Thursday, June 30, 2011

OPEN DIALOGUE WITH YOUR CHILD

OPEN DIALOGUE WITH YOUR CHILD
Proverbs 25:11 
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances
From June 30, "Daily In Christ" devotional by Neil Anderson

All discipline must be based on prior instruction. Make a clear statement of your expectations for a given situation and the consequences for disobedience. Ask your child to repeat what you say to make sure he understands. Then invite his questions and comments.
Honest and open dialogue after disobedience is a powerful means of discipline. Many children would rather face a paddle than verbal confrontation. Even parental silence communicates volumes. For many children, sitting emotionally exposed before an authority figure is much more threatening and shameful than a simple spanking.
What is the motivating deterrent behind a verbal confrontation? The fear of being called into accountability. We find that in our relationship with the Lord. We fear Him because we are going to stand before Him someday and give an account of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11)--not to be punished but to be rewarded. Knowing that we are going to be personally accountable before the Lord is a great driving force in our lives. We want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Your child feels the same way about having to answer to you. He doesn't want to look bad in your eyes. That's why it's often difficult for him to confess his misdeeds in a confrontation. When you sit down with him it will be easy for him to say, "I'm sorry," a little harder for him to say, "Will you forgive me?" and hardest for him to say, "I did it."
Helping your child learn to speak the truth in love will take a lot of love and skill on your part, especially if your child is prone to lying. If you allow him to establish a pattern of deception as a means of avoiding confrontation, you are in for a lot of pain during his adolescence. You must work toward honest confession or any method of discipline will be ineffective.
Prayer: Lord, help me develop honesty and openness with You so I can model and teach these qualities to my children.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's the Ads, Stupid: Why TV Leads to Obesity

It's the Ads, Stupid: Why TV Leads to Obesity

How much TV do your kids watch? If you don't know, you might want to find out, say experts, since the time children spend in front of a TV or computer screen can have a profound effect on their physical and developmental health.

In a new policy statement on the role of media on obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Council on Communications and Media warns parents that TV watching doesn't just make children more sedentary, but also influences their eating habits, which in turn has consequences for their health. In other words, it's not just that TV watching encourages youngsters to be less physically active, but it also exposes them to food advertisements that contribute to develop poor eating habits that can set kids up for health problems as adults.

“We created a perfect storm between media use, junk and fast food advertising, and physical inactivity,” says Dr. Victor Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and member of the AAP's Council. “We created a situation where we now have more overweight and obese adults in the U.S, than underweight and normal weight adults; it's become an urgent public health problem.”

The policy statement highlights the fact that the harms of TV viewing go beyond promoting inactivity. More studies have shown that children who spend more time in front of the tube are more likely to eat higher-calorie foods, drink sugared sodas and grow up to be overweight adults. In a U.K. study that followed children over 30 years into adulthood, for every additional hour of TV youngsters watched on weekends at age five, their risk of being obese as adults rose by 7%. And in some cases, it doesn't even take that long for the extra pounds to accumulate: a Japanese study found that children who watched more TV at age three were more likely to be overweight at age six.

The culprit: advertising for unhealthy foods. (See the video, below.) The average American child sees nearly 8,000 commercials on TV for food and beverages, and only 165 of these are for nutritious options like fruits and vegetables. “Clearly eating behavior changes if you watch a lot of TV,” says Strasburger. “You tend to snack more, eat more unhealthy food and eat more calories if you eat in front of the TV set.”
What can parents do? Limiting TV time to no more than two hours a day can help, says the AAP committee. Another important step toward breaking the TV-obesity link is to make sure that children don't have TV sets or Internet connections in their bedrooms. Parents should also watch television with their kids, so they can educate them about commercials and learn to distinguish healthy from unhealthy foods.

“Media such as television is the most important and under-appreciated influence on children's development and behavior,” says Strasburger. “Media affect virtually every concern that parents and pediatricians have about their kids, whether it's obesity, sex, drugs or school performance. When kids spend up to seven hours a day watching television or on the computer, it's time to acknowledge that influence and spend money on researching how we can maximize the good effects of media and minimize its bad effects.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Have I Done?

