Tomorrow and Saturday (March 11-12), Verizon Wireless will celebrate the opening of a new store at Quail Springs Mall with events for kids and adults alike.
According to a news release, the fun will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday, during which the company will present a $1,000 check to YWCA of Oklahoma City. And for all us techie parents, at 5 p.m., the store will unveil the new iPad 2.
Festivities will continue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the store’s Kids’ Day, with FREE family activities, such as face-painting, a moon bounce, complimentary tacos from Big Truck Tacos (YUM!!) and prize giveaways.
“The focus is around family and getting the children involved,” said Michael Perry, Quail Springs store manager.
We all remember the ways our parents charted our growth … pencil markings on the inside closet door, using a marker on a yard stick or just buying a growth chart poster to track our progress.
With technology a staple these days, some parents are taking a different direction when documenting how fast their kids grow.
One couple tracked it using a camera, taking a picture each day during their baby’s first year. The result? Click here.
I don’t have an iPhone, but I have an iPod Touch. With both, you can buy or get free applications that allow you to simulate feeding a dog, touching a waterfall, playing a piano and so much more. You can also check calories, movie reviews, breaking news and the weather.
They’re interactive and fun.
But what was Apple thinking with its latest app?
Apple is in the news now for offering a “Baby Shaker” application that allows users to simulate shaking a crying baby until it quiets and has red Xs over its eyes.
This new “game” has angered parents, child welfare groups and organizations that work to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation has demanded an apology and e-mailed press releases, asking the public to contact Apple about their disappointment in this product.
As a result of public outcry, Apple has pulled the app.
– Linda Lynn
The campaign hopes to help the teens deal with unwanted text messages from other teens seeking sexual messages, pictures or videos. This also applies to such requests made online.
Teen and their parents are invited to explore a new Web site at www.Thatsnotcool.com.
The Web site offers teens some ways to respond to the so-called “textual harrasment,” among other interesting information.
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.
The council is partnering on this new campaign with other agencies, incluing the National Family Violence Prevention Fund.
I’ve been looking for one and think I’ve picked out the one she’ll get for Christmas.
Since we’ve been talking about cell phones quite a bit these days, I’ve taken the time to talk to her about the results of a recent survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com.
The results, released recently, found that one in five teen girls (22 percent), and 11 percent of teen girls ages 14-16, said they have electronically sent or posted online nude or semi-nude images of themselves.
According to the “Sex and Tech” survey, these images are getting passed around by their peers: One third (33 percent) of teen boys and one-quarter (25 percent) of teen girls said they have had nude/semi-nude images, orginally meant to be private, shared with them.
I had already heard of this type of thing occuring, particulary images sent via cell phone. When this survey was released I learned that this type of behavior has informally been dubbed “sexting.”
The survey concluded that what teens and young adults are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life. Nearly one-quarter of teens (22 percent) admitted that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive. More than one-third of teens (38 percent) said exchanging sexy content makes dating or “hooking up” with others more likely and nearly one-third of teens (29 percent) said they believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or “hook up.”
“That so many young people say technology is encouraging an even more casual, hook-up culture is reason for concern, given the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in the United States,” Marisa Nightingale, senior advisor to the Entertainment Media Program at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said in a news release.
“Parents should understand that their own notions of what’s public, what’s private, and what’s appropriate, may differ greatly from how teens and young adults define these concepts.”
By the way, according to the survey girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content: Almost one in five teen boys (18 percent) said they have sent or posted nude/semi nude images of themselves.
Find out more about the survey, including some helpful tips for parents, by clicking here: “Sex and Tech survey”
I was about to pull out of my driveway and head to work when I glanced at my cell phone.
I had seven voicemails! Who could have called me so many times?
I listened to the first message, and it was my youngest daughter, Kaci, distraught and crying. You can never understand her on the phone when she’s upset, but I knew it was her. What could be wrong? So, I listened to the next message. Again, her crying, never staying on the phone more than a couple of seconds.
As I quickly headed to her school, my mind began to imagine the problem. Had someone hurt her? Had the teacher addressed her harshly? … Still, the next two voicemails were even shorter, some with only whines.
I was about in tears when I pulled into the school parking lot. I rushed to the office. “I have to talk to my daughter,” I said with urgency. “She called me on the phone distraught.”
One of the women in the school office told me Kaci was in the gym, so we quickly walked to her P.E. class. (Had she broken her arm? Was she hurt?)
When we arrived at the gym, I saw my little 10-year-old swinging a racquet and playing with the other children. She looked fine, so I was puzzled. I motioned for her to come to the door.
When she was asked if she had called me that morning, she said, “No.” …. But she had called two weeks ago. And then I remembered getting a phone call on our home phone weeks earlier. She had been upset because she had thought an envelope with money for school pictures was missing … It wasn’t. It was in her notebook. So, she quickly recovered from her tears.
Or so I thought. I didn’t realize she had tried calling my cell phone several times. Aren’t cell phones grand? I’m not sure if anyone else’s phone does this, but sometimes I don’t get a message alerting me to voicemails. Then, one day I’ll get one that seems to push all the voicemails forward at once.
So, I left her school that morning, relieved but mentally shaken.
When I retold this story to my family, my oldest daughter reminded me of a time last year when my worry took me a little over the top, too.
I showed up at her middle school with two pairs of pants and a sandwich.
I thought she had ripped her pants (I had seen a dark spot on her jeans when she boarded the bus, so I thought they were torn.) And news reports of tainted peanut butter panicked me because I had packed her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Well, the rip turned out to be a sticker on her jeans. But I still made her switch out the sandwiches.
