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Do you know what your children are up to, or can see on social media?

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In the world of iPads, Smart and iPhones children are handed devices and more than you know comes with it!

It starts with fun apps, movies, then moves on to much more than most parents are aware of.

I just read, “American Girls“, by Nancy Jo Sales, which is a MUST read for all parents with children in middle/high school or college.

It cracks the silent code as to what is going on in the United States & the world with tweens/teens on social media which is truly mind blowing!

From bullying, body shaming, explicit photos & videos, internet surfing, the rise of STD’s, rape, online predators, sexting, dangers with some apps, pornographic videos all of which children can gain access to in a snap!

Below are just a few of the most popular apps that tweens/teens are using.

The A B C’s of the App World:

Ask.fm is one of the most popular sites used by children.  It allows users to anonymously ask questions consequence-free forum.

Blendr is an app that uses GPS to meet people. This app is used to flirt, send messages and videos. Users rate the others uses on a scale of their hotness.

The Down app is used in a way connecting Facebook friends and indicate if they want to hook up or hang out with someone.

Kik Messenger has over 100 million users on this app.  Exchanges of pictures, drawings, YouTube videos can be sent to users.  Sexting is done also on this app through having a, “Kik buddy”.  There are no parental controls on this app, and classified ads are done through giving out Kik usernames.

Apps like Snapchat (Allows a user to send videos and photos on his/her list of friends. The sender determines how long the image can be seen, then it destructs. This app is most used for sexting by teens because they think it is a safe bet no one will know.

What children/parents don’t realize is that the image can be screen shot then passed on by friends, as well as on porn sites for revenge like, Snap Porn!

Tinder is an app used for dating or, “hooking up”.  Through GPS users can search and see unlimited profiles from minors to adults.

This app pulls information from Facebook profiles.

Yik Yak is an app that allows users to post texts up to a certain number of characters.  Messages can be viewed by fellow Yakkers through GPS which is startling!

Although posts are anonymous, children can start to reveal personal information to complete strangers!

Whisper is an app that is used anonymously to confess thoughts or feelings.

Again through GPS users can communicate with people in their area.

What information I thought I knew to look out for in the years to come I was clueless to what is out there for kids/teens!

Social media does not come with a parenting guide, so my advise is as follows…

*Be aware of what apps your children have.

*Have continuing conversations about what they are doing on social media.  Discuss what is appopraite and not okay to post.

*Teach them online safety, versus lecturing.

*Have rules for example:

*Never post anything you do not want the world to see (bullying, inapporate photos/language).

Never give your full name, address, cell/home phone numbers

Never arrange face-to-face meetings

Never upload/post personal pictures of yourself

*Maintain access to your children’s online accounts, and randomly ask to see his/her devices.

*Set up a parenting contract and establish rules/consequences together.

*No devices in bedrooms!  Have a common area your children can ise their devices.

*Have a check out/check in for all devices.

There are countless parents I mentor and am friendly with who complain of their childrens sleeping habits, as well as that they cant get their kids off their devices.

If you set a time in the am/pm it will solve most issues!

They are children and NOT the parent!  It is easy to hand a device and the room is silent.  However as parents it is our job to set boundaries, and follow through with them.

The world is changing so fast, and we need to educate ourselves, as well as our children of the online world.

One of my favorite teachable moments I did in a workshop in one middle school was to give every student a piece of paper, Sharpie marker and an eraser.

I asked each student to write his/her most personal secret that they would NEVER share with everyone.

I then collected the Sharpie’s and asked them to erase what they just wrote.

The room was silent, and I think they understood that what your post can not be erased forever!

Friends can screenshot and share posts/photos and NOTHING is guaranteed that no one else can see!  Emails that are trashed aren’t really trashed!

This post is one I wish that you will share on all social media to educate other parents of what is going on in today’s world.

Take it from a Mom who wants to thank Nancy Jo Sales for shedding light onto what is happening in the social media world!

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Are you concerned if your child is approaching their milestone?

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Then have your child evaluated!

We as human beings are given the gift of intuition.  If something doesn’t seem right with your child, then seek a few opinions.

Aside from my styling and journalism jobs, I am also a Parenting Expert/Mentor.  I see many parents who sometimes ask me, “Do you think our child has any issues, or are their any red flags that we should look out for?”

