Sue Scheff: Dangerous Games for Teens – Trunking

During the holiday school break, kids typically have more free time.  Sometimes this is a good thing, and other times it can mean idle time finds them doing troubling things.  As I wrote about a short time again, The Choking Game, is another type of entertainment that teens should never engage in.

We don’t hear a lot about “trunking” but it is not only illegal it is extremely dangerous. Connect With Kids reported on this new trend and at this time it is time for parents to have a reminder.

Bob Wilson, Chapter Director, National Safety Council says: “As a parent, I think the consequences [for trunking] should be very severe. If that child is already driving, revoking driving privileges for a period of time would certainly be appropriate.”

As reported by Connect with Kids: A startling new trend has emerged among teenagers. Just to get around the new graduated license laws – that ban new drivers from having other kids in the car – some teens are now riding in the trunk.

Every state is a little different, but the rules for teen driving across the country are getting stricter.

16-year-old Karla Greene explains: “Once you get your license you can only have family members in the car.”

And then,” says 18-year-old Matt Simon, “you can’t drive past midnight until you turn 18.”

But, says Bob Wilson of the National Safety Council, “we’re trying to keep our teens safe – and it’s proven that by restricting other teenage passengers it reduces risk to them.”

But many teens, inconvenienced by the new rules, have found a way to get around them.

It’s called “trunking.”

I’ve ridden in the trunk a few times,” says 20-year-old David Mack, “We had too many people in the car and I was the smallest one, so it all came down to me.”

But many kids fail to realize that trunking is not only illegal- it’s incredibly dangerous.

Best friends Chris Snyder and Scott Atchison were riding in the trunk of a car when they hit a tree. “The trunk lid popped open in the crash, ejected them onto the highway and they were run over,” says Wilson.

Sadly, both teens died.

Experts say parents need to make the driving laws explicit.

It’s the parents responsibility for getting their teenager through the teenage years safely,” explains Wilson. “Certainly the trunking issue comes into play- cell phone use, alcohol, drug use, seatbelt use- all of those are parent responsibilities to make sure their teen is compliant.”

Parenting Tips

  • If you find that your child has been “trunking,” make the consequences severe. Suspend all driving privileges for a period of time. (Bob Wilson, National Safety Council)
  • Maintain a zero-tolerance policy with your teen regarding alcohol – on and off the road. (National Safety Council)
  • If your state does not have teen driving restrictions, set your own. Make sure your teen is able to drive safely before they drive at night or with friends in the car. (Allstate Insurance)
  • Any unbelted passenger is at extreme risk in an accident- whether they are in the cabin or in the trunk. Insist that your child always wears a seatbelt. (Bob Wilson, National Safety Council)

Be sure to talk to your teens and kids about this “game” and how dangerous it is.  Be an educated parent – you will have safer teens.

 Watch video below for more information – be informed and show your teens.  Trunking is illegal!

Sue Scheff: Teaching Gratitude after Receiving Holiday Gifts

Holiday time is perfect opportunity to teach your kids and teens how to express their gratitude for the gifts they receive. 

Taking the time to show how much you appreciate a gift or simply wanting to thank someone for inviting you to a holiday party you attended is a practice both adults and children should do.

Teach your child that although they don’t have to write an essay, they need to be descriptive and write with excitement about the generosity someone gave them.  Of course, even if you didn’t care for the gift, it is not about the material item as it is about appreciation.  Someone thought of you and extended a present of thoughtfulness.

Here is a quick template that could help you get your kids started.  Of course you can use your own adjectives and words, but this can give you an idea.  Holiday can be substituted for Christmas or Hanukkah.

Dear [ Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Friend, etc],

Thank you so much for the ___.  It is [beautiful, just my size, useful, helpful, will be handy for __, perfect, exactly what I wanted, just what I needed, etc.]

Our holidays were [fun, quiet, exciting, lots of food, enjoyable, wonderful etc.]

I really appreciated your [kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, consideration, visit, etc.]

[Love, Sincerely, Much Gratitude, Cordially, Warmly, Yours, etc.] 

There, wasn’t that easy!  So while you are out shopping for those gifts, don’t for the thank you cards!

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Also on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve

T’is the season and what a great and fun way to get involved with your children!  It is Christmas Eve and all the excitement and anxious kids are wishing this day would be over so Santa will be arriving tonight.  Here is a great way to ease their anxiousness and give them an idea of how far reaching and magical Santa is!  At 8:05 am EST Santa is currently in Guam, and next stop is Yap Islands!  This is also a great way to get your kids involved in geography and learn about different countries!  Santa has a way of teaching and giving all at once…. he is magical….

