Friday, October 29, 2010

Good Grades Can Save You Money

There can only be one answer for this, unless you are not concerned about saving money, YES - good student discounts are worth it and for two reasons.

Teens that are now taking the wheel or even getting their first car, will be able to qualify for a discount on their automobile insurance, so first, saving money is great reason.  Second, it is an incentive to your teen to keep their grades up!

In Florida it is the law that all automobiles and drivers have insurance.  Here is a quick glance from the official website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

I am registering a vehicle for the first time in Florida. Is automobile insurance mandatory?

Yes. If you own a vehicle with at least four wheels and are registering it, you must have Florida insurance.

What type of insurance is required to purchase and maintain a Florida license plate and registration?

Florida's minimum coverage is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) as long as you have a valid Florida license plate.

With today's struggling economy, parents are looking for ways to cut corners financially and since insurance is a must when you have  teenager driving in the household or at college, finding auto insurance that offer good student discounts can save you quite a bit of money.

Here is a few examples of Good Student Discount qualifications from three major insurance companies:

State Farm Good Student Discount

All male and unmarried female drivers under 25 who are full-time students in high school or at a college or university, and the scholastic records for the immediately preceding school semester show that this student meets at least one of the following:
  • Ranked scholastically in the upper 20% of his or her class.
  • Had a grade average of B or higher.
  • Had a grade point average of 3.0 (out of 4.0) or higher.
  • Was included in the Dean's List or Honor Roll.
Allstate Good Student Discount
  • Your teen driver can save you money before they even get behind the wheel with the Good Student Discount. The better they are in the classroom, the bigger the discount you’ll get. Add a good student to your policy and you'll earn extra credit-up to 10-20 percent, depending on your state.
American Family Insurance
  • If you're a good student or your household includes a good student who's an insured driver.  Click here for more information.
No matter who insurance carrier your family has, be sure to inquire about good student discounts.  They could save you a substantial amount of money as well as encourage your teen or college student to keep their grades up.  It is a win-win situation!

Call your insurance representative today to find out exactly what your savings could be.

On a personal note, I saved over $300.00 a year with my college student's good student discount.  It's real!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens - and maybe have more money in your pocket!

Read more.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Parenting Teens: Monitoring Your Teens

When safety trumps privacy - is when invasion of privacy is thrown out the window.

As a parent keeping our children safe, especially our new young teen drivers is a priority. Many teens believe they are invincible and accidents only happen to other people.  Sort of like those other people are the only ones that get STD's or have bad things happen.

Newsflash - bad things can happen to good people.

NBC's Kevin Tibbles had an interesting segment today on TODAY about how parents are taking back technology, that their kids are so far advanced in, and using it to protect their teens and children.  The question is, how much parental monitoring is too much? (Watch segment on sidebar.)
The three resources of advanced technology that were discussed are as follows:
  1. ZPass | Ridership Tracking:   For Student TrackingZPass was designed specifically for pupil transportation to monitor student ridership in a safe and non-intrusive way.  Knowing if and when a student got on or off the bus accounts for a significant portion of calls parents make to schools and is information that schools need to know.  ZPass provides accurate and immediate answers. Learn more at
  2. All Track USA: Receive notification via e-mail or text message when your child arrives at school, pulls into your driveway, goes over a pre-determined speed limit & more. And all speed alerts and Electric Fences changeable on-the-fly on the internet any time!! Learn more at
  3. My Mobil Watchdog: My Mobile Watchdog monitors your child's cell phone use and instantly alerts you if he or she receives unapproved email, text messages or phone calls. Learn more at
This is not an endorsement of these products, however an example of technology that is available to help protect and secure the safety of your teens.

The statistics are clear: Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers who drive. Drivers who are 16 years old are more than 20 times likely to have an accident as are other drivers. And teenage drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group, and 16-year-olds are the worst.

As  a parent we have a right and a responsibility to take control of the safety of our teenage drivers, you could be saving a life.  If the teen wants to view it as an invasion of privacy, that is something we can live with.  Afterall, they are alive to view it at all.

