Memorial weekend launches off the beginning of summer vacation. There will be more drivers on the road and the increase in teen drivers is evident as we look at the studies from years before. We are looking at the beginning of the 100 most deadliest days of teen driving. Read on and don’t become a statistic.
AT&T, which has already reached millions of people through its “It Can Wait” campaign, announced recently that Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and 200+ organizations are joining the movement to end texting while driving, a habit involved in more than 100,000 car accidents a year (National Safety Council) and makes drivers 23 times more likely to be involved in a wreck (source: Va. Tech). The “It Can Wait” campaign culminates in a national day of action on September 19th, encouraging everyone to get out in their community and advocate involvement on behalf of the movement.
The summer-long initiative kicks off on May 20th and will be supported by a new national advertising campaign featuring people who are living with the consequences of texting while driving, a large-scale nationwide texting-while-driving simulator tour, major retail presence in tens of thousands of stores, and more. The campaign, aimed at educating drivers to change behaviors that will ultimately help save lives, will run between Memorial Day and Labor Day, deemed by AAA as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers. Furthermore, according to this recent study, texting-while-driving is now the leading cause of death for teen drivers, surpassing the number of teen deaths related to driving under the influence.
But texting while driving extends beyond just teens. A recent AT&T survey on the behavior of commuters found that nearly all commuters polled agreed that sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe, yet nearly half of them admitted to texting while driving with 43 percent of those who said they text and drive characterizing the act as a “habit.” The survey found that commuters are also texting and driving even more than teens – 49 percent, compared to 43 percent.
Through the “It Can Wait” movement, more than 1.5 million pledges to never text and drive have been made and thousands of people have had hands-on experience with driving simulators that make clear the dangers of texting while driving. Head to att.com/itcanwait to use an online simulator, hear stories from victims of texting while driving, view a riveting documentary “The Last Text,” and find information on AT&T’s DriveMode app for Android and BlackBerry phones that can automatically disable texting when the phone is traveling more than 25 miles an hour in a vehicle.
Texting while driving is an epidemic, and it’s not isolated to teen drivers. It affects adults as well. A recent AT&T survey shows business commuters know texting while driving is unsafe, but they still engage in these behaviors. In fact:
- They are texting and driving more than they used to.
o Six in 10 commuters said they never texted while driving three years ago.
- Nearly half of commuters admit to texting while driving, which is more than teens.
o 49 percent of commuters self-report texting while driving, compared to 43 percent of teens.
- Despite knowing the risks.
o 98 percent said sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe.
- For many, it has become a habit.
o More than 40 percent of those who admitted to texting while driving called it a habit.
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.
As a parent, you have to help your child make several decisions over his or her lifetime. At first these decisions are easy. You help them choose a Halloween costume. You help them pick out a gift for their teacher. You stand beside them as they decide to cut off all of their hair in a fit of self-expression.
Then gradually they get a little more difficult. You help them choose a first job. Pick out a smartphone then finally, one day you’re helping them select a college.
As you sift through brochures and applications, your mind begins to race as you consider just how important this decision is. Essentially, this will be where your child spends the better part of the next four years. This is where they will make the friends they will keep for a lifetime, and where they could potentially meet the love of their life.
Before you start freaking out and retreating from this milestone, take a minute and soak in what is happening. You’ve gotten your child this far, so you have to have SOME idea of what you’re doing. So, as you browse schools and campuses keep a few things in mind. The tips below will help make this a smooth, seamless process for both you and your college-bound kid.
Don’t Impose Your Dreams
Maybe you’ve always envisioned you son or daughter doing you proud in an elite Ivy League school on the East Coast, but their heart keeps pulling them West. Let that happen. As long as it’s for legitimate reasons and not just to chase some significant other they may or may not stay with through the end of the month, support your child’s dream.
Just because they don’t want to pursue the path you thought might be best, doesn’t mean they aren’t making a good choice. To help allay your fears and apprehensions, have them explain exactly why they want to attend the school they have in mind. Have them elaborate on specific programs or classes that caught their eye. This will help you realize your child is using smart judgment, has thought this through and is not merely acting on spontaneous whims.