My children might laugh at me for my antics, but it’s just my nature. I will always worry about my kids. — Linda Lynn
According to a story by The Associated Press, the head of a prominent cancer research institute is cautioning people to limit cell phone use because of the possible cancer risk, especially to children whose brains are still developing.
I’m sure my family would go through cell phone withdrawal if we had to do without the cell phones simply because it is a way for us to stay connected when we are physically apart.
But cancer is, well, cancer.
I think I can go back to using the land line for most of my calls. I could also do some more letter writing or I could catch up on my e-mail correspondence now that I think about it.
The same goes for my kids. I know they can survive without a cell phone if their very survival was at stake.
I’m sure I won’t be the only parent on the look out for more information on this topic.
Anyone who knows me know that I am a picture-taking fanatic. I always have my camcorder and digital camera with me wherever my son and I go. I take a bunch of pictures, upload them to my computer, then transfer a copy to my online photo albums to share them.
So I end up with a copy on my camera (which I am always afraid to erase for some reason), a copy on my computer, a copy online, a backup copy on CD and then eventually I order prints of all of them and if they’re lucky, someday they might make it into an actual photo album.
Does this sound a bit obsessive-compulsive to you? It does to me. But how do I break this habit? I always feel a tinge of guilt if a weekend goes by and I never get to organizing all those hundreds of photos, putting dates on them, putting them in albums. Then buying more albums. Then buying things to scrapbook with, but never getting around to doing it.
If I take less pictures, I may miss out on something remarkable and kick myself later. But if I’m constantly behind the lens of a camera, I feel I’m missing out on the actual experience. Which of the evils is worse?
After a good bout of guilt over a under-productive picture-sorting weekend, I always think to myself ”if I had spent all those hours organizing pictures all weekend, I would have missed out on capturing new memories.” So the guilt subsides, but the pictures multiply.
It’s a neverending dilemma.
Any suggestions? I would love to hear some.
After the Hollywood Video store near our house went out of business last year, my family quit renting so many movies (Redbox is now our closest outlet and has very limited stock.) But we began buying the movies we knew the kids would watch over and over.
This has worked pretty well. We now have dozens of both classic and recent movies aimed at the under-12 set. A few are regretful purchases (Mimzy and The Wild didn’t inspire repeat viewings) but most will be great to hang onto until whatever new technology completely overtakes DVD. (I’ve only recently completed my long good-bye to the VCR.)
Occasionally, we go to a REAL MOVIE THEATRE and experience the big screen, buttered popcorn and all. This is a rather expensive way to spend every weekend for a family of four.
Last week, I took my 5-year-old to see Kung Fu Panda — how could we not after all the McDonald’s toys? — and she became restless within 30 minutes of its start. The popcorn and my pleading convinced her to stick with it through the end. I liked the movie and thought the animation was well done. Will we buy this movie when it comes out on DVD? Probably not.
This weekend I really want to go see Wall-E, Pixar’s newest animated feature. It’s gotten spectacular reviews from adults and children alike. I’ll take my 5-year-old and her sister, 10. I’m already planning to totally love the movie and think my girls will too. And yes, I already plan to buy it on DVD, I’m that convinced it’ll be a classic.
Maybe it’s because Wall-E is like my outdated VCR. Still functional, but not very sleek and swift.
My son just got a dirt bike. He’s 15.
Apparently, my husband and I lost our minds at the exact same moment. I knew we were slowly driving each other crazy over the years, but I never thought we’d simultaneously snap.
Because of our mental lapses, our son now has a shiny new dirt bike. Well, it was shiny for the trip home and for a brief time in the garage. Then, he rode it. Now, it has a nice scrape along the side, and both signal lights have been demolished. Oh, and he’s proudly sporting a skinned elbow and knee.
We live in the country which gives my son plenty of grass to ride on, and for that, I’m grateful. Of course, when he crashed the first time, he was turning around on the concrete driveway. Funny how that works.
I had a flashback to my own childhood as I watched him tearing across the yard a few days ago. I was raised on a farm and we were around dangerous equipment all the time. I was a kid when seatbelts didn’t exist unless you had one of those “fancy” cars, and even then they were usually buckled and stuffed between the seat cushions. We rode in backs of pickup trucks and sitting on sides of a tractor. We stood on the running board of the big grain trucks as we bumped and jostled our way down to the grain bins or out to the cattle pasture. When the family drove to the swimming hole (yes, that’s what we called it), my dad would put a board across the bed of his truck for kids to sit on. And, the day it hailed on us … well, we just held up the big towel Mom threw back there for us to use as shelter.
Which makes me wonder? How did we survive?
Believe me, I’m not advocating riding in a car with no seat belt or putting kids in the back of a truck. It’s a different time. Things are faster and there are more cars on the roads. The world seems more stressed. The only road rage I ever knew about in my childhood was when you were driving down a dirt road and the car coming toward you didn’t ease over enough and give you both room to pass. And, even then, the road rage manifested itself with only a curt nod to the other person … no smile, no howdy.
Believe me, I’m as cautious as the next parent. When my son was growing up, I dutifully put him in a car seat. I walked him to school to protect him from strangers and I didn’t turn him loose to play in the neighborhood sight unseen. I don’t believe it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes parents.
But, now he’s a teenager and has a dirt bike. There’s no car seat on that thing. He is required to wear a helmet, not only be me, but by state law. Thank goodness.
Like it or not, I see that he’s growing up. He’s taller than my husband, wears a bigger shoe, and he’s shaving. I can’t always protect him. He has to be given responsibility to make wise decisions. All I can do is keep medical supplies handy … and pray.
Any parents out there who’ve been down the dirt bike trail with their kids? I could use some advice.
- Guest contributor, Judy Hooper, The Oklahoman