With the increase of predators online, your child's cell phone is another way these predators can invade their private lives.  Again, as a parent, we can and will do all we can to protect our children.  It is not about being nosy, it is about safety.  We live in a different world today.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Struggling Teens: Can you foreclose on them?

Foreclosure has become a common word today.  Whether you are listening to talk radio or watching your nightly news, the foreclosure forecast in our country is becoming a common conversation and a grim reality.
Forclosure on homes can be devastating.  Leaving a family unsettled, banks taking on more debt, and people scrambling to find resolution.

When you find yourself up against the wall, sometimes a job loss or simply a mortgage that is no longer fesible, you have to re-organize - re-structure your lives.  It is in need of repair.

What happens when your teenager becomes someone you don't recognize anymore?  They are suddenly secretive, withdrawn, or even extremely defiant?  They were once an A student and now you are facing them either failing or just skimming by academically?  Now you check their pockets and you find a lighter?  You smell booze on their breathe or even smoke in their clothes?  This list could go on and on.

Your adorable baby that grew into a fun-loving toddler that went on to elementary school without a glitch is now facing teen life and the challenges that come with it.

You reach out and try to figure out what is going on with them.  Communication is key, however can be very difficult when a teen shuts down.  You slowly watch your once happy go-lucky child go into a dark place and become a person you barely know.

Unlike a mortgage you can't afford, you can't simply foreclose on your child.  Like a home that is heading towards foreclosure, you need to learn all you can about saving it.
Your teen is now out-of-control.  What do you do?  Foreclosure is not an option, but there are answers.
Don't be a parent in denial.  Don't assume this is a phase and it will pass.  Don't blame the other kids he/she is hanging with.  Be a parent and get your at-risk teen the help they may need.  Starting with local therapy, find an adolescent therapist.  If money is a factor, contact the Children's Trustline of Florida at 2-1-1.

If you have reached the point that you believe you need residential therapy or your therapist recommends residential therapy, learn more about this very important step at Parents Universal Resource Experts.

Read more.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

School Nurses, Parents and Schools Come Together to Help Stop Medicine Abuse

Isn't it time we take action in our community?  Across the country parents and school nurses are joining forces to help bring awareness to over-the-counter (OTC) medicine abuse and our teens.

Your school nurse is your ally and partner in preventing cough medicine abuse in your teens’ lives but so are your friends and community. Do you share information with your family and friends online? Are you active in your teens’ school, their team sports, or your religious community?  

If not, start today!

Working on the frontline with teens, school nurses know the range of issues parents deal with concerning the health and welfare of teens. Whether you're looking to educate yourself about preventing teen cough medicine abuse or searching for advice on how to talk to your teen about the risks, the articles below, written by school nurses around the country, will help you get informed and start talking.

Home to Homeroom Digest:

Article 1: "Not My Kid" Isn't an Answer
Article 2: Your To-Do List: Prevent Teen Cough Medicine Abuse
Article 3: Good Medicines, Bad Behavior

In a recent press release, the CADCA and leading makers of OTC medicines are taking their campaign of education and awareness across our nation.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the nation’s primary substance abuse prevention organization representing over 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions across the country, and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents the leading makers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, have joined forces to kick off their annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month to raise awareness of the dangers of youth prescription and OTC medicine abuse.

Help and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) raise awareness at the local level about cough medicine abuse and prescription drug abuse. Get your community together and you could win an iPad!

Learn more.

Read more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Facebook Family Insurance - Keeping Your Family Safe Online

Social networking is growing each day and more teens, parents and just about everyone is participating in these social circles.  After The Social Network movie received rave reviews, took number one at the box office, it is no surprise that Facebook is one of the largest social networks in cyberspace.

As a parent, have you taken pre-cautions to insure your family's security and protection online?  During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month there are more articles, resources, and events available for you to become more educated with our digital society.

Identity theft virtually can be a nightmare.

What To Do If Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised?
The bottom line for online threats like phishing, spyware, and hackers is identity theft. ID theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. That's why it's important to protect your personal information. To find out how to deter and detect identity theft, visit

But, according to OnGuard Online, if your personal information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen, taking certain steps quickly can minimize the potential for the theft of your identity.

