Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cybertraps for the Young: Sext Education and CyberEthics

I was recently introduced to this book and have to share it with everyone.  As technology and social networking expands, so does digital dangers.  I am a big believer that education is the key to prevention.
When parents say that they are going to remove their teen’s computer, take away their cell phone – or have their teen delete their Facebook – it is almost comical.

Do they actually think a teen is not savvy enough to create a new page, borrow a friends phone or even go to an Internet cafe or library?  Parents, you always need to be a step ahead of your kids – you need to show your kids the dangers – the risks – the pitfalls – so they don’t get tangled in the web!  Here is a good start…..

Order today!
Cybertraps for the Young
by Frederick S. Lane


—Leading expert on emerging technology breaks down the implications of technology misuse amongst teens and provides tips on how to monitor online activity in new book

Just how ‘connected’ are today’s youth?
  • The average child possesses their first cell phone before age 10
  • In October 2010, 43% of teen cell phone users reported that their primary reason for having a phone was to text message friends
  • Roughly 50% of teens in the U.S. use Facebook
  • 81% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 own at least one gaming console
  • 23% of children under 5 regularly use the Internet
With fast downloads, mass file sharing, instant uploads, and lightning-fast Internet searches available at the click of a button, a host of new technologies—cell phones, gaming systems, laptops, tablets, and digital cameras—are helping teens commit irrevocable mistakes. As today’s youth continues to be a targeted consumer audience for emerging technology, it is increasingly critical for  parents and educators to identify, understand, and discuss the consequences of technology misuse with children.

In his new book, Cybertraps for the Young, attorney and computer forensics expert Frederick Lane describes the most prevalent cybertraps confronting children today. After outlining the legal consequences which can result from inappropriate online behavior, he provides parents with insightful strategies for discussing safe and ethical technology use with their children.

“Cyber responsibility starts at home and, now more than ever, it’s crucial parents have regular conversations with their kids about online safety,” Lane says. “Children should not get access to powerful communication tools until they understand the risks associated with them.”

Unlike other books on new technologies, Cybertraps for the Young focuses on the serious personal and legal consequences children may face as a result of their online behavior. From the most  common and easily triggered cybertraps, including those arising from new tools like the iPhone’s new live video chat capability, “Face Time,” to lesser-known risks like peer-to-peer file sharing, Lane offers a candid look at how schools, law enforcement agents, and state and federal prosecutors are taking increasingly tough stands against young offenders. Drawing on contemporary news stories, case studies, and personal courtroom experiences, Lane provides a startling investigation of the numerous cybertraps that continue to dominate today’s headlines: oversharing personal information, plagiarism and high-tech cheating, cyberbullying and cyber harassment, libel and slander, hacking, sexting and sextortion, and child pornography on Peer-to-Peer networks.

In addition to the analysis of the cybertraps for parents, Lane stresses the need to incorporate cybersafety and cyberethics lessons into the American education system.  Backed by his decade on the Burlington School Board in Vermont, Lane provides tips to parents on how to approach their local school districts and advocate for cyberethics education at all grade levels.

“We emphasize the practice of safe sex in sex education; we teach gun safety as a prerequisite for a hunting license; and we teach auto safety in driver’s education,” notes Lane. “As technology continues to advance, cyberethics should be a staple in the school curricula.”

In this first book of its kind, Lane delves into:
  • The capabilities of emerging technology, including camera cell phones, gaming systems, tablets, live video chat, and digital cameras, among others
  • How and when to start educating children about cyberethics and potential cybertraps
  • How to monitor children’s online activity—both by physically tracking their conduct and by using monitoring tools and software
  • The legal and personal consequences of specific cybertraps, including sexting, cyber-bullying, and hacking
  • What parents can do to notify their school districts and state legislatures about the need for cyber education
 About the author:
 Frederick Lane is an author, attorney, expert witness, and professional speaker on the legal and cultural implications of emerging technology. A 1988 graduate of Boston College Law School, Lane practiced law for five years before launching his own computer consulting business, a career move which ultimately led him to his current work as a writer, lecturer, and computer forensics expert. Over the past 12 years, Lane has worked on a wide variety of criminal cases, including copyright infringement, stalking, embezzlement, theft of intellectual property, obscenity, and child pornography.

In addition to his professional background, Lane has served on the Burlington School Board in Vermont since October 2001 and served as chairman of the Board for the past two years. He is the author of 5 highly acclaimed books, a number of which deal with technology boundaries. Lane is also the father of two teenage boys.

For more information about Frederick Lane and Cybertraps for the Young, please visit or Cybertraps for the Young will be available on or on Amazon.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Proper Phone Etiquette for Kids Tips

Getting your kids to talk on the phone is not always an easy task.