Visit The Campuses With Them
Although they might not let on about it, your child is likely feeling a bit nervous about being away from home for the first time—especially if it is miles away from where they grew up. Making the move in the fall will be hard enough, so don’t make them go on campus visits alone. They may act annoyed that you want to tag along, but once you’re there I promise they’ll appreciate every minute of it, especially when they start to notice the kids who aren’t as lucky to have their parents there.
Not only will you be able to keep them company and ask questions they might not think to ask, you will also be able to gain a bit of familiarity with the place they might be spending the next 4-6 years. This will make those long nights you’re up worrying a bit easier because you’ll have SOME idea of where they are, even if you can’t be there in five minutes.
Be Realistic About Expenses
These days more than ever, the COST of college is an issue. It’s always been expensive, but with the current state of the economy it can be downright farfetched for some. If you and your spouse are worried about the expenses that are to come with sending your son or daughter to college, talk to them about that.
For the first time in their lives, bills and fees will be addressed to them and them alone. Sure, you might still be footing part of the bill, but they will be the ones held accountable if the money’s not in time. They will be the ones who are given the fee bills each semester, so they need to know what they’re working with.
This is especially important for them to know early on, so that they may apply for scholarships and aid where possible. If there’s a program or school they are really interested in, but it seems a bit pricey, discuss alternatives and options with them like school loans, so that they can make informed, educated decisions about their future.
Overall, when you’re helping your child choose a college, just BE SUPPORTIVE. Continue being the involved, concerned parent you’ve been up until this point, but learn to loosen the reigns a bit. Don’t freak out when they set out to make decisions on their own. Let them do it, but be there, waiting in the wings, if they need you. While it is their future, and ultimately their choice, but your input can make a world of difference.
Nearly half of commuters self-reported texting while driving in a recent poll1, and 43% of those who did called it a “habit.”
Commuters are texting and driving even more than teens – 49%1, compared to 43%2. And the problem has gotten worse. Six in 10 commuters say they never texted while driving three years ago.
So while efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving are working – 98% of commuters surveyed said they know sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe – there’s clearly more work to be done to change behaviors.
Survey sponsor AT&T* is calling on employers to help end texting while driving by taking action during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, and beyond. It’s asking businesses to join the more than 165 organizations already engaged in the Texting & Driving-It Can Wait movement, and to use the policies, technologies and communications materials available free at att.com/itcanwait to help move their employees beyond being aware of the danger to making a personal commitment not to text and drive.
“Businesses can help keep their employees and others on the road safe by encouraging responsible behavior behind the wheel, including obeying all laws related to the use of electronic devices,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “We also encourage all businesses to consider joining the ‘It Can Wait’ movement to end texting while driving. Together we can help turn the tide on this serious issue.”
Through It Can Wait, AT&T has reached millions with the insight that most text messages are trivial, and no text is worth dying for. It has made the dangers of texting and driving real and personal by giving thousands of people hands-on experience with driving simulators and sharing the heart-wrenching stories of people – like Jamie Nash in this video – whose lives have been forever changed by texting-while-driving accidents. More than 1.3 million personal commitments never to text and drive have been made at ItCanWait.com, through Facebook, text-to-pledge, tweet-to-pledge or at events.
“Through the It Can Wait movement, AT&T is collaborating with employers, nonprofits, law enforcement, educators, legislators, professional associations and government agencies nationwide,” said AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer Cathy Coughlin. “I’m confident, together we can save lives by encouraging millions more to make the personal commitment never to text and drive.”
For more information, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.
1 Commuter survey conducted by ResearchNow on behalf of AT&T
2 Teen survey conducted by Beck Research on behalf of AT&T http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/txting_driving/att_teen_survey_executive.pdf
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
The “It Can Wait” message is simple: No text is worth dying for. AT&T would like to see texting and driving become as unacceptable as drinking and driving. They encourage ALL drivers to visit www.itcanwait.com to get informed on the issue, spread the word in their community and take the pledge to never text while driving.
MUST WATCH videos and pass on to ones you care about:
You can also follow them on Twitter with hashtag #ITCANWAIT.
