicious. They can enter an email address and have their victim spammed with messages from websites they’ve never visited. They can put up embarrassing pictures, or even use a tool like Photoshop to adjust a picture and make it look different.

Read entire article here:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sue Scheff: How to Hang with your Teen

By Shoulder to Shoulder

Ok, we know it may seem like an oxymoron: parents and teens having fun together? It has been known to happen. Whether its family activities, time just for you and your teen, special events and trips or just the every day activities around the house, find ways to create fun and connections with teens.


Read the same book and then talk about it.
Take a class together. Try dog obedience or cooking classes.
Go out for lunch to celebrate the beginning of the school year.
Celebrate half birthdays with a special family meal.
Share a subscription to a favorite teen magazine and talk about one article.
Cook a special meal together for someone who is ill.
Go to a music store and listen to their favorite CDs. Then have them listen to our music. (Ignore the groans.)
Take your teen to work with you.
Build something together.
Take a trip by car and visit places that were special to you when you were your teen’s age.
Go for a bike ride with one of their friends and the friend’s parent.
Have a favorite “breakfast diner” and eat there once a month.
Schedule your lunch hour during your teen’s lunch break - check them out of school and take your teen to lunch.
Ask your teen for suggestions.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sue Scheff: Standing Up for Your Children's Educational Rights

By ADDitude Magazine

Learn your child’s educational rights to get him the support he needs in the classroom.

In an ideal world, teachers and school administrators would be as eager as parents to see that children with ADD get what they need to succeed in school. Unfortunately, teachers are pressed for time as never before, and school districts are strapped for cash. So it’s up to parents to make sure that their kids get the extra support they need.

“The federal government requires schools to provide special services to kids with ADD and other disabilities, but the school systems themselves bear much of the cost of these services,” says Susan Luger, director of The Children’s Advisory Group in New York City. “Though they’ll never admit it, this gives the schools an incentive to deny these services. The process of obtaining services has become much more legalistic over the past 10 years.”

Click here for the entire article.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Eating Disorders

Teen Eating Disorders – Recognising Bulimia and Anorexia

Does Your Teenage Boy or Girl Show Weight Loss, Increased Body Hair, Acne?: How to Spot the Signs of an Eating Disorder

Is your teen losing weight, suffering from severe acne, hiding food, or fasting? Could it be Anorexia or Bulimia? Causes, symptoms and treament discussed.

Is your teen losing weight, suffering skin problems like severe acne, hiding food, binging, vomiting or fasting? He or she might have an eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia are serious eating disorders that have severe health impacts, sometimes even causing death in teens as young as eleven or twelve.

Weight loss, over-excercising, teenage acne,counting calories, depression and disorted body image, binging or uncontrolled eating, vomiting, and hiding food. These are just some of the symptoms. There are many others.

Symptoms of Anorexia:

Weight loss-15% below the ideal weight for her age and height.
Being obsessive about counting calories and eating fat-free foods.
A fear of gaining weight.
Being cagey about eating habits.
Obsessive and compulsive or excessive exercising.
Abusing laxatives or diuretics.
Mood and emotional problems like depression or anxiety.
A severely distorted self and body image.
Loss of bone mass.
Absence of menstrual periods.
Low body temperature.
Death-from dehydration, heart failure or other causes.

The main symptom of Anorexia Nervosa is a marked fear of being fat and obssessions about being and becoming thin. This usually translates into intense and secretive efforts to avoid food. No matter how thin an anorexic girl or by becmes they will still see themselves as fat. Ultimately the person will starve themselves, and use excercise and laxatives to aid this process.

Unfortunately attempting to force an anorexic teen to eat will likely end in failure and might even make the problem worse. This is because the disorder isn’t really about food or weight. Some patients become obsessed with other health concerns like treating acne, hair care, or how they dress and behave.

Anorexia is more than just a desire to look good or be accepted. Teens with these diseases are looking for more than just a perfect body. Anorexia is a complex psychological disorder that is linked to severe depression and low self-esteem.

Symptoms of Bulimia:

Uncontrollable eating (binge eating).
Dieting, fasting and vomiting as weight control measures.
Visiting the bathroom often after eating –usually to purge.
Heartburn, indigestion or sore throat.
Being obssessive about body weight.
Mood changes and depression.
Hoarding or hiding food.
Dental changes such as loss of enamel, cavities and abrasions –due to frequent vomiting.
Dehydration and electrolyte loss.
Bowel, kidney and liver damage.
Irregular heartbeat and possible cardiac arrest.

