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‘Pause before you post’: How to share your kids’ photos safely online

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
When Peter and Mariah Bassett had their first son nine years ago, they frequently posted pictures of him on social media so friends and family could see how Samuel was growing. At the time, social media was new, and they believed that only their loved ones would care about Samuel’s pictures.

“When he was really young we posted a lot on social media,” Peter, 43, of Santa Monica, California, told TODAY. “And continued — as parents do.”

But as social media< evolved, Peter’s view of sharing pictures of Samuel, and his brother Benjamin, 6, changed, too. “It definitely made me think about what I was doing and how I was interacting with social media and exposing my children,” he said. While the couple never used hashtags or posted pictures of their children in the bath, naked or potty training, they still began to wonder about sharing photos online. The Bassetts recently became involved with a campaign from the Child Rescue Coalition that dramatically changed how they view posting pictures of their children on social media. The campaign, called @KidsForPrivacy, educates parents about how oversharing pictures exposes children to predators. Even though Peter works with social media as head of a digital production team at David & Goliath —the Los-Angeles-based advertising firm that helped the Child Rescue Coalition create the campaign —the project showed him how hashtags can make children vulnerable.

During the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the organization will flood some hashtags with pictures of children holding up signs that say, “Privacy Please” instead of showing their faces.

“We are trying to help parents with the education about the need for privacy, that they can protect children online and change behavior for people who are overexposing their kids,” said Carly Yoost, Founder and CEO of Child Rescue Coalition.

Yoost says the Child Rescue Coalition has learned how social media makes it all too easy for predators to get pictures of children, which they trade as pornography. By age 2, 90 percent of children have been featured on social media, Yoost said. Most parents believe pictures of their children in the bath or naked are simply innocent snapshots of childhood.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that they can end up in the wrong hands,” Yoost said.

And, more than 100 hashtags, including #nakedkids, #kidsbathing and #pottytraining, create places where predators can easily find pictures.

“By trading child pornography, they are showing they have an interest (in abuse). Eighty-five percent of people who have pornography have been hands-on abusers,” Yoost said.

While the facts on child abuse can seem scary, Yoost said the campaign is not intended to frighten parents. She just wants parents to “pause before you post” by considering a few questions.

“Is this an embarrassing photo that can potentially lead them to being bullied or cause embarrassment down the road?” she said. “Could this be viewed as sexual bait?”

Another step parents can take: Check privacy settings.

“Eighty-nine percent of parents who are sharing pictures online haven’t checked their privacy settings for more than a year,” Yoost said.

That’s what Mariah Bassett did with her social media accounts so pictures of her children are only seen by her friends and family (Peter isn’t on social media right now). Having tighter privacy settings stops potential predators from getting pictures of your children.

“That is why you have to be extremely careful,” Yoost said. “You never know what individual would have this interest and be capable of being that child predator.”

How Satan Steals our Families

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Family
Mom Exposing How Satan Steals Our Families Will Flip Your View of “Normal” Up. Side. DOWN.

This past year I read a book with my daughter called Little House in the Big Woods. You may be familiar with it. It’s the first book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and it began the popular Little House on the Prairie series. I don’t recall reading it before, and as I read it to my 5-year-old, I think I enjoyed it even more than her. Something about the way the family lived, it intrigued me. I love my Internet tremendously, but the simplicity and closeness this family shared sounded really wonderful to me. The idea of working together for each other drew me into their little world. Many times as I read the pages aloud I yearned for such a time as the ones described.

I look around today and I wonder if we wouldn’t be better taking a step back in time where we could focus more on important matters, and less on trivial ones. I see the things around me that cause so much unneeded stress, and I truly believe that the principalities and powers of darkness wish to destroy what God has created. God favors families. He favors love, time together, and focus on cultivating those relationships. What I see today is in direct opposition of that, yet those things have developed slowly over time, so much so that we don’t even notice them deteriorating the fabric of family.

Our pre-teens and teenagers are so absorbed in their Snapchat and Instagram that they can’t even come up for air. Not that we notice. We’re buried in our Facebook newsfeed or hottest new game app.

The normalcy of public school education with its ever-increasing curriculum demands are swallowed like good medicine. The school year gets longer, testing increases, and hours of homework creep into the family time. So children that already spend 8-9 hours away from home are spending their evening hours doing more projects, reports, and extra credit assignments.

