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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sexting and Teens

Sexting and teenagers is a subject we hear about in the media, usually when there's been a problem that has led to legal ramifications for a preteen or teen.

Eric Rice, PhD et. al. recently completed a study on sexting at the LA Unified School District and how it related to sexual risky behaviors in teens.

His article in Pediatrics is called Sexually Explicit Cell Phone Messaging Associated With Sexual Risk Among Adolescents. (Pediatrics, 10.1542/peds.2012-0021)

His study found that 15% of teens with cell phone access reported sexting (either text or photos). 54% reported knowing someone who had sent a sexually explicit text. Teens whose peers sexted were more likely to engage in the behavior themselves. Adolescents who sexted were more likely to be sexually active than their counterparts who did not sext. (for more stats read his article in Pediatrics (10.1542/peds.2012-0021) or just get the basics from his abstract.

Rice et al. concluded that sexting does not act as an alternative to risky sexual behavior in a teen's real life, rather it is part of a 'cluster' of risky sexual behaviors in adolescents.

Rice recommends having a discussion of sexting and associated risky behaviors in a school based curricula.

In my opinion sexting is a topic that parents need to discuss with their teens as part of any conversation about sexuality, social media safety and Internet safety.

Technology has changed the world from when many of us were students when flashing or streaking was not uncommon. Teens today are sexting and they need to hear about this subject before they reach the age where they may feel peer pressure to indulge in this behavior. They need to know not only the social risks of sexting but the legal ramifications. It is important to let your son or daughter know how you feel about sexting and why.

Inform them that images or texts they've sent may be posted on the Internet where they will become a permanent. Sexting isn't like 'what happens in high school stays in high school.' No, those images or sexts, often with their names attached, may become a permanent part of any search on the net.

As parents you cannot depend on a school district to cover the subject. If you want your teen to be exposed to your values about this subject then you need to sit down and discuss it with them. More than once. Like any kind of good sex education it is an ongoing topic that needs to be addressed more than just once as your teen matures.

I know, for many parents talking about sex is uncomfortable. But it's time to bite the bullet. Teens aren't going to stop doing it just because you are uncomfortable talking about it. It's the same with sexting.

I know I'd rather sit down and talk to my kids about sexting than have them have to deal with the possibly life long problems it can cause. So make some time, plan what you want to say, and have a game plan on what to do if you think your child is sexting.

Have you had a frank discussion about the dangers of sexting? What would you do if you thought your teen was sexting? Do you think there is a difference between sending sexually explicit text messages versus sexually explicit photos? And do you know a good lawyer and/or psychologist? Because if you don't sit down with your teens and cover this topic in depth there is a chance your teen will need the services of both.

Let me know what you think--is sexting dangerous to your teen? Is sexting a gateway to risky behavior or just a behavior that teens already involved in risky behaviors take part in? Or is this a subject that has been blown out of proportion?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Banning Books In Our Schools and Local Libraries


                                                                                                     Image from Daily Clip Art

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Still individuals and groups continue to attempt to ban books in our schools and in our public libraries.
As a child who was reading adult books from a young age (since I'd read the whole children's and young adult section) I was appalled at all the books that people have attempted to have banned. To me banning books is just one way small groups of vocal people try to force their beliefs on the majority. Censorship can be subtle, and nearly imperceptible, or it can also be blatant and overt, but, no matter how it occurs censorship is always harmful.

To hear people have attempted to ban books based on vulgar language, teen sexuality, or racism, all the things that are real if you walk into any school today is absurd. In any school today you can hear the 'vulgar' language, you can overhear the discussions in hallways about graphic sex, and sadly you hear racist comments. These books ARE what teens and middle-schoolers today can relate to, they are what these kids are doing and saying. No matter how we as parents want to deny it, our kids are growing up far faster today than we did at their age.

We can't ban books and think it will protect our children and teens from experiencing what the characters in the books are going through. Some of them are sexually active and they are using language that would make grandma blush, just like the characters in these books. Some of them are either the object of racist comments or the instigator of them. Racism, sex, and vulgar language are alive and well in our schools.

Banning a book as being unsuitable for an age group is almost as bad. Any teen or preteen who is made uncomfortable by the content of a book will simply not read it. So choosing to ban a book based on age group is also unconscionable.

Would I ban Catcher In The Rye? (a true classic) No. Ann Frank? No. It is an important observation of life during WWII. Nickel and Dimed? No. Since when are differences in political opinions a reason to ban a book? Water for Elephants? No. While maybe a tough read for a middle-schooler, certainly great for high schools. Brave New World? No. And the list goes on. Yes, some of these books may contain language or attitudes that are offensive but sometimes we need to look past what we hear and think about what we can learn, even if it's only that this is not how we want our world to be.

There are other books on the list that someone wanted banned, but the one that surprised me the most was The Hunger Games. Probably every kid I know who enjoys reading has read this book. It speaks to them. It is what they want to read. Attempting to ban or banning a book often just make it all the more attractive to young readers.

