Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Information, Website, Books and More

What a great website full of great information including fantastic teen books, parenting tips as well as educational ideas. Annie Fox is a renown author of many books and audios geared towards helping you raise your kids today. She focuses on 10-14 year olds, which is exactly when we need to start preparing them for those Middle School and High School years. Everyone knows the peer pressure in today’s society - to keep up with the next teen, including technology, clothing, relationships and where do you belong!

Here is a brief idea of what you will find on Annie’s Parent Forum. Be sure to check out her books for teens and more.

Welcome to Annie Fox’s Parent Forum — online education and support for parents raising tweens and teens. At times, your job is the toughest in the world. That’s true, in part, because your daughters and sons may be pushing back hard, trying to convince you that they’ve got it all figured out. They don’t. Not yet. Your 21st century teens still need you. To lead them effectively, you need 21st century parenting skills.

So read my blog, and Q & A from other parents, check out my Parenting Tips and my essays, or send me a question. You’ll get straightforward advice that you can use immediately to create healthier relationships in your family. That’s going to translate into more trust, respect, honesty, and open communication at home. Sounds like something we’d all like more of, right?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: Your Gen Y Guide by Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton, Your Gen-Y Guide is here to demystify the world of the next generation. Having spent the last 14 years immersed in the culture of the millennials, Sarah helps parents, schools and companies to connect, engage and motivate young people in a way that gets long lasting results. A recognised thought leader in this field, Sarah is passionate about presenting her thinking and ideas in practical and useful ways that allow people to guide the behaviour of the next generation without crushing their spirits.

Visit her today at - - you will find all sorts of great information to help better understand today's generation!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sue Scheff: Drop Your Reins - ADHD Program

Drop Your Reins – Learn to Trust
Peaceful Solutions for ADHD/ADD & Autistic Children Using Natural Horsemanship

Founded and run by Danielle Herb, Drop Your Reins is a holistic training school based in Live Oak, FL. From direct interaction with horses to supplemental training videos the program uses Natural Horsemanship For Kids helps guide the powerful minds of ADD/ADHD and Autistic children to reach their greatest potential while maintaining their innocence and purity.

Horses are amazing because they are sentient animals that mirror our personalities as well as our fears. –Danielle Herb

The old model of parenting and training horses, still being used by many today, is to break their spirit into submission to get them to do what you want. They are repeatedly worn down until the end result is unhappy, unhealthy kids and horses.

Are you curious about how horses can help humans learn to communicate more effectively, build inner self-esteem and outer confidence? By partnering with horses, we create an experiential learning environment that invites open communication, personal reflection, and increased self-awareness. Find out more about this “horse stuff” by joining us for a short, complimentary, introductory demonstration of this truly amazing learning process!

We begin each demo with introductions, to each other, to horse assisted learning and to horse behavior. Next, we partner with our four-legged friends to give you an opportunity to experience, first-hand, an on-the-ground (non riding) Drop Your Reins experience. Following the exercise with the horses, we take time “debrief” or talk – seeking to help identify assumptions and belief systems, increasing understanding and awareness. There’s also time to answer questions about how we can collaborate to help you reach your families development or personal growth goals.

Learn More here:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Resources

FINK Teen Resources
What is FINK? Family Interaction Nurtures Kids
Family conversations, open lines of communications, and so much more is offered on this bright, cheery and educational website.
You soon realize, you are not alone and some of these articles are many questions parents ask, but don't know where to get answers. Check this out!!!
Follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms & Treatment

Is ADHD causing your child's anxiety? Or could an anxiety disorder be to blame? Symptom and treatment information.

Free ADHD handout from ADDitude Magazine

Moderate anxiety - when taking a test or performing in a school play - is normal and healthy. But if your child's anxiety is more severe and commonplace, you may fear that an anxiety disorder is to blame. ADDitude has made it easier to understand anxiety with this quick comparison sheet that will help you understand the symptoms and treatment of anxiety disorder vs. ADHD. Contents include...

Common symptoms of anxiety disorder in children
An explanation of primary vs. secondary anxiety in children with ADHD
Effective treatment options for children with primary or secondary anxiety

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Tips and Tools to Keeping Your Family Safe Online

The importance of family internet safety education and etiquette is often overlooked by both kids and teenagers today.
While most teens are more ahead of the curve than most parents when it comes to the internet, they may not have the knowledge to help keep them safe from online dangers and its potentially negative effects. On behalf of Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows, I have been asked to to introduce you to a new initiative called “LMK (text-speak for “Let Me Know,”) which provides parents and girls with resources catering to both generations, and whose goal is to bridge the digital gap between parents and teenagers.