Mom and dad are too exhausted to help much. They’re tired because they’re putting in more hours. Dual working parents are the majority. And while the cost of living has definitely increased over time, I wonder how much of our “necessities” are truly that? We work more to be able to buy more, yet we hardly have time to enjoy all our purchases. We save all year long for a week-long vacation that leaves us exhausted and in need of a day off from our off days.

A lot of our hard-earned money is spent on activities. So. Many. Activities. We spend more time driving to activities, purchasing gear, costumes, and accessories for our activities, or working on our off days to raise funds for our activities. Activities where we watch other people teach, coach, and mentor our children. Is this the time together we’re craving? Makes you think.

If you had to sit down and add up how much quality time you spend alone with your spouse, what would it be? What about your children? And not time doing and going. Just time. Is it less time than you spend on your weekly commute to work?

It makes you wonder if divorce is more prominent today because it’s become socially more acceptable, or could it be because we’re spending less time enjoying the company of our spouse? Would children get in less trouble if they had a present parent/parents available to guide them? They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m wondering if we’ve taken that too far. Now we just want the village to take care of them. And then when our children fall down and fail we can have teachers, coaches, and the church to blame for their demise.

This is hard stuff to think about. It’s taking everything we’ve called “normal” over the past few decades or more and realizing that it’s actually destroying the family unit. Our kids are playing ball 3-5 times a week until 10 p.m., and the parents are working 60 hours a week to keep designer duds on the kiddos lest they get bullied for wearing WalMart brand clothing. Everyone has a TV in their room, a cellphone in their pocket, and a brand new car in the drive-way yet none of that will go to Heaven with us. We’re working very hard providing material possessions for our children when in all reality we should be on our knees with them leading them to a closer walk with Jesus. Eternal life is what we should want for our kids, not the best education money can buy. And while I’m all for giving them a bright future, I don’t want to give them the world if it forfeits their soul. When my grown children look back on life I want them to have memories of time well spent rather than spending all the time. I gotta work on this! I don’t have it all figured out either, but I’d like to think my eyes are open enough to see that Satan wishes to destroy us.

Satan wants us tired, worn thin, and stressed. He wants us in debt up to our eyeballs, and our health failing because we can’t sleep enough, eat right, or handle our stress effectively. He wants husbands and wives fighting over finances, disrespectful teens who learned how to treat their parents based off Nickelodeon sitcoms, and thousands of young children sexually abused by the adults we’re so quick to place our trust in. He wants us busy, but not productive. He wants our plates full, but our tank empty. He wants us looking to society for what’s best for our families, not God’s word as a lamp to our feet. He wants the family unit ripped apart, and many times I look around and see us letting him. We’re not even trying to take a stand.

I’d like to believe that it’s not too late. We can still fight to save our families. Perhaps it all comes down to stepping out in wisdom, courage, and truth for our family. In a world that’s so busy Keeping Up With the Kardashians, maybe it’s time to be a Little House on the Prairie. What do you think?

*Of note, this isn’t meant to offend anyone. It’s just meant to trigger thinking about it. I’m certainly a work in progress.

What Mom Really wants for Mother’s Day

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips

Jewelry, flowers, and chocolates are great, but here’s a list of what moms we polled really want for Mother’s Day. We’ve even included some extra-credit tips for overachievers. Or you could go with one mom’s response, which pretty much sums it up: “I want a Wonder Woman cape, preferably made out of diamonds, along with the statement: ‘You were right about everything, and we’d be lost without you.'”

#1 Clean House

Being a mom is stressful, and coming home to a clean house, even if it only lasts 10 minutes, is like a little slice of heaven for us. You don’t have to hire a professional to give mom the clean house she deserves. Instead, try and tackle the mess around the house.

#2 Sleep

When you’re a mom, getting a full night’s rest without waking up to an alarm clock or a hungry child in the morning is not only a dream come true, it’s unheard of. Try treating Mom to a full nights rest without bothering her.

Extra credit: Pamper her on Mother’s Day by bringing her coffee and her favorite book along with breakfast in bed—you know she’s not going to want to leave the comfort of the covers anyway.