So if you have no respect for our Constitution, stop to consider how attractive adults make something that is out of reach. Stop trying to ban books. Respect our Constitution and credit our great young minds with knowing what they want to read and let them read it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How You Can 'Master the Mommy Track'

As a women who wears many hats (and who sometimes wonders just how many hours it is possible to work in a single day) I thought some of you might be facing the same dilemmas. So I'll share a new resource to help you find a solution that works for you and your family.

Mastering The Mommy Track Cover Shot posted with permission of Erin Flynn Jay

Although my children are now adults, my life is no less busy (how did that happen?) and this book addresses a lot of issues for women of all ages who are trying to manage to keep all the balls in the air!

I hope you enjoy my review of Mastering The Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids in Uncertain Times, a new book by Erin Flynn Jay.

Mommy Track tells the stories of career moms trying to balance the demands of their careers, spouses and families. How do they do it all? It isn't easy, but the stories in her book show that it is doable! (With a little help from friends, family and experts)

What makes Erin an expert? She is a wife, mom and career woman who successfully juggles it all. A successful writer in her own right, Erin also works promoting other professionals and small businesses. So yes, she does know what she's talking about.

Erin also talked to experts in a variety of fields getting their expert opinions to help busy moms get a better take on how to handle their day to day lives.

In her book she tells us stories of moms facing a variety of dilemmas in modern day life. Are you a mom who feels conflicted as she drops her child off at daycare? Or a mom who works while her spouse stays home taking care of the kids? Has your family suddenly gone from a two income family to one due to layoffs? Are you having a hard time making time for you and your spouse? Mommy Track addresses the issues of being a parent and a spouse and how to maintain your financial, marital, psychological and nutritional health, and the all important time management! And perhaps best of all, Mommy Track reminds you that yes, it is OK to take time out for yourself. What more could you ask for in one small book?

Mastering the Mommy Track is a serious look at women and the stories of their lives as they struggle through the changes in our society and the economy of the early 21st century. It gives women valuable input on how to manage their home and work lives with a positive attitude toward both.

Special order your copy of Mastering The Mommy Track: Juggling Career and Kids in Uncertain Times by Erin Flynn Jay at your local independent bookstore like Towne Book Centre in Collegeville, Pennsylvania or your own favorite local store to support the local economy.

Or if you can't get to your local independent bookstore, you can order Mommy Track online from Amazon or order it from Barnes and Noble (it doesn't take you directly to the page, hit 'search button and it takes you directly to the page) online.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Memory On Hand - Your Data As Close As Your Wrist

YouTube Video from Daily Grommet

Memory on Hand is Daily Grommet's newest find--total genius for back to school (and for adults as well.)

Kids are heading back to school and if you are like many parents you don't want your laptop going with them. And if you've been through the agony of lost thumb drives (that had all their research for their term paper on it) you will want to get one of these for each of your kids (oh, and don't forget to get one for yourself!)

Daily Grommet sells this new product called Memory on Hand. It's a bracelet thumb drive. It comes in variety of designs and colors and the bracelet is 7.5". Don't want to wear a bracelet? Attach it to your backpack or hook inside your handbag. No more losing the cap, or worse, the memory stick.

Visit Daily Grommet to see all the colors and designs available.


  • 4GB or 8GB USB drives in a wristband
  • Size of wristband is approximately 18.5 cm/7.28 inches around
  • Made from silicone, and ROHS compliant (lead-free)
  • Not waterproof

  • Looking for a great gizmo to brand with your business logo? Talk to them about special pricing for custom orders. I do love a creative product that is functional and fun! Enjoy!

    Do Green Goldfish Think Different?

    Most of you are familiar with the Dr. Seuss story, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish where the fish are unlike any fish you'll find in the ocean or your local lake. They have cars and stars. They are fish extraordinaire!
    Photo courtesy of Pink Fluffy World

    As a child one of my favorite colors was green. Not ho hum dark green (like my school uniform). No I liked bright kelly green. Almost glow in the dark green--but not quite.  One day my teacher told us to write about our favorite animal. (OK, I was in 2nd I really didn't know anyone would think I was being a smart ass when I wrote a composition in my black and white marble covered notebook about the glories of green goldfish.)

    The teacher, Miss O'Neill was not amused. The nuns were less amused. I got the unusual and unwanted opportunity (because I was basically a goody two shoes) to speak to the School Principal. My knees knocked. I was terrified. I knew it was not a good thing to have to go down the hall, past the sour faced secretary to see The Big Nun! Frankly I don't remember her name today, hence her unusual name. She may not have actually been BIG but she sure was scary to a little 2nd grader!

    But the principal was actually very nice as I look back on it now (once I could hear what she was saying over my knocking knees!)

    She read my composition aloud and then asked in a deep voice DO YOU HAVE A GREEN GOLDFISH? In my tiny little voice I squeaked out 'no Sister.' (Not wanting to get caught lying and breaking one of the Ten Commandments!)

    HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A GREEN GOLDFISH? 'No sister.' My stomach was lurching and my face was probably turning as green as the goldfish I wrote about as I stood there.