What Have I Done?                    
A Father's Remorse, by Charles Colson, BreakPoint.org
June 17, 2011
On Father’s Day, many young dads spend a happy day with their children -- kids who give them garish ties or cook them a breakfast of rubbery eggs and burned toast.
But to some fathers, the day is spent in anguish. It’s a day spent, not with their children, but with their memories of the children they helped abort.
Among these men are former Aerosmith rock star Steven Tyler, now a judge on “American Idol.”  When Tyler was in his twenties, he and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, learned they were having a baby.
Tyler was initially happy about becoming a father. But five months later, he changed his mind. He convinced his reluctant girlfriend that she had to abort their baby.
The abortion was a nightmare. A doctor punctured Holcomb’s uterus with a large needle, and she went into labor.  The baby boy was born alive and left to die.
In a book titled Walk This Way, Steven Tyler recalls the horror of that day. “It was a big crisis,” he writes. “You go to the doctor and they put the needle in her belly and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch [the baby come out]…I was pretty devastated. I’m going, ‘… what have I done?’”
The abortion still haunted him years later when he and his wife Cyrinda were awaiting the birth of their first child. As Tyler recalls, “I was afraid. I thought we’d give birth to a six-headed cow because of what I’d done with other women. The real-life guilt was very traumatic for me. Still hurts.”
That’s not surprising, notes Kevin Burke, a social worker and co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, which offers healing for men and women traumatized by  abortion. AtLifeNews.com, Burke writes that Tyler had suffered a traumatic event, as defined by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: That is, he had experienced “an event...that involved actual or threatened death” -- an episode that involved a response of “intense fear, helplessness, or horror.” If a traumatized person “fails to process the images and memories of that experience and heal the psychic wounds,” Burke writes, he “is likely to go numb, run, and act out the unresolved themes of the trauma.”
In Tyler’s case, acting out his trauma involved heavy drinking and drug use, trashing hotel rooms, and expressing “toxic rage” toward his band mates. Nor was this merely the typical behavior of a rocker. As Tyler’s friend Ray Tabano notes, “They had the abortion, and it really messed Steven up.”
The abortion industry claims that abortions do not cause psychological harm to either women or men. If that were true, Rachel’s Vineyard would not be holding more than 700 retreat weekends ever year, around the world. Retreats that offer hope and healing for mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents of aborted babies. Those retreats underscore the truth of the Biblical teaching that children are a blessing, not a curse, and that fathers are meant to protect their children.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How Much Privacy Does My Kid Give Up in an Hour?


The following is an article written by Christiana Tyman-Wood and first published in "Common Sense.org" on 6.01.11.  
This article gives parents an excellent perspective of how their children are being bombarded with information while they are on the Internet.  Hopefully, as you become aware you will help your children understand what is appropriate and acceptable for your family.  - Al Menconi, editor of AlMenconi.com, Al Menconi Ministries.  Helping parents and leaders overcome the influence the entertainment media has on their families, motivate parents and leaders to connect with their children and teach parents and leaders how to communicate and model values to their children.

