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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Want to start the new year tracking memories?

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Then head to Amazon.com for journals for your children!

They have such a great variety of age appropriate selections, from lined books with space above for illustrations, to funky covers for girls & boys.

From as early as age three, journaling is a fab way to track memories of each year. Just have your child draw a picture then have them tell you the entry.

If your child is already writing, then have them write the date and write away! Whether it be about something fun or an accomplishment, tracking these milestones are priceless!

Don’t worry about correct spelling, punctuation or grammar, a journal should be used as a tool for expression. Let your child decide if they would like to write in daily or weekly, minus the battles.

Teaching your children these skills are a wonderful way to foster memory, writing, reading and more importantly, having a lifelong tool!

Take it from a Mom Who is starting her journals with her kids tomorrow!

Want another great story about healthy choices for your children?

Then pick up, “Jolene Adventures Of A Junk Food Queen”, by Alexa Palmer & Catharine Kaufman!

This fifty five page book tells the story of a girl named Jolene, who has bad eating habits.

She meets a cast of characters like The Cavity Ranger, The Pizza Police, Phantom of the French fries & many more, to discover what junk food does to you.

Jolene goes on a wild adventure & learns about making healthy choices when she arrives at, “Goody Kingdom”.

She learns the importance of fruits, vegetables, nutritious snacks, & learned how to make smoothies too!

Treats & certain foods are okay once in a while, but not on an everyday basis she learns.

This story is a fabulous way to have family discussions about making good choices, & saving certain treats for the weekend!

The book ends with a few delicious recipes to make with your children which are delish! ~LOVE this!

In our home we have, “Movie Night” which I have discussed before, our children can pick small treats to go with their popcorn.

This teaches them that candy is NOT a snack, & to appreciate healthy choices!

Authors Alexa Palmer & Catherine L. Kaufman have self published this book which can be purchased on Amazon, so check it out!

Take it from a Mom Who has added this fab book to her collection!

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Want a fab book as a great accompaniment to visiting an art museum?

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Then head to Amazon.com for Susan Verde’s book, “The Museum”.

I love getting books for our children whenever we visit a museum, or take a family trip.

Books are a great way for children to learn about a place that they visited, as well as have a lasting memory.

“The Museum” is about a girl who looks at works of art & expresses how they make her feel.

Susan Verde has an amazing way with whimsical words, & her illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds illustrations make the reader feel what the character is feeling.

Our children, ages 5 & 9 absolutely loved the book as did I!

“The Museum” inspired us to make a family journal when we visit MOMA next week in NYC!

Happy reading!

Take it from a Mom Who Knows about fab books for kids!

Want to know the meaning of what your kids are texting?

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Then head to your local Hallmark store, or Amazon.com!

OMG, aka Oh My God!

In today’s world of technology, it has forced us to abbreviate words, where you can get stumped even in your child’s text message!

Or you haven’t a clue what all of the acronyms mean, right?

Well I found the BEST, cheat sheet pocket guide for all of you!

While in the Hallmark store, I stumbled upon this & had to share it with you all!

I bought one for myself, & a few for friends with Tweens.

It is entitled, “Texting Dictionary of Acronyms” by Randall C. Manning.

Get yours today, so you can understand the new lingo of the future.

NISM? (Need I say more?) Lol! (Laugh out Loud!)

Take it from a Mom Who has a one up on kids!

Want a cute idea for Valentines Day gifts for your children?

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Then give them the gift of books!

Every year I purchase books for holidays, & my children, just LOVE them!

Especially if you have an infant or toddler, because sweets are out of the question, books make a great gift!

No matter what age your children are, there are endless choices.

Head to Barnes & Noble, your local Book Fair, Target, or Amazon.com to pick up a few books.

Books = knowledge!

Take it from a Mom Who Knows about giving unique gifts!

Want a cute tooth fairy idea?

Then head to Barns & Noble, or order a copy of, “Silverlicious”, by Victoria Kann!

I am a big believer that books are a great learning tool, and this story is adorable!

It is about a little girl named, Pinkalicious, who is impatient waiting for the tooth fairy, & thinks she lost her sweet tooth.

She later learns than sweetness comes from within, & is so exited when the tooth fairy finally leaves her silver chocolate coins.

My Mom Who Knows tip…

Sprinkle glitter on your child’s nightstand, add 3 chocolate coins, a pack of gum, & whatever dollar amount you want to give.

(This idea can be used for both boys and girls.)

This is a great time to purchase chocolate coins because they sell them during Chanukah.

All supermarkets, card stores, pharmacies, Target & Walmart carry them as well.

Enjoy another great idea!

Take it from a Mom Who Knows!

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Want a great dictionary for kids?

Then check out, “DK’s-Webster Children’s Dictionary!

DK Publications makes the most amazing books I think, & kids love them too!

It is so important for children to have an understanding of the spelling & meanings of words.

What I always suggested to parents when I taught, was when your child asks the spelling or definition of a word, model looking in a dictionary.

Technology is wonderful, but it is crucial that children learn tools to research information the old school way.

Dictionaries also include many references, and historical information.

This particular one is the size of a college text book, & is filled with over 35,000 words! LOVE this!
Go to www.amazon.com to order yours today!

Happy spelling!

Take it from a Mom Who Knows!

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Want great magazines for your children?

Then check out Highlights magazines for kids!

I can remember as a child reading this magazine, & now they have many different types.

“Highlights Hello”, is for ages 0-2, for infants and toddlers. Love the read aloud stories, & activities for families!

“High Five”, is for ages 2-6, for preschoolers & kindergartners.

“Puzzle Buzz” is for ages 4-7. This magazine is one of my top picks, great for restaurants, airplanes, or long car rides.

“Highlights”, is for ages 6-12. Love the stories, games, puzzles, & activities this magazine has to offer.

“Puzzlemania”, is for ages 7+ . Puzzles are a great way to promote strategy!

“Mathmania”, is for ages 7+. Practicing math skills though fun games & activities is a great way for children to enjoy math!

Children love getting mail, and what a great way to promote the love of reading!

Go to, www.highlights.com for more information. Look under the magazines & club tabs to preview each magazine.

This holiday season, give the gift of knowledge, you can’t go wrong with that!

Take it from a Mom Who Knows!

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Want a great folktale about making an apple pie?

Then purchase, “An Apple Pie For Dinner” by, Susan VanHecke.

Yesterday my sister in law brought this adorable book to Sunday dinner.

This folk tale, is about a grandmother named, Granny Smith, who is in search for apples for her pie.

She has all of the ingredients, and goes on a whimsical adventure.

At the end of the story, a delicious and kid friendly recipe is included.

Just a tip, purchase the already made pie crust, which come 2 to a box. 😉

I absolutely LOVE books like these, & this makes a great gift to bring to a family for Thanksgiving dinner.

Amazon.com has this book on sale, love this!

Happy reading & baking!

Take it from a Mom Who Knows!

Again, please continue to help those in need from Hurricane Sandy!

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