Social Media Pages Your Teen Should Be Following

shutterstock_168815291-2Ninety-five percent of American teens are online, either via a desktop computer or mobile device, Pew Research reports. Internet-aware parents try to do a good job at keeping our children safe online; we lock down their access to various sites to protect them from all sorts of bad information and influences, and we give them advice on what they should follow. To that end, let’s take a look at the social media pages we think are helpful to teens:

Creating a Newsie Teen

More than two-thirds of Americans get their daily news from the Internet, according to the American Press Institute. Though news coverage is available 24 hours a day, few teens actually follow the news closely. One reason is that the teen would need to consciously seek out current affair information, an act that is not common unless a project or paper is due in school. If you are the type of parent who believes in staying up to date on global news, then ask your child to place a news feed on his or her social media accounts. This way, the adolescent does not need to search for news. It is present for the teen to read or not, as he or she chooses.

If you want to be more prescriptive, then look at the Facebook pages of the larger media outlets. For the smart but free-willed adolescent, Gathering of the Minds on Facebook is a news outlet that offers everything from current science to satirical politics. It promises open and uncensored coverage of ideas so be prepared to have some pretty heated debates about Middle-Eastern politics while eating your meat loaf.

Adolescents and Money

A third of high school seniors use a credit card, yet only a quarter understand how credit works, Charles Schwab reports. Financial literacy is a must, and it is not something that can be taught overnight. Some of the things that you will want your child to learn are credit and return on investments; both of these require a logical analysis of how much money is going out versus how much is coming in. This is the basis of all finance. You are not expecting your teenager to be filling SEC stock holdings, but an understanding of daily personal finances would serve him in the future. Investopedia is a good place for your burgeoning adult to get information about financial matters, and the J.G. Wentworth Twitter feed is a great resource for living-on-a-budget information.

Sports Chat Online

You do not need to suck all of the fun out of social media. Reddit is a fun way to stay up on sports and sports conversations. The Reddit sports category will have links to any number of interesting sports events. Some offer discussion on teams or sports figures, chastising them for poor achievement or making predictions on future greatness. Others have humor for the sports-minded. Reddit is designed to be a forum chat platform, so monitor your child’s activity closely. It is not uncommon for sports enthusiasts to use profanity or other language that would be considered inappropriate.

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From Test Drives to Tickets: Prepare Your Teen For the Road Ahead

teen driving One of the biggest moments of a person’s life is turning 16, getting the keys to the car and taking that first solo drive down the road. But that moment starts well before the sweet 16. Many steps need to be taken to help prepare teens for the road ahead.

Of course, your teen needs his or her driver’s training to gain experience on how to safely handle a car. But before your child ever gets behind the wheel, it is important to communicate to get them to understand the responsibility that comes with driving.

Distractions can cause problems while driving, but cell phones are perhaps even bigger of a concern. In 2011, at least 23 percent of auto collisions involved a cell phone in the United States, and texting makes a collision up to 23 times more likely to occur, reports Texting and Driving Safety. Ten states and Washington D.C. have laws against people using handheld cell phones while driving, while 39 states and Washington D.C. prohibit texting and driving.

However, texting is not the only poor choice a teen can make when in the vehicle. About one in 10 students in high school drink and drive, while teens are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent, reports the Center for Disease Control.

If you want your child to avoid becoming a statistic, set clear rules. Rules should include the times the child gets to drive, who is allowed to be in the car, where they are able to drive, the best route to get there and what to do in case of an emergency.

Another important preparation is making sure a vehicle is road ready and safe for the teen to drive. Safety has to be a priority. A good to place to start is with the tires. The tires are not only what makes the car move on the roads, but they are also key when operating the vehicle – especially when stopping.

Start by checking tread depth. If you don’t have tread-depth gauge, an easy substitute is a penny. Place it in the grooves of the tire and, if it rises to cover part of Abraham Lincoln’s head, it is still good. If you can see all of Honest Abe’s noggin, it’s time to shop at a tire store like TireBuyer.com for some new treads. According to many state laws, at 2/32”, most tires are legally worn out and must be changed out to help insure safety of not only the vehicle operator, but also all other vehicles on the road.

A balding tire is dangerous and increases the risk of crashing. Statistics show more than one out of every 10 vehicles on the road has a balding tire, notes Right Turn. Without grooves in the tire treads, water is not channeled the way it is suppose to in order to keep contact with the road. Even in dry weather balding tires are more prone to punctures.

Also regularly check the air pressure in the tires. The manufacturer recommended tire pressure can be found on the decal inside the driver’s door. It is good to note the pressure given is for cold tires. Low tire pressure makes the tires run hot, uses more gas and affects how the car handles.

Give the car a tune-up, too. Oil and fuel filter changes are easy, but also make sure the timing and other belts are in good condition to avoid any breakdowns.

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The Essential Tech Gear Guide for Your College Student

Student boy lying on floor, books and computerIf you want your college student to get good grades, make sure they’re well-equipped with the right technological gear. In a survey of 500 college students conducted by CourseSmart and Wakefield Research, 73 percent of students indicated they would be unable to effectively study without some type of technological device by their side—and that was in 2011. Here’s what to look for today to make sure your college student is set up for academic success.

Cell Phones

Modern-day cell phones act as personal data assistants, making them vital tools for academic success. EMarketer reports that an estimated 73 percent of college students own some type of smartphone. Many models can be used as a GPS, which helps students find local events and navigate their way around an unfamiliar area. Many providers offer student discounts specifically for phones that are purchased to be used by current or future students.

Get a data plan that will be able to support their usage habits, especially if they need to do any video streaming or other bandwidth-intense activities. Make sure you spring for a truly “smart” phone with both app support and constant Internet access, as opposed to just a phone with a few built-in apps that won’t actually get used. If the phone comes with a few built-in calculator or note-taking apps and can’t download any more, you’re looking at something that is best left on the shelf.

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