OnGuard Online Net Cetera is a program created by The Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  They are offering free booklets, videos, games, and more to the public to help educate people in cyberspace.

Sources: Net Cetera

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Teen Drinking Cultures in America and Driving

While teens admit to clearly hearing messages about the dangers of drinking and driving, new research indicates that teens do not acknowledge the toll alcohol plays on a maturing body or the legal consequences of consuming alcohol underage.  Alarmingly, teens studied indicate that consuming alcohol was viewed as a rite of passage in high school as they approached adulthood.  The Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America study was conducted by George Mason University and funded by The Century Council to learn more about teen drinking habits directly from teens themselves.

Teens admit one of the main reasons they drink alcohol is to reduce stress.  Far less emphasis was placed on peer pressure surrounding drinking.  In most instances, teens are getting alcohol from older siblings and more often than not are getting away with drinking in their parents’ home without adults recognizing the problem.
One of the main points of interest in the study is that school officials and teens alike agree alcohol awareness programs currently in the schools are ineffective.  Both suggest there is a discrepancy on what students are told about alcohol in school and their own experiences.

The study, Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America, was an innovative, independent research project designed to better understand the psychological and sociological factors that affect adolescents as they make decisions regarding whether to engage in alcohol-related behaviors.

In Broward County there is a Task Force to Combat Underage Drinking.  For more information, contact Pat Castillo, Director of Youth Programs at the Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse at 954-760-7007.

The Task Force to Combat Underage Drinking in Broward County was created in 2004 by The United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse (BCCSA) with guidance from the Florida Office of Drug Control and funding from the Florida Department of Transportation. The Task Force mission is to reduce underage drinking in Broward County.

Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, teens driving buzzed kills the same as driving drunk.

Sources: The Century Council, George Mason University, American Family Insurance

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gay teens bullied to death to achieve peace

It Gets Better Project has been causing a lot of soundwaves as many celebrities and others lend their voice and time to a very important topic; Bullying.

The latest suicides of Tyler Clementi and Asher Brown, two teens that were gay, have created shock waves throughout our country.  We are heading into 2011 within a few short months, and there are still kids and people that are prejudice and not tolerant to a variety of lifestyles.

Uniqueness is what makes the world go round, and tolerance starts at home.  Parenting in the 21st century should include teaching tolerance.  Parents need to lead by example.  No matter what race, religion or sexuality someone is, parents should teach and preach to their children never to judge.

Ellen Degeneres, Andy Cohen (watch his video), Jewel, Dan Savage are only a few of the celebs that are stepping up and speaking out with the 'It Gets Better project'.

This project was launched by renowned columnist Dan Savage. It Gets Better is about suicide prevention for LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, queer, intersex) youth bullied in high school and intolerant communities.  The It Gets Better Project now has dozens of inspiring videos about how people left behind the bigots, and are glad they didn’t give in to suicidal despair.

In South Florida there is the Florida Suicide Prevention CoalitionThe National Suicide Prevention Hotline is also always available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  Help is available through the Trevor Project hotline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, Laura’s Playground online hotline for transgendered people, and 24/7 crisis lines worldwide.)

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens. Teach tolerance!

Read more and watch video.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Parent Help and Cyber Safety: Keeping Your Teens Virtually Safe

We open National Cyber Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM) with a few educational and informational websites with some top resources you need to keep safe in cyberspace.  Resources that have been consistent in keeping up with the changing times online and people, books and websites that can help you help your teens and children stay safe.