How Much Privacy Does My Kid Give Up in an Hour?
I'm settled in a comfy chair watching my baby (age 12) trade away her privacy as she does homework, shops, plays silly games, and exchanges mindless repartee with her friends. In an hour online, she has given up countless secrets. She doesn't know how those secrets will be used. Nor do I. But I suspect that companies buy and sell the data they collect from nearly every one of my daughter's online interactions.
She does this every day. But today I'm fretting because I knocked down a wall that was there to protect her. "You're ruining my life," she had lamented. "I'm the only kid in my class not on Facebook." Not allowing kids under 13 is Facebook's rule. I just enforce it. But behind her drama, she had a point. My being a rule stickler had put her in a small minority. Consumer Reports estimates that 7.5 million Facebook users are under age 13. Twenty of those are in her sixth grade class. What good is privacy to a tween if protecting it makes her a pariah in middle school?
Facebook certainly isn't the only place online where my tween's "secrets" are being collected. Nearly every site she visits collects data. "We are creating the largest longitudinal data study that's ever been recorded," Michael Fertik, CEO and founder of Reputation.com told me recently. "You have to decide if you are part of it or not." She's too young to decide that. All she knows is that she doesn't want to be left out. So I make some rules and let her loose on the social network under heavy supervision.
Rule one: Homework first. So she heads to Google -- where every question feeds that data study -- to do research. Google collects information about her searches and the sites she visits to deliver relevant ads to her. I imagine it adds "Rome" to her anonymous digital ID's list of interests as she researches gladiators, which is why she quickly starts to see travel ads.
Next she goes to Dictionary.com to look up a vocabulary word. Here advertisers install hundreds of beacons and cookies -- software code that act as bugs -- the minute she hits the site. These bugs watch and record the sites she visits next, gather that information into a detailed profile, and sell it to marketers. Dictionary.com is only doing what most ad-carrying sites do. So as she compares the price of Converse sneakers, wonders how to color her hair purple, listens to music, or researches her favorite pop stars, each site she stops at installs its own beacons. Even as she watches -- and rates -- a show at Netflix and adds a show to her queue at Hulu.com to watch later, those sites collect this data and add to what they already know about her to better direct her to content she might enjoy. The aggregation of the information that these bugs and sites gather would show a detailed portrait of her interests, intentions, wishes, likes, and dislikes. This is gold for marketers.
It's the social networking sites, though, that give me the most pause. It might not seem like a big deal: She installs a silly app, plays a game, "LOLs" on photos, posts a picture, announces what she's doing, creates a fake job, and "marries" her classroom crush. She's having a blast.
But the apps aren't really free. She often "pays" for them by allowing access to her -- and sometimes her friends' -- profiles. Add this to the information that she and her friends willingly provide, even the fact that they're friends, and collect it all into a dossier, and you'd have quite a portrait of my little girl and her crew. The companies that collect this data claim that they never connect this information to individuals, and Facebook prohibits app makers from transmitting data to outside companies -- but large breaches have happened.
And what happens when my baby isn't a baby anymore? Will "the machine" have created a detailed analysis by then of what sort of employee, insurance risk, or student she'll be? Will it understand that she was playing around when she claimed to work at IHOP? Will it know that the girls didn't understand what it meant when they called each other prostitutes? Will it strip these games of context, feed it to a database as fact, and sell it to credit companies, insurance agencies, employers, colleges, marketing firms, or the highest bidder? That sounds paranoid. But there have been so many mistakes, break-ins, breaches, and accidents in the world of data collection that the CEO of Sony recently announced publicly that he can't guarantee the security of Sony's video game network or any other Web system in the "bad new world" of cybercrime.
She gets up to hug me and tell me that I'm awesome for letting her join her friends online. None of this mess is her fault. In fact, it's a great time to be a kid -- what with the limitless information and access to friends. But she's still my baby -- and even though she's old enough to clean her own room, I guess that leaves me time to clean up her digital footprints.
--Christina Wood has written (on technology and other subjects) for Popular Science, Better Homes and Gardens, USA Weekend, This Old House Magazine, PC World, PC Magazine, and many others. When her two kids (12 and 14) behave themselves, she enlists their help trying out new gaming systems, tablets, or virtual worlds.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hollywood Pushes a Liberal Agenda? Really? I Had No Idea!

The new book by Ben Shapiro, called "Primetime Propaganda" makes the case that TV industry executives, writers, and producers use their clout to advance a liberal political agenda. The author bases his thesis on, among other things, 39 taped interviews.  Each contains a snippet of an interview by a high level industry executive who casually and often proudly agrees with Shapiro's thesis.  This link is the first of many "live quotes" from industry executives he'll roll out piecemeal during the next three weeks.  


In one video, "Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman says that when she cast Candace Gingrich-Jones, half-sister of Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the minister of a lesbian wedding, "There was a bit of [a middle finger] in it to the right wing."


Kauffman also acknowledges she "put together a staff of mostly liberal people," which is another major point of Shapiro's book: that conservatives aren't welcome in Hollywood.

Maybe that's because they're "idiots" and have "medieval minds." At least that's what "Soap" and "Golden Girls" creator Susan Harris thinks of TV's conservative critics.
However, the ranks of dumb right-wingers has dwindled, according to Harris, whose video has her saying: "At least, you know, we put Obama in office, and so people, I think, are getting — have gotten — a little bit smarter."
Some of the videos have executives making rather obvious revelations, like when Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds talk about pacifist messages in "M*A*S*H" or when "MacGyver" producer Vin Di Bona says anti-gun messages were a recurring theme in that show.
But an additional video has Di Bona, who also created "America's Funniest Home Videos," becoming remarkably blunt about his approval of a lack of political diversity in Hollywood. When Shapiro asks what he thinks of conservative critics who say everyone in Hollywood is liberal, Di Bona responds: "I think it's probably accurate, and I'm happy about it."
Another video has Leonard Goldberg — who executive produces "Blue Bloods" for CBS and a few decades ago exec produced such hits as "Fantasy Island," "Charlie's Angels" and "Starsky and Hutch" — saying that liberalism in the TV industry is "100 percent dominant, and anyone who denies it is kidding, or not telling the truth."
Shapiro asks if politics are a barrier to entry. "Absolutely," Goldberg says.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Your Children Are Living In A Foreign Culture

I believe parents MUST understand this basic principle in this 3 minute video clip before they are able to understand, connect, and communicate values to their children? It will only take you 3 minutes to watch and it could change your world and help you become a better parent.  This clip is taken from Al Menconi's complete two hour seminar for parents called, "Keep Your Kids Safe In This Internet Age!"  You may order the DVD and/or the book, RECONNECT, that inspired the video.  Let me know what you think.