Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sue Scheff: The Internet Generation

Today’s kids have grown up online. Finding their way around the Internet and posting on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook is part of their every day life. But in this online world … What are they saying? Who are they “talking” to? How can we keep our kids safe from danger – both emotional and physical?

Did you know that 70 percent of teens on the Internet have accidentally found pornography on the web; 60 percent have been contacted online by a stranger; another 60 percent have been victims of online bullying; and 45 percent have posted personal information?

The Internet Generation tells of online experiences and stories your kids may not be telling you about this 24/7 cyber- world. You’ll hear insights on setting specific rules, keeping track of kids’ online visits, and talking with them – armed with hard facts and real-life examples – about the very real threats out there.

When it comes to Internet know-how, can parents ever catch up with their kids? Yes. Watch The Internet Generation and start the conversation with your children about what’s on the Internet – the good and the bad. The Internet is here to stay, and it’s our responsibility to keep kids safe, especially when they’re online.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teen Internet Addiction

The Controversy

While the idea of addiction possibly forming through over usage of the Internet has long been ignored, doctors and parents are beginning to take notice of this disturbing trend in teens.
The term "Internet addiction" was introduced in the late 1990s and has been dismissed by the majority of medical professionals.

Many believe that excessive time spent surfing the web is in fact a warning signal for a larger and more dangerous mental disease like depression.

Others believe that while Internet addiction can exist on its own, the solitary behavior can lead to growing levels of depression, anxiety, self-consciousness and obesity.

Though the verdict is still out in the medical communities, parents worldwide are concerned over their teens as they spend more and more time in front of computer screens.

Sue Scheff™ parent advocate and founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts™, believes that Internet usage should be monitored closely by parents.

"Parents aren't as concerned with their teens who are online once in a while," said Scheff. "Parents are concerned with the teens who are completely addicted to MySpace or some other Web site. The ones who are not able to tear themselves away.

"Sue Scheff™ along with so many parents, knows that that while internet addiction can be a symptom of or fuel a teenager's depression or anxiety, there are other dangers lurking from behind the web."

The fact is that these teens can become introverts.

It affects levels of growth and maturity." Scheff says. "The other thing is teens don't understand that people lie online, people aren't honest online. Do you really know who is on the other end of those messages or chat rooms?"As parents, we must take a stand together to educate others on the dangers of Internet addiction. Looking for support from other parents?

Visit the official website of Sue Scheff's Parents Universal Resource Experts

Visit Wrapped in the Web by Sue Scheff

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sue Scheff (Parents Universal Resource Experts) - Websites Promoting Internet Safety with Kids

Connect with Kids constantly keeps parents updated on today’s kids and issues surrounding them. Today’s techy generation need even stronger parenting.

Reputation Defender MyChild is a great place for parents to start in keeping their child’s privacy “private!”

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sue Scheff - Teen Internet Safety

In today's society, the Internet has made its way into almost every American home. It is a well-known fact that the web is a valuable asset for research and learning. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous place for teens.

With social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online role-playing video games, our children are at access to almost anyone. Sue Scheff, along with Parent's Universal Resource Experts, is tackling the dangers of the web.

Keeping tabs on our teens' online habits doesn't just keep them safe from online predators. More and more parents are becoming wary of the excessive hours their teens spend surfing the web, withdrawing from family, friends and activities they used to enjoy. Internet Addiction is a devastating problem facing far too many teens and their families.

While medical professionals have done limited research on the topic, more and more are recognizing this destructive behavior and even more, the potential mental effects it can have.

Though the web is a great place for learning and can be safe for keeping in touch, it is important that families understand the potential risks and dangers to find a healthy balance between real and virtual life.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sue Scheff: Kids Addicted to Screens

“Instead of using that time to become an adult, learning how to talk to adults, learning how to talk to women, learning how to talk to men, learning how to figure out what they want to do with their lives -- those are hours that are lost, that can never really be regained,”

– says Dr. Timothy Fong, M.D., addiction psychiatrist

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that 5 million American kids are addicted to video games. In fact, if you add the time some children and teens spend in front of a screen -- TV, computer, cell phone or video game -- it equals more hours than anything else in their lives except sleep! And that begs the question: if they spend so much time plugged in, what are they missing out on?