Teens with bulimia eat very large amounts of food and then induce vomiting to remove the food from their bodies. They are not comfortable or happy with their self and body image.

Most appear to be of normal weight, which can make the disorder difficult to spot, but some are underweight or overweight. Some sufferers also abuse drugs and alcohol. Bear in mind that many obese people have binge eating disorder but this is not the same as Bulumia.

Who gets Anorexia and Bulimia?

Around 75% of girls are not happy about their weight or feel they are too fat. Anorexia occurs only in 1% of girls worldwide. Do bear in mind that while eating disorders are more common in girls they also affect teen boys.

About 90% of sufferers are girls between 12 and 25 (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). Fewer than 10% are boys or men. It is more prevalent in groups that value slim physiques such as athletes, dancers or models. As already mentioned eating disorders may be masked in seeking treatment for acne, skin problems, tooth decay etc. just as an adult might.

What causes eating disorders?

It is not known exactly why one person will develop an eating disorder and another won’t. In two thirds of cases dieting can trigger the disease, but this is not the only important trigger mechanism. Most girls and boys with eating disorders have low self and body image or co-existing emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.

How dangerous are eating disorders?

The effects of both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia can be very damaging to the general health. They can even cause death. Diuretics (water pills), laxatives, and weight loss pills can be very damaging to the body’s organs. Syrup of ipecac is often used to induce vomiting and is also deadly if used in excess. Very low body weight on its own offers some life-threatening complications.

Some effects are minor such as skin, hair problems and back acne, for which treatment might be sought. Most teenagers do not need any type of diet, except a healthy one. If your teen is overweight good eating habits and exercise is usually all that is needed to bring the problem under control.

The body mass index (BMI) of a teen is more important than calorie and pound counting. A body mass index below the 5th percentile for the child’s age and sex can be considered underweight. Consult BMI tables for more information.

How to help your teen cope with an eating disorder:

Teens can be helped to avoid falling prey to unhealthy obsessions with food or weight by learning early on to associate healthy eating with good health and self-love. Avoid excessive focus on weight within the family and place the emphasis on lifestyle changes not dieting.

If you suspect that your teen has an eating disorder, use "I” statements and make sure he or she understands that you are concerned not judging. It is important to LISTEN. The average teen finds it hard to share emotions, and these teens are especially blocked or sensitive.

In Anorexia nervosa it is very important that some weight is regained as soon as possible so this should be an important goal of treatment. To do this, teens will need to overcome fears and perceptions in a therapeutic setting. In most cases any eating disorder is best dealt with at a clinic or facility especially tailored for this.

Concerned parents can call the National Eating Disorders Association’s Toll-Free Information and Referral HelpLine at 1-800-931-2237.

If you uncover that your child does have an eating disorder he or she needs to be evaluated as soon as possible. Eating disorders need to be properly diagnosed by medical and psychiatric professionals. They always need medical attention.

The National Institute of Mental Health has an online brochure on eating disorders that discusses current research.

Eating Disorders will also provide parents with information. Teens should read: Eating Disorders: Facts for Teens.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Parenting ADHD Children - Advice from Moms

By ADDitude Magazine

Moms' advice for parenting ADHD children, creating an ADD-friendly household and smoothing out daily rough spots

It’s the stuff attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) days are made of: You’re trying to get your daughter to finish her homework, but she insists on doing cartwheels across the living room. Or you’ve already had two big dustups with your son — and it’s only 9 a.m.

Sound familiar? Parents of ADHD children have a lot on their plates. And while doctors, therapists, and ADD coaches can offer helpful guidance, much of the best, most practical advice on parenting ADD children comes from those who have been there, done that. In other words, from other ADHD parents.

For this article, ADDitude asked members of support groups across the country (both live and online) for their tried-and-true parenting skill tips for monitoring behavior problems, disciplining and smoothing out the daily rough spots. Here’s what they said.

The morning routine
In many families, the friction starts soon after the alarm clocks sound. It’s not easy to coax a spacey, unmotivated child out of bed and into his clothes; the strategizing required to get the entire family fed and out the door on time would test the mettle of General Patton.