After experiencing my good teen making some bad choices, I found myself surfing the Internet until I was so confused and stressed that I couldn’t make a decision. One group of specialty schools and behavior modification programs kept popping up wherever I clicked, and I figured they must be good. Then I received their beautiful glossy literature with a video that could make any parent weep.
Once the initial sticker shock wore off, the cost was reasonable in comparison with other programs, or so I thought until I enrolled my child. The hidden costs added up like a grocery bill. I was totally misled by the sales rep and made a rash decision. Mistake number one: being clueless as to whom you are speaking with when reaching out to these toll-free numbers. This is a common mistake for parents in a desperate situation. A swift sales rep is there waiting for you; meeting questions with the answers you want to hear and making promises that convince you they can help your child.
My true nightmare was just beginning.
Impressed by the fancy words and glossy brochures, I enrolled my child with the understanding that they were qualified to help. I am ashamed to say I never did a background check on these programs. I had called their parent references that they gave me (and later found out they were paid to talk to me, some actually receiving a free month’s tuition). I know many of you are thinking I must have been nuts, and you are right. In this stage of my life, I was at my wit’s end and just wanted help for my child.
Long story short, my frenzy and desperation led to my biggest mistake. I was looking for therapy and internalization through the help of professionals, but what I inadvertently ended up with was more of a teen warehousing program. This was not what they had sold me.
In retrospect, red flags went up shortly after I dropped my child off and I asked who the psychologist would be. Guess what? There was none, unless I wanted to pay extra! So who led the group therapy they raved about? There was no group therapy, there was a person, usually another student, who sat in a circle with them as they reflected. Their psychologist was available for another $100 per visit. But their sales reps had told me that there was a licensed therapist “on staff and on site.” I should have pulled my child then, but I thought I was over-reacting since I was in such a state of confusion and frenzy. The staff was very good at convincing me to “trust the program” instead of addressing my concerns.
My child wrote me letters: some good, some bad. According to the program, the good ones were considered manipulation; the bad ones were considered proof that she needed to stay longer. I couldn’t win and neither could my child.
During my child’s entire stay of almost six months, I was never allowed to speak with her. I only spoke with an employee once a week for 15 minutes (in further research, I discovered these employees had no credentials and many weren’t educated beyond High School, including the President of the organization). I later found out it usually takes up to six months to speak with your child, and in most cases up to a year to see them.
It took me months to realize that I had made a big mistake. In order to visit my child it was mandatory to attend some very bizarre seminars; I wrote my withdrawal letter immediately after the second seminar.
I brought my child home suffering from depression and nightmares from her time in a WWASPS program, and fear of being sent back had created suicidal thoughts. My child went immediately into real counseling where, after almost two years, an excellent psychologist helped us recover from this horrible, traumatic post-WWASP experience. When my child felt confident that I wouldn’t send her back, I heard some unspeakable stories. I have also heard similar stories from many other post-WWASP aka WWASPS students and families suffering from the same post traumatic symptoms. Through this experience I have developed the opinion that fraud and misrepresentation, combined with a vulnerable parent, can lead to danger for a child. I believe in sharing my knowledge of this (very political) industry with as many families as possible.
So who am I? I am a parent that refused to be silenced. In 2001 I posted my story of what we endured. How my child was abused, how I was duped, and how they (in my opinion) continue to dupe others. WWASPS decided to sue me to have my story removed from the Internet. It went to a jury trial, and I won with truth as my defense. My story is here and is also published in Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (Health Communications, Inc). I have continued to help families through my organization founded from our experiences, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc (P.U.R.E.)
As of March 2013, it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS or Premier Educational Systems has affiliations with the following, click here.
If you are one of the many parents struggling with their teenagers — good kids making bad choices — you are not alone. If you are in need of teen help, residential therapy is an excellent resource. In reality there are many more good programs than there are not so good; the key is to do your homework. I created a list of tips and questions to ask schools and programs before enrolling your child, as well as other valuable information. Be an educated parent and you will have safer and healthier teens. So ditch your denial and get proactive! Your child deserves a chance at a bright future.
