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Category Archives: Home and Family

How Do Internet Predators Select their Victims?

# Almost by definition, internet predators favor children who have regular (and private) access to a computer. Most victims live in suburban or rural areas while relatively few live in inner cities.

# Internet predators gravitate towards children who are online for lengthy periods of time each day, and usually at the same time of day. Predators seek children whose schedules mesh with their own, children who are online most days during a consistent time frame. Think about it… predators have little chance to groom a child for future exploitation if that child is rarely online or is online at various times of the day. Children who do not have a lot of activities outside of school tend to be online longer and at the same times of day compared to those children who have lots of activities. These children are more often targeted by internet predators.

# Internet predators prefer children who have instant message accounts. Although some predators use email, many prefer communicating with their victims through instant messages. Predators know that while emails are saved automatically and have to be manually deleted, instant messages tend to evaporate into the ether once the instant message window is closed. Parents can keep a permanent record of instant message conversations by installing instant message monitoring software on their children’s computers.

# Internet predators search out children who will speak to them. Again this seems self-evident, but predators are forced to pass over children who refuse to communicate with strangers they have not met offline. Teach your children never to communicate online with someone they have not met offline.

# Internet predators search out children who are vulnerable and lonely, sheltered and naive. Predators seek to develop a relationship with their targets, often posing as children or teenagers themselves, and then use that relationship to initiate sexual discussion and activity or lure the child into an offline meeting.

# Internet predators are all the more emboldened if they find out a child is from a single parent family, having trouble at school or with the law, or has been experimenting with drugs, alcohol or sexual activity.

# Internet predators search out children who post personal profiles on the internet, especially those that provide name, age, photos, gender, physical description, telephone number, address, etc.

# Internet predators favor targets who own webcams or digital cameras. Predators often coerce children into using these devices to send images of themselves to the predator. If a child does not own a camera, predators sometimes send one to their targets for the purpose of photographing themselves.

# To be successful, internet predators require children who will not terminate the relationship at the first suggestion of sexual activity. Even if a vulnerable child with few friends is uncomfortable with sexual talk, they will sometimes put up with the unpleasantness of the conversation for fear of losing their new “friend”.

# Internet predators seem to favor victims between the ages of 12-15. These are the ages where children are discovering their own sexuality and independence, and also the ages where they are most likely to be conned into meeting with a stranger without telling their parents. Younger and older children are also solicited, but as a whole tend to be harder targets.


Show Your Kids How Much You Care with These Tips

LISTEN. This is so easy to do, yet so many of us have such a hard time with it. Drop what you are doing, look your child in the eye and really hear what they have to say.

Repeat what they said with a reflective statement such as: “I can tell that this is a big concern to you.” Rephrase what they said back to them, so they know you actually heard what they are saying.

Young children, when upset, need to know they have been heard. Most of the time, this is all it takes and then the crisis is over and they are on to something else.

Keep ROUTINE and STRUCTURE in your child’s day. Even grownups benefit from knowing what comes next, and not living in a chaotic time schedule.

On the same wavelength as routine and structure comes environment. Just having a CLEAN and ORGANIZED HOME is a simple way to show them they are important and you want them to stay safe and healthy.

a) When the housework is starting to wear on your nerves, just say a prayer of thanks that you have those beautiful children to clean up after. Stop and think of the grieving parent who has lost a child who would gladly trade places with you.

Apologize when you make a mistake. It is a great way to teach respect to your child, to be able to acknowledge when you are wrong.

You not only show them that no one has to be perfect all the time, you show them that you care about how they feel. When you make a mistake and tell your child you are sorry, you can teach them the value of forgiving others.

Children are very resilient and will learn forgiveness quickly when it involves their own parent.

Share and CELEBRATE their accomplishments. Make a big deal out of great progress report.

My daughter had problems in 5th grade getting her homework done and turned in. It was an ongoing problem. When she received her first progress report from middle school, she had highlighted the big 0 that was marked in the missing assignment section.

She was so proud that she had improved in that area. The report was to be returned after being signed by me, so I copied it with my scanner and put it up on the wall.

I wanted her to know that she had every right to be proud. It was a simple gesture on my part and it left her beaming.

It’s these little things that go a long way in making a lasting impression in your children’s minds.

Watch what you say and how you say it. Especially be careful of your choice of words when you are angry. It is in times of anger when words spoken can sometimes be hard to take back. Also remember that parental words spoken in anger can leave the biggest bruises on a child’s psyche and self-esteem.

These are just some very simple, completely free ways we can show are children we love them. They don’t cost even a penny, just a little time and thought on our part as parents.

Oh yes, and it goes without saying, hug and touch them often, if it is nothing more than a pat on the back or tousling their hair. Touch is a way you can say “I love you” without speaking a word.


Teenage Boy Gift Ideas

Team Jersey

The majority of teenage boys are into some sort of sport. Whether it is basketball, football, baseball, or NASCAR racing, he most likely has a favorite team or sports hero. Buy him a jersey from his team. Even better, find a jersey with the number of his favorite player.


What is the natural instinct that drives teenage boys to want to hunt each other down? Whatever it is, you can feed this instinct safely by giving a gift of paintball guns and equipment. There are complete kits you can purchase at retail stores for reasonable prices.

Car Accessories

A gift of car accessories is a sure win if the teenage boy on your list is old enough to drive and has his own car. Even for the teenage boy who is not driving yet, this could be a great gift. Young guys dream of owning their first set of wheels. A gift of car wax and other cleaning supplies allow him to pamper his new toy. Seat covers or other decorative accessories let him give his car a personal touch.