On, the girl-targeted website, teens can find interactive quizzes, videos, and expert articles to be informed about online safety in a fun way! Girls can comment on the site content, sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on topics many teens face everyday, like cyberbullying and social networking. New content is posted periodically and will cover twelve different areas related to being a teen online today. Teens can even download an interactive patch they can share on social networking sites like Facebook, just by registering for the site at no cost.

Best of all, it’s for all teenagers, not just Girl Scouts! When parents visit, they can sign up for the e-newsletter written and developed by a team of “LMK Teen Editors” who are sharing their knowledge about the ways teens use technology and help parents understand it all. Parents will have the chance to learn need-to-know skills to keep them up to speed with what their kids are doing online too. Expert advice is also offered to give guidance on tougher issues.

If you could, please take a moment to visit these sites, learn more about the initiative, and the wonderful resources found on both , and and hopefully this will help you help your teens!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Help Support Nikki Catsouras Family - Sign the Petition

When a family loses a child, I can’t even imagine the pain they endure. How they wake up the next day, how they feel, what they feel and how they go on with life. When a family loses a child in a tragic accident it seems it could only compound all the feelings of loss.

On October 31, 2006 the Catsouras family experienced the nightmare every parent fears - losing a teen in a tragic automobile accident.

The accident was the beginning of an emotional roller coaster. If you haven’t heard about this story, it is time to take a moment and help make a difference. Nikki Catsouras, after having a horrific car accident was dead on impact, the scene was described as shocking as Nikki’s head was nearly decapitated.

Can you even imagine as a parent, learning of this? Can you imagine living through this? As a parent advocate and a parent of two young adults now, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what this family has gone through.

What follows next is nothing short of evil, in my opinion. Shortly after Nikki was buried, her parents and sisters still in mourning, the Internet creeped into their lives in the most heinous way. Photo’s of Nikki’s crime scene were posted online! Yes, their daughter’s body, or what was left of it, was going viral! Where is justice? Who in God’s name would do this?

Please take a moment to read “A Tribute to Nikki Catsouras” and sign the petition to help create reasonable protection for personal privacy on the Internet.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Memorial Day Weekend offers a vast amount of valuable and educational information for parents of children from toddlers to teenagers!
The Real Meaning of Memorial Day

Topics: Memorial Day, The Value of History, more…

For most kids, “Memorial Day” means “Fun Three-Day Weekend.” It comes in late May, after all, when days are long and green, a preview of summer vacation to come. Indeed, for lots of families, the long weekend kicks off a glorious season of barbecues, swimming, and other outdoor fun.

But the true meaning of Memorial Day goes much deeper than this. It is a somber day of remembrance for the men and women who have died for our country, and now’s a great time to start talking about it with your kids.

How Memorial Day Began

The work of honoring dead soldiers goes back as far as our earliest civilizations. When ancient Athens was caught in its deadly Peloponnesian Wars, for example, Pericles, encouraged citizens never to forget those who had died in battle. Their noble courage, he said, was “graven not [just] in stone but in the hearts of men.”

Centuries later, as the United States was just coming through the Civil War, Americans found themselves grieving as deeply as any of their ancient ancestors. Having expected a short skirmish, our nation instead fought a four-year war that remains the single most deadly in American history. Historians estimate that 620,000 soldiers died in the Civil War, a number that surpasses U.S. losses in World War I (115,000 dead) and World War II (318,000) combined. These losses were all the more heartbreaking because it was not uncommon for families to have sons or cousins fighting on opposite sides. And when they did fall on the battlefield, it could take weeks and months to locate the dead and bury them properly.

And so, wrote General John A. Logan in 1868, by the end of the war, soldiers had been buried “in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land.” How would the nation grieve properly, and heal?

A powerful custom arose among women and families in towns across the country: honoring the graves of the fallen. On April 25, 1866 in Columbus, Mississippi, for example, women visited a Confederate cemetery to place flowers on the graves of soldiers who had died in the Battle of Shiloh. While there, they noticed unkept graves of Northern soldiers—and the women decorated those graves as well, in respect. Similar commemorations happened across states, both North and South, with celebrations first known as “decoration days.”

With his “Order Number 11,” issued in June of 1868, General John A. Logan made the first official national proclamation of a day “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” Let “no ravages of time testify,” he wrote, “to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

National Memorial Day Observance

In 1971, our National Holiday Act declared Memorial Day a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday of May. This is an official day off work, but it is also a time of official ceremony. At Arlington Cemetery, for example, which began in 1864 and today holds more than 260,000 military graves, over a thousand 3rd US Infantry troops will place American flags on more than 260,000 graves, and will maintain a 24 hour honor patrol through the long weekend.

Their work will be echoed across the country. Since 1951, to name just one example, Boy Scouts in St. Louis, Missouri, have decorated military graves at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery; since 1998, more than 15,000 military graves at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania have been marked by candles, again thanks to the efforts of local boy and girl Scouts.

Still, in recent years, organizations such as Veterans of Foreign Wars have become concerned that the central meaning of Memorial Day may still not be reaching all Americans. In a 2002 address, the organization complained that “changing the date merely to create three day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day.”

What You Can Do

Parents, you can make a difference! Here are expert ideas for bringing home the true meaning of Memorial Day to your children:

Make it Personal. For many kids, the whole idea of “memorials” can seem odd and abstract. Explain it concretely, and you will give your child a gift not only of understanding a national holiday, but of making its lessons real and personal. Memorials, says author Judy Tatelbaum, MSW, author of The Courage to Grieve, “are about remembering people who we have loved who are no longer with us.” After all, she says, no matter what our specific spiritual beliefs may be, “memories are ways that people live on for us after they’ve died.”

So, have you lost a beloved friend, family member or even a pet? Now is a good time to tell loving stories, or even to visit the grave and leave a flower there. “To make death and grief natural is important for children,” says Tatelbaum. “It gives us permission to be fully human.” For children, such knowledge can also provide a powerful way to feel connected to our whole national heritage.

Honor the National Holiday. Even if you do just one small thing to participate in this national holiday, you will help your child connect the personal with the political. Is your community organizing a parade? This is a great time to go. Or if that’s too overwhelming for your child, consider observing our “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 pm local time on Memorial Day. In the words of the Congressional Proclamation issued in 2000, Americans can “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to “Taps.”

Celebrate our Freedom! Somber as it is, Memorial Day is also a celebration of life, a time when we mark and appreciate the heritage that our fallen soldiers left us. Planning a family barbecue? By all means, do it with joy. Eat, drink, and rejoice with loved ones!

No matter what, of course, remember the weight of this day. In the words of Thomas Sherlock, Arlington National Cemetery Historian, “the most important thing parents can tell their children is that we, as Americans, are able to enjoy the freedoms we do because there have been men and women willing to sacrifice their lives so that we can be free. We should all stop and remember this on Memorial Day.”

Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master’s in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sue Scheff: Join the Voices for Recovery

The Road to Recovery Update keeps you informed about activities leading up to National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) in September. Feel free to forward this information to friends and colleagues, include it in newsletters or listservs, or link to it from your Web site.

Last Call for Questions for May’s Ask the Expert: Thomas A. Kirk, Jr., Ph.D., Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Questions for the May Road to Recovery Webcast, Providing a Continuum of Care: Improving Collaboration Among Services, are due by Friday, May 22, 2009.

Submit your questions to Dr. Kirk by contacting us. Answers from Dr. Kirk will be posted on the Recovery Month Web site in early June. Contact information for questions will be kept confidential.

Mark Your Calendars for the June 3, 2009, Road to Recovery Webcast: Recovery and the Health Care/Insurance Systems: Improving Treatment and Increasing Access
On June 3, join host, Ivette Torres, Associate Director for Consumer Affairs, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for the June 2009 Road to Recovery Webcast.

When the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act of 2008 becomes effective in 2010, additional options will become available to those seeking addiction and mental health services. The Act will require group health plans to offer coverage for addiction and mental illness and provide benefits on par with those for all other medical and surgical conditions.

This program will examine what impact the Act will have on health care and insurance systems and what it means for individuals and families battling addiction. The show will also explore other issues related to health care’s role in recovery, such as proper screening and intervention, prescription drug abuse prevention, and treating co-occurring disorders.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Learn About Teen Medicine Abuse

I was asked by caring parents and individuals to give people encouraging news. StopMedicineAbuse is making a difference in creating awareness in parents and helping open up the lines of communication with their teens and tweens today.

Although almost two-thirds parents have talked to their teens about cough medicine abuse, a large number still have not had this critical conversation. To help alert these parents, many OTC cough medicines will now feature the Stop Medicine Abuse educational icon on the packaging. The icon, which also can be viewed online (see in this Blog), is a key reminder for parents that teen medicine abuse is an issue that they need to be aware of.

Our efforts to educate parents about medicine abuse have reached thousands of families in the United States. With your help, more parents than ever are learning about this risky teen substance abuse behavior and are talking with their teens. According to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 65 percent of parents have talked to their teens about the dangers of abusing OTC cold and cough medicine to get high-an 18 percent increase in the number of parents who talked to their teens in 2007.
My fellow Five Moms and I are excited to share this promising news with you, but there is still much work ahead. Although nearly two-thirds of parents have talked with their teens, 35 percent of parents said that they have not had this important conversation.

We know that when parents talk to their teens about the risks of substance abuse, their teens are up to fifty percent less likely to abuse substances. If you have not already talked with your teens about the dangers of cough medicine abuse, visit our talk page for some helpful ideas on how to have this discussion.

It is also critical that we share this information with our friends and communities as well. Too many parents are still unaware that some teens are abusing OTC cough medicine to get high, and it is important that we talk with them about this behavior. By talking with other parents, we can make sure that every family has the knowledge and tools to help keep teens safe and healthy.

Sharing information about cough medicine abuse is easy. It only takes a moment to start a conversation, and thanks to Stop Medicine Abuse, you can Tell-A-Friend through e-mail or post the Stop Medicine Abuse widget to your blog or web site. The more parents are aware of cough medicine abuse, the better we can prevent this behavior from happening in our communities.
Have you talked with other parents about cough medicine abuse? Share your advice about having this conversation at the Stop Medicine Abuse Fan page

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Smart Parenting and SleepTalk

This is a very unique and interesting concept - Smart Parenting with SleepTalk.

Today parents are always looking for new help and ideas to raise our kids. As our society is constantly changing, raising our kids is shifting too.
Smart Parenting is facilitated by certified SleepTalk™ Coach David Dixon, an Australian living in Singapore and is Director of Next Step To Success Pte Ltd. David originally trained as a Podiatrist in 1979 and became a certified hypnotherapist in 1997. David is a Member of the AACHP, ACHA, and a Foundation Member of CCH (AU). As well, he is a member of the NGH (US). Since arriving in Singapore, David has become a Singapore People’s Association Trainer and a Singapore Rugby Union Referee. He is the father of two teenagers.

Learn more about Smart Parenting and SleepTalk visit

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Safer Children in a Digital World: the report of the Byron Review

On 24 June 2008 a cross-Government Action Plan was published which sets out how the recommendations of the Byron Review will be implemented.

In her groundbreaking report Safer Children in a Digital World, published in March 2008, Dr Tanya Byron set out a number of recommendations to improve children's safety when they use the internet or play video games.

This Action Plan sets out how Government, its partners, industry and the third sector will work together to create a safer online world.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens and Allowances


During the week-end wrestling tournament I sat with two other parents for the better part of 12 hours. It was an endurance test. I’m glad I went but it was a long time. You really get to know others when you spend that many hours talking.

The talk turned to money. Specifically, how much allowance to pay a teen. One said they give their 17 year old son $150/month to be used for dates, extras and such. Frankly, given the financial position of this family, I was pleasantly surprised at their restraint. Additionally, their son is completely re-building a ‘66 Mustang for his car. Until it runs, he doesn’t have a car. Good way to learn something don’t you think?? I thought that was a great idea, if you had the right set-up at home and the access to people to help answer questions.No Need to Pay for Dates

The other parent said they paid their 17 year old girl about $100/month for extras. I’m thinking that worked out to more extra money than the boy because usually the girl isn’t paying for a date. And, I know she doesn’t use the money for clothes or transportation. On the other hand, I know other teens who get much more.

Another girl at my daughter’s school has a huge allowance (maybe $500/month) but she has to pay her cell phone bill, all her clothes, gas and…really all of her expenses other than housing, insurance and food. This is another approach that seems valid. And, she seems to be learning something too.

There’s a yogurt hang-out nearby our school. The girls like to go after school but it can get “pricey”. One scoop can be up to $6. if you’re not careful. One day, my daughter mentioned that she learned a few “tricks” about how to get the most yogurt for her money (from the girl who has the huge allowance). So, I guess it’s working.

After all, the goal of an allowance is to teach your kids how to budget, save and spend money wisely. If the current economic situation is any indication, we’re not doing a very good job as adults. Not many parents (of teens) are open enough to discuss this issue. The subject of money is always touchy. But, I’m glad these parents were willing to share. It’s very helpful, don’t you think?
Visit for more great parenting Blogs and Articles!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens Website

Sue Blaney empowers, educates and connects parents of teenagers. She is the author of Please Stop the Rollercoaster! How Parents of Teenagers Can Smooth Out the Ride, the acclaimed guide for parents and parent discussion groups that has helped thousands of parents around the country improve relationships with their teens.
Her popular blog and websites and feature valuable content including free parenting articles, podcasts, tips and newsletters.
She is a frequent speaker and advises parents of teenagers, secondary school educators and faith-based educators in ways to increase parent engagement, improve communication and create parent discussion groups. With a background as a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst, Sue is a communications expert and has spent 30 years in training, marketing, publishing and sales. She is the founder of ChangeWorks Publishing & Consulting Co.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Top Ten Youth Volunteers - Receive Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. For their extraordinary efforts in serving others through volunteerism, ten middle and high school students from across the country were named America's top ten youth volunteers for 2009 in a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters, capping the 14th year of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Each year, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors the outstanding community service of young Americans. The results are now in the top ten youth volunteers from the May 4th ceremony have been announced! Want to watch the winners receive their awards? I invite you to watch a webcast event, replaying all of the wonderfully inspiring moments and announcements:

You can get your children and community involved by encouraging them to visit where they can find out how to become a nominee for next year’s honorary ceremony.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teen Entrepreneurs

With summer almost here - get your teens thinking big!!!! Connect with Kids has a great article to encourage your teens to reach for their dreams!

Source: Connect with Kids

“I’m a gigantic believer in the value of an entrepreneurial experience- if there’s any time in someone’s life when they ought to take a risk it’s when they are not saddled with an enormous number of financial and family responsibilities.”

– Andrea Hershatter, Ph.D., M.B.A.

When today’s teens talk about what they want to be when they grow up … the answer that is becoming more common than ever is: my own boss.

Like a lot of college freshmen, Sean Belnick has a job on the side. He works for a company that brings in more than 20-million dollars a year. It’s his company… he owns it.

“We started off with a couple of orders a day and it just mushroomed from there,” he says.

A huge warehouse now stocks the office chairs he sells online. But it all started in his bedroom, when he was 15 years old.

“I always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says.

More teens than ever are tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, according to Junior Achievement Worldwide, interest in entrepreneurship camps is up 30 percent.

What’s more, experts say, kids have a huge advantage as entrepreneurs because they know the web and know network sites like Facebook and Myspace.

“They intuitively understand the power and potential of using web based services for distribution, for marketing, for outreach… for connections,” says Andrea Herchatter with Emory University, “And they’re incredible networkers who have a very large number of human resources in terms of their peers at their disposal.”

“That’s the whole thing with the internet really,” says Belnick, “Anyone can put a web site up. And it looks professional. But there’s nothing saying that there’s a 20-year-old kid behind it. Which is the biggest thing about the internet, you know, you can create your own credibility.”

Experts say parents should encourage entrepreneurship in their kids… whether it’s moving lawns or an online business.

They may not make millions… but they will learn a lot about managing a business and turning a profit.

“I think they learn, they grow, they mature. If they are not enriched financially then at least they are enriched in terms of life experiences that will serve them forever,” says Herchatter.

Tips for Parents

With the employment rate down for teens, many are opting for volunteer positions instead of paid positions. And despite many adults being convinced of a decline in the values and morals of today’s young people, recent surveys show that many teens are giving of their time to work for causes in which they believe and to help those who are less fortunate. Teens find volunteer opportunities through religious organizations, school-based programs and community agencies.

Teens listed several reasons for volunteering:

Compassion for people in need
Feeling they can do something for a cause in which they believe
A belief that if they help others, others will help them
In addition, some teens volunteer their time in occupational fields in which they are interested. In addition to being helpful, they are able to use their experiences in deciding on future career choices.

Teens reported benefiting from their volunteer experiences in many ways, including:

Learning to respect others.
Learning to be helpful and kind.
Learning to understand people who are different from them.
Developing leadership skills.
Becoming more patient.
Gaining a better understanding of good citizenship.
Exploring or learning about career options.
Developing new career goals.
Children learn from their parents. The survey showed teens that reported having positive role models were nearly twice as likely to volunteer as those who did not. Encourage your child to volunteer by setting an example. Youth Service America provides additional ways to increase teen volunteerism:

Ask them to volunteer.

Encourage youth to get involved at an early age. Volunteering when young creates lifelong adult volunteers.

Encourage children and young adults to participate in community groups, faith-based organizations, student government and school projects.

Encourage a positive self-image so young people are able to help others and contribute to their communities.

Be a mentor in your community.

Provide young people with opportunities to take courses that include and even require community service.

The Higher Education Research Institute
The Independent Sector
Youth Service America

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Facebook or Casebook?

Source: Toronto Sun

More like Casebook
Social networking sites can sometimes make or break a case in court


Be careful what you post on Facebook or MySpace, because anything you say or upload can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Last year, for example, an Ottawa court heard that a civil servant had started a clandestine affair with an old friend she reconnected with through Facebook during a messy custody battle involving three kids.

In a Vancouver courtroom last month, defendants in a personal injury case produced photos from the plaintiff's Facebook profile showing that while Myla Bagasbas was seeking $40,000 in damages for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment after a car accident, she was still able to kayak, hike and bike post-accident.

"Facebook will be seen as a gold mine for evidence in court cases," said Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in ethics, law and technology at the University of Ottawa.

But it will also challenge the courts to further define the notion of personal privacy. In a precedent-setting case this year, a Toronto judge ordered that a man suing for physical injury in a car accident be cross-examined on the contents of his private Facebook profile. Justice David Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice overturned a previous court decision that called the defendant's request to look for incriminating evidence a "fishing expedition."

The very nature of Facebook is to share personal information with others, Brown wrote, and is likely to contain relevant information about how the plaintiff, John Leduc, had led his life since the accident. But if Leduc's profile is private with restricted access, is that considered an invasion of privacy?

"The courts sometimes don't get it," Kerr said. "The tendency in judicial opinion and popular thinking is that once something is out in the public, there's no such thing as privacy anymore. But that can't be right because we all have curtains."

For Facebook users, those curtains are our privacy settings. If our home is our castle, Facebook should also be considered a walled domain, Kerr said.

For example, while a member may post pictures from a beer bash the night before, that doesn't mean they would take the same pictures to show off to their boss the next day, Kerr explained.

Likewise, in Murphy versus Perger, a judge ordered that the plaintiff, who was suing for claims of personal injury and loss of enjoyment of life after a car accident, produce copies of her Facebook pages showing photos of her engaging in social activities. In her judgment, Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady wrote "The plaintiff could not have a serious expectation of privacy given that 366 people have been granted access to the private site."

But having 366 Facebook friends doesn't entitle the rest of the world to view personal information meant only for certain eyes, said Avner Levin, director of the Privacy Institute at Toronto's Ryerson University.

"It's not how many people you share it with, it's who you choose to share the information with," Levin said. "The judge is missing the point. What's important is not how many people are your friends, but who you choose to know you."

While we're able to compartmentalize and separate people in our lives offline by assigning titles to different spheres -- co-workers, neighbours, family -- the online world fails to recognize those distinctions, he added.

It's a habit that spills over in the job hunt as well. Employers admit they rely heavily on information they glean about a candidate from Google searches and networking profile pages. But it's an unfair screening process, Levin said, and attaches more value to people's online identities -- and sometimes third-party information -- than the candidate they meet in real life.

"We need to suppress that tendency to go on Google and look people up. There's already a process of hiring that works for them and has been working for years," Levin said.

While we're more likely to trust a direct source and treat gossip with skepticism in the offline world, the same can't be said of online information.

Pruning online identities and putting a person's best cyber-foot forward are services offered by companies such as DefendMyName, a personal PR service which posts positive information about a client and pushes down negative links in Google. ReputationDefender also destroys libelous, private or outdated content.

"A resume is no longer what you send to your employer," said ReputationDefender CEO Michael Fertik. "More people look at Google as a resume."

But instead of authenticating information found online, people are trusting secondary material and treating Google like God.

"What happens is in a court of law, you have to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt. On the Internet though, many decisions are based on lower standards," Fertik said.

But is sanitizing a person's online reputation of unflattering content an infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of expression?

"Only if you believe Google is the best and most accurate source of information," Fertik said. "But I don't think Google is God. I believe Google is a machine."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Families Flight Flu

As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to protect your children. With the recent H1N1 flu outbreak (initially called “swine flu”), FFF is sharing some important steps that you can take right now to help protect you and your loved ones.
1. Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. You can even teach your children to cough into their elbows.
2. Stressing the importance of washing hands often with soap and water. Any alcohol-based hand cleansers are effective as well.
3. Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces with an appropriate bleach-based solution. As you know, germs can spread by touching infected surfaces and then your eyes, nose or mouth.
For more information, please visit and please listen to this Public Service Announcement:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Camps! Time is Ticking!

Can you even believe that summer is just about here? May 1st is only days away - so are you still looking for a summer camp or program for your teen or tween?

Summer camps can be a great self esteem building opportunity for many kids. If you are still considering summer programs for your child - here are some ideas for your consideration.
Camp Finders® is a free service which matches children ages 6-18 with appropriate overnight summer camps and teen programs.

Since 1994, Camp Finders® has personally visited approximately 175 sleepaway camps and various teen programs. During this time period, Camp Finders™ has been placing children in overnight camps and in the following teen programs: teen tours; wilderness camps & outdoor adventure; college enrichment; community service; sailing, SCUBA, & marine biology programs; foreign language programs and more… Visit

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Summer Almost Here - Summer Reading Fun for Teens

Choose books that preteens and teens like:

Preteens and teens are increasingly interested in local, national, and international current events.
Read editorials and articles from the newspaper and news magazines.

Preteens and teens question authority. Read classic and modern novels that deal with 'big' issues such as when the needs of a community are more important than those of individuals.

Preteens and teens are striving for independence, yet still want to be connected to their families.
Read your favorite books and explain why they are important to you and read books that let you share laughter, a good mystery, an action-packed adventure, a science fiction journey.

Preteens and teens are gradually learning to think abstractly and understand the reasons behind views that differ from their own.
Read books that challenge them to think 'out of the box' and see the world beyond their daily experiences.

Preteens and teens are thinking about what they will do in their lives -- college, careers, and more. Read books that introduce a wide range of opportunities and experiences.
Reprinted with the permission of Reading is Fundamental, Inc. ©2007 Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.
Visit for more great parenting articles like this!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sue Scheff: Keeping Kids Safe This Summer

Expert tips to help parents avoid some common risks to their ADHD children.

Little children fall and scrape their knees or bump their heads. Big kids drive too fast, and get into accidents—or experiment with drugs or alcohol. They... well, it doesn't pay to spend too much time pondering all the risks youngsters face.

Suffice it to say that childhood and adolescence can be risky—especially if your child has ADHD. The risk increases in summertime, when kids spend more time outdoors—beyond their parents' supervision.

Not long ago, a mother called me to say that her 10-year-old son, a patient of mine, had vanished. It was 7:00 p.m., getting dark, and Billy was nowhere to be found. She was frantic. I suggested that she call the police. At 8:00 p.m., she called back. Billy had been found, safe, at a nearby creek. He was surprised to see the police and could not understand why his mother was upset.

Billy explained that he had been unable to find a friend after dinner, and so had decided to go frog-catching. Asked why he did not tell his mother where he was going, he said simply, "I forgot." Of course, forgetfulness was not the problem. The problem was that Billy's ADHD medication had worn off around 6:00 p.m. He had headed for the creek on impulse.
I share this story not to scare you, but to remind you of the fact that ADHD makes kids vulnerable.

Remember, ADHD is a neurological disorder, resulting from a deficiency of specific neurotransmitters within the brain. By correcting this deficiency, medication goes a long way toward curbing impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity. But, as Billy's case illustrates, parents must be especially vigilant at those times of day when a child's symptoms may not be fully controlled: early in the morning (before the first dose kicks in) and at the end of the day (when the last dose has worn off).

Be especially careful if your child takes a break from meds on weekends or vacations.
Of course, medication alone is not enough to protect your child. You must be alert to the dangers ADHD kids face, and provide an extra measure of structure and supervision. Here are the biggest causes of accidental injury—and strategies you can use to protect your child:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sue Scheff: Stop Bullying Now!

Stop Bullying Now is a comprehensive website that can answer many of your questions and help you and your children. With sections for both kids and parents, it can help you with parenting tips and tips for kids that are being teased and bullied.

Welcome to the Stop Bullying Now!
Campaign Web site created especially for adults. Here you’ll find valuable resources about bullying awareness, prevention and intervention. As an adult, the best ways you can prevent bullying includes knowing about the many forms of bullying and best practices for taking action. No matter how you interact with children and youth, there are many ways you can Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sue Scheff: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

May 6, 2009 is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. How do you score? Take the National Day Quiz and find out.

Hundreds of thousands of teens nationwide are expected to participate in the eighth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 6, 2009. The purpose of the National Day is straightforward. Too many teens still think “It can’t happen to me.” The National Day helps teens understand that it can happen to them and that they need to think seriously about what they would do in the moment.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens and Tweens

A few months ago I was introduced to this fantastic website, The Tangerine Times, for parents of teens and tweens. I recently visited there again, and was again, amazed at the up-to-date articles including deciding on your teen’s allowance, the high costs of having your teen involved in sports, and so much more. I noticed today a educational article on the inside scoop of anonymous tip lines for cyberbullying. Read more and remember, visit this website - it is not only informational, it is bright and cheery!