Southfield (WWJ Radio) reported today: Santa Claus is coming to town and you can track the jolly old elf as he makes his way across the world.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command will be tracking Santa’s journey to continue a tradition that goes back more than 50 years.

The tradition started in 1955 when a Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the Continental Air Defense Command Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.”

The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

Do you want to track Santa? Click here.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Have you seen the new Google Holiday logos?

Reminder: Twitter is being used to track drunk drivers in one part of the United States.

Sue Scheff: Encouraging your teens to volunteer

This is the season of sharing and caring about others in your community. American teenagers are participating more than many would believe. According to the latest Harris Poll 56 percent of teens are out in their communities volunteering.

As a Parent Advocate and Founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts, we constantly encourage parents to get their teens involved in giving back – volunteering and simply building their self worth through time spent helping others. Especially with the holiday school break, encourage your kids to get involved. Click here for some great ideas to do as a family.

Recently Connect with Kids listed some parenting tips to help you get your teen involved.

What can be done to help improve the ethics of children and to make them more thoughtful and generous? The National Network for Child Care says responsive parents and teachers “can lead children away from materialism.” The following suggestions will help strengthen children’s self-esteem and sharing abilities:

  • Model sharing and giving: Your kindness and willingness to share with your children encourages them to do the same.
  • Recognize children’s spontaneous gestures of sharing: Emphasize the results of their kindness to others.
  • Recognize the many ways children share: They may invite someone to join them in playing with a toy they with which they are already playing. They may loan a child something. Or they may give something permanently to another child, like a cookie.
  • Help children develop a healthy sense of ownership, and give them opportunities to share special belongings: Encourage children to talk about how the belongings are used and enjoyed.
  • Give children the choice to share or be generous: “Forced” sharing and generosity can build an atmosphere of resentment. When forced to share, it is less likely that children will offer kindness on their own.

Remember that children’s attitudes often reflect the teachings of their parents.

Can troubled teens make a difference too? >>>>>> Read more.

Sue Scheff: Parenting 2010 Jumping Ahead with Technology – Cyber Safety and Your Kids

Did you miss part 1? Part 2? Part 3? Part 4? Go back, it will help you be an educated parent for 2010 in an effort to stay ahead of your kids with today’s technology.

The final part of this series is the most important.  Whether you are online or offline your lines of communication with your kids, especially teens, needs to stay and remain open.  As difficult as this can be in a busy world we live in, make 2010 the year you start taking time-off to be with your kids – both literally and virtually.

 Part 5T.A.L.K.

  • TTime – Take the time to talk to your kids. Learn more about where they surf online, what their social networking sites are saying and who their friends are – literally and virtually.
  • A – Action – Take action and be a proactive parent in what sites your kids are visiting, who they are talking to, and what they are doing – literally and virtually.
  • LLearn – Educate yourself, take the time to learn about safety resources for you and your family online. An educated parent leads to safer kids and teens – both literally and virtually.
  • KKeep-up – Don’t stop! Keep checking in on them and their social networking sites as well as their Blogs. Keep it clean, keep it positive and keep involved!

At the end of 2010 make it your goal to be ten steps ahead of your kids technically. Talk to other parents, talk to teachers, talk to guidance counselors and most importantly talk to your kids! Communication is key to parenting. Never allow those channels, both literally and virtually, to be closed. Talk, talk, talk, and more talk…. It is the resolution all parents need to make and keep for 2010.

Reminder articles to keep your kids and teens safe while surfing! Social Web Tips for Teens, Chatroom Safety Tips, Cell Phone Safety Tips, Social Web Tips for Parents


Part 1 – Understand why it is critical to sit down with your kids and teens and review social networking sites.
Part 2 – Learn how to Blog effectively.
Part 3 – Learn how to monitor your child’s name online.
Part 4 – Review books, resources and services to help you be a better parent with technology.
Part 5 – T.A.L.K. – Keep those lines of communication open! Both online and off!

Order your free cyber safety booklet through the FTC – click here.

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Wishing everyone a safe and healthy New Year, both online

Sue Scheff: Parenting 2010 Part 3

Did you miss part 1 or part 2Go back!

Part 3 – Learn to monitor your kids and teens online in the New Year.

It can be literally impossible to keep up with our kids in school and at home, now we have to attempt to keep up with them virtually!  However, as a responsible parent, we absolutely do our best to keep up with them on all fronts.

