Monday, November 22, 2010

And Now Many Words From My Resident Texting Experts - and continued chances to win a gift certificate for yourself

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed


I was thrilled with the number and quality of questions you all submitted for me to ask my kids regarding teens and texting. I had so many wonderful ones to choose from - let's get right to it. I divided the questions up and sent some of them to each of my kids by email. I decided writing the answers would probably lead to a more relaxed and possibly a more honest approach. I didn't want them sitting there deciding how mom wanted them to respond. Also, these are their answers as written. I only corrected capitalization and (far too many) misspellings.

General phone and texting use
Q:
How many text messages do you get a day approximately?
19 year old son: I get around 50 texts a day depending on the day of the week. Weekends are probably a little higher.

Q: Do you & your friends prefer talking or texting more?
19 year old son: I think texting has its uses. It's a very convenient way to quickly ask someone a question. I tend to make few phone calls, but only because I go talk to people face to face. So all in all, we prefer to talk, but we text as well.

Q: Do you share your number with everyone or only people you know well?
19 year old son: Only people I know well.
13 year old son:If I think they would just annoy me I don't.

Q: Would you be offended if your parents wanted to look and see who you were texting and who was texting you.
16 year old son: Yes. While I have nothing to hide, my cell phone is my personal property. To inspect it would be a gesture of distrust. However, if there was legitimate concern over who I was texting or who was texting me, I would gladly hand over my phone.
13 year old son:YNot at all. I don't report stuff to my parents, but hypothetically they could check my phone whenever they wanted.

Q: Do you have any restrictions with your phone? Are there hours of the day you are not allowed to use it?
16 year old son: Yes. Any time between 10 P.M. and 7 A.M. is restricted. Also, I cannot access the internet or use games with my phone; this is to prevent it becoming a distraction.

Q: What parameters did your parents give you when you got your cell phone?
19 year old daughter:No usage at night, I didn't have texting when I first got a phone. I didn't use it when we had company or I was visiting someone.

Q: Do any of your friends not have a cell phone?
16 year old son: No. Cell phones have saturated my generation entirely; they're considered a basic resource.

Q: Have your parents actually talked to you about your use of the cell phone?
16 year old son: Yes, when it was first purchased. We talked about what services I could or couldn't use on the phone.

Q: Why do kids text instead of just call?
16 year old son: Texting is more casual, used to communicate brief messages. One can also text while working on something else. Many teens use texting to communicate during school hours, when a silenced text can be sent and received without the notice created by a phone conversation.

Q: How open do you feel you can be with your parents regarding your texting habits?
16 year old son:If it ever became a concern, I would be very open. But as I mainly use texting as a social utility, it doesn't come up much in conversation.

Q: Is texting common at your school?
16 year old son:Extremely. Everyone I know owns a phone with texting.

Texting and driving, sexting, etc.
Q: I recently heard on television about a study that said "teens who text a lot are more likely to be involved in teen sex and/or drugs." What are your teens thoughts on this study?

19 year old son: I think that survey wouldn't hold true for college students. In college texting is mainly used as a social network. As with facebook, I think almost everyone in college texts, regardless of their beliefs on sex and drugs. I would imagine that in younger teens this survey could very well be a true statement.

Q:How prevalent is sexting, truly?
19 year old son: I think sexting is a joke. Or maybe I only know classy people. I have never heard of anyone sexting.
16 year old son: It's uncommon, but it does happen. I've only heard about people who did it once or twice.

Q: How many of their friends text and drive?
19 year old son: A good few of my friends text and drive. I try to stop it when I see it though. I honestly never text and drive
19 year old daughter:Only one. Needless to say, I do not ride with him.

Q: Ask your kids if they text when driving? Or if they'd admit to it if they did.
19 year old daughter:
I don't text while I drive.

Q: I believe that the only way an individual can protect themselves or others from harm while driving and texting is to impose some sort of restrictions on themselves, such as turning off their phones. Do your children that drive take any precautions while driving? And not something from you or your husband, but something they do for themselves each time they get in the car?
19 year old daughter:I usually turn mine on silent while driving.

Q:I'd like to know if any teachers or counselors actually DO caution kids about any of these subjects.ear old son.
19 year old son: Oh yeah. But people don't really care.