Getting off to a slower start can make all the difference, say parents. “We wake our son up a half-hour early,” says Toya J., of Brooklyn, New York, mother of eight-year-old Jamal. “We give him his medication, and then let him lie in our bed for a while. If we rush him, he gets overwhelmed — and so do we. Once the meds kick in, it’s much easier to get him going.”

Some parents aren’t above a little bribery. “In our house, it’s all about rewards,” says Jenny S., of New York City, mother of Jeremy, age seven. “Every time we have a good morning, I put a marble in the jar. For every five marbles, he wins a small reward.”

Amy B., of Los Angeles, mother of Jared, age seven, is another believer in reward systems. “If the TV is on, it’s impossible to get him moving. Now the TV stays off until absolutely everything is done and he’s ready to go. He moves quickly because he wants to watch that television.”

Another way to keep your morning structured and problem-free is to divide it into a series of simple, one-step tasks. “I’m the list queen,” says Debbie G., of Phoenix, mother of Zach, 10. “I put a list on his bedroom door that tells him step-by-step what he needs to do. I break his morning routine down into simple steps, like ‘BRUSH TEETH,’ ‘MAKE BED,’ ‘GET DRESSED,’ and ‘COME DOWNSTAIRS FOR BREAKFAST.’ The key is to make it easy to follow.”

What about kids who simply cannot, or will not, do what’s asked of them? When 10-year-old Liam refuses to comply, his mom, Dina A., of New York City, shifts into “if-you-can’t-beat-’em,-join-’em” mode. “I can’t believe I’m admitting this,” she says, “but I wake him up and bring him cereal in bed. Once he’s gotten something to eat, he’s not as crabby.”

Behavior patterns
At first glance, a child’s misadventures may seem random. But spend a week or two playing detective, and you may see a pattern. Pay attention to the specific situations that lead to trouble and — even more important — to the times of day when trouble usually occurs.

“You may find that tantrums come at certain times of the day,” says Laura K., of San Francisco, mother of Jack, eight. “With my son, we found that it was right after the medication wore off. So we asked the doctor for a small booster dose to get us through. It’s worked wonders for cutting down on the bad behavior.”

Sometimes children simply fail to see the connection between how they behave and how they’re treated. In such cases, behavior charts are a godsend. The idea is to post a chart, specifying the behaviors you expect and the rewards the child will earn for toeing the line.

Renee L., of Northbrook, Illinois, mother of Justin, nine, explains: “Once children see that good behavior gets them privileges and bad behavior gets them nothing, they’re more likely to comply.” It helps to focus on only a few behaviors at a time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teens and Internet Safety


Introduction: Teens Navigating Cyberspace

If you believe e-mail, blogs, and instant messaging are a completely harmless way for teens to communicate, think again! Many teens have Internet access--often private communication in the form of blogs, chat rooms, and forums. These online communication aids are not themselves a problem. But the ever-present threat of being sexually solicited or bullied while on the Internet is a big problem.

While online, teens may be persuaded to do things or share private/confidential information, to be sexually solicited, and/or to experience public humiliation. Recent testimony on child protection before Congress, alerted the public to online sexual solicitation of teens. However, parents and youth workers may be less aware of "cyber-bullying" in which peers viciously attack one another. This article will define online sexual solicitation and cyber-bullying, explain the risk factors and negative effects of these communications, and outline ways to protect youth from harm.

Online Sexual Solicitation

Online sexual solicitation is a form of sexual harassment that occurs over the internet. Incidents of online sexual solicitation include: exposure to pornography; being asked to discuss sex online and/or do something sexual; or requests to disclose personal information. This can start when an adult or peer initiates an online nonsexual relationship with a child or adolescent, builds trust, and seduces him or her into sexual acts. Several studies have found that:

30% of teen girls who used the Internet frequently had been sexually harassed while they were in a chat room.

37% of teens (male and female) received links to sexually explicit content online.

30% of teens have talked about meeting someone they met online.

19% knew a friend who was harassed or asked about sex online by a stranger.

33% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys had been asked about sexual topics online. (Dewey, 2002; Polly Klaas Foundation, 2006)

Read entire article here:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sue Scheff: What is Inhalant Abuse?