Learn from my mistakes, gain from my knowledge…..
The question is no longer whether you are going to give your teenager his own cell phone but at what age you allow him to have his own cell phone. This is largely going to depend upon you and the maturity level of your teenager (which is something that only you as a parent can gauge).
Whatever age you decide your teenager is ready, though, it’s good to have some rules in place.
In spite of what your teenager might tell you, unfettered cell phone use is not in his best interests right now.
It’s a good idea to install some mobile monitoring software on your teenager’s cell phone. This way, if you need to, you will be able to look up his call history, see what websites he has visited, and, most importantly, where his phone is located.
Do not, as tempting as it may be, sneak this software on to your teenager’s phone. Explain that you don’t want to have to use it but that it will be installed as a “just in case” precautionary measure.
Set up limits on minutes and texts before you give your teenager his phone. Explain that every minute and every text costs money (even if you have an unlimited plan) and that the phone is not meant to replace the other methods of communication he already has at his disposal (house phone, email, Facebook, etc).
Decide upon a “phone curfew” (the time he has to turn off his cell phone each night). Make rules about whether or not you’ll allow the phone to be used in the car, at the dinner table, during family events, etc.
Sexting and Bullying
It’s okay to be freaked out by having to spell this out for your teenager, but you still need to do it. Sexting and sending provocative images between phones is a crime and one that he can be punished for, possibly for the rest of his life. Talk to him about this and explain why he needs to not give in to peer pressure when it comes to things like sexting, forwarding photos, etc.
Bullying via cell phone is certainly a first-world problem, but it is, nonetheless, a problem. Make sure your teenager knows how to handle any cell phone based bullying he might receive and that there will be severe consequences if he uses his phone to bully someone else.
Keep Private Information Private
Set up rules about the people to whom he is allowed to give his cell phone number (hint: only people he already knows in person. Period.). Talk about how easy it is for someone he doesn’t know to get a hold of his private information if he isn’t careful about protecting it on his phone.
You’ve had a similar talk already when you allowed him to start up his Facebook page. Talk about how the same sorts of rules apply to phones, too.
Have a plan in place for what will happen if your teenager goes over his minute and text quota. Will you have him pay you for it out of his allowance or money he earns at an after-school job? Will you have him work it off with chores around the house?
Quotas are more likely to be respected if there are consequences for surpassing them. Talk to your teenager about what is a fair punishment, but make sure this talk happens ahead of time so that he knows in advance that there will be consequences for breaking the rules.
The more open you are with the communication, the less you are going to have to worry that your teenager is going to do something life-alteringly stupid…because, obviously there will be at least a few dumb things done with that phone—that’s just how teenagers roll. If you keep the lines of communication open, though, you should be able to build a level of trust that allows you to sleep soundly at night…as soundly as the parent of a teenager can sleep, anyway.
Contributor: Erin Steiner is a full-time freelance writer who covers a variety of topics for a wide range of websites including, but not limited to, Reputation.com.
Take the time to refresh (change) your passwords.
Take the time to talk to your kids about what goes on line stays online.
Take the time to remind yourself that your online reputation is the first image most people will have of you today.
Take the time to remind yourself that last year over 500,000 kids had their identity stolen. They weren’t even old enough to have credit cards yet!
Take the time to remove yourself from public websites, if you so desire.
Privacy has become a priceless commodity.
Value it. Hoard it. Embrace it.
Whatever you do – protect it! It is really that simple and that important!
Learn more at StaySafeOnline.org.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza will be presenting Celebrity Speaker Stacey Honowitz on February 2nd at the World Golf Village IMAX Theater!
This is a must attend event. The Community Empowerment Series is being presented by St. John County Education Foundation and Community in Schools of St. Johns County and sponsored by The St. Augustine Record and First Coast News.
In the light of the recent event in Newtown, CT, it proves no towns are immune to bad things happening in them. Opening our CES with a topic of stranger danger, sexual predators and talking to our kids about private parts is critical today. These can be difficult subjects for parents, however our expert, Stacey Honowitz, will give our community the tools we need to help empower us to be safer and stronger as a community.