Q: Have they been informed about the statistics of kids killed while texting and driving?
19 year old son: Maybe. Our generation is bombarded with statistics though. I'm sure most of us have heard it but couldn't tell you a number anywhere near the correct statistic.

Q: And what about sexting? Do they know the laws on that, and consequences should those laws be broken?
19 year old son: No. I didn't know it was illegal. I just thought it was perverse.

Bullying
Q: How do you define bullying when it comes to texting or other social media? Have you ever encountered any texts that you perceived as an attempt to bully or pressure you in some way?

16 year old son: Bullying while texting would be sending slurs or insults--the same sort of bullying happens online. I haven't encountered text-bullying, and I haven't heard about it from others.

Q: I would love if you could ask your kids if they have ever been bullied through a text message or know anyone who has? I've heard that this is getting more prevalent (the bully doesn't even need to face the person that they are attacking) and I would love to know if they have any advice for teens who find themselves being bullied by text.
19 year old daughter:I don't recall ever being bullied, but I didn't start texting until I was 18, and I'd like to think that by that age, most bullies have grown up a little. My best advice is just to ignore it because if the bully doesn't get the satisfaction of you reacting, he/she will most likely give it a rest.
13 year old son:I personally haven't, nor do I know anyone who has.

Q: Ask your 13 and 16 year-olds if bullying by text is an issue at their schools. If it is, what has the school done about it?
13 year old son: I don't think it is. The school has a very active anti cyber-bullying program and I think that helps prevent Students bullying by text. Also, people can't bully you if you don't give them your number

Texting in school
Q: Are kids texting in school to cheat on tests?
16 year old son:Yes, often. I've heard about students using a couple methods. First, some students send each other information about questions by using a phone under their desks or asking to be excused and texting in the hall. Secondly, it is possible to text Google or other online services a question and receive the answer within moments; from what I've heard, this is especially useful during vocabulary or math tests.

Q: How strict are the teachers about kids accessing their cell phones during class or between classes, and do kids sneak texts in anyway?
19 year old daughter:It depends on the teacher. I have one who will take a letter grade off your final grade if you text. It still happens, though.
13 year old son:
There's a school-wide policy that you cannot have you phone out during the day, but it basically varies by the teacher. Most are pretty strict, but at the very end of the school day some don't care very much if you have it out. People will text during the day at their lockers sometimes. It's obvious when the girls are texting down in their purses.

Have you had a conversation with your kids (or nephews/nieces, grandchildren) about texting, sexting and safety? BlogHer is matching LG’s donation of .50 to dosomething.org for every comment on this post, so please tell me about your conversation with your kids in the comments. Or if you haven’t had the conversation yet, what’s holding you back? Maybe another reader will have the perfect suggestion for how you can get your conversation going. It’s important for all our families, and dosomething.org will get a $1.00 for every comment, question or suggestion.

In addition, each comment left on this post will be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to the merchandiser of your choice. I will draw the winner from the comments on this post as well as the previous post using random.org or Monday, November 29. So, let's keep the discussion going.


(I added the comments on this post to the previous post and then allowed random.org to select our winner for the gift certificate. Comment #13 on the previous post, Fragrant Liar, is the lucky winner. The giveaway is now closed but please continue to leave me your comments and insights.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Initiating Conversation about Teens and Texting (with donations to DoSomething.org and a gift certificate for you)

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about teens and texting on this blog. Many of you submitted thoughtful comments. Several bloggers had been asked by BlogHer and LG to write about this subject. Technology is pervasive and invasive in our lives and our teens' lives and as parents, we do ourselves and our kids a disservice by not realizing that the world we are raising our children in is absolutely not the same world from our youth. As far as technology goes, I believe my parents limited how late I could stay up watching television but Happy Days or Mork and Mindy on one of the "big three" networks was about as risque as it got. Movie theatres carded you if you were under 18 and tried to get into an R movie. And my parents freaked out when I came home with an AC/DC album. That is pretty much the extent of technology during my teen years.

My parents didn't have to talk to me about talking on a phone or texting while driving, sexting was not in the dictionary back then, pocket sized cameras on cellphones in locker rooms was something we could only imagine from an episode of Star Trek, and while bullying has always been around - only technology could have taken it to the level it is today.