#3 A Really Good Workout

Working out after baby can help boost confidence, fight postpartum depression, and act as a huge mood booster for any mama out there. But with a baby in tow it can be hard to find time to get in a good workout. Offer to take care of the kids once a week so she can go to Zumba class, or sign her up for an online program or gym membership.

#4 Spa Day

A massage, mani/pedi or facial are all wonderful gifts to show us how much we’re appreciated. Older kids could get creative and set up a home spa with candles, homemade scrubs, etc.

#5 A Day Free from the “Mom Routine”

We love being mamas; we really do. But we would also love a day free from the “mom routine.” That means no dishes, laundry, chauffeur duty, dressing little ones, etc

#6 Car Wash

A vehicle free from crumbs and clutter is like a commuting oasis. Take a few minutes to clean up the stray chicken nuggets and the sippy cup that rolled under the seat. If you’re going for Partner of the Year award, vacuum up the carpets and wipe down the seats.

Extra credit: You could even get her car detailed at the local dealership or car wash.

#7 Subscription Box

Give the gift that keeps on giving with a subscription box. From self-care to Pinterest-inspired DIY boxes, she’ll get excited every month when her box shows up on the doorstep

#8 Turn the Honey-Do into a Honey-Done List

Every time mom walks by that broken _______ (fill in the blank), it drives her crazy. If you complete the Honey-Do List of lingering household projects, you will be one happy man come Father’s Day — trust us!

#9 What’s for Dinner?

Between meal planning, grocery shopping, and actually making dinner there’s a lot of time that goes into making sure your family is fed every night. Take that chore off her plate for a night (or a week) and allow mom to enjoy extra time with the kids.

#10 The Best Things in Life are Free

The gifts we will treasure forever are the homemade cards, handprints, and photo frames from our children that remind us what a blessing it truly is to be a mom. Gather some craft supplies and make cards or these salt dough handprints as a family.

Adapted from: www.parenting.com

Deal with Weeds without Pesticides

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
The sun will come out on day – and so will the weeds. Try dealing with weeds this spring and summer without pesticides!

# 1 – Pull them
# 2 – Landscape fabric
# 3 – Use Mulch
# 4 – Pull flower heads
# 5 – Change mower height
# 6 – Dig only what you need
# 7 – Get/Rent goats
# 8 – Cover with newspaper
# 9 – Pour boiling water on them
#10 – Use a weed torch
#11 – Use rock salt
#12 – Create edging
#13 – Pour vinegar on them
#14 – Out number with plants you like
#15 – Eat them
#16 – Learn to love them

Via: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com

Smile Your Way to Better Health

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
WHEN you are a child you smile about 400 times a day but by the time you become an adult, it is down to a paltry 20 daily grins.

Not only is that a shame, it turns out that cracking a smile can work wonders for mind and body, too.

Jon Axworthy explains what turning that frown upside down can do for you.

  1. Makes you a Better Runner

Want to crush your personal best?

Then smile when it starts to hurt. Researchers at Ulster and Swansea universities found that club-level runners who smiled for six minutes while pounding the treadmill had a more economical running movement.

They also felt like they had made less effort.

  1. Sparks Creativity

If you are suffering a mental block, grin. A study found that students who watched a film that made them smile and laugh were then better at performing mental arithmetic tasks. It also concluded that happier workers were 12 per cent more productive.

  1. Cuts Stress

Even just forcing a smile, as 169 students were told to do in a University of Kansas study, is enough to lower heart rate, which is a clear indicator of the body’s stress response. They were asked to perform a difficult multi-tasking activity during which they had to smile to a greater or lesser extent. The group that beamed most reported the biggest drop in heart rate.

  1. Improves Decision-Making

In a study published in the journal Cognition And Emotion, older adults were made to smile by being given a bag of sweets and a thank you card when they arrived.

  1. Makes Others Trust You

It is thought humans evolved to smile to signal trust. This was backed up by US research, which found that people were more willing to share money with someone who smiled while trying to persuade them to do so. The study authors believe smiling narrows the field of vision and gives other people the impression that you are positively focused on them.

Adapted from: https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/5907064/smiling-is-good-for-you/

Mother’s Day Tips for Dads

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Rest in Worship with this Spotify Playlist

May 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Music