Ever evolving advances in information technology has forever changed the landscape of childhood. The world in which our children find themselves is not the world we grew up in. Today, children have personal cell phones, tablets, and laptops. It is imperative that parents teach their child that although the Internet is a fabulous educational tool, provides entertainment, and can be used to connect with family and friends; it is not a private place and is subject to abuse. While we still need to worry about perverts hanging around the playground, pedophiles have found a new place to hide. Sexual predators take cruel advantage of the curiosity of children, luring them into conversations, meetings and more. Parents can help protect children and teens by enforcing parental controls and Internet safety rules when children go online. Now is the time to have the talk with your child about “stranger danger” and prepare them in the event they are approached or solicited. Make sure children understand that if anyone ever makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell you. They are not in trouble, and it is not their fault if a “freak” finds them. Reassure them that when they tell you, you will prevent that person from ever contacting them again. Warn children never to give out personal information including their last name, their address, where they go to school, where their parents work, telephone numbers, credit card information or computer passwords. Warn young children as well as teenagers of the dangers of chat rooms and remind them to never download software without your express permission; an innocent looking video or website may mask pornography or perversion. To discourage children from visiting sites they should not see, keep the home computer in the family room in full view. You should also employ blocking software to protect children from accidently visiting a questionable site. Just as you would advise your child not to talk to strangers at the park or at the mall, warn them not to talk to strangers online and only to chat with their close friends. Tell you child that “bad people” often wear disguises online. They may think they are talking to another girl or boy when they are being lured into a conversation with a dangerous adult with harmful intentions. Be aware of signs that your child may have an unhealthy relationship or is being sexually exploited over the Internet. • You stumble upon material of a pornographic or hate-mongering nature on your child’s mobile device • Your child starts to spend an excessive time online or displays secretive or deceptive behavior • You receive strange phone calls or hang-ups • Your child turns off the screen when you enter the room • Your child’s personality changes and they become withdrawn If you wish to report an issue or suspect inappropriate online behavior, you can file a report at the Cyber Tip Line. The Cyber Tip Line has recorded over 2.2 million complaint reports since its launch online 1998.
Creating Curb Appeal Creating and maintaining an attractive visual appearance to your home and landscape is integral to curb appeal. Many people will never see beyond a “drive-by” view of your home. If you fail to make a good first impression, the interior of your home may be beautiful, but it will never impress the neighbors a potential homebuyer. A Quality Front Door Enhances Curb Appeal Your front door and entryway reflect the personality of the homeowner and the condition of the door is indicative of the care and maintenance the property receives. The front entry should be kept clean, tidy and well lighted. A well-constructed solid front door adds to the curb appeal of a home while enhancing security. A solid front door helps to block and dampen outside noises, while keeping out cold drafts by providing a tight, weatherproof seal to enhance energy efficiency in the home. When selecting windows for your home, be sure to factor in the cost of window coverings into your building or construction budget. Your choice of window coverings comes down to personal preference, but keep in mind that you may wish to choose blinds, shutters or draperies that Choosing Windows For Your Home When building or remodeling your home, your choice of windows represents a significant investment. You may feel a bit confused as there are so many different types of windows available on the market. It pays to do the research to find the best type for your application. Visit home and garden shows and your local window contractor’s showroom for ideas and inspiration. A solid, long-term warranty from an established quality manufacturer and your budget should be considered when pricing different types of window applications. Choosing the right type of energy-efficient windows can save you a substantial amount of money over the years by reducing your home's energy consumption. To save money, you may be wise to spend more initially to reap the long-term savings that quality windows afford. Cut The Grass A large part of the overall impression of your property is conveyed by the landscaping that surrounds it. If you grass is sparse, weedy and uncared for, it implies that the rest of the property is maintained in the same careless manner. A lush lawn with lots of greenery provided by trees and shrubs creates a cool and inviting oasis that encourages visitors to linger. Remove The Clutter No matter if your grass is mowed and the front steps are tidy, if you have old vehicles or sporting equipment parked in the driveway, or if that old basketball hoop you have meant to take down still disgraces the carport, your home will appear cluttered and unkempt. Remember, you only have one chance to make a favorable first impression. Make sure it is a good one.