Sure, teens can talk to their friends for hours - or should we say, text their friends for hours.
But are kids being raised with proper phone etiquette today?

The land-line telephone is quickly going the way of the dinosaur; by the time the toddlers of today are teenagers, home telephone service could very well be a thing of the past. With this changing of the technological guard comes a new set of guidelines; here are seven great ways to teach your children modern phone etiquette.
  1. Lead By Example – Your children will take their behavioral cues from you, so it’s important that you use proper etiquette as well. This means never taking a call in a quiet, public setting such as waiting rooms or elevators unless it’s an absolute emergency. If you feel like you must take an important call, you should answer and place the caller on hold until you step outside. Being the person that everyone rolls their eyes at in the doctor’s office is a great way to teach your children what not to do.
  2. Discuss the Need to Prioritize – When presenting your child with their first cellphone, you should have a conversation about the need to prioritize a call. Explaining to them that the phone was purchased expressly to keep a clear line of communication open between family members and that they should never ignore a call from their parents unless they absolutely cannot speak is a good start; follow with a brief discussion about times when using a cellphone is inappropriate.
  3. Roleplaying – For younger children, teaching proper phone etiquette can be as simple as a roleplaying session. Using phones that are turned off, sit together and mimic a phone conversation; when you feel that they’ve absorbed the basic tenets of polite phone use, let them call Grandma for live practice.
  4. Talk About The Importance of Being Charitable – Explain to your children that having a cellphone is a privilege, and that not all of their peers will be so fortunate. Impressing the importance of allowing a friend in need to borrow their phone to call for a ride after practice is an effective way to continue the lesson you began when your child was a toddler: don’t be selfish.
  5. Use the Opportunity to Discuss Appropriate Behavior – Another way of teaching your child to use proper phone etiquette is to have a conversation about what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Let them know that their phone is subject to random searches, and that they should never send a message they would be embarrassed for you to see.
  6. Ban Phone Use During Certain Hours – Part of your first conversation about your child’s new cellphone should be a clear explanation that their phone will be off limit during certain parts of the day. Enforcing this rule and telling them why you’ve instituted it will send the message that cellphone use isn’t acceptable in some situations, such as mealtimes or family time. This is a great opportunity to discuss other situations that should never include the use of a cellphone.
  7. Open a Dialogue About Bullying – Cellphones can be a powerful tool in the hands of a bully, and your children should be aware that part of being a responsible and polite cellphone user is to never forward harassing messages or embarrassing pictures of a classmate. Your kids should be educated about what bullying is, and that it’s never “harmless.”
The best lessons are taught by conversation, not one-sided lectures. Listen to the questions, concerns and opinions of your child when you have these discussions, and remember that teaching proper etiquette in any area is an ongoing process, not a one-time talk.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Teen Stress: Learning anger and stress management

Holidays: Merry & Bright
by Lori Lite, Founder of Stress Free Kids

Holidays were originally designed to be relaxing, merry and bright, but the reality is that most of us associate holidays with stress. The economy is adding extra restrictions on gift giving and children still have high magical expectations. With a little bit of effort we can turn stress off and turn on deeper connections with our children and teens, good health, and relaxation. We can use this holiday season to shift our focus and bring the merry and bright back into the holidays.

  • Slow down. I don’t know anyone that can rush and feel stress free at the same time. Children are especially prone to meltdowns when asked to rush. Leave extra time for the purpose of moving slowly and focusing on your breathing. Enjoy the moment.
  • Give your family a better understanding of the economic climate and why their holiday gifting expectations may need to be adjusted. Rent Kit Kittredge: An American Girl for a family movie night. Everyone will be reminded to appreciate family.
  • Bring creativity and music into your home. Place musical instruments like jingle bells, maracas, and tambourines on the coffee table. A box of fun hats and reindeer antlers in the living room and let the creativity and stress management begin. Join in the fun and lead a parade around your apartment or house. Laugh and you will enjoy less stress and more joy. Children want your time more than presents. (I have had teens enjoy both hats and instruments and they always film it. Just pretend you are not watching and their imaginations take flight.)
  • Be aware of your language. It is easy to become negative during the holidays. Use positive statements and affirmations like, “I am happy, I am calm, I am thankful, I am healthy.” Encourage children and teens to write their own affirmation and stick it on their pillow or mirror.
  • Cold weather brings lots of opportunities to get outside. Take the kids on a walk to look for elf tracks in the snow. Leave a container of water outside to invite Jack Frost to visit. Use the cold air as an aid to teach children how to use relaxation or diaphragmatic breathing. (Foster sibling bonds by letting your teen take the lead looking for elf tracks. You will be surprised at how much fun they will have when mom is not around.)
Breathing is one of the most effective stress management available to all ages. The following excerpt from my story Sea Otter Cove can be used with your family. Sit outside and pretend you are sea otters…watch your breath hit the cold air and get ready to feel good!