As a parent advocate, I am shocked at the growing abuse of inhalants among teens and pre-teens. This is a subject that is not discussed enough. Inhalant are easily accessible in most homes today. Learn more by visiting - After being contacted by a wonderful and caring mother that lost her son to inhalant use, I feel I need to help her be a voice to educate parents everywhere.

What is Inhalant Abuse?

Inhalant abuse refers to the deliberate inhalation or sniffing of common products found in homes and communities with the purpose of “getting high.” Inhalants are easily accessible, legal, everyday products. When used as intended, these products have a useful purpose in our lives and enhance the quality of life, but when intentionally misused, they can be deadly. Inhalant Abuse is a lesser recognized form of substance abuse, but it is no less dangerous. Inhalants are addictive and are considered to be “gateway” drugs because children often progress from inhalants to illegal drug and alcohol abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that one in five American teens have used Inhalants to get high.

Inhalation is referred to as huffing, sniffing, dusting or bagging and generally occurs through the nose or mouth. Huffing is when a chemically soaked rag is held to the face or stuffed in the mouth and the substance is inhaled. Sniffing can be done directly from containers, plastic bags, clothing or rags saturated with a substance or from the product directly. With Bagging, substances are sprayed or deposited into a plastic or paper bag and the vapors are inhaled. This method can result in suffocation because a bag is placed over the individual’s head, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

Other methods used include placing inhalants on sleeves, collars, or other items of clothing that are sniffed over a period of time. Fumes are discharged into soda cans and inhaled from the can or balloons are filled with nitrous oxide and the vapors are inhaled. Heating volatile substances and inhaling the vapors emitted is another form of inhalation. All of these methods are potentially harmful or deadly. Experts estimate that there are several hundred deaths each year from Inhalant Abuse, although under-reporting is still a problem.
What Products Can be Abused?

There are more than a 1,400 products which are potentially dangerous when inhaled, such as typewriter correction fluid, air conditioning coolant, gasoline, propane, felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, cooking spray, paint, and glue. Most are common products that can be found in the home, garage, office, school or as close as the local convenience store. The best advice for consumers is to read the labels before using a product to ensure the proper method is observed. It is also recommended that parents discuss the product labels with their children at age-appropriate times. The following list represents categories of products that are commonly abused.

Click here for a list of abusable products.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Internet Gossip

“Sure enough, I had a parent come to my door and say, ‘Your daughter has been saying some rather nasty things about my daughter on this website.’”

– Patti Thrift, Mother

High school students have always spread gossip in the halls, on the walls and on the phone. Now, it’s on the Internet, too. On various message boards specific to communities around the country, kids write about whom they hate, whom they think is pregnant or has an STD and record other often hurtful rumors that may or may not be true.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica remembers once when some kids at her school wrote cruel things about her on the Web.

“They were just making fun of me,” she says. “You know, she’s really ugly, she’s this, she’s that, ba-ba-ba.”

Jessica’s 11-year-old sister, Emma, admits she’s used the Web to write nasty things about another girl, though she regrets it now.

“After a while, you’re like, how could I have been so mean? Like, why did I do that?” she says.

The other girl’s father eventually became so frustrated with what Emma had said that he came to her door and demanded her mother make her stop.

Experts say gossip on the Internet can be more harmful than the old-fashioned kind. It’s often anonymous because kids use fake screen names. It has the power of the written word, so it lasts longer and is taken more seriously. And, unlikely ugly words on the bathroom wall, there’s no way to scratch it out.

“Online gossip is to hearsay gossip probably what nukes are to dynamite,” says Dr. Ramah Commanday, a school psychologist. “It can get EXTREMELY raunchy.”

If your kids are victims of online gossip, Dr. Commanday suggests putting the gossip into perspective.

“Point out to them how what’s being said on the screen differs from what everyone knows about you as a person,” Dr. Commanday says.

You can also try what worked for Emma: Keep your kids off the offensive website!

“When she was using it all the time, her name was on there all the time. People were writing things about her,” explains Patti Thrift, Emma’s mother. “Since she has no longer had access to that, she’s no longer a topic of conversation.”

Experts say that any time your child is on the Internet, you should know what he or she is doing there. Online gossip is just another reason why.