    THEN WHY DID YOU WRITE THEY ARE YOUR FAVORITE ANIMAL? Keeping my attention on the big silver cross around her neck and the rosary beads hanging from her waist I stuttered and stammered and said 'becasue I want one more than anything and if I could I'd love to be one.'

    The next words out of her mouth stunned me. Wasn't her job to make me be just like everyone else? All of us acting alike, believing the same thing, repeating rules like robots? I guess I was wrong because she said, DON'T BE AFRAID TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION AND TO BE DIFFERENT.

    Wow! Totally not what I expected her to say. She wanted me to use my imagination AND be different if that's how I felt, such a totally non nun thing to say. I mean there she was, dressed the same as every other nun in the building, the picture of conformity suggesting I break the 'rules' and think outside the box! It occurred to me that maybe underneath all that black and brown and white Sister wore kelly green underwear. (I was fortunately smart enough not to express that sentiment or ask what color she wore! I was young but not DUMB!)

    To a 2nd grader who loved the gaudy and different, I just knew green goldfish wouldn't have to be like the other fish. They would glory in their green-ness! They could be the superheros of the goldfish bowl. Or the artists or musicians. They could wear gaudy jewelry (usually reserved for playing dress up) to school and get away with it. Yes, I thought the only thing better than having a green goldfish would be being one! A green goldfish would have to power to be a trendsetter (something there aren't too many of in Catholic grades schools.) In pre-Madonna days a green goldfish would be the fish who got away with breaking all the rules.
    So it leads me to my question "do green goldfish think different?" OK, I know, there's no such thing as green goldfish. At least not in my local pet store. But if I took a bottle of green food coloring... no not a good idea...

    Hmm... what do you think? Do green goldfish bond with regular goldfish? Or are they the loners in the fishbowl? Or are goldfish color blind? Do all fish look alike? Act alike? Would a green goldfish have that little something extra and unexpected in their personality that made them a star?

    As a child this idea fascinated me. What did green goldfish think about? Did they think the same as the garden variety goldfish I could find in my pet store? Did they like the same food as regular goldfish? Did they like different color rocks in the bottom of their bowl? Did they like having a fake castle or did they prefer the pirate's chest filled with gold? Did they hide their different-ness in the fake greenery in the goldfish bowl or did they get out their and flaunt it? Did green goldfish like knock knock jokes? Would it be fun to be a green goldfish?

    I've moved on from wanting to dye the goldfish green. But I never forgot sister's advice. And it's something that I think as bloggers we need to remember as we craft our blogs. Yes, it's good to read OPBs(Other People's Blogs) to see how other people are succeeding but we need to make our blog our own not a reflection of all the rest of the blogs out there. We need to, in effect, be a green goldfish blogger. We need to stand out on our own not as a copy of someone else's blog.

    How about you? Are you a green goldfish blogger? As a blogger do you show your uniqueness? Do you want your blog to be 'different?' Or do you look at everyone else's blogs and want to copy theirs?

    If you've read this far you've already figured out I'm a 'green goldfish' blogger. I like looking at things and putting my own spin on them. Having a blog that can break the rules and still be a blog. Yes, I'm still finding my way, but it is MY WAY. Whether it's green or gold or pink or purple--my blog is my choice of things to share and how to do it. It's my green goldfish.

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    Go Orange For Hunger Action Month

    download facebook cover
    No, I'm not hungry. I'm one of the lucky ones. But that doesn't mean I'm not involved with It doesn't mean I'm not going orange for hunger action month.
    We all have a personal responsibility to help those in need. Whether we volunteer, or just drop off food at food banks, send a check, or invite a family we know is struggling to dinner we all can make an impact on hunger in America--hunger in our own communities--friends who are struggling, family who need help. Stop and think about who in your circle of friends and acquaintances might be hungry. Then take action.
    The action you take may be different than what your neighbor does. This isn't a race to see 'who can top this.' This is about taking personal action and doing or donating what you can. Sometimes it's time, sometimes it's money, sometimes it is increasing awareness of hunger in our communities. Sometimes it's donating that overflow from your garden to someone who needs it.
    Whether you set up a virtual food drive, give money on a monthly basis, or when it comes to someone's birthday, donate in their name, offers dozens of ways you can donate anything from $12 and up. $12 helps feed a child breakfast for three months--think of it--three months without a child going hungry each morning. What greater gift could there be?
    It is also important in these days of legislative cutbacks to let your senators and representatives know that you want them to vote to keep food programs alive and well funded. There are many government programs that are simply waste. We need them to know this is a program that has non-negotiable cuts.
    Go to  to find the names and addresses of your representatives. If you don't have time to write a personal letter to your elected officials set up a tweet that you can re-tweet frequently to remind them of your priorities. Post on their facebook pages. Get their attention using whatever means you like.
    They work for you--be sure they know taking action against hunger is top priority.
    To find out more about hunger and look for blogging sites that have 'gone orange' for the month. Hear personal stories that will tug at your your heart. And then do something about it.
    Are you a blogger looking for information? Read Creating Motherhood. It is all about a call to action. Will  you help fight hunger in our country? I hope the answer is yes.