The following excerpt is from Sea Otter Cove: A Relaxation Story. This story is also available on the Indigo Ocean Dreams CD and in Spanish. To see your breath hit the cold air, breathe out through your mouth and say ahhhh….

The sea child told the sea otter to breathe in through his nose and out through his nose.  He focused all of his attention on the tip of his nose.

They both did this breathing together.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose.
In 2, 3, 4… out 2, 3, 4. In 2, 3, 4… out 2, 3, 4.

The sea child told the sea otter that he could breathe this way whenever he felt angry or scared or nervous. He could focus on the air moving in and out of the tip of his nose, and he could feel calm. The sea otter placed his hands on his belly, and felt it lift up and down as the air moved in and out. For a few moments they both did this breathing together.

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
In 2, 3, 4… ahhhh 2, 3, 4. In 2, 3, 4… ahhh 2, 3, 4.
The sea child’s mind began to wander. She imagined that her thoughts were a feather as she blew them away with her next breath out.  She focused her attention on her breath again as she drew in a breath of warm fragrant sea air.
She liked the way it felt to quiet her mind.
She focused on the way the air felt moving in and out of her nose. She felt her belly lift up and down as the sea child and the sea otter continued to breathe together.

Order today!
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
In 2, 3, 4…ahhh  2, 3, 4. In 2, 3, 4… ahhh 2, 3, 4.
In 2,3, 4…out 2,3,4.

Teens can learn deep breathing with Indigo Teen Dreams CD.

Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit  Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

10 Quick Travel Tips With the Kids this Holiday Season

Some families stay home for the holidays.
Some families will go the distance.
Some families will venture out and go the long distance to visit relatives!
What will you be doing?

Traveling is one of those things that, in theory, sound like a great idea every time it comes up.
Think of all the places you can show your kids… all the historical monuments… the theme parks…. And all the different states and countries they could see. Think of what a great childhood that would you would be providing them!  This time you will be celebrating holidays and possibly visiting distant relatives!

And then you start to pack. And suddenly that weeklong trip with the whole family gets a little less exciting and a little more stressful. Seeing 18 different suitcases lined up by the front door with all the clothing and knick-knacks that just have to come along is enough to send any parent into a whirlwind.

The good news is that you can take just about everything you need while maximizing space and minimizing items.
  1. Make a list - Be realistic when you’re making your list. A lot of times people tend to over-pack when they’re getting clothes and shoes together to go out of town, taking things that they may need just in case. But let’s be realistic – how often do you really end up using half the stuff you bring along? Seeing what items you need in writing will help reduce this. Instead of just throwing items into a bag, prioritize the things you absolutely need and realistically evaluate what you, your spouse, and your kids will really use on the trip and what is being brought as an afterthought.
  2. Make multiple outfits from the same pieces - Instead of picking out a separate outfit for each day for each person in the family, cut back on clothes by putting together staple pieces that can match different outfits. This way you’ll cut back on how much you’re bringing with you, but you won’t be stuck wearing the same exact thing day in and day out.
  3. Roll your clothing - Next time you go to pack nix the folded clothes and roll them instead. This will not only save on space but will allow you to fit more clothes into odd spaces and help keep things from getting creases in them from being folded during their stay in the suitcase.
  4. Remember there are convenience stores in every city - Before you start to pack all the miniature toiletries that you’ve bought to fit the regulation size, remember that just about everywhere you travel there will be a convenience store that you can buy these items at if where you’re staying doesn’t already provide them. This is an easy way to save on space and you’ll probably spend just as much in another city on those miniature toiletries as you would in your own. Plus you’ll be able to throw them away when you’re leaving so you won’t have to pack them on the way home either.
  5. Figure out what you can buy when you get there - Before you pack two weeks’ worth of diapers and formula for your baby, do some research and locate different stores in the city or town you’re travelling to where you can pick up these items. It’s unlikely that you won’t be able to find these necessities and taking ten minutes to do some internet research ahead of time will save you having to lug around a bunch of unnecessary items.
  6. Limit the number of toys you bring - As much as your kids may want to bring seven different toys with them, they are just going to take up a lot of space that could be utilized for more pertinent items or space that could be completely eliminated. Let them pick two of their favorite toys and then let them pick out a new toy wherever you end up travelling to so that they have some variety without taking up a lot of room. The same goes for books – you may want to bring two or three to read, but you don’t need to bring nine different ones.
  7. Put shoes to use - Instead of rolling up belts and socks and putting them into one of the luggage pockets, stuff them inside of shoes so that you don’t waste that empty space and you leave room for other things that need to be packed. Most people overlook this space, but it’s ideal for smaller items, including jewelry and bottled items like lotion or makeup remover.
  8. Reduce all extra items to two carry-ons - This is a good way to weed out what you need and what you don’t when you’re flying. Designate one bag for you and one for your spouse and then fill one with the different electronic devices you may want to take along such as iPods or tablets and one with books and magazines for reading and snacks you can pull out in a pinch.
  9. Ship before you leave if you need to - If you’re going skiing or hiking or something that requires a lot of gear, but you’re flying out there so you’re more limited on what you can bring with you, you may want to consider shipping some of the bulkier items ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about checking them or carrying them on.
  10. Do laundry while traveling - It may take a little extra time during your trip, but it will drastically cut back on the amount of clothes you need to bring with you if you stop and do a load of laundry here or there. Instead of bringing two weeks’ worth of undergarments you can limit it to three or four per person and just wash them at different points when you reach your destination. The same goes for shirts, pants, socks, etc.
Travelling with kids for an extended period of time doesn’t have to mean that you need to pack up your entire household to take with you; it just requires a little extra planning before you head out.
By condensing items you’ll not only save space but you’ll also probably cut down on transportation costs too since you’ll be able to carry more stuff around with you and utilize public transportation instead of hailing a taxi or renting a car on your adventures. And all that extra money means you can buy more souvenirs, of course!