Sabrina and her brother Ruben are fighting over the family computer. At the same time, their younger brother Daniel is playing video games with a friend.

“It’s just fun killing other people and stealing their stuff,” says Daniel, 8.

Sister Alinna waits to watch her favorite program on the big-screen TV.

“I dream about watching TV, and I watch Sponge Bob in my head,” says Alinna.

Four kids in one family who love anything with a screen.

“It’s just nowadays it seems like they’re a lot lazier and just want to sit on the tube and on the phone all the time,” says Harry Delano, the children’s father.

In fact, researchers at the University of Montreal found that one-third of teens spend about 40 hoursa week in front of a screen. For all those hours, what are the kids not doing? Experts say they’re not reading, studying, exercising or even just talking with other people.

“Instead of using that time to become an adult, by learning how to talk adults, learning how to talk to women, learning how to talk to men, learning how to figure out what they want to do with their lives -- those are hours that are lost, that can never really be regained,” says Dr. Timothy Fong, M.D., addiction psychiatrist.

Yolanda has tried to limit the time her children spend in front of a screen.

“Well, my mom gives me an hour on Myspace, but I usually do like three hours -- if they don’t notice,” says Sabrina, 16.

“Even though I get frustrated with it, I allow it to happen because that’s what makes her happy,” says Yolanda.


If you are interested in this story, you may also be interested in these parent videos:

Tips for Parents

If your children are like most children, they spend too much time glued to the screen watching television, surfing the Internet and playing video games. So how can you break this habit without wrecking havoc in the home? The answer, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is to find fun, positive activities that children enjoy and to smartly manage their screen time.

Experts suggest parents limit children’s total screen time to no more than one to two hours of quality programming per day. (CDC)

Following are 10 tips for parents to help their children make a painless transition from couch potato to a physically and pro-socially active child: (CDC)

Remove television sets from children’s bedrooms.

View television programs with children and discuss the content.

Use the VCR to show or record high-quality, educational programming for children.

Suggest several options for positive physical and pro-social activities that are available through local park districts, schools and community programs.

Recommend pro-social activities, such as volunteering at the Humane Society, local nursing homes, special-needs camps, etc.

Encourage alternative activities for children, including hobbies, athletics and creative play.
Form coalitions including libraries, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood groups to help provide physical and social environments that encourage and enable safe and enjoyable physical activity, including new sidewalks, safe parks and keeping close-to-home physical activity facilities open at night.

Ensure that appropriate activity options are available for disabled children.
Serve as a good role model; be active physically, and be available and interested when your children are viewing television and surfing the Internet in the home.


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Promoting Internet Safety

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I have meet with my Florida Senator several times and just meet with my Congresswoman - I am confident positive changes will be made to protect people and children in Cyberspace.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Keeping your Kids Safe Online - Cyberbully Awareness

More and more news articles, media and others are finally taking Cyberbullying seriously. As both a victim and survivor of being abused in Cyberspace - I know first hand how important this subject is.

Kids today need to be aware of what lingers online as well as take precautions not to feed into Cyberbullys and their tactics of invading a child's privacy.

As a parent, you can take steps to protect your kids online. Know what they are doing and where they are going in Cyberspace. It is almost as important as knowing where they are going when they leave your house! Take Cyberspace seriously!

A recent news article by the Associated Press is one of many that are bringing this awareness to parents.

I always encourage parents to consider Reputation Defender MyChild to help protect your children online, especially in the social networking sites such as MySpace and others.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Children and safer net use

BBC News - April 2, 2008
Q&A: Children and safer net use

Many teenagers and younger children are signing up for social networking sites says telecoms regulator Ofcom in a report.

In a research exercise covering 3,000 children it found that about a quarter of those aged between eight and 11 have a profile page on sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.

This is despite the fact that these sites have a self-imposed minimum age limit of 13 or 14.

The news comes soon after the release of the Byron Review which investigated the risks children faced from exposure to harmful or inappropriate material on the internet or in video games.

At the same time the Home Office is preparing to issue recommendations on the steps social network sites should take to make themselves safer for children.