My advice varies, first and foremost speaking with your pediatrician is the first step.  Afterwards depending on the situation, I have referred parents to see ophthalmologists, ENT’s, Occupational/Physical therapists, as well as Behavioral therapists to obtain more information.

I can relate on a personal level, for our daughter was born what her pediatrian diagnosed her with was Torticollis (head tilt).

My husband and I didn’t agree with the diagnosis, for over time for she had other issues with mobility and feeding difficulties.

It wasn’t until we saw an Occupational and Physical therapist who diagnosed her with Strabismus (lazy eye syndrome).  That explained it all!

She underwent eye surgery and all of her issues resolved along with Physical and Occupational therapies.

The message and advise I have for parents is to be your own advocate!  If something does not seem right, then go for an evaluation.

Early intervention works wonders, and if you are not satisfied with the answers you get then seek another opinion or more!

Take it from a Mom who has been there, and continues to be an advocate!

Do you know what time it is?

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It is time to make an appointment for your annual mamogram and blood work!

We all know someone battling with cancer, a friend, a family memeber, or a colleague.  However sometimes we think, “Not me!”

Yesterday I went for a mamogram to see if a small lump was cancerous.

Sitting there waiting, wondering, thinking, “We CAN and MUST be a voice for one another!”

Ask your friends & family members if they went for their yearly mamogram, screenings, blood work or other tests.  If they haven’t, push them to go, for early detection CAN save a life!

Take it from a Mom who is glad she went & will continue to be a beacon to help prevent cancer!

Looking for a quick soup the kiddies will devour?

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Then my, “Mom Who Knows Pastina Soup” is a must!

Soup can be difficult for some children, textures, colors, flavors which is then refused.

This recipie is not only easy, it is great for Meatless Monday!

Ingrediants:

2 Organic carrots finely chopped

1 Organic shallot peeled & cut in half

1 spring of Organic basil kept on the stem

2 Organic stalks of celery finely chopped

1 cup of frozen Organic peas

1 tbs. Organic extra virgin olive oil

1 container of Organic free range chicken broth

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 piece of a parmesan rind

1 cup water

1 cup of dry Pastina pasta

Directions:

1.) Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat, then add olive oil.

2.) Two minutes afterwards add the shallot, carrots & celery and cook for 5 minutes stirring often.

3.) Next add the water, chicken broth, basil spring, and parmesan rind then being to a boil, & simmer for 10 min.

4.) Add Pastina, stir and cook for 8 minutes.

5.) Remove the parmesan rind, basil & shallot and discard.

6.) Stir in the peas, parmesan cheese ladle the soup into bowls & enjoy when cooled!

*Chicken mini meatballs or pulled rotisaree chicken can be added.

Take it from a Mom who loves creating, “Kid Approved” meals in a snap!

Enjoy!

Looking for a great way to start your New Year?

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Then lace up your sneakers and find something you love or have always wanted to do!

Being a parent, working and juggling schedules & activities can stressful, overwhelming and exhausting .  It is important to take time for ourselves and finding something you enjoy makes things more meaningful.

Most facilities offer free trials for classes, so why not try a varity of different things before you lock into one activity!

I am going to make it my goal to step in a new direction this New Year for a healthier me!

Wishing you all a fabulous 2016 full of amazing things!

 

Making, “Staycations” memorable ones!

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With the hustle and bustle of work, school, acitivities, social events and the holidays, there is nothing better then a, “Staycation”!

Spending quality time at home with your family is priceless, as well as so memorable!

Wheather playing a classic board game, going through old family movies, leaving reality for a few days is so important!

Our children grow up right before our eyes, and taking the time to be together and share experiences is one that will be treasured!

Some fun ideas are…

*Watch family movies or look at old family photos

*Make a meal together

*Take a painting/pottery class

*Play a boardgame

*Do a science experiment

*Read a book together

*Make a treasure hunt around your house with a list

*Explore your town

*Learn something new

*Play charades

*Do a craft

*Write a, “Things that you dont know about me” essay, or 10 questions for family memebers to learn more about them

*Take a nature walk and take photos

*Have other families over for a Pot luck, movie or game night

*Make a Staycation photo album

The list is endless of what you can do, & I promise you that your family will forget about technology for a few days, & remember your TIME forever!

Take it from a Mom who enjoys every moment of our Staycations every year and you will too!