Today's parents find ourselves in the situation of needing to have another talk with our kids. The online and cell phone talk. And, just like the sex talk, this is one where by the time we get around to discussing some of these vital issues with our kids, they've already had more experience in these areas than we'd care to think about. It's an important talk. It's actually a series of important conversations we need to have with our children over a protracted period of time.

Because this topic is so important for our kids and their futures, BlogHer wants to get the conversation about texting, sexting, and safety going - both with our kids and among parents. To do so, BlogHer has once again asked a group of bloggers to post about this issue. But we are doing it with a twist this time.

Allow me to introduce my kids. I have a 13 year old son, a 16 year old son, a 19 year old daughter and a 19 year old son. They all text. They all have camera enabled cell phones. Three of them drive. This technology has been part of their lives for years and will continue to be part of their lives.

I'd like to ask my kids some questions on this blog and then post their answers. Have an online conversation about these critical issues. I need some help though. I need you all to submit questions you'd like me to ask my kids. Would you like to ask any of them a question about texting? About cell phone use? How about bullying, sexting, or technology at school? Questions about teens and texting while driving? For each comment you leave on this post, BlogHer and LG will each give a .50 donation to dosomething.org, so please give me your suggestions for questions for my kids. Dosomething.org will get a $1.00 donation for each and every one.

Ask away. I'll pass the question along to the teen you'd like me to ask, or the one I think can address the question best. Two weeks from now, I'll publish your questions and my kids' answers. I think it will be very interesting to hear what their view is on these subjects as well.

You might want to read the other posts about teens and texting which can be found at BlogHer.
LG has a great site that includes fabulous resources for parents about texting (including deciphering that shorthand they use).
You can check out Jane Lynch's video on this subject here.

As an added incentive, I am personally going to give one commenter a $25 gift certificate to the merchandiser of their choice. I'll draw this randomly from all the comments on this post and a followup post I'll be doing in two weeks. This gift certificate will be purchased by me personally and I will receive nothing in return from any merchandiser. You don't have to do a thing except leave me a thoughtful comment with a question for my kids or enter the discussion in the comments about parenting, teens and texting.


(Random.org selected comment #13, Fragrant Liar, as our giveaway winner. The giveaway is now closed but I'd love to hear any further comments you'd like to leave.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fresh Produce Women's Clothing Giveaway

*Congratulations to #37, pmj, who is our very lucky winner!

Fresh Produce is a clothing company with a difference. What started in 1984 in Long Beach when Thom and Mary Ann Vernon began selling silk-screened t-shirts in bright graphics and custom jewelry at the '84 Summer Olympics in the parking lot across the street from the coliseum has since blossomed. The concept then was the same as now - to bring the emotions, the colors, the sensations, the leisure of beach life to everyday life through fashion. Now in its third decade, Fresh Produce continues to be primarily Made in the USA and has grown into a $50 million company with one of the most original, refreshing and captivating casual, resort and sportswear lines in America. Known and loved by women ages 6 months to 60-plus for lush colors, year-round sensibility, simply inspired design and coastal comfort, Fresh Produce continues to delight customers around the globe. Fresh Produce can be found in Nordstrom, Walt Disney resorts and stores, and over 400 specialty boutiques and resort retailers.When Fresh Produce contacted me about reviewing some of their clothing, I was thrilled. Honestly, it was a new company to me as we don't really trip over Nordstroms here in my little suburb. I was sent the Shorefront Cardigan in black as well as the Cafe Wrap Dress in sangria.
As a middle aged woman, I sometimes find it difficult to find women's clothing that is stylish without looking too trendy or young. It was love at first sight with my Fresh Produce clothing.

Honestly, I have worn my cardigan most days of the week since receiving it. I first noticed that "made in the USA" tag when I opened it and was very impressed. It is a perfect weight for this time of year. Not too heavy but still warm enough for those early mornings or the chill of an office air conditioner. I think it is cute loose or belted. I am a cardigan loving woman and own quite a few. This is my favorite one!
The sangria color of the dress happens to be my favorite clothing color. (They surprised me with what styles they sent me and the colors. They know me better than my family!) I think this dress would be perfect for most summer days. Pull it on and you look put together. What has happened to my beautiful sangria dress? My college daughter has stolen it already.I guess that proves their claim to be loved by women of all ages.

Now the good news for you. First, you can treat yourself or someone you love to some of this delightful clothing sOr you can look for it in a retailer near you.

One of you will win a Tide Is In Tunic for herself! I love the detail - the pintucks and the water swirls print. I know you will love this clothing line as much as I do.How to enter:
Mandatory Entry: Go to the Fresh Produce website and tell me one other item you like other than the three I've discussed above.

For extra entries, you may do any of the following:
* Like Fresh Produce on facebook.
*Follow Fresh Produce on twitter.
*Follow this blog.

Giveaway will end at midnight on November 12 and a winner will be selected at random. I will contact the winner by email and he/she will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

I was sent the cardigan and dress for review in exchange for hosting this giveaway. My opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Teens and Texting

Teens and texting. Those two terms go hand-in-hand and as a parent of four teens, I don't think they will be inseparable until the next, greatest technology breakthrough occurs that surpasses texting.

As a parent, I wanted to be able to text my kids. I could see that was the direction I needed to head in if I wanted to be able to keep in contact with my kids when they weren't in the same house as me. Especially as my oldest headed off to college, I knew texting would be key in maintaining our relationship. Even with mine that still live with me, my middle son who tends to be quieter and much more reluctant to enter into conversations with the family will text me when he is not here and is rather chatty.

So, we text. But as anyone who has spent any time around teens knows, their texting isn't always quite like the parent's texting. First of all, they are fast. I'm astounded at how fast my daughter can text. She can also text with complete accuracy and never look at her keypad.

The other difference is that teens tend to use shortened lingo when they text. Sure, we see some of that on blogs as well. I think we are all fairly familiar with LOL and even LMAO. But what in the world are those shortened forms our kids are using?

Have you read any of your kids texts to their friends? Accidentally or because you had reason to believe you might need to be a little more aware for their safety or well-being?

If you have, I bet you have come across plenty of shortened forms you were at a loss to define. KPC apparently stands for "keep parents clueless" and it sure seems to be working as far as texting goes.

In my online searching for this post, I found a wonderful resource by LG where you can enter your teen's texting lingo and up will pop the translation. Additionally, the site has a glossary containing hundreds of terms - many of which were submitted by parents. If you saw "420" on little Brittany's phone, would you know it was a drug reference?

Again, as a parent of teens, I feel like it is our job to be diligent. We give them this technology - this ability to stay in constant contact with anyone anywhere without us having any idea of what is going on. Once we give them this ability, I think it is our responsibility to help them learn to use it wisely and safely. Knowing what they are saying is just the tip of the iceberg.

I'd love to hear about your experiences. Have you gone onto your teen's phone to read any texts? Have you seen him or her using texting lingo? Have you ever gone online to search for what an acronym might mean? I feel that by sharing our experiences, fears, and successes, we can help each other learn to navigate this texting road. Ours is the first parenting generation to travel this road and we can support each other on the trip. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Each comment left will generate a $0.50 donation to
DoSomething.org. DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US that helps young people rock causes they care about. A $0.50 donation will be made per comment left on this or any "LG Text Ed - Moms Discuss Teens and Texting" post, up to $5000 total.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Beach Bag Giveaway from Simply Bags

Unfortunately, my first winner never replied to me email. Let's try again. This time random.org chose #45, Closer to Lucy. I'll email her now! Congrats.

I have another wonderful company to introduce to you today: Simply Bags.

Simply Bags has a diverse selection of bags - everything from beach bags to laptop bags. I was impressed when I went to the website and saw the quantity and quality of bags offered.

I love this Leopard Print Bag (only $29.99 and that includes monogram).
My daughter and I love carpet bags and magazines have been featuring them heavily for fall. Of course, I haven't seen one less than several hundred dollars but I love this one from Simply Bags for $67.99.How about a cute damask lunch tote?
Or a laptop bag?Simply Bags sent me the beach bag to review. I took it on vacation with us this past week. No, we didn't go to the beach but my bag didn't seem to know the difference. This workhorse stylishly carried my netbook and cords, library books, camera, snacks, jackets and more. The rope handles are very secure and the metal grommets made me feel very comfortable about the safety of my electronics. It features a full zipper closure (which I would have used had I not crammed my bag overly full) and was so stylish that I felt proud carrying it in and out of hotels. I truly love my bag and plan to give one to each of my sisters-in-law for Christmas.One of you can win your own personalized beach bag from Simply Bags. Just leave a comment on this post telling me which of the five colors you'd choose. This giveaway will end at midnight on October 22 and I will choose a winner by random.org. Good luck!As stated above, I received a bag to review for this post. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perricone Giveaway and Release of Forever Young Book

Our lucky winner according to random number generator is comment #12, Floating. Congratulations!

If you've read many of my posts, then you know that while I'm not looking to convince people I'm a 27 year old woman, I'd still rather folks not catch a glimpse of me, cover their eyes, and go screaming in the other direction. Sadly, I didn't grow up in the age of sunscreen. Otherwise, I've tried to take reasonable care of my skin. Still, aging happens.

That's why I was thrilled when the kind folks at Perricone reached out to me to offer a giveaway to my wonderful readers. Dr. Nicholas Perricone truly knows anti-aging science and even has celebrities talking about his Forever Young book. I quickly chose their number one seller, Cold Plasma, to offer to one of you. It fights 10 signs of aging including loss of elasticity, loss of radiance, and fine lines and wrinkles. So, what do you have to do to win a jar of Cold Plasma and start down the road to brighter, firmer, and smoother skin? Just leave a comment on this post telling me which Perricone product priced at $150 or less you want or need the most. That's it! One very lucky winner will be chosen at random after 9 pm October 20. I will email the winner so make sure your email is listed in your profile or leave it in your comment. If you can't wait or or not the lucky winner, you're still in luck because Perricone is currently offering a cold plasma deluxe sample tube for free. Let me know how beautiful you end up looking.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Clean+Green Pet Cleaning Products Giveaway

Our lucky winners are numbers 16, 21, and 55. I will email Michelle P., Angel Jacklyn, and Almost Crazy Coupon Lady. They will each have 48 hours to respond. Congratulations!

A few months ago I had the opportunity to review some products from Clean+Green. I love the fact that they are a company focusing on eco-friendly products for pet owners. I know many of you have pets and would like to be able to clean and freshen your home, remove any unwanted pet stains or odors, and accomplish this in an enviromentally friendly way. Clean+Green offers the products we all need to achieve these goals.

Clean+Green offers a line of green home cleaning supplies for everything from green carpet cleaning and stain removal, green wood and tile cleaning, green furniture cleaning, and elimation of pet stains and odors. They even offer a product to eliminate odors in litter boxes!

According to the Environmental Protection Association (EPA), typical household cleaning products and air fresheners are one of the leading contributors to poor indoor air quality. The agency reports that poor indoor air quality can lead to health issues; because babies/children – and pets! - are closer to the ground, they are more often in direct contact with these harmful substances.

Clean+Green® are the only eco-friendly aerosol pet cleaning products on the planet. Unlike most other cleaning products that can be harmful, require multiple applications and/or only temporarily mask odors, Clean + Green delivers instant results in a non-toxic, eco-friendly solution. Clean+Green permanently cleans stains and eradicates odors. It is safe for pets, people (kids too!), and the planet.

Each Clean+Green product is individually formulated to address a specific odor/stain problem and can be used on carpet and area rugs, wood floors, tile, cement and all fabrics. The products are non-toxic, non-flammable, non-carcinogenic and will not damage the ozone layer – with no harsh chemicals or perfumes, no VOCs and no CFCs.


Clean+Green is offering three of my readers a can of their best selling product, Clean+Green Carpet and Upholstery for Dogs and Cats which cleans, eliminates odors and removes stains. I've used this product personally on my rugs and have been very pleased with the results.

If you'd like a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post. Make sure your profile links to an email or leave one in your comment.

If you'd like more chances, you may do any or all of the following:
~Follow this blog.
~Tweet about this giveaway.
~Follow Clean+Green on twitter.
~Like Clean+Green on facebook.

I'll use random.org to choose 3 winners on Tuesday, October 12 and notify the winners by email. Once notified, each person will have 48 hours to contact me prior to another winner being chosen.

Disclosure: I did not receive any money or products for doing this giveaway. Any opinions are my own.