Let’s talk about ways to keep track of where they are online.  Where is there name being placed?  Who is using their name and who is posting about them?  Are there photo’s out there floating in cyberspace that shouldn’t be?  Is your child tagged in any of them?  For teens that will be applying to colleges shortly this is a very important step they need to keep track of.  Reminder of the college recruiters using search engines to vet their applicants! 

  • Set up your Google Alerts.  It is self explanatory, visit and it will walk you through the process.  Sign up your child’s name and be sure to put quotations around it.  For example “Sally Smith”.  Don’t forget to include their nicknames.  You can choose how many times a day/week you would like these alerts as well as where you want to search. 
  • Set up your Tweet Beeps.  Do you want to know if your child’s name is being used on Twitter?  Like Google Alerts, Tweet Beeps will let you know when your child’s name is on Twitter. 
  • Google, Bing, Yahoo your child’s name frequently.  What are the results? Are there questionable items?  Ask your kids about them.  In some cases with common names, this task can be tedious.  Take the time to be sure your own child’s name is not being mis-used. 

To take this a step further, you may want to consider an online management service that offers a deeper search on your child’s name:  ReputationDefender/MyChild

What is MyChild?
MyChild by ReputationDefender scours the Internet for all references to your child or teen – by name, photography, screen name, or social network profiles – and packages it to you in an easy-to-understand report. Worried about bullies? Concerned that your teens’ friends and peers are posting inappropriate materials online? MyChild searches every corner of the Internet for traces of your kids. If you want to help your teen manage their online reputation, but have felt powerless to do so, ReputationDefender is your answer!

Check out their cost-effective fees and services: (This is not an affiliate link, and I do not receive any referral fees or other gifts for your decision to enroll your child in MyChild) As a Parent Advocate, I believe in bringing you choices to keep your kids safe both online and off-line!

Part 1 – Welcome to your New Year’s Resolution for better parenting online

Part 2 – Creating your family Blog

Part 3 – Monitoring your child’s name online

Part 4 – Books, resources and services to educate parents online.

Part 5T.A.L.K. Learn to open your lines of communication both online and off.

References for parents to review: Social Web Tips for Teens, Chatroom Safety Tips, Cell Phone Safety Tips, Social Web Tips for Parents

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Also on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Parenting 2010 (part 2)

Did you miss part one?  Click here.

Many people are making their New Year’s Resolutions and less will keep them.  When it comes to parenting, it is imperative we not only keep them, we follow through 110%!

As the Internet has become our latest and greatest information highway, you need to be sure your address – aka – virtual presence – is accurate!  In part one we talked about why our social networking sites should be updated and cleaned up.  In part two we will learn about how you can start to create your online presence a step further.

Part 2 –  Create your family Blog.  This can be fun and entertaining for the entire family and an activity you all can participate in.  Again, the “time” you spend together on this can be a learning process.  You may find out more about your child’s personality that only their cyber presence can share with you.

Do you have a teen?  Encourage them to create their own Blog with their own interests.  This can help college recruiters see that your teen is enthusiastic about their interests, engaging and will be an asset to their campus.  Remember, many college recruiters are using search engines to research their candidates.  By using your teens name in the Blog URL can help when people are surfing online with their name. 

Reminder: It is critical you own your own name online.  Creating a Blog is another way to maintain your virtual image.

What should you Blog about and how often?  It is a fact many people have busy lives and limited time to spend on social networking, and of course we have those that spend a lot of time online.  No matter what category you fall into, take the time at least once a month to keep your Blog updated.  This shows your friends, family and most importantly a potential college recruiter or employer you are alive, active and up to date with today’s technology!

  • Share photo’s that are appropriate.  Another words, don’t put pictures out there that you would not share with your grandparents. Keep it clean.
  • Talk about your interests,  your achievements, your goals and other positive information.  Life is not perfect and we always will have negative times.  If you are struggling, you may want to limit what you share online.  Or once you have managed to overcome an obstacle, you may want to help others by sharing your own experiences.  Just keep in mind, what goes online – stays online.
  • Keep your Blog engaging!  If you can incorporate current events, functions going on in your community, and other exciting activities – readers will want to come back to see what you are doing next! 

Are you ready to create your Blog?  It is free, fun and easy! is one of the easiest ones I have found.  See the video for a quick demonstration.  You can visit my Blogspot by Blogger at  You will notice I used my name, and I encourage you and your teens to do the same thing.  This goes back to owning your own name online.

Part 3New Years Resolution for parents:  Steps you can take to monitor your child’s online image.

Need to go back to part 1click here.

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