Tips for Parents

Most of us remember passing notes during class or swapping stories over lunch with our friends in middle and high school. But with more teens accessing the Internet these days, it appears that gossip has gone high-tech. Teens are using message boards, instant messaging and even email to air out their frustrations – often in hurtful language – about their teachers and peers.

According to an Internet Report from the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, 97% of kids aged 12 to 18 access the Internet on a regular basis. What they’re doing on the Internet, however, may be surprising. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that approximately one in every 17 kids is threatened or harassed while using the Internet. In fact, most don’t tell their parents or other adults, and if they do, the adults often don’t know how to stop the online teasing.

Gossiping, whether it’s in the halls or on a message board, more often than not leads to hurt feelings. According to the Nemours Foundation, if teens spend enough time gossiping and passing on stories they don’t know are true, eventually no one will believe anything they say, even when it is the truth. Teens who gossip shouldn’t expect to be trusted ever again. Once friends learn that a peer can’t resist spreading secrets around, they won’t tell him or her anything personal. And if a teen gossips about personal or important issues, he or she could even end up in trouble at school and at home. Teachers don’t appreciate students who make it tough for other students to learn, and parents won’t be happy to hear that their child is causing trouble in school.

If you’ve heard your teen taking teasing and gossiping to a hurtful level, it’s time to remedy the situation. The experts at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota offer the following advice for curbing your teen’s gossiping and teasing:

Cultivate your teen’s compassion. Talk to him or her about feelings – how emotional blows can hurt as much as physical ones. “You wouldn’t throw a rock at that boy, would you? So you shouldn’t call him a ‘zit-face’ either.”

Give your teen a simple test he or she can use to judge if his or her teasing is playful or hurtful: “How would I feel if someone said this about me?”

Talk to your teen about the when and where of playful teasing. He or she shouldn’t always resort to sarcasm or jokes at someone else’s expense in order to get a laugh.

Examine your own behavior and that of other family members. Do you rib your children at length, even after they plead with you to stop? Do you tease inappropriately, that is, about the way people look or the habits they have? Are you confusing razzing with teaching and discipline – for instance, do you communicate your frustration about your teen’s messy room by calling him “Mr. Slob”? Make sure that your own teasing (and that of everyone else in your household) is good-natured, not aggressive or manipulative.

As a parent, it is also important to regulate how your teen uses the Internet. If you know what your teen is doing while online, you can better prevent him or her from visiting message boards where the temptation to gossip exists. The Media Awareness Network suggests considering the following questions concerning how your teen surfs the Net:

Are you involved in your teen’s online activities?
Do you know what he or she is doing and whom your teen is talking to when he or she is on the Internet?

Does your family have a set of rules or an agreement for appropriate Internet use?

Do you make Internet use a family activity by guiding your teen to good sites and teaching him or her how to do safe, effective searches?

Have you taught your teen not to believe everything he or she reads online and to check online information with an adult or with another source?

If your teen has her or his own website, have you checked to make sure it doesn’t contain harmful or hurtful information?

Have you talked to your teen about responsible online behavior?
Does he or she understand that making threats or harassing others online can be considered illegal activities?

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Media Awareness Network
Nemours Foundation
UCLA Center for Communication Policy
U.S. Department of Justice

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Talking to your kids about alcoholism

Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.

You have more influence on your child̢۪s values and decisions about drinking before he or she begins to use alcohol.

Parents can have a major impact on their children̢۪s drinking, especially during the preteen and early teen years.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) ADHD Teens - Room to Bloom

By ADDitude Magazine

10 ways for protective parents to step back and allow their ADHD Teens to Grow..

I saw Donny for an evaluation shortly after his eleventh birthday. Like many parents, his mother, Christine, reacted to his diagnosis with mixed feelings: sadness that her son was not "perfect" and that the attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) wouldn't go away - and concern about the implications for his future. She hoped that the treatment plan we devised - a combination of academic accommodations, therapy, and medication - would improve their day-to-day lives. Mostly, she was determined to do whatever was necessary to help her son.

Christine became the boy's champion, protector, and advocate. She coordinated with Donny's teachers, school counselors, soccer coaches, piano teachers, and the parents of his friends to make sure that they understood his needs and treated him fairly. She attended IEP meetings and helped shape his academic plan. Morning, homework, and bedtime routines were established to structure life at home. The bottom line? Donny thrived.

Read entire article here: