Sunday, August 28, 2011

10 Tips to help your teen secure their cell phones and other tech devices with strong passwords

With the ever expanding world of technology and the sometime irresponsible world of our teenagers, it is important they learn how to create strong and secure passwords for their cell phones, iPads, computers, social networking etc.

There may come a time when they lose their phone or other technology devices; help them secure their privacy and safety.  Or maybe someone picks up their phone or iPad and starts browsing it with unacceptable searches or worse gains access to their social networking page and posts pictures or content that are less than acceptable.

School is opening, more teens than ever have cell phones or iPads that are easily transported with them to school.  Help them create strong and secure passwords and this includes their social networking sites.

In this day in age it seems like you can’t trust anyone.  It’s kind of sad when you think about it. Every time you log on to a site you have to have a password now.  We all have trouble remembering passwords, but it’s not a good idea to use something easy like your birthday or your kids’ birthday.  These are dates and numbers that hackers and sadly even friends will try.

Check out 10 tips for stronger, more secure passwords.
  1. Length matters: Longer passwords are harder for hackers to figure out.  Use a password that is at least 8 characters or longer.  Try combining names and dates to make it easy for you to remember, but harder for a hacker to discover.
  2. Change it up: Yep, I want you to come up with different passwords for different sites.  It is possible that your password for one site could be compromised and then they can use your password to access other sites that you frequent.  You may be wondering what are the odds of that happening and while I can’t tell you the exact odds I can tell you that you don’t want someone to steal your identity.  If someone gets your password they can find you on Facebook and see what you are into and then that will give them clues for where else to try to login.
  3. Be different: Use a symbol in your password.  People are less likely to guess a password with an @ symbol in the middle of it.  Or use a capital letter or a number in your password.  The more unusual you can make it the harder it will be for someone to figure it out.  If you use a symbol you can use it as part of something easy for you to remember.  Something you like, Big$$$$$ or something funny like that.
  4. Make up your own acronym: For example, you could do Sghsin1985.  This stands for Sam graduated high school in 1985.  This is a strong password because it’s not easy to guess, it’s longer than 8 characters, it blends numbers with letters and there is a capital letter in it.  If you want to be even cleverer you can substitute the s for high school and use $ in it’s place. (Sgh$in1985)
  5. Hide your passwords: Okay, I know what you are thinking.  How am I supposed to remember what password I used for which site if I’m going to use different ones for everything?  Feel free to write them down, but don’t use a sticky note stuck to your computer.  If someone were to break into your home they could see that and take it figuring that they will continue to steal from you online.  Hide your passwords in your home.  Tape it in the back of a reference book or something.
  6. Beware of the computer you’re using: With cyber cafes out there and libraries that let you get online you need to be careful with how secure the computers are.  Even our home computers might not be as secure with being able to access the Internet through our phones and tablets.
  7. Don’t pick a random word: You may think that just picking some random word that is longer than 8 characters would be a good choice, but it isn’t.  There are programs out there that hackers use that will literally run through all of the words in the dictionary.  Always change it up.  If your favorite word is curmudgeon then use it, but add some sort of number with it either before or after it or a symbol.
  8. Avoid using personal information: One of the biggest mistakes people make when coming up with a password is by using their kids’ names or dog’s name or anniversary date.  All of these things are available for hackers to find and they can use that information against you.  Feel free to use this information in combination with other things though.
  9. Try not to use repeated numbers: You might be tempted to use 8 characters in a row on your keyboard.  (wertyuio)  This looks on the surface like it would be a good idea, but hackers are onto these types of passwords.  That same as 12345678 is a bad choice.  Also, don’t just spell something backwards.  Hackers are onto that trick too.
  10. Test your new password: Once you have done all the legwork and come up with what you think is the perfect password you can go HERE and check the strength.  If you need to make adjustments after that you can.
Source:  Internet Service Providers

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Online Courses: Be sure your classes are accredited

Not every teen is ready to go off to college.  Many times starting with online courses can ease their way into going to a local college or university.  Many adults are also turning to online college courses since they can be more accessible when having a job and supporting a family.  No matter why you are choosing an online college, be sure it is accredited so you can easily transfer or obtain a legitimate degree.

An important step when choosing an online degree program is learning if the online college is fully accredited. This is vital, because by choosing a non-accredited college, you risk receiving a substandard education in exchange for your precious time and money, or employers rejecting you based on an obscure education path. Accreditation allows you to rest assured that your degree, and quality education, will be well-recognized by employers. Without the right accreditation, your online degree may in fact be worthless, so do your research and find out whether the college you’ve chosen is a smart choice for your future.

How does accreditation work? A third party, known as an accreditation agency, validates each online school as a legitimate educator. The agencies usually investigate the school to make sure students are receiving a quality education and the school operates legally. This process keeps schools from making educational promises they simply cannot keep.

Remember that while accreditation agencies offer a certain legitimacy to schools, the accreditation industry isn’t necessarily regulated. The process is voluntary, without much governmental oversight, so know that for every good accreditation agency out regulating schools, there are just as many fraudulent ones. Schools have even been known to set up fake accreditation agencies so they look more genuine, so you must do your research to avoid getting the wool pulled over your eyes.

It is a good sign if either the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the US Department of Education has recognized the organization. CHEA has an international directory of quality assurance organizations, accreditation agencies and Ministries of Education in more than 150 countries. Search for your school on the the US Department of Education’s list of recognized accreditation agencies.

Do all of the schools they accredit appear to be genuine? If they appear phony, they likely are. You can see if they are listed as legitimate by well-known organizations, such as the International Handbook of Universities, the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, and the US Department of Education’s College Navigator.
Is the accreditation agency connected to the schools in any way? As with online college rankings, there’s a chance that the accreditation agency you’re considering is a front, created to offer credibility to a phony online college. Accreditation agencies should be an independent third party, so any accreditation organization affiliated with a school is a conflict of interest. Look at their addresses, Whois information, ownership and other identifying details.

Follow these guidelines to be sure the accreditation agency you’re trusting to assess your online college is legitimate, offering a helpful and independent endorsement of the school. When you find an accreditation agency and school you can trust, you can feel confident that your online degree will be taken seriously and offer you a quality education.

Source:  Accredited Online Colleges

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Author Stacey Honowitz: My Private Parts Are Private

Schools are opening throughout the country.  Many kids will be walking or riding their bikes to school.  Stranger danger is still a very serious concern for kids of all ages and parents as well as our community.

My Private Parts are Private! (Book signing event see below)

Before your minds all go in the gutter, this is about teaching our children about sexual abuse and inappropriate touching.

As the fastest growing crime in the country, Child Sexual Abuse is a national problem.
My Privates are Private” & “Genius with a Penis: Don’t Touch aim to help parents educate their children in a fun and comfortable way.

Stacey Honowitz, author and Assistant Florida State Attorney who specializes in child abuse and sex crimes, is releasing her 2nd book titled, Genius with a Penis: Don’t Touch. With its colorful illustrations and rhymes, the book’s character, Bobby Boodle helps parents educate their children about their body parts, defines what good and bad touching is and explains what to do if children are touched inappropriately.

In 2009 her first hit book , My Privates are Private won acclaim for it’s unique story about a little girl named Betsy Boodle, now the second book reaches out to boys through the voice of Bobby Boodle.

Realizing what a problem child sexual abuse is and her belief that children have a voice too, inspired Stacey to advocate against such crimes. The self-published book is a result of this desire to help, and the author says, “finally parents and kids can talk about this difficult subject in a manner which is comfortable for both.”

The series empowers children to stand up for themselves if they’ve been abused. It puts both parents and children at ease when dealing with this delicate subject matter, and give parents the ability to communicate openly with their child about the importance of reporting abuse. The books are available on and

Meet Stacy in person!

About the Author:

Stacey Honowitz, resident of South Florida, has worked with the Florida State Attorney’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit for 22 years. She appears regularly on CNN, MSNBC, Headline News, FOX News as a Legal Analyst and has been featured on Dateline NBC, CBS News 48 Hours, and Good Morning.
For more information contact: Stacey Honowitz at (786) 781- 8848 or

Stacey Honowitz will be signing book at Give Wink on August 25th, 10am – 6pm for a Back to School – One Stop Shop at Give Wink!  See the flyer on the side.

Call for more information.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to School: After School and Your Daughter

Yes, schools are opening throughout our country and another academic year with the normal peer pressure and stress of being a teenager.

What are you doing after school? Many girls will be hitting a transitional point in their lives in a few weeks. Some will attend new schools, some will be away from home for the first time and others could be leaving their summer loves….

Although women have made gains in education and employment in the equal rights war, they’re still losing the self-esteem war. Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old, and then takes a nosedive. Although the media, peers, and pop culture influence children, parents still hold more sway than they think when it comes to having an impact on a daughter’s developing self-esteem.

Girls are faced with an onslaught of influences daily- most of them not the ones we’d like. In fact, a national survey of girls’ use of social media released by Girl Scouts of the USA (Who’s That Girl: Self Image in the 21st Century, 2010) finds that girls with low self-esteem are more likely to be susceptible to negative experiences on social networking sites than are girls with high self-esteem.

As parents and mentors, we want to help our daughters develop a strong sense of self, learn about the benefits of a balanced diet and physical activity, develop healthy relationships, promote confidence and well-being among While having fun.

Wondering how to enhance your daughter’s school year? The Girl Scouts’ flourishing new leadership program Journeys is at the core of the nearly 100-year-old organization’s transformation and a key benefit of this latest offering is building a strong sense of self. Building self-esteem does not happen overnight, but research shows that one way to accomplish this is through the development of leadership skills and competencies.

For more information go to!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

3V Learning and your Teens

What is 3V Learning?

  • We are a distance learning provider.
  • We are your hub for high-quality training modules.
  • We are entirely computer based.
  • We are the new standard in distance learning.
  • We are eager to discuss your training needs.
  • We are excited about customer service.
  • We are growing.
  • We are 3V.
3V Learning was born out of a perceived need. L. Craig Turner, founder and President of 3V as well as CEO of Correctional Services Incorporated, for years searched for an effective solution to the need for relevant and time sensitive training for his staffs and associates. Also an education advocate, his search turned to the distance learning community and the opportunities it afforded for instant access to relevant training online. With this discovery, Craig saw too an opportunity to greatly improve and enhance the distance learning experience for users. Today, not only are his employees at CSI reaping the benefits of this style of training, 3V Learning has discovered its broad niche in the education community and is proudly bringing this powerful new training style to a diverse and growing audience.
The following individuals and/or groups have been retained to serve as 3V Learning’s Development and Review Team. Each course we offer as part of our curriculum has been subjected to a meticulous process of research and review by individuals with long histories and qualifications in fields related to the subject matter. We have great confidence in offering courses backed by the collective credentials of these groups or individuals, in the quality of information and training made available through them. If you have any questions or comments for any members of our team, please feel free to direct your inquiries to the team’s email inbox here.

Learn more.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pregnant Teens Going Back to School: Know Your Rights

Teen pregnancy is a subject that can be sensitive to some parents.

Through the many resources available in Broward County, teenage pregnancies have been  decreasing. According to National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy there have been more than 354,000 teen births in Florida, between 1991 and 2004, costing taxpayers a total of  8.1 billion dollars.

In September 2006 report by Guttnacher Institute, Florida ranked 6th in a nationwide study with 97 per 1,000 pregnancies in women between ages of 15-19. (Broward County Teen Pregnancy Help).
National Women's Law Center will be hosting a free conference call.

Know Your Rights: A Conference Call for Pregnant and Parenting Students!

Wednesday, August 10, 3pm Eastern

Pregnant and parenting students have a right to equal educational opportunities! Interested? Get more information about protections for students against discrimination.

Expert Speakers will include:

  • Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel, National Women's Law Center
  • Jeanette Pai-Espinosa, President, National Crittenton Foundation
Are you:
  • A student who is pregnant or has been pregnant while attending school, whether at the high school or post-secondary level?
  • A member of the school community who wants to ensure that pregnant and parenting students do not experience discrimination but instead stay in school and succeed?
  • Someone who works with students or advocates for young mothers' rights?
Whether you're a student, guardian, educator, counselor, or community member, our experts on Title IX can help answer your questions. To register, please complete the form.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Stop Medicine Abuse: Looking for a Five Mom

Help Stop Teen Cough Medicine Abuse 

Talking to teens about drug abuse is never easy. Did you know teens that learn about the dangers of drugs from their parents are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs? As parents, we must work together to educate our teens and create awareness about the dangers of substance abuse, including over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse.

In 2007, five moms from around the country were brought together to share information with other parents about the largely unknown trend among teens of abusing OTC cough medicines to get high. Since then, the Five Moms campaign has reached more than 24 million parents to help educate them about preventing teen cough medicine abuse, spreading awareness to parents, schools, and communities. And now they want your help! The campaign recently launched the Are You the Next Five Mom? search to look for a new Mom to join the fight against cough medicine abuse.
Are you a mom who is passionate about working with teens? Do you have experience working with teens and substance abuse? If you are interested in being a part of the Five Moms campaign, they are looking for someone who:
  • Has experience or a passion for working with teens;
  • Has past or previous involvement in teen programming or issues affecting teens;
  • Has experience working with teens and/or substance abuse;
  • Has raised awareness of cough medicine abuse in their community or is a community leader;
  • Works with teens on a daily or weekly basis a coach, teacher, guidance counselor, youth group leader, etc.;
  • Uses social media to reach parents and educate them about teen substance abuse;
  • Is involved with community organizations that center around pre-teens and teens;
  • Developed an original idea or event to educate others about cough medicine abuse; or
  • Has distributed Five Moms and/or cough medicine abuse information to their children, peers, community, etc.
For more information on how to enter the Are You the Next Five Mom? search, and for the official rules and regulations, visit To learn more about over-the-counter medicine abuse, visit

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