BBC News looks at the issue and what parents can do to keep up with their children and ensure they stay safe online.

What has Ofcom found?

The telecoms regulator carried out an in-depth study of how people, both young and old, use social network sites.

On these sites, which includes destinations such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, users maintain a webpage or profile about what they are up to. This can include blog or journal entries, pictures, videos and other information about their daily lives.

CEOP online safety tips for parents
Know what your children are doing online
Get them to show you how to do things
Help them understand not to give any personal information to online friends
Teach them to ignore spam
Teach them to ignore files sent by people they don't know
Teach them some people lie online
Tell them to keep online friends online
Keep talking so they know they can always tell you if something makes them feel uncomfortable
Show children how to block people online and how to report them

Most allow users to invite people they know to join the site and become part of an online group of friends.

In recent months social network sites have become enormously popular MySpace, for instance, has many millions of dedicated users.

Ofcom talked to 5,000 adults and 3,000 children and found 49% of those aged between eight and 17 have a profile on these sites. As noted above many children with profiles are below the minimum age set, but not actively enforced, by the sites themselves.

Perhaps worryingly for parents 41% of the children Ofcom questioned has their profile set so anyone, rather than just friends could view it.

At the same time the Byron Review warned of a growing "digital divide" between parents and their net-savvy children.

Why is this a problem?

The combination of children sharing sensitive data with anyone who cares to look and parents who do not monitor what their offspring do online could be a recipe for disaster.

CEOP online safety tips for children
Don't give your real name on gaming sites
Best not to have anyone on your IM (instant messaging) list that you don't know in the real world
You can block people in IM and chat areas
Best not to meet people you meet online, they might not be who they say they are
Tell an adult you trust if an online friend asks to meet you
Report a contact to CEOP if you think they might be an adult

Many children have received unwanted approaches from paedophiles while using the net. Figures quoted in the Byron Review suggest that 31% of 9-19 year olds who use the net weekly have received sexual comments via e-mail, instant message, chat or text message.

Research by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) suggests that chat rooms and instant messages are the preferred route for such contact but social networking sites are becoming popular too.

These dangers should not be exaggerated. It is still the case that very few abusers of children are strangers to their victims.

Are there other risks?

Publishing sensitive and personal information could leave people and families open to fraud and identity theft.

Unsupervised children might also open messages which harbour viruses or visit booby-trapped sites that infect PCs with spyware.

Children could also be at risk from so called "cyber bullying" in which online sites are used to mock them or they are bombarded with nasty messages.

What is being done to tackle this?

Many websites, not just social network sites, discourage children from registering but the restrictions are often easy to circumvent.

Few sites actively police these age limits though many will remove content if it breaches their codes of conduct.

Some places, such as MSN Messenger, also feature an icon via which children can report when they see or suffer inappropriate sexual contact.

On 4 April the Home Office is due to publish its guidelines for social network sites and what they can do to make using them safer. Currently there are no laws governing how children can set up profiles on social sites.

The government has also been behind many campaigns that aim to educate children about the dangers of using the net. Europe also runs the Safer Internet Day campaign which targets schools and runs events to get children thinking about ways to stay safe online.

Other places to look include ThinkUKnow, Get Safe Online and the Internet Safety Zone. Many publish easy to understand advice guides that help explain the risks and actions that can be taken.

What can parents do to help?

A lot. Every report on net safety stresses that parents have a huge role to play in monitoring their children and educating them about responsible web use.

One of the best ways to keep an eye on what a child does online is to site home computers in family areas rather than in their own bedroom. Children are far less likely to indulge in risky behaviour if they know others can see what they are doing.

Many organisations recommend that parents get much more involved in what their children do online. One good tip is to get a child to explain what they are doing and teach their parents at the same time.

Parents should also impress on children that they should ignore spam, be suspicious of anyone sending attachments via e-mail and warn them that many people lie online and may not be who they claim to be.

Technical measures, such as filters and security software, can help but none are 100% effective. Parental involvement and monitoring are just as important.

Finally, parents also need to realise that even though children have a greater understanding of the risks that does not mean they stop taking risks.