I’ve been working with a local group to educate and develop policy around the issue of cyber-bullying. If you’ve been a reader you’ll know that a friend of mine’s child was a victim of cyber-bullying recently. I discovered some products (this is but one) that I am going to recommend the schools take into consideration. It is computer program that provides an anonymous communication link between the students and the administration. I think we all know that kids are the best resource for knowing what’s going on inside our schools.

Here is a description of the program from their website (Disclaimer: I have not received any product information or free product from this company - I found it via research):

” Experts say in four out of five school shootings, the attackers boasted about their plans to other students beforehand. So how can school officials and law enforcement bridge the communication chasm between students and faculty? Is investing in security cameras and infrastructure improvements the right approach? AnComm believes that if we are to reduce the likelihood of violence in schools, we must put communication at the core of our school safety plan.
Administrators need to give students a way to reach out to counselors and faculty without fear of retribution or embarrassment to seek help or notify those who can help that there are problems inside your school that require attention. ‘Talk About It®’ provides an affordable, easy-to-implement option to immediately breaking the code of silence and getting students to ‘Talk About It®.’

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sue Scheff: Teens Eating Healthy - It’s Up to You….

What a great informational website on child obesity, eating healthy, and learning about how to make healthy changes in your family’s diet.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle by Dr. Oz Mehmet offers great advice on this fantastic website as well as other experts and professionals.

KNOW THE FACTS - Today teens are eating more and participating less in physical activity than the healthy amounts experts recommend.

What are kids eating - Kids’ Food has Excessive Sugar, Fat and Salt - learn more details here:

Effects of Obesity - It’s not just a “weight problem.” Learn the many ways becoming obese at a young age can affect a child now and in the future. Click on the figure below to see the effects of childhood obesity.

It’s Up 2 U!

12.5 million American children are obese. By 2010, this number will increase by 20%. Isn’t it time we make a change? Get on board with the Fit Kids Act today at

Then, check out the four-week Chiquita Family Challenge complete with menus, daily fitness and activity charts , kid-friendly recipes from Chef Robert Rainford and lifestyle tips from Dr. Oz’s HealthCorps at

Learn more at and join their FaceBook group at

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: - Teen Drug Prevention – a Web site created by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to equip parents and adult caregivers with the tools they need to raise drug-free kids. You might have seen ads on TV recently calling attention to the issue of teen prescription drug abuse.

Unfortunately, growing numbers of teens are abusing prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to get high or to cope with school and social pressures. Many teens say these drugs are not only easy to get, but also that they think they are a safe way to get high.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), everyday 2,000 kids age 12 to 17 abuse a painkiller for the very first time. SAMHSA also finds:

• More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana
• Among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice

Friday, May 1, 2009

Teen Help Programs - Are you at your Wit's End?

For many that have read my book - Wit's End! (Published by Health Communications Inc.) - which give my experiences with WWASPS and my daughters experiences with Carolina Springs Academy, it is a wake up call for all parents that are at their wit's end and desperately looking for help for their struggling teenager.

Are you worried or concerned about your teens recent behavior? Do you believe it is time for outside help? Local therapy is not working?

Visit my organization, Parents Universal Resource Experts, that I created to help educate you on researching for safe and quality alternatives for your family.

Are you considering these programs or talking to these sales reps?

Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (CLOSED)
Bell Academy, CA (CLOSED)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SC
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA (CLOSED)
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS (CLOSED)
Horizon Academy, NV
Jane Hawley - Lifelines Family Services
Kathy Allred - Lifeline Sales Representative
Lisa Irvin (Helpmyteen) and Teens in Crisis
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Mark Peterson - Teen Help Sales Representative
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide (Promotes and markets these programs)
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Respect Academy, NV
Royal Gorge Academy, CO (CLOSED)
Sherri Schwartzman - Lifelines Sales Representative
Sky View Academy, NV (allegedly closed?)
Spring Creek Lodge, MT (CLOSED) Rumors they have re-opened in another area of MT.
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis (Lisa Irvin)
Tranquility Bay, Jamaica
Oceanside, CA - rumors of short term program there.
There is a rumor a new program in Mexico is open - parents need to be aware of this. It is believed they have re-opened Casa By the Sea with another name - possibly Discovery. Another rumor that was heard is Jade Robinson is running this program - he was formerly at Horizon Academy, Bell Academy (closed) and Casa by the Sea (closed).

Do your homework!