Remember: It is your 'presence not presents', that count during the holiday time!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

Friday, December 2, 2011

TV Show Ratings: What Parents Should Know

Households are now capable of receiving hundreds of different channels with the advent of cable and satellite TV. This is an overwhelming number of television shows for concerned parents to monitor. How could they possibly filter out inappropriate viewing for their young children while still being able to watch the more mature shows they enjoy after they’ve gone to bed? In 1997 TV Parental Guidelines were implemented to help parents filter out television programs they don’t want their children to watch.

Here are 10 good reasons parents want TV show ratings.
  1. Helpful tool – Even though these TV ratings are less than perfect, they are a helpful tool for parents to use. By examining what the different ratings are and what they stand for, parents have a starting point to work from when determining which shows they will allow their children to watch.
  2. Watchdogs – The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board are the ones determining how the various shows are rated. This means there is a panel of watchdogs reviewing these programs for the parents. The panel consists of experts from the television industry and public interest advocates and are available to receive complaints from concerned parents who may not agree with their ratings.
  3. Volume of shows – The sheer volume of shows available on television make it impossible for parents to review them all. The ratings system helps to sort through a multitude of programs by age group. For instance, any show with a rating of TV-MA means that it is intended to mature audiences only and not appropriate for children.
  4. At a glance – Once parents are familiar with the various ratings, they can tell at a glance whether the show should be safe for young children to watch or may need further review.  The ratings appear in the upper left-hand corner of the TV screen at the beginning of the program and again after each commercial break.
  5. Saves time – The TV show ratings system saves precious time for busy parents. As mentioned before, nobody wants to take the time to review the massive number of shows available. The ratings are visible at a glance and whole groups of shows can be blocked using the V-Chip technology built into most television sets.
  6. V-Chip – Since the year 2000 television sets have been equipped with what is called V-Chip technology to help parents filter out programming they feel is inappropriate for their children. The V-Chip receives and understands the different ratings and on screen programs can be used to block whichever ratings parents choose.
  7. Can’t always be there – Since parents can’t always be there when their children are watching TV, blocking adult programming gives them some control even when they’re not at home. Although the system isn’t perfect, it can be improved with monitoring and adjustments.
  8. Can be used for discipline – Parents can even use the TV show ratings as a form of discipline. The various ratings can be used for either punishment or rewards. Parents can block violent shows for kids who get into a fight or unblock them as a reward for staying out of trouble.
  9. Flexibility – The seven different ratings and the five different content labels give parents a wide range of flexibility when determining which shows may or may not be appropriate. Each family has different values and concerns. What may be considered taboo for some parents could be ok with others, so these ratings take that into account.
  10. Peace of mind – Parents who are diligent about using the TV parental guidelines can have more peace of mind about what their kids are watching even when they’re not being supervised.
Many television and movie producers use violence, explicit sex and foul language to compete with each other. Parents need to have some form of control to limit the amount of this content their children are exposed to. Very young children are simply not capable of making good distinctions between what is real and fantasy on TV. Although some kids may not be happy about how their parents are using the ratings system to control their television viewing, it’s a valuable tool for families to use.

Source:  Cable TV Providers