St. Johns County is privileged to be featuring celebrity parenting experts that will be speaking on topics that will empower us to continue to have one of the best counties in Florida. The three forums will be held in February, March and April and will feature some of the leading experts in the field of parenting, cyber bullying, online predators, and much more.
Tickets for the three events can be purchased online at www.communityempowermentseries.com.
Parents are encouraged to bring their children, and grandparents, school counselors, educators and anyone that wants to make our community a safer place for kids should attend the series.
The purpose of the Community Empowerment Series is to strengthen our community and enrich our parents, teachers and everyone working with our children to be safer and kinder- both online and off. This series is providing parents with how-to’s on some of the most important issues facing children today.
The three part series will be held at the IMAX Theatre in World Golf Village. Stacey Honowitz, who has been featured on Good Morning America, Larry King Live, and Dateline NBC, will be speaking on February 2nd about the media and sex cases, along with how to talk to young kids about private parts. Session two will take place on March 9th and will feature Dr. Michele Borba speaking on peer pressure, bullying and cyber-stalking. Dr. Borba has authored dozens of books and has made appearances on Dr. Phil, The View, The Doctors, FOX News and many more. Theresa Payton will lead session three on April 27th and will talk about internet safety. Payton is a former White House Chief Information Officer and has a weekly segment on North Carolina’s WBTV about protecting your cyberturf.
For more sponsorship information and more information visit www.communityempowermentseries.com.
The St. Johns County Education Foundation is recognized as the direct support organization for the St. Johns County School District. The SJCEF leads efforts to provide funding opportunities, support initiatives that enhance public education and recognize and inspire teachers and students within St. Johns County. For more information, please visit www.sjcef.com or visit Facebook and Twitter pages.
The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT has many conversations sparked about the need for mental health services. As a Parent Advocate for over a decade, I speak with parents on a daily basis and hear their desperation for assistance with their tween or teenager. Some parents are at their wit’s end and feel like a hostage in their own home by their own child, however the resources can be limited for some.
Residential therapy is an excellent option however it can be costly. Some insurances will help cover the cost, but only a portion of it usually. In most cases it is usually a PPO insurance that will cover the clinical component of a residential program and even with that, usually a parent has to be prepared to pay the upfront costs and file the claims to be reimbursed. (This all depends on the mental health policy and what it covers). HMO can be very limited when it comes to mental health, which is why we are hearing a lot about being under-insured in mental health.
When it comes to Residential Treatment Centers, another concern parents need to be aware of is the scams that are out there. I was once a victim of one over a decade ago, which prompted me to created my organization – Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.) Parents need to understand there are some programs and schools (or programs that claim to be schools) online with toll free numbers going to marketing arms ready to prey on desperate parents. This is exactly what happened to us. Though there are many excellent programs and schools in our country, like with many other businesses, there are always those that are less than what you would want for your child.
I always encourage parents to do their due diligence. The program that duped my family, though it is closed now, has several other programs opened under different names. They have a specialty of always changing names, in my opinion. But you will notice the staff seems to stay the same. Recently I heard how their LaVerkin, Utah program has gone from Cross Creek to Horizon Academy to Riverview now I just heard they are calling themselves Youth Foundation. I don’t know – but I do know if you are doing things the right way you don’t have to hide under all these name changes – of course, that is my opinion again.
As you can imagine, this group has a script they share with their potential parents about me too. I am a disgruntled parent. Yes, I am – you harm my daughter, a parent becomes disgruntled. You dupe me, scam me – I become disgruntled. I won in a “jury trial”. I didn’t settle out court with a confidentiality – though they will tell you a jury made a mistake -I will say not jurors condone child abuse. Now they are facing another lawsuit. What is there excuse now? I assume that is why the name change again.
Either way – use your gut. If it doesn’t seem right – it usually isn’t.
At the end – your child needs help – get them help. Don’t make a rash decision, make an educated one.
Who is watching your kids on campus?
Colleges that had 10-20 security cameras a few years ago, now have as many as 150-200 cameras following activities around campus.
Source: Online Colleges