1.  Connect Safely - ConnectSafely is for parents, teens, educators, advocates - everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web. The user-driven, all-media, multi-platform, fixed and mobile social Web is a big part of young people's lives, and this is the central space – linked to from social networks across the Web - for learning about safe, civil use of Web 2.0 together. Our forum is also designed to give teens and parents a voice in the public discussion about youth online safety begun back in the '90s. ConnectSafely also has all kinds of social-media safety tips for teens and parents, the latest youth-tech news, and many other resources.
2.  YourSphere and YourSphere for Parents - offers a vibrant, online, interactive, experience for kids and teens. Member’s safety and privacy come first through the application of common sense safeguards. The site devotes a hyper-focus towards supporting the positive interests, talents and aspirations of its members.
3.  Cyber Safe Family - was formed to educate parents on internet safety because we believe education is the key in keeping kids safe online.  Many parents are intimidated by today’s technology and overwhelmed with these questions.
4. PG Key - PG Key was created by a design and development team that includes industry experts with years of experience in creating powerful yet easy to use software applications. In addition to the experienced technical members, the team also includes representatives from law enforcement (an FBI agent that specializes in cyber crimes), education (a Ph.D. that currently serves as a district superintendent), the medical community (an M.D. and current member of the American Board of Pediatrics) and many others … including ordinary, non-technical, but concerned parents.
5. Wired Moms - Wired Moms is a coalition of moms and mom groups with a central focus of connecting with their families through technology and to getting the most out of the new innovations that make their lives easier and more fun and keeping our kids and ourselves safe online.
6.  Fortalice Solutions, LLC - In bits and bytes, the digital world holds pieces of our lives. And the team at Fortalice are your watchmen, because protection of your information is worth fighting for.Fortalice is a computer security firm.  A team of experienced cybercrime fighters helping governments, businesses and consumers protect their cyberturf. We design, develop and deploy customized IT solutions that help fend off the bad guys. But cybersecurity isnʼt always about technology. Itʼs about arming people with the knowledge to defend themselves.Over the last twenty years, our team of experts has taught the United States Government, some of the countryʼs largest banks and thousands of consumers how to safeguard their information.
7.  ReputationDefender - ReputationDefender was created in 2006 to defend your good name on the Internet. Today, ReputationDefender has grown to be the world's first comprehensive online reputation management and privacy company. We're the most experienced and most technologically innovative company of our kind. With customers in over 35 countries, ReputationDefender is proud to serve a global customer base throughout the world's largest community - the Internet.
8.  Veritate et Virtute - Christopher Burgess - Author - Speaker - Humanitarian - Senior Security Advisor - - - My focus is on Safety, Security, Intelligence, Intellectual Property and Humanitarian issues. I put particular emphasis on the protection of both the young and the elderly of our society. I co-authored w/Richard Powers: "Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost: Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century" My published works, books & articles, audio pod-casts and video presentations can be found at
9. Look Both Ways - Linda Criddle - LOOKBOTHWAYS Inc.’s mission is to make the Internet safer for all consumers. In addition to providing free web resources to consumers, LOOKBOTHWAYS Inc. specializes in understanding the Human Factor in Online Safety. The company develops internet safety technologies; provides product design, safety reviews, and other consulting services to leading technology companies; and advises regulatory bodies, and various law enforcement agencies.
10.  Google Bomb Book - The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed The Way We Use The Internet - In today's technology-dependent world, the Internet has become a legal lethal weapon against the privacy and reputations of its users. Based on Sue Scheff's landmark Internet defamation case that gave face to online harassment, cyberbulling, privacy invasion, and Google™ bombs (the practice of manipulating the ranking of web pages), and stirred Internet regulation and free-speech debates, Google™ Bomb arms readers with information, legal advice, and reputation defense (and clean up) mechanisms from one of the country's top cyber abuse attorneys, John W. Dozier, Jr.
11. iKeepSafe - The Internet Keep Safe Coalition is a broad partnership of governors and/or first spouses, attorneys general, public health and educational professionals, law enforcement, and industry leaders working together for the health and safety of youth online.  iKeepSafe® uses these unique partnerships to disseminate safety resources to families worldwide.
12. Net Cetera OnGuard Online - Net Cetera covers what you need to know, where to go for more information, and issues to raise with kids about living their lives online. encourages you to use this guide with your kids, in your school, at your PTA meeting, or anywhere else parents might gather. Feel free to order as many free copies as you'd like, put your own sticker on it, reprint sections in a newsletter or on a website, download a button or link to it, or even reprint it with your own logo. These materials are in the public domain.  To order free copies of Net Cetera, visit To find out more about reprinting the guide, contact

This is only a short list, there are many more.  Locally, parents should check their local Sheriff's Office websites.  In Broward County, they offer an Internet Safety page for kids.

This list is in no particular order.  All have valuable information.
Read more and watch video.