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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Parenting Teens E-Book

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Bringing up Bronte

I love Parenting Teens

603515_4294531731067_62293604_nMy eldest is now 17 and I think I may do a merry dance when I finally get her to 18, mainly because people will perhaps stop looking at me in a sympathetic way when I tell you them I have a 17 and a 13-year-old and saying with a sarcastic smile, “Never mind, it gets better!”

What are they talking about? I have absolutely loved and I mean loved the teen years! Before I go on, even though I have written parenting books and appeared as a parenting expert on TV, I do not consider myself one, nor do I want to be one! In fact, I even hate the word parenting! I am, I believe my daughter’s guide in life, her guide to adulthood, her mentor in becoming an adult and that is how I have always seen myself. I have never felt I owed her or it was my job to tell her how to be or how to think. I never felt the need to tell her how things should be. I have let her fail, let her make mistakes, let her make her own mind up, and let her figure out who she is. I have very few rules; don’t swear, don’t hit and don’t put anything fake on your body until you are 16. She has, since she was 12, picked her own bedtime! I have never covered for her, never got her out of trouble and never written a letter to school to cover up for something she has done (or not done). I have talked to her, asked her questions and had her come to her own conclusions. Yes, there has been times (13-14) where things were a little challenging, times when I haven’t liked her friends, times when I haven’t cared much for what she was wearing or how she was speaking to me, but I hardly even shouted or did that victim parent thing, you know the one – “Don’t talk to me like that, blah, blah, blah!”

The teen years for me have been the most enjoyable years with my daughter, and the relationship we have now is like nothing I could have ever imagined. We have so much fun, so much in common; so many special moments together and yes, I am still her parent.

Why do we dread the teen years as parents? Why do we make them so difficult?

If we could only stop thinking we own our children and therefore must control them and have them agree with us every step of the way, I am sure that everyone else could also enjoy these years as much as me.

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How To Prepare Your Teenagers for 3 Less-Publicized Dangers of College Life

college lifeAs a responsible parent, you have already spoken with your teenagers about the dangers of over-drinking, drugs and date rape. Have you also spoken with them about some of the less-publicized dangers of college campuses? How your children eat, how they protect their information and how they deal with stress can drastically shape their college experience and their lives beyond school. Read on to learn how to prepare your teenagers for a healthy, safe college experience.

Dietary Habits

The phrase “Freshman 15″ has become commonplace, but when discussing the challenges around diet at college be aware of focusing on weight gain — especially with young women — for fear of triggering eating disorders or obsessions with exercise.

However, with the abundance of food in dining halls, late night snacks and alcohol that ramps up calories for college-age students, it is important to teach young adults how to fuel themselves in a healthy way.

Consider sharing common-sense tips about eating slowly, realizing how full they are and teaching them how a healthy, well-balanced diet can boost moods and foster healthy brains.

Identity Theft

For your teenager, falling victim to identity theft can be as easy as leaving a purse on the table to say hello to a friend. Off goes your daughter’s credit card, identification and cell phone — and it is very difficult to get life back in order.

Teach your children to regularly use the free credit reports authorized by Federal law on www.annualcreditreport.com. You can get a report from each agency every 12 months for a total of three per year to ensure that all information is correct and up to date.

Another way to protect your credit is to use an identity theft protection program. Companies like Lifelock offer resources to protect against identity theft and fraud using Internet monitoring, credit alerts, address monitoring, intuitive threat detection and more.

Stress

The latest survey from the American Psychological Association (in August 2013) shows that 30 percent of teenagers reported feeling depressed or sad, and 31 percent felt overwhelmed.

It is important for parents and children to know that chronic stress can cause anxiety, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, leading to obesity, heart disease and depression. New college students will be missing their support systems at home and must develop new habits they can rely on for the rest of their lives.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is through physical activity. Encourage your children to get involved in social clubs, get a gym buddy or join intramural sports. Getting involved in activities where they can make friends will help them stick to it.

While it can be difficult to get sleep in college, it is one of the biggest buffers against stress. Encourage teenagers to cut back on TV in the late evening, and not to drink caffeine late in the day.

When stress gets a little too much to handle, ruminating on one’s own is likely to make the problem worse. Encourage your teenagers to write things down — a positive experience, or as a way to step back and examine their behavior — or to reach out and connect with you or a friend.

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