Black Light Lamp

Black light lamps are back, and any teenage boy on your list is likely to want one. Get him one for his room and find out what glows in the dark. Many posters and other decorative accessories are available now that spring to life under a black light.

Consumer Electronics Gift Certificate

Gadgets and entertainment equipment are always a hit with teenage boys. A gift certificate to a consumer electronics store will give him an excuse to check out all of the latest TVs, stereo equipment, and computers. This is also the place where he can find his favorite music and video games. If you don’t have a suitable store in your area, the young guy on your list can do all his shopping there online.


Most teenage boys wear jeans most of the time, which means they always need new ones. Just make sure you buy the style he likes. Some teenage boys like snug-fitting jeans, while others like their jeans baggy. Carpenter or painter jeans are also popular. Whatever the style, this is the “can’t miss” gift, because there is no such thing as too many jeans.


Yes — jewelry! Jewelry is becoming increasingly popular, in one form or another, among teenage guys. For rockers, tribal or beaded necklaces will be a hit. They might also like a stud or hoop earring. Preppy guys often like to wear fashionable rings or bracelets. If you aren’t too sure about jewelry, try a watch. With such a wide variety of watch styles available, you’ll be certain to find one to fit any teenage boy’s taste.


Christmas is a great time for winter sports. This year might be the perfect opportunity for your teenager to get into snowboarding, and simple snowboards can be purchased at a relatively low price. The thrill of conquering a new challenge motivates many a teenage boy, and snowboarding will give him a way to release some energy and add excitement to the winter months.

Video Game Magazine Subscription

Generally speaking, teenage boys are suckers for video games. If the guy on your list has a game system, such as X-Box, PlayStation, or Nintendo, you can get him a subscription to the corresponding magazine. He’ll get inside information and screen shots from upcoming games, ratings of current games, and, best of all — demo discs. These demo discs let him play portions of games before they even come out, which helps him decide what games he really likes and wants to buy.

Portable CD Player

Boys love noise — and their favorite kind is music. Whatever his music preferences, the teenage boy on your list is most likely to be passionate about his bands. With a portable CD player he can listen to his music anytime, anywhere, and you won’t have to hear it.


Steps that Will Help Prepare Your Kids for College

# Communicate with your child about their goals and dreams. You have to keep the lines of communication open at all times. If you never talk to your child about what they want to do later in life, you won’t have a sense of what their goals, dreams and aspirations are. If on the other hand you regularly engage your children in conversations about education and their future, you’ll learn early on the types of studies that might interest them and can help them make important decisions about their college career when the time comes.

# Stay involved in education. You have to be involved in your child’s education from day one. It’s not enough to take an active interest their first day of college. Ask them how they are doing in school regularly, talk with them about the classes they like and the ones they are struggling with. They will be more likely to lean on you for support during their college years.

# Encourage your children to explore new things and subjects early. Don’t wait until they are about to head off to college to encourage them to try new things. Start when they are young. Expose them to different subjects, music, sports and other creative activities so they have a chance to experience as much of the world as possible before they make the giant leap to college.

# Don’t push. You should be available for your children when they have questions about college or pursuing a career, but you shouldn’t be overly aggressive about pushing them toward attending or even going to a particularly school. Why? Your efforts may actually backfire and you may find that your teenager decides to forgo an education all together, not because they aren’t interested, but because they want to defy your strict orders.

# Teach your child to start saving early. College is expensive. As time goes on your child may find themselves spinning a wheel of deeper and deeper debt. Teach them to be financially responsible early on by helping them set up a savings account. It doesn’t have to be for school or college only, but it will help teach them the value of saving a dollar. While you are at it, save some money too.

Preparing your children for college is a big step, but a worthy one. You’re children will thank you one day for taking time out of your schedule to help them through their college years.


Making the Perfect Memory for Your Little Princess

1. Set a date

Keep in mind the ages of your little ones and set the time when they won’t be too tired, too hungry or too cranky! The “official” teatime is late afternoon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful teatime in the morning as well.

2. Invite

The fun begins. Being a princess requires invitations of the most royal kind. Lovely linen paper is easy to find at your local craft or office supply store. Run it through your home printer with a fancy font and you’re done. Send the invitations out about 2-3 weeks before your tea so your guests can plan accordingly.

3. Decorate

Let your princess help with this part … after all, it is HER event. Royal colors include purple, gold, pink and silver and aren’t those the favorites of girls anyway? Balloons, streamers and more balloons! We’ll talk about the tea table in a minute.

4. Make the food

Traditional tea fare includes scones and clotted cream. Other royal tea treats are chocolate covered strawberries, thumbprint cookies, cucumber sandwiches (or substitute the ever popular PB&J sandwich for younger ones) and miniature teacakes.

5. Set the table

Go all out here. Use a lovely tablecloth, cloth napkins and real teacups not plastic. Not only will this be fun for your little ones, but it’ll be a great lesson in etiquette as well as they learn to put on their finest manners for your tea.

6. Plan some games

Great princess games abound but keep it simple. Hide some gold-foiled covered coins around the house and have a hunt to return the royal treasure. Use a lovely glass bowl as the treasure chest. Spread your gold and silver balloons all over the “ballroom” floor and play classical music for a royal ball with much dancing.

7. Enjoy the day

Most of all make it fun. Take many pictures and record the memories. Your little princess will go to bed that night smiling from